The Young Parent’s Survival Guide Through 3 Stages Of Your Child's Life

The Young Parent’s Survival Guide Through 3 Stages Of Your Child's Life

A complete survival guide for the young parents.

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In a world where the average age of first time parents has increased to 30, there are still many who choose to start a family of their own at a considerably younger age. Regardless of whether it is planned or otherwise, starting a family is an exciting and scary time is your life — at this time, you will do well to take in all of the advice that you can get.

You will receive a lot of advice as you go through pregnancy, as well as the early years of your child's life — some more helpful than others. Ultimately, it is up to you as the parent to decide on what you feel is best. From pregnancy to childbirth to picking the best school for your son and/or daughter, we have put together a survival guide for the young parent.

1. Pregnancy — Stay clean and don't stress

If you have recently found out that you are expecting, then congratulations! At this point, you will be feeling equal amounts of excitement and fear, but that's perfectly normal. This most important thing is not to become too stressed, especially in the first trimester as the baby is at its most vulnerable stage of development. Miscarriages are most common in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, so remember to eat and drink clean (no alcohol) and try to cut back on heavy lifting as soon as possible.

Pregnancy, however, doesn't mean you cannot do anything and you should try to keep as active as possible. Remember that a healthy mother equals a healthy baby. Take your vitamins (folic acid is recommended, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy) and get lots of rest.

2. Birth and early years

For a long time it can feel as though giving birth is a long way off and, before you know it, the baby is on its way. It is normal for mothers (not just first-time mothers) to be very nervous ahead of childbirth, but rest assured that you will be given all of the help and support you need. You will be in the care of professionals that are trained for this exact scenario and have delivered hundreds, if not thousands, of healthy babies.

After birth, you are left with your beautiful, new-born baby that you will love and take care of. In baby's early years it's true, your sleeping patterns will be wrecked with cries at 4 a.m. You did the same to your parents, now it's your turn to get up in the middle of the night.

Do not be afraid of asking for help from friends and family, even if it is just to look after the baby for an hour here or there. They will be there for you and, if they have kids of their own, will completely understand your position. The worst thing you can do is to feel as though you have to take everything on yourself. Also, pay no attention to the sizes of baby clothes — a top for a three-month-old likely isn't going to fit a three-month-old. Always buy bigger, because even if the baby doesn't fit in it right now, it will only be a matter of time until they do. This way, you can save yourself a lot of money in the long-run.

3. Nursery and school age

It can feel as though you have only blinked before your baby is no longer baby and is ready to move up to school! That means it's time to properly assess the establishment you are entrusting with your precious child.

Familiarise yourself with the nursery/school's policies and ask as to what they have to offer children in the way of extracurricular activities, welfare and support and exercise. You would much rather your son or daughter is given the opportunity to play outside on playground equipment (see here for an example of what a school should offer) rather than kept indoors.

When it comes to letting them go, rather than sitting at home worrying about them until it's time to pick them up, make yourself busy. Detachment can be difficult for parents when they have been accustom to spending every hour of every day with their child, but this is normal. Use this time to be productive or to take time for yourself because, as a parent, you need to take every chance that you can get!

The best piece of advice that can be given to any new parent is to not be afraid to make mistakes because they are unavoidable. Learn from those mistakes and, ultimately, just enjoy the beautiful gift of parenthood. It will be over before you know it as your once tiny little baby becomes a fully-fledged member of society.

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I'm Not 'Spoiled,' I Just Won't Apologize For Having Great Parents

Having supportive parents is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

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When I tell people that I am the baby of my family, there is always a follow-up question asking if I am spoiled. As I was a child, perhaps the situation was a little different because I did not receive material things but instead got my way or rarely was punished. I was most likely spoiled rotten in that sense, especially by my grandparents. Fast forward to the age of 19 and I can say that my parents give me everything that I need, not necessarily everything that I want.

But I still don't think I'm spoiled.

I might legally be an adult, but my parents still provide for me. I may live at school during the semester, but my parents don't charge me rent or utilities when I am at home. My mom still does my laundry. They pay my phone bill monthly. When my mom goes grocery shopping, she doesn't have me chip in to help. She will make sure the bathroom is stocked with tampons or shampoo so I don't have to worry about it. The both of them make sure I have the sufficient needs to not be hungry, cold, or without shelter.

They do all of these things because they want what is best for me.

While they pay my student loans, I give them money to cover it as well as a little extra each month for different expenses. If we go out to eat, I do offer to pay but often get shut down and end up leaving the tip instead. I help around the house and sometimes make trips to the store for food or cleaning supplies, not asking for money to be paid back.

I have a job that gives me decent hours, but my parents understand that money for a college kid is tough.

I pay for my own luxuries such as makeup, cute clothes, even to get my hair cut. Spoiled is typically defined as "damaged by having been given everything they want." Do I want another dog? Yes. Do I have one? No. Do I want a swimming pool in my backyard? Yes. Do I have one? Again, no. That is because both my mother and father still believe in working for what you want and even their daughter doesn't get a free pass unless it's her birthday or Christmas. Do I still have everything I could ever need? Yes.

My parents do the exact same thing for my brother and sister who are older than I am.

I know if I have a problem, whether it be financial or crucial, I can turn to them for help. A lot of people my age don't have parents like I do and I am extremely grateful for them and everything that they do. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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I Asked 12 Girls How Getting Pregnant Before The Age Of 21 Changed Their Life

I asked 12 young mothers the struggles in which the have come across and how their child has changed their life.

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Getting pregnant at a young age has its struggles. Your entire life changes. Many women have found true love in their children. Some have overcome addictions and found ways to cope with certain situations.

I asked 12 girls how their life changed and some of the struggles they have come across being a young mom and here are the responses:

Anonymous, pregnant at 17

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"I found out the end of my junior year in high school. I had an entire year of high school left, half of which my child would be here for. I didn't and still do not have the luxury to do simple things that others can. I had to get out of high school and go straight to a full-time job, because I didn't have anyone to watch my daughter while I attended college, let alone work, so I had to find a job that paid enough (being my first job and all) to afford daycare and still have money left over for gas, diapers, food, clothes, wipes, etc. My parents helped me, but not like other parents might. They wanted me to understand the late nights, the tears, the praying, and the emotions that came along with being mom at a young age. Once I showed them that I can do this then they started to show more effort in helping me to make things easier."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"Before my daughter, I was in a toxic five-year relationship that led me to drugs (Xanax addiction), alcohol, and ultimately ended me up in a mental institution for my second suicide attempt. After I got out, I went back the the same guy, which was a bad habit for me, and ended up pregnant. I ended up not knowing for about two months, and in those months I smoked weed, cigarettes and drank so much just to find out I could have harmed the one thing that made me wanna love. Turns out she was fine and healthy and it wasn't for a long period so no damage would occur.

"See, I did all those things because I wanted to die. He made me hate myself and life so much that I did toxic and destructive things to myself but after I found out I was pregnant I stopped smoking, drinking, finished high school, healed from severe depression, and learned to manage my anxiety, have held multiple jobs and found the courage to leave the relationship that was filled with domestic violence, cheating, and mental abuse for years, and found a man I couldn't be happier with that loves me but loves my daughter so much more, a man who taught me it's OK to love again and trust!"

Mary, pregnant at 17

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Finishing school, battling postpartum depression and being looked down upon for being so young with a child, especially one that's mixed."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"She's made me a better person. She's taught me patience. She's the reason I want to go ahead and pursue my dream job. She's the love of my life. There's nothing I wouldn't do for that little girl."

Amber, pregnant at 19

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"People criticizing everything you do like you have no clue what's best for your child just because you are young. Pursuing the dreams and aspirations you had before you got pregnant young are much harder."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"He has made me such a stronger, smarter and more patient person. He has brought so much happiness into my family that was lacking before. He has made me happier now than I have ever been in my whole life. I owe it all to him."

Anonymous, pregnant at 18

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"The biggest one was if I was going to be a good mom. I didn't know what I was doing, but another struggle was the money issue. Even with me and their dad both working, it was barely enough most of the time, but we got by!"

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"My life has completely changed for the better for both of my children and a third on the way. They made me take responsibility for something that was more than just me and made me want to step up and be a better mom and person than from where I came from."

Mikaeli, pregnant at 18

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Honestly, I haven't had any struggles other than the CONSTANT judgment from older people. They seem to think young moms are all shitty moms, and that's not true at all."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"It's changed for the better. If I never would have had my baby, I would still be working at Subway and still living with my mom. She has made me want to do more because I want her to be proud of me. She is my reason for everything."

Anonymous, pregnant at 19

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"It's definitely hard. Everyone looks at you different. Some 'friends' stop having anything to do with you and you kind of just give your whole life for this tiny human that you'll raise for the rest of your life."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"I like to believe my life was taking a turn for the worse in the things I was doing and habits I had gotten into were not the best. My child put me back on the right path. I can't imagine not being a mom now. It's truly a blessing."

Taylor, pregnant at 17

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Luckily, I finished high school, but furthering my education was quite difficult. It was difficult trying to find a job, as I didn't have anyone that could watch my daughter at the time for me to work. Becoming a stay at home mom was different, I felt unstable not being able to support my child on my own, having to depend on the help of others, and then you have the monster no one ever talks about, which is postpartum depression, which I had after my first child."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"It taught me responsibility quickly. It showed me hardships at times, but I became a strong and independent and learned how to face and overcome obstacles not only for myself, but for my child."

Heather Lynne, pregnant at 19

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Trying to go to school, and work to make enough money to provide for my child have been the struggles I have come across."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"She has made me more motivated to complete school."

Anonymous, pregnant at 20

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"I am still trying to figure out who I am as a person while taking care of a little can be a bit of a struggle."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"It has helped give me purpose and encouraged me to work very hard to make sure I give my child the absolute best he deserves!"

Ashley, pregnant at 20

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Finances and friendships are the main struggles I have come across since having my child."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"I was forced to be an adult. If I didn't have a child, I wouldn't work a full time job and I'd still be in school. Now, I have a reason for everything I do."

Monica, pregnant at 20

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"Waking up every three to four hours to feed and change my baby has become one of my struggles. It is hard to not have a melt down from the lack of sleep and my child won't stop crying."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"My child has given me responsibility to take care of another human. I have learned that taking care of animals is one thing but taking care of a baby is even more. I didn't know that I could love something so perfect that my husband and I created."

Autumn, pregnant at 16

What are some struggles you have come across since becoming a mother?

"I received constant judgment from others. I was always having to prove myself worthy of being a mother. My world changed overnight. I lost many friends."

How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

"I'm happier than I ever was before. Having my child made me a better person."

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