This is what it’s like being a teenaged Mum
Recently, about it my University had their yearly “Soft Skills Academy”. With workshops like “How to build your CV” or Networking, viagra 60mg as I’m finishing my degree I decided to take advantage of them, to try and shine some light on where to go and what to do after I graduate. I ended up signing up for a workshop called “I Have a Business Idea – What Now?”, in which entrepreneurs would talk to us about their challenges and how they created profitable and fulfilling businesses. I thought it was a great idea and was super excited to hear what they had to say. A few minutes into it, however, I realised my expectations were warped and instead of being inspired and learning, I ended up rolling my eyes every 30 seconds and making a wide variety of sarcastic comments to a very patient friend I dragged along with me.
Every single one of the speakers was a white man. The organization that coordinated the workshop and whose aim is to support young entrepreneurs, also has a competition for young entrepreneurs every year. When they were explaining what the competition entailed and which individuals would help mentor the programme, out of the 10 mentors, 9 were men and, as I immediately suspected, not one of them was a man of colour. As the speakers started explaining how to got their businesses up and running, all I could hear was “privilege” coming out of their mouths. Not one of these men had struggled to grow or even start their businesses. They all came from upper middle class families aka rich white boys, with nothing at stake in case they didn’t succeed. Their families gave them the money they needed throughout their journeys or had the necessary connections for them to be successful. Not one of them was able to answer questions about the difficulties they had, because they probably had none.
Nowadays, we live in a world where female entrepreneurship is thriving
It felt like a spectacle of privilege and it made me so angry. We were there to learn, but instead were fed some idealistic crap about hard work from men who probably never had to work a day in their lives. Nowadays, we live in a world where female entrepreneurship is thriving. Women are taking matters into their own hands and creating products and services they believe in. Still, in 2015, the New York Times created a Glass Ceiling Index based on an Ernst & Young Report, saying that amongst the biggest companies in the world there are more CEO’s named John than women. How insane is that? As someone who is on social media regularly, I see and follow female entrepreneurs everyday – not only fighting for themselves, but fighting for other women too. Women trying to not just break the glass ceiling, but smash it into irreparable bits. And my question is, why aren’t we talking about these women more? Why do we associate the world of business with a world of men, particularly white men? Why, when people of such a wide variety of backgrounds are create successful empires? Why aren’t they getting invited to teach in workshops, getting interviewed and celebrated in mainstream media?
As a woman, I want to hear about their stories, especially because female entrepreneurs are much less likely to be taken seriously and much more likely to have their work disrespected – a recent and perfect example of that comes from the creator of LAPP, Leomie Anderson, who had her intellectual property essentially stolen by a bigger brand. She is not the only one. There are countless accounts of women who see their work be disrecpected often times just based on the fact that they are women. Those are the stories I want to hear – stories of adversity and overcoming. I don’t want to hear about how a rich white dude became successful because his parents were wealthy and paved the way for him, I want to hear from the people who paved the way for themselves – those are the truly inspiring stories and the stories that I feel young people so desperately need to hear. We need to hear about those who created something out of nothing but an idea, who had to fight to get to where they are today, to show that you don’t have to be white or man or wealthy in order to be successful.
After leaving the workshop and writing this article, I feel like we all have a responsibility to uplift people trying to leave their mark on this planet in a positive way and showcase them to the world. If the mainstream media, mainstream academia doesn’t acknowledge those who don’t fit the norm then we will. And I think, fortunately, that we are. Every day, people are more aware of the need to support each other in our endeavours, particularly in a world that seems so hopeless at times. So let’s move past the norm and break the glass ceilings for everyone, making sure that equity is the norm and not the exception when it comes to accessing opportunities and having your accomplishments celebrated.
What comes to mind? Hoe, Stupid, Selfish?
75% of my pregnancy was spent hiding in my bedroom because of these judgements. I got called the above and worse. People would look at me in disgust and stare. Instead of ‘Congrats’ it would always be a question about my age. I didn’t want to be around any of my family because I felt like they were disappointed in me. I knew all my friends cared about was partying and makeup; I felt that I would be forgotten about in due time. People told me my life would be over and part of me believed them. It was an extremely hard time for me.
Like most girls at the age of 17 these days, I had sex. All of the female friends had had sex by then. Sure, I should have been more careful but since the seed was planted why would I not let it grow? A baby is a blessing regardless of my age. No one seemed to understand what I was going through and being so young I barely knew who I was myself. All I knew at that time in my life was that I wasn’t about to get rid of a part of myself to make other people happy.
But with no surprises, being pregnant was the easy part. Girls, if you’re pregnant cherish the time you have to yourself while you can. After 12 hours giving birth, I knew the hard work would start, but for some reason the part of me that cared what people thought disappeared. My love for my daughter over ruled all. I knew I would prove them all wrong, but right at that moment I just wanted to take in my blessings and be a mum; I finally found who I was and the anxiety and confusion melted away. I was Ava’s mummy.
My life changed drastically and my priorities and responsibilities rearranged and grew. I learnt that there was more to life than anyone’s approval, or looking cute every time I stepped out the door. My need to succeed and become an inspiring young woman grew. Most of all I honestly enjoy being a mum more than anything! Watching your child grow, teaching them and guiding them along the way, watching their own personality form; it’s the best feeling in the world.
I’m even more proud of where I am today because I have a little person looking up to me. Now that’s not to say that all young mums are amazing same way there are also so many mothers at the age of 30 who are not the best role models to their kids- There’s no straight guide to being a good mum! Let’s take away the title ‘young mum’ and just put everyone under ‘mother’ whether you’re 17 or 35, black or white, rich or poor. You still have an amazing blessing in your life & someone to live for. Everyone’s situation is different but no one should look at someone as a bad mother because of their age.
I’m an amazing mum and I don’t care what anyone thinks of me because I am setting the best example I can for my daughter. So to anyone feeling discouraged, lost or down because of what people have to say if you are or are becoming a teenaged mother stay focused, stay happy and prove them wrong.
Loads of love a kisses to you all,