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Things You Learn as a Teen Father
My name is Jacob Thomas Cornell. I am 18 years old and I have a 3 month old daughter named Eleanor. My experiences over the last year have been some of the hardest things I had to endure in my life. But his article is not about me. It is about those who are like me or in the position I was in twelve months ago when I found out that my girlfriend was pregnant. So here are four things that I've learned over the last year that changed my life and might change yours too. If you are in a situation similar to the one I was in or might be, here is a heads up to what you should expect the next year to be like.
Expect People to See You Differently
You have to understand that having a child before the age of 25 in the generation that we live in is not very digestible for most soon-to-be grandparents, that being said, no matter what your age is you should never regret the decision to keep your child. The first five moths of your girlfriend/ fiancé's pregnancy is the worst for all young couples. Your parents and your friends may pressure you to get an abortion, split up, or even leave town, but you should never submit to these demands, especially if you are over the age of 17. The worst thing that happened to my fiancé was a woman she had been very close with had wrote a letter of disappointment. Most young couples don't realize how people can turn on you so quickly for being a young parent.
If you are a parent, how old were you when you had your first child?
Don’t Expect Your Friends to Understand Your Obligations
For months and even after the birth of your beloved child, your friends will ask you and even get frustrated with you sometimes when you tell them that you can’t hang out as often anymore or maybe not all. This is a very normal reaction. Because you are still very young and most, if not many, of your friends still are used to you having an open schedule, they won’t understand that all of your spare time will be dedicated to this child. It will not be unusual for them to wonder why your parents or girlfriend can’t watch the baby or even pay for it instead of working. Don’t be surprised if you loose friends on the way to or during parenthood just because your obligations have changed.
You Will Learn the Cost of Life
You will realize that once your child is born that living is not cheap. Life is very expensive and if you thought life would be easy, you will realize just how hard it is and how many things you have to pay for. It is obvious at first that food, housing, heat, and water will be the initial living costs, but what else is there? There is the costs of all the things that come with the baby which include diapers, bottles, onesies, blankets, a crib, formula (If not breastfeeding), wipes, and not to forget burp cloths, car seats, highchairs, and breast pumps. And all for only thousands of dollars from hard labor with insurance and taxes aside of course. Those are just the basic needs for a baby, there is so much more to get for your child, but you will understand that when he/she is born.
Do you think having a child as a teenager is acceptable?
You Will Find True Love
Until your child is born you may only think that you understand what love is and how love works but any loving father or mother can tell you that you don’t. No mother, brother, sister, father, friend, or girlfriend will compare to how much you will love your newborn baby, and you won’t know it until he/she is born. And if you have read the topics above, it won’t matter if you need to spend any amount or leave your friends in the dust entirely to give your child a great life. So prepare to care if you don’t because you probably will when that baby is born!
You Will Give Credit To Your Parents
Once you become a father, or a mother, and you finally realize just how hard it is and start anticipating just how hard it will be as your child gets older, you will give your own parents so much credit for how they raised you because you will finally realize just how much of a piece of work you are! Your child is so much like you in so many ways weather or not they are born yet or still developing. They look like you and act like you. I guarantee that one of the baby's grandmas had as much if not more amnesia, pains, and other problems that your girlfriend is experiencing. So let them know just how thankful you are for what they have done, especially if they had you at a young age. And if they are cooperative in the development of this child's birth / life, than ask them questions about what they went through. After all, they've been doing this for years! They've had mistakes too, and they'll be happy to share them with you. So if you really need help, they are a walking glossary of parenting information. Just ask!
Baby Daddy Is not a Sitcom
Being a father for your child will mean the world to you and your baby if you are doing it right. After months of working long nightshifts for little pay and waking up to a crying child two to three times a night, you will cry when they can finally smile. Being a parent is not easy, and don't expect it to be. You shouldn't be relying on anyone except for yourself as a couple. But although it is tough it doesn't mean you can't be happy. If you and your child's mother decide to stay together it will make a huge impact on your child's life and you will never regret it. Although it may be rough, you will love you're child's mother more than you ever have before, because she is the one that's there for your son or daughter when you can't be!
Overall, being a teen dad is very tough, and demands a lot of work, physical, and mental stress but it is so very rewarding. Don't ever let yourself stop loving your child and never stop protecting your family. You will have so many responsibilities that come with being a father, but that's what being a man is about. You will make many mistakes on your way to parenthood and many during it. I know I will still make a few mistakes along the way. The best thing you can do is to be there for your baby, and to be the best fatherly figure in your child's life you can possibly be. That's what all great fathers want to do. Be firm but loving at the same time. Your child is going to be the most important thing in your life and he or she will always be. You will always want the best for them just like your parents wanted the best for you (even though they were annoying). There will be tears and maybe even some sweat and a lot of headaches, but it will all be worth it in the end. Life is full of obstacles and challenges and no matter how tough they are, or how boring it may be, now it's time to own up to them dad! Good luck!
© 2015 Jacob Cornell