Let me start off by saying that, in Russian terms, I am a grandma-status mother. Jokes aside, giving birth at 26 is still considered late in my hometown, Moscow.
North America, however, has very different standards. When people found out that I was pregnant, there was a major uproar. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I would spend my weekends pouring vodka down people’s throats and popping champagne bottles while dancing until 5 a.m. (I was a student and a bartender). But let me tell you something: when you earn $1,000 a weekend, you don’t give that up unless it’s really worth it. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t married and wasn’t living in a house with a fence and a dog named Marley, or because I actually prefer Louboutins to Mom jeans. Or maybe yet again, it was the fact that I didn’t put every little aspect of my life out to share with others and some people didn’t even know that I was living with my boyfriend of seven years. Whatever the reason, the reaction to me getting pregnant was not at all what you would expect at 26.
The truth is — I wasn’t even sure how I felt when I found out I was pregnant. My gyno spent four years telling me that I was infertile and I will never have kids, so I better start investing in Prada bags now because I’ll never have to pay for college (no joke, he actually said that to me). Other than switching gynos, I actually believed him. When I discovered I was pregnant, I was with two of my best friends, drinking rich Italian wine and discussing sex and career goals over a home-cooked dinner. The moments that followed my positive pregnancy test included hysterical bouts of laughter and my blonde, Scarlett-Johansson-lookalike-bombshell-friend, frantically pouring my red wine back into the bottle, whilst I was screaming: “What are you doing, I need this more than ever now!”
If you think that life plays out like a movie that you once watched as a teenager — and you have a five-year plan, an insurance policy, and a boyfriend who probably hates you because you plan out every part of your life like a control freak — then think again. If there’s anything that life has taught me lately is that: 1) You cannot plan things that are meant to be; and 2) Most people are assholes.
When many people in North America think of the word Mom, there are a few images that tend to spring to mind. A Volvo, mom jeans, hairy legs, cheating husbands, sexless lives, fat and makeup-less nags, and sit at home neurotics who go to bed at 9 p.m. The amount of clichés and stereotypical assumptions that people made about me before I even gave birth was mindblowing. And when I didn’t meet those assumptions, the reaction was either that they were appalled and amazed, or judged me and tried to claim that I was not a good enough mother (to-be).
But before I go any further, just remember this: those people who judge you the most, are the ones who are the most jealous of you. So brush it off and keep going forward, because they are simply not worth it.
The reactions I faced were pretty mindblowing. From “You’re going to get rid of it, right?” to uncontrollable crying girls who were jealous and wished they were pregnant instead of me, to people judging me for actually being happy about having a baby out of wedlock or for posting a belly photo on Facebook and wondering why I’m making this so public when it should be private, to family members not being happy nor thrilled about my impending pregnancy. Everyone was saying “but you’re so young…”. Then there were those who were wondering in all honest awe why I was not fat. I could go on forever, but I will stop here for now.
Oh, and did I mention that no one, not a single person, asked me how I was feeling, or genuinely congratulated me as their first automatic response? Giving someone big news and seeing their reaction is equivalent to meeting someone for the first time — it’s impossible to recreate. And the one thing that you need the most through this entire ordeal is a big, tall, ice-cold vodka martini … but you settle for Haagen Daz.
When all is said and done, what many people don’t realize about motherhood is that, most importantly, it’s a choice. You choose to be a mother. You choose prenatal yoga over sitting at home stuffing your face with McDonalds, you choose organic over MSG, you choose laughing over crying, you choose sex over complaining, you choose excitement over fear, you choose working out with your little one daily over self-pity, and you choose spending time with your loved ones and friends over sleep. Ultimately, you will always have a choice and, wherever your choices will lead you, remember that no one else is responsible for your life but you. So the same way that you don’t ask others to make choices for you, learn to tune out the judgment of others, because they are just as equally irrelevant.
My aim with this column is to break every stereotype and focus on the actual truth behind being a young Mom. I will shift the automatic association of Moms with Mom jeans and Volvos, to lattes and mascara. Because that, my friends, is what young motherhood is. Copious amounts of caffeine, fun and incredible moments with the new love of your life … and a good mascara to hide your dark circles!
So here’s to proving them wrong, here’s to beating the clichés, here’s to all hot, young, active and loving, fun Moms out there who are all but nothing short of extraordinary.
Follow me on my journey through “young” motherhood, where teaching my son values and fitting into a size 4 pair of jeans, while sipping on mimosas with your best friends, is not an unattainable feat.