I am lying in bed. It is 8:35am. JC has refused to go to school. He didn’t do a speech for English and now refuses to go to school. I can’t fight him. He is too big and my back has been injured, so I am in immense pain. I am lying in bed, feeling guilty for agreeing to keep him at home, feeling guilty for not getting up, just simply feeling guilty.
The bed is warm though and seductive. The guilt is not enough to make me get up. This could be construed as depression, I suppose, but I don’t really care. I just want to stay in bed all day. Of course, I can’t. Jay needs to be picked up. She has been with Tee for two days and by all accounts has had a ball. I cannot believe that she has reached this far in her pregnancy. Nearly 35 weeks. Two more weeks and she will be considered term which will mean that Baby C will be able to come home when he is born.
I cannot wait to hold my grandchild. I wonder at what kind of mom Jay will make. She has matured so much in the past 8 months. She is unrecognisable as the teenager she was last year. Impending motherhood will do that to a person. It has been a learning curve for me as well. I have had to learn to remove the hands of control. To let her grow into the person she needs to be. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been a wonderful transformation to watch. There are moments, of course, when the young 19 year old shines through, the one that is afraid, the one that still needs her mom, but on the whole she is a new mom-to-be, and it shows.
I suddenly feel a pang of sadness. So young to be a mom. So young to be responsible for someone else at such a young age. She doesn’t feel that way at all. She has embraced the prospect of motherhood with gusto and determination. Of course the idea of having a baby, and the reality are poles apart, but I somehow suspect she is ready for it. Both she and Em are definitely ready. I am just dying to meet baby C. All the trials and tribulations will have been worth it.
I have come along way on this journey too. I have become a lot less judgemental of teenage parents. Two years ago, when my own mom was so ill, I was shocked to find a number of teenage moms in the church that my mom attended. Of course, with the rule of no sex before marriage, a lot of kids got married early and it stood to reason that babies would follow soon after. I was judgemental – of the teenage parents and especially of the church that seemed to encourage this. I now wonder why we as a society are so judgemental of these teenagers, rather than supporting them through what is a difficult, but wonderful journey. After all, it is only in the last 40 years that it has become the norm to have children at such a late age (average 34 years). Why is it that we consider life to be over if a young girl (and boy) has a child? The judgement that Jay has faced has been disheartening to watch and even I, when I announce my daughter is having a baby, am always asked how old she is, because I don’t look old enough to be a grandmother. When I say she is 19, the tone in their “Oh” says a thousand things, and none of them are good.
This journey has taught me that we don’t get the right to judge unless we have been walking in those self same shoes, which can never happen since there are over 7 billion individuals on this earth, each living their own life, walking their own path. We have no idea how they got to be where they are today and no-one knows how Jay and I got to be where we are either. Still, judge they do, and we have to face that with dignity and grace. Jay has found it difficult to cope with the judgement. She wanted a baby, always has, and even though this wasn’t planned, she is proud to be having it. “Hold your head up high, my love,” I say, “and know that you are on the path the universe wants you to take. Hold yourself with dignity and grace. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
All I can do is offer her support and as much love as I can muster. It is as much a journey of self discovery for me as it is for her. Baby C is a gift. I have become a much more tolerant person because of him. What a wonderful gift to bestow on someone – and he hasn’t even been born yet.