Kids Motherhood

Teen Mom: What I Would Tell Myself Back Then

Written by Crystal Foose

Seventeen years and a bit less than nine months ago, I crouched in the weeds on the side of a country road gripping the running board of my boyfriend’s pick-up to pee on a stick that would soon reveal two pink lines. I was smart enough to be monumentally terrified and teenager-dumb enough to be completely ecstatic.  I always knew I wanted to be a mom, plus we were crazy in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. (Careful now, don’t laugh at my starry-eyed teen love too hard, we’ve been married for all 17 years since.) Those first few years I had teenage insecurities and new mom insecurities all rolled into one.  At the time I was painfully unaware that all moms of every age have issues with peer acceptance, breastfeeding, body image, sleep deprivation, guilt, the fear of ‘messing up’ their children, and judgment from others about their parenting style.  I sure could have used some encouragement from my current confident, experienced mom self.

When my best friend told me I ruined her senior year by getting pregnant, I would tell myself that someday I am going to have some awesome mom friends. They’ll be real friends that listen to your troubles without making it all about them.

When I was so frustrated that I could not pump enough milk to leave for the baby when I went to school, I would tell myself that I was rocking that breastfeeding because tons of real, grown-up moms never get the hang of it and quit nursing altogether.

When I went to prom one month postpartum with a thinner waist and bigger boobs than the year before, I would tell myself to take more pictures because that’s the closest you will get to a smoking hot bod in your life. No one but you knows about the sopping wet nursing pads in your dress, and all the women who had babies without a teenager’s metabolism are insanely jealous right now.


When I was sure it was my fault the baby cried and didn’t sleep through the night or take a nap without two preceding hours of screaming, I would tell myself that all babies cry and many of them hate sleep.  And then I would tell me again the next day.

When I felt like a lazy, horrible human being for letting my mom take care of the baby sometimes so I could sleep more, I would tell myself to be simply thankful instead. If other moms lived with grandma, they’d be doing it too.  Sleep is a precious commodity in this motherhood gig, get it while you still can.

When my baby became a relentlessly naughty toddler, I would tell myself it’s not you, it’s him.  Period.  Someday, you will have some other entirely different ones that help you fully realize how little effect your discipline techniques have on a child’s long-term behavior and personality.

When I felt like I had to make sure my son always had matching clothes, a clean face, and combed hair due to worrying that people would roll their eyes at the irresponsible teen mom if he did not look perfect, I would tell myself that there are more important things in mom-life than the approval of others.  Then I would show my teen self a picture of the purple shoes, pastel striped socks, and fluorescent polka dot tights I now allow my six-year-old daughter to wear, sometimes with a dirty face and uncombed hair.  My teen self would probably not believe I allowed her to become one of those moms after all the hard work she put into making perfect appearances to the outside world.

In the end, we would laugh together about how two moms that are so very different from each other can be one and the same.

About the author

Crystal Foose

Crystal Foose became a mother only a month past her 18th birthday. Today she is the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, Colorado. She is a conservative and a Christian, but not the really nice kind who is good at it. She aims to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out over on her blog.


  • What a lovely post. I hope it encourages teen mothers and gives them hope that they can be good moms to their babies too.

    • When I first started my blog, I had a page about teen motherhood, the first couple e-mails I got from the contact page was so disheartening, I decided I couldn’t take it to be worrying about a stranger that you can’t help in real life, only if they keep e-mailing you back. When they quit you wonder if they don’t need you or if something bad happened.

  • This is a very powerful message! I too was a young mom once but never got the chance bc my parents forced me to give up my child. When I was 21 I delivered my first baby and I too felt all of these feelings and was afraid to ask what I thought would be dumb questions. I totally made it harder on myself. Now I know with this baby that no question is dumb and fears are normal.

  • This is great! I was 22 when I had my first baby, we were newlyweds but I still felt similar in a lot of what you went through. Especially wanting my daughter to look dressed nicely. In our area most Moms had a good 10-15 years on me and some unfortunately did treat me differently. It did not help I have always looked very young for my age. Now at 31 with three kids… psh, matching clothes are the last of my priority! 🙂 I think as we become older (more adult) and the confidence of taking care of one child right the questions and worried go away. At least worrying about what other people think, we settle into who we are meant to be.

    • There were a couple of women old enough to be my mother at the first playgroup I took my son to. Now I am sometimes the oldest mom there! Where are those 40-something moms now?

  • Your blog looks great ! My mom was 15 when she had my brother and 17 when she had me . My parents have been married 53 years! I know the two of you could share some stories.

  • What great advice. I was 32 when I had my daughter and I agree breastfeeding is difficult for all moms. We made it 13 months thankfully, but there were days I wanted to give up.

  • Parenting at any age is hard but it’s difficult to see that when you’re young. I became pregnant at 19 and thought I couldn’t do anything right. Then my second one was born when I was 27 and I realized that parenting is hard at any age!

  • What an amazing post! I love this insight! You’re doing amazing, and I absolutely love how your high school romance turned out!

  • Great post! It’s hard to be a first time mom. I wish I could go back and give myself advice too. Thanks for sharing your story of being a young mom. I can definitely relate!