Dear Teenage Mom, Thank You


Dear Teenage Mom,

I am deeply grateful to you. Before I write anything else or anyone else gives their opinion, I want you to know how grateful I am and how much I love you.

I can’t imagine being 17 and finding out you were pregnant was easy. In fact, given the small town you lived in and people’s attitudes in general toward unmarried teen pregnancy, I would definitely not want to walk a mile in those shoes. Today, there are options and resources that were never even thought of for your situation. Today, I’d like to think that people don’t automatically assume that marriage is a must. For you, there wasn’t another option and so that’s what you did; you got married. You pledged yourself to a man when neither of you had a real concept of what it takes to have a successful partnership. You traveled the world following his career and along the way you had another baby; then, it ended and not in a positive way. That relationship and its aftermath should be the poster for “what not to do” when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. But, and really, the ‘but’ is so important, you never let it stop you from being fully present as a parent.

There was never and has never been an ounce of give up in your time as my parent.

You gave me everything you had and then some. You gave me life, for starters. You gave me a family that I wouldn’t trade for the entire world. You may have felt like a failure since we had to live with your mom for many years, but honestly, those are some of the best memories I have. Because you were so young, I had a real relationship with my great grandparents. No one else my age or even slightly younger that I know has met their great grandparents, much less had a genuine relationship with them. I feel blessed. They had a huge hand in raising me and I am eternally grateful for their guidance, support, and their deep love. If I had been born later, I would have missed out on our precious time together. Now that I have my own sweet babies, I can’t help but mourn the fact that they won’t have the same relationship with my great grandma that I had. My great grandmother is my children’s great great grandmother and sadly, she is facing mental decline and other health problems. I mourn that they didn’t get to meet the feisty woman who sat me on her lap so we could sing gospel songs or chase cows with me when my brother let them out of the barn. I wish they could hear her laughter as she ran alongside us.

You were (and still are!) F-U-N! You could be silly, playful, and romp around with me at a whim. You were still finding yourself and navigating adulthood with all the struggles that come with it, but you were my rock. You held me down and made me feel safe. You still are my rock and my safe place and that will never change. Your experience as a first time parent is vastly different from mine, but you give such wonderful advice from your unique perspective, and it has made a big difference in my own attitude toward parenting. I learned from your mistakes and it has made me stronger and grounded.

Becoming a parent has made me nostalgic.

There were some not so great parts of growing up with a single Mom who was trying to figure out how to navigate relationships and life in general. Growing pains are never fun, but I find that those parts don’t hurt anymore, and I have no judgment towards those moments. I chalk it up to the fact that I truly loved my childhood. I spent long summers with my grandparents, running wild and being carefree. While my mom used that time to live her life and work multiple jobs, I got to drive a truck on country roads, fish in ponds, jump in lakes, chase cows, help with gardening, and so much more. I wish I could give those experiences to my children. I wish they could have the summers that I had growing up. I wish they could be woken up early to get a warm gingerbread man cookie with grandma. I wish they could get a “word of the day” from her. I wish they could roam the woods at grandma’s and create an entire world in the trees and rocks like I did.

I wish, I wish, I wish, and that to me says everything.

I wish I could be like you, Mom. I wish I could give my children so much goodness and love that they long for these days when they are long gone. I wish that if for any reason you carry any guilt or shame about how you became a Mom, that you would let it go. I wouldn’t change a single thing. NOT ONE and I would fully take all the good with all the bad. I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You are and have always been my hero. I appreciate you even more know that I’m an adult and have children of my own. I truly don’t know how you did it at such a young age. I don’t have faith in myself that I could have done the same. You were spectacular.

So thank you, Teenage Mom. Thank you. I love you. 


  1. My mom sent this to me, and I’m so glad she did. She was a senior in high school at a time when they made you quit school if you were pregnant. I asked her recently how it was, in those first few days and weeks when she found out she was pregnant. Was she scared to tell her mom? She was just 17. My mom told me that her biggest fear–and a huge source of anxiety for her–was that she might not graduate high school. I am 62 years old now, with four grown children and six awesome grandkids. I don’t pause often to think about how it was for my mom in those days, so long ago. Your piece made me stop and consider many of the things you brought up, and even more that belong to our own personal story. This was a beautiful, touching piece. Thank you for sharing it. Oh, my mom did graduate. No one knew, even though she donned her cap and gown in June and I was born in October.


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