Carmen - posted on 10/22/2012 ( no moms have responded yet )
I’m trapped in the middle of a mirror. Stuck between two worlds that aren’t supposed to commingle, but somehow do with me acting as the bridge. I haven’t gained full access into one and yet I have outgrown the other. While my husband and many of my friends complain about turning one year older or the new wrinkle that has emerged, I celebrate each added year because it means that I am one year wiser and one year closer to an acceptable age for having children. I adore each new crease because it means that I have survived one more stressful situation and I’ve learned a little bit more about who I am. These things are reminders that even though life can be hard and transformation is not easy, it is worth it to continue to try.
I turned 25-years-old last September. This particular birthday brought a lot of emotions to the surface, emotions that I didn’t know I had bottled up. I remember trying to tell my mother how I felt, but it was very difficult to describe because she had never experienced the things that I have. I have felt the pressure of society to act a certain way as a mother and yet, in a very different way as a woman in her 20s.
I felt like 25 was going to be a good age because maybe, just maybe, society would find it acceptable that I’m a mother. It shouldn’t matter what society thinks. I shouldn’t let it influence me so much. But no matter which way I look at it, it will always influence me in some way. We as humans are social creatures; there’s no way to get around it. Society will always influence who we are or what we do because of our cultural mores. When you go against those mores, you’re an outcast in one way or another. I have felt like the outcast since I was 18-years-old.
When I was pregnant with my first boy, there was a very nice woman in one of my classes who decided to throw me a surprise baby shower. It was wonderful in many ways and yet embarrassing at the same time. I had six older women (they all must have been more than 40-years-old) sitting around me. One asked me how old I was and when I replied 18, she shook her head. Whether it was out of sympathy or shame, I will never know. The one thing that I did know was that I didn’t want sympathy or the looks of shame that had been cast in my direction. I had made a choice: to raise my baby. My future was going to be what I made of it. There was nothing to feel sorry about or ashamed of. I’m sure that many of them tried to hide the looks of disapproval, but they didn’t do a very good job of it. This experience was the last straw for me. This was when I had decided that my age was always going to be kept a secret.
When I was 22-years-old, my husband and I moved back east – 3000 miles away from our families. I joined a mother’s group to try to make new friends and develop a support system. It wasn’t easy at first. I had to learn how to act in a way that was acceptable to mothers who were in their 30s and 40s. I had some experience with this in the past, but it was still a rocky road. I had to learn what to share and what not to share; when to express my opinions and when not to. These are the things that people in their 20s are learning anyway, but usually they’re doing it within a group of people who are similar in age. I was not. I adapted quickly and made several good friends. Some I trusted enough to tell my age, while there were others I never told.
Through my experiences in the mother’s group, I learned a few things. The most important was that no matter what age you are, whether it is 18, 20, 30, or40, all mothers have the same interests at heart: they want what’s best for their kids. But the truth is, they all struggle to figure out what that really is. No one ever knows if the way they’re raising their kids is truly the best way or not. They only have their own experiences as children and the stories of others to help guide them.
It’s been a long, hard fight with that mirror of mine, but as I’m nearing the end of my twenty fifth year, I’m learning how to cope with being stuck. And as always, I’m making the best of all that has been given to me.
Originally posted on www.beautifullychallenged.biz