On being a proud teen mom: I don't hate myself as much as you wish I did

Thursday, May 30, 2013

By Gloria Malone [This blog was originally published as part of our Mama's Day celebration on 5/11/13]

The problem with being a teen mom is that I don't hate myself nearly as much as you wish I did.

My humble pride and my happy life upset you because I do not embody the self-hate and stereotypes you want me to.

My existence challenges everything that you’ve been told to believe about me, which makes you uncomfortable. And instead of getting to know me, you cast hate and anger at me. Hoping that your negativity will tell me to quit, hoping that I will amount to the nothing you desperately want me to be, and hoping that your negativity will give you a voice for a moment.

I am a proud teen mom. My family is happy. I graduated high school on time and with honors. I am a college student, and I am looking for a Master’s degree program. I've been published in The New York Times and other major news publications expressing my views. My daughter is intelligent, healthy, and happy. I'm on my way and I won't let you get in the way.

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When you do choose to hear my accomplishments, you seek to belittle and change them so they make you feel comfortable: "You're an exception, not the rule," "So what? You think you deserve a medal or something?", "Big deal. You did what you were supposed to do," or, "That only happened because you’re a statistic and need to be the proof that ___ is diversified."

What you fail to realize is that your negativity and hate comes from within. The anger you feel comes from you beginning to realize that, instead of thinking for yourself, you've been trained to think—that is what upsets you.

Fortunately for me, your projected self-hate is something that I have encountered since I became pregnant at age fifteen. I've worked too hard to let your projected self-hate determine whether or not I will graduate or continue to be the best parent I can to my child.

In fact, your negativity reminds me to speak louder, to encourage others to speak, and to do what you do not want us to achieve—our own greatness.

The problem with being a teen mom is that I don't have as much of a problem with my existence as you want me to. The problem is you.

Gloria Malone is the author of the blog Teen Mom NYC.

This blog post is part of the Strong Families Mama’s Day Our Way celebration. You can read more posts in the series on the Strong Families blogStrong Families is a national initiative led by Forward Together. Our goal is to change the way people think, act and talk about families.

6 comments:

  1. You go, girl! Congrats on all of your success! Graduating high school and going to college are unattainable accomplishments for many people who have not had an extra challenge like you have. I hope you and your daughter have a beautiful life! Happy Mother's Day!=)

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    1. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it <3

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  2. Go you! When I was in high school I wrote an article about how awesome the teen moms in my school were...how amazing what they were doing was...and then my article was CENSORED b/c it "promoted teen pregnancy!!!" Anyhow, congrats to you and all moms like you for ACTUALLY being responsible and raising amazing children.

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    1. Wow! Thank you for writing it :) Unfortunately many people have been told that. Just because they want to help teenage parents or speak the "other" truth about us does not mean was/would "promote teenage pregnancy." In fact I completely hate that phrase. LOL
      Thank you so much :))

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  3. "I don't hate myself nearly as much as you wish I did."

    Ms Malone,

    In my fifty-one years on the face of this planet, I don't think I've ever said anything as powerful as you did in that one sentence!

    Wishing you and your daughter many, many more Mother's Days of joy,
    Jim Bales

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    1. Thank you so much Mr. Bales! I really appreciate it :)
      And i'm sure you've said some pretty powerful things yourself :)

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