This is NOT What a Young Mom Looks Like

Image Flickr/robotclaw

Whenever I see another “breaking news” story about Teen Mom Farrah Abraham, like her most recent entrance into a rehab program, I feel simultaneously saddened and embarrassed for the young mom.

I mean, she’s obviously one confused young woman and I imagine she’s dealing with a lot, but still, there’s a part of me that is outraged at her for one very simple reason: 

She’s making young mothers everywhere look bad.

Unfortunately, Farrah is completely living up to those ill-purported and cringe-worthy stereotypes about young moms: that they are ignorant, foolish, selfish young women looking for a hand-out and doing anything they can to avoid actually taking care of their child.

As a young mom myself — I delivered my daughter one week after I graduated — I am here to tell you:

Farrah Abraham is not what a young mom looks like.

These women are what young moms look like.


Young moms look like Gloria Malone of Teen Mom NYC, who became pregnant with her daughter at age 15, and has gone on to become a successful writer, speaker, and teen mom advocate. Gloria has appeared on all sorts of prestigious media outlets, like the New York Times, NPR, and the O’Reily Factor. “Pregnant and parenting teens to deserve to be happy about parenthood,” Gloria writes on her blog.


Young moms look like Jessica Watson, who had her oldest daughter at age 18, and is now a writer, blogger, and mom of four plus an angel. If you ever want to be moved, possibly to tears, her blog is kind of a must-read.



Young moms look like Michelle Horton of Early Mama, one of my all-time favorite bloggers who is a writer at Babble and has created an entire movement dedicated to young motherhood.


Young moms look like Mandy of The B Sides: Thoughts of An Amateur, who delayed her schooling for a year to welcome the best surprise of her life — her son, Brady. Mandy will finish up her schooling to become a elementary teacher next fall.


Young moms look like Amanda from Dude Mom (and the mom behind our very own My Mom is Awesome column)  who had her first child while in college at the age of 22. She's now raising three lovely boys while celebrating 10 years of bliss,  having comfort in her own skin, and loving life as a mom of all things boy. 


Young moms look like me, someone who has managed to pop out three kids in the past four years, all by the age of 27, and still managing to chase my dreams of becoming a successful writer.  I’ve even written my first book on young motherhood (due out next year!) and in interviewing countless young mothers, I can assure you that we are a motivated, intelligent, and professional bunch.


And although the majority of us may not look like Farrah in her bikini,

We can all agree—motherhood still looks pretty good on us.

All blogger photos used with bloggers’ permission

{Related: Is There a Right Age For Motherhood?}

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What do you think?

This is NOT What a Young Mom Looks Like

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Stephanie says:

    considering that the avergae age of conception for the first child is now 30, and I myself was 26 when I conceived, I think that being 20 or 22 DOES classify you as a “young mom.” By this point you are barely out of highschool, probably still in college (or are at least college age) and definitely don’t have life figured out, much less a solid job or relationship. Now why don’t ya’ll stop being all hipstery about what classifies a “young mom” and enjoy the article? Or is it because you want to feel more special because somehow your struggle was more real than someone who conceived in their 20’s? Trust me, as an older mom, it’s STILL a struggle.

  2. Tomika says:

    I had my first child at 15 with help only from my own mother. I am now expecting my 2nd child at the age of 22 and i couldnt be happier! Even after having a child at 15, i wemt on to college and now work as a cna to take care of all the things my child needs. Now at 22, and my fiancee at 20, we could not be happier to be expecting (my 2nd, his first) we are a young couple amd are proud to say we are mothing like the parents featured on teen mom. Being a good parent isnt about age, its about what love you can give.

  3. Bri says:

    I agree with the 20s does NOT make you a “young mother”

  4. Hannahbehh says:

    I agree with so many of you who are saying that your mid-twenties doesn’t make you a “young mom”. I had my son 6 days after I turned 17. I became pregnant as a sophomore in high school. I graduated high school 8 months early, with highest honors, as a “Texas scholar”, 18 hours of college completed, 2nd in my class, as a single mom, working part time. My son was 11 months old when I completed high school. From there I tried to create my own plan rather than follow the Lords plan for my life. I went to college (for a semester), tried out cosmetology school, worked a couple odd jobs, etc. Somewhere in there I met my husband, who fell in love with my son first, married him, and got a job working with 6-12 month olds. I may not be a successful writer or whatever, but I love what I do. I am the 20 year old mother to a 3 year old handsome boy, wife, and teacher to ten 6-12 month children. We are currently trying to conceive our next child and looking into me staying home with my children.

    All of this being said, I think that we can do more to prevent pregnancies at the age I conceived at. I am in no way saying that it is a good idea to take the path I did. I do however think that my son was a gift from God (as I named him Samuel) and with out him coming into my life when he did, I would probably be dead in a ditch somewhere. The Lord has the ultimate plan.

  5. Angellia says:

    I am a young teen mom. I had my daughter Blair at the age of 17. I am 18 now, and am graduating high school in 2 months. you cannot tell me that ALL teen moms are terrible. when i had my daughter, many people thought i would fail. turns out, im doing great. im balancing school and Blair. The father is NOT in our lives, so that is one more thing that i am being strong about.

  6. mommy nhoj says:

    My mother was 19 when she gave birth to me and we’re five! I wouldn’t label her as impulsive teenager or young adult as it was a choice she fought for! My parents raised as good as they can be and provided for us. All of us graduated from college except for the youngest who’s now on his 4th year. Not all young parents are irresponsible ones. My folks aren’t perfect but they surely commit themselves to be better parents.

  7. bmattler92 says:

    i was 20 years old when my son was born six months and my son is taken care of by no one but me and my husband. i put my entire life on hold to take care of our little miracle

  8. I’m going to be 20 before the baby comes but my fiance is 19.
    Its probably the dang hormones but this article made me cry, because I feel so surrounded by this stereotype that I will be a bad mom this makes me feel like I will be the mother I never had, for my child.

  9. Brandi says:

    ummm i wouldn’t call your 20s being a young mom. no matter what the new ‘average’ is… i’m the oldest of first births in my family at the age of 22, which is how old my mom was when she had me and i was her last child… teenager is young mom though. for sure

  10. Ashley says:

    I totally agree with the article. I was also in the same situation and a teen mother does not look like Farrah!

  11. Asia says:

    I’m 18 and going to have my first child. While I may not be the stereotypical “16 & Pregnant” mom, I am YOUNG. I embark on my first year of college and refuse to give up, esp. with so much support from my fiance, his family, and my mom. We may be very young, but nothing is ever impossible. While I did not like Amber on Teen Mom too much, I don’t think Maci Bookout should be put in that category either. That IS what a young mom looks like. She is beautiful in every sense, single, and manages to raise Bentley amazingly!! I wish I could meet her one day..but until then!! I will always strive to be the best mom I can be to my baby and have good examples such as Maci to make me strive even harder!!

  12. Kitty says:

    Age has nothing to do with maturity. I’ve met some very mature teenagers, and I’ve also met some very immature people in their 30s. It’s not at all uncommon for people to have children when they’re “not ready,” but the mark of an adult is being able to adapt and overcome.

  13. Crystal says:

    I’m just about to turn 18 and I am pregnant with my first child. I got engaged to the father awhile before I got pregnant. Although it wasn’t planed, because I was on birth control, I’m going to raise this child with the love of my life. I grew up taking care of my own father since I was seven years old. I know I will be a great mother. I’ve gone from taking child development classes to taking Early Childhood classes. When I finished that, I started working with special needs children and working in a daycare. Just because you’re young, doesn’t meant you can’t be a great mother. I have the strength to overcome anything! Life is a gift. I love the little miracle inside me.

  14. I have personally known MANY bad mothers and they were not all in the same age range. I am glad to see decent examples of good moms here. Sorry but I don’t have to be in my 30s or 40s to be a good mother.

  15. Tim says:

    One of them is from Council Tuckey so not at all surprised of the route she has taken lol. Farrah does everyone proud

  16. Phammom says:

    Very proud of these mothers taking responsibility for their actions. Not judging them but hoping other teens learn its not easy and don’t follow, by making the choice to get pregnant.

  17. Morgan Hart says:

    The problem is, this IS what a young mother looks like. Not every young mother, certainly, but many. Unfortunately, wisdom, patience, life experience, good decision making, all come with AGE. Certainly I know several older mothers that are immature or make poor decisions. Just as many of you have stated that you know young mothers who are responsible, great moms. I have worked several years in family preservation (working with families to prevent the state from removing their children) and most of my clients are…young mothers. They are often willing to learn new skills, but just don’t have the experience in budgeting, discipline, housekeeping, etc. to be great moms without some assistance and teaching of new skills. There is one other thing that I have noticed about young women as opposed to older women-they tend to make poor choices regarding who provides sperm donation for their children. If you have no idea if a man (young or old) will make a good father or support his child, that probably isn’t the best choice of man to have unprotected sex with.

    • Maybe they’re parent did not teach them what they needed to know to be decent successful adults? My mother had me at 20 and she taught me to keep a check book (outdated skill but translated to basic budgeting), cook, clean, change a tire, check my oil and to put God first in all things. I had my first baby at 18. One week before I graduated high school. I took care of my responsibilities was married and never asked for assistance.

    • JaneSmith says:

      Morgan, I think your comment hits the nail on the head. The lion’s share of young mothers do look like this. I see it firsthand every day. Children having children is never a good thing. The skills required most definitely improve with age. Those who feel insulted by this comment shouldn’t. My comment said “the lion’s share” not “all” when referring to the negatives of motherhood at too young an age.

    • julienne says:

      Not all decision making that comes with AGE is the right decision.

      I disagree with your statement of Young woman tend to make poor sperm donation decisions.
      Older woman make just as poor decisions about their baby daddies as young woman.
      Difference is because she is “older” that makes it “ok”.

      again…Why not all decision making that comes with age is the Right decision.

  18. Jayden says:

    I am a mother. A very young one. Throughout my pregnancy I was in school. I stayed everyday all day and I’m telling you it was not easy because I was one of the unlucky ones to have morning sickness everyday for 9mths. I got chicken pox during my pregnancy and spent majority of my time in the hospital at nights. While I was there I was studying for my exams and doing homework. I gave birth to my angel a week before my finals. I studied those 3days while in recovery and passed all my exams. I started work a week after that. While wearing depend diapers and recovering from the birth with a lot of pain. And it was not easy for I am a waitress. I know I am not the only mother out there that does this or have done it. And this article is amazing. My daughter is 4mths old and I am heading back out to school this month. To complete my degree in pre med and the. Off to medical school. I have 8more years

  19. Priscella says:

    I cringe when I see Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant because I am a teen mother and the show is embarrassing. The show makes all teen moms look bad, and all teen mothers aren’t bad people; all teen mothers aren’t wild and dumb; all teen mothers aren’t ignorant and selfish. Although it may not be intentional, it gives teen mothers a bad name. I wouldn’t recommend teen motherhood because it is one of the hardest things a woman has to go through so imagine the hardship a teen who has to struggle with her own emotional, financial, and social obstacles goes through. Although I wouldn’t recommend teen motherhood because all that a teen goes through, I do believe there are some teens who can deal with it all. I do believe there are some teens who can make better mothers than older women who have it all, financially speaking. Motherhood depends on how able and willing you are to provide for your child. Young mothers have it harder because more often that aren’t as able to provide for their children, but being willing for provide for your child is more important, in my opinion. I am seventeen with a child. With the glorious help of my mother, I am finishing school in the top ten percent of my class and I have a job. I will continue on to college because my child is the most important thing in my life and my education is the second most important. I try my best as a teen mommy, I know I do good because mothers sacrifice and I’ve sacrificed almost everything.

  20. i had my 1st child at 18 and my second at 19. i was a very respon. teen mom i graduated high school n was working 2 full time jobs to make sure they were takin care of but it was hard so i wouldnt rec, it to anyone but at least i took respon. for my kids

  21. Jessica says:

    I had my first daughter when I was 15. I finished high school by going to school and graduated with honors. I then went on to college and graduated with a psychology degree and now I am working on my Master’s in clinical psychology. I now have a total of 5 little girls and I am 27 years old. It drives me crazy that the world has to see all the bad associated with being a young mother. It is hard but I wouldn’t trade any of it. It is all about how you handle things. Don’t give up on your dreams just because you are thrown a curve ball.

  22. Leslie says:

    I had my girl after I finish college. I was 27th, but a year half ago I was in a car accident with her. we are suppose to be dead. some angels were looking out for us. I saw the ice slow down and hit it just right, black out. someone told me I hit another car and roll my car twice. I look like I hit a wall with my body being all red and bumps all over, and could not walk for two weeks. forgot I had my child with me till I heard her crying after I woke up. she was fine. she is not almost three and after that accident my depression took a hike. I now do more stuff with my daughter and she is special needs because mommy has learning disabilities. she is in school, knows sign language, and is very smart.

  23. Angelica says:

    Young moms like Farrah Abraham should definitely think of adoption. Or at least think about protection if they feel they are going to use that poor child as leverage or a ticket for their hand outs. I may not be a young mom but I knew from the get go I did not want to be a pregnant teen because of fear of my parenting skills at that time. I also had ambitions of my own before taking care of dependents. I loved kids and always will love kids but I believe young girls these days do not realize the freedoms they lose when they choose to ignore the alternatives for protections. I also believe it’s partially sociological thinking: if the parents avoid or make sex sound bad, teens are more likely to rebel against the parents. We as parents are already seen as bad guys no matter what, the least we can do is have an open mind about their sexual activity and embrace the fact they are looking to become unique adults.

  24. Julie says:

    Farrah and the other “Teen Moms” may not be role models, but they ARE still an example of what some teen moms look like. Some teen moms (and older moms, too) are selfish, some are not. Some make good decisions, some don’t. Even though everyone may not be pleased with these girls or their behavior, they still make up part of the fabric of teen moms.

    • Maria says:

      Thank you! Also to say anything about teen moms when their “young mom” examples were mostly 20 or older having children – it is ridiculous to make that comparison. I was a teen mom and now being twenty having my second child (planned) I can honestly say it is less difficult at 18+ to raise a child: no work stipulations or restrictions on college education.

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