As a young and immature girl, whenever I saw a teenage girl who was pregnant or who had a baby in her hand I would say “how sad, she has ruined her life at such a young age.” Never did I stop to think about what were some of the things that a teenage mother would be going through, like did she have her parents support? Was she a single mother? Neither did it ever cross my mind how difficult it must be taking care of a baby, all the things that you have to do, from changing its diapers to feeding it, and how it would be twice as hard for a teenager. Having no experience in that field, it would be like a child raising another child. Neither did I stop to think about how it was none of my business; it’s her life and she can do whatever she wanted with it. I believe that you should not be to quick to judge someone.
I have a two-year-old cousin named Alexander, Whom I take care of. Boy, it’s a lot of trouble taking care of a toddler. He has to have his milk just right: not too cold and not too hot. The only thing he would ever want to do was watch Elmo, and if that was not bad enough whenever I tried to go to the room to watch something else, he would be right behind me, crying and screaming at the top of his lungs until I put his cartoons on. One day, I just couldn’t take his screaming anymore, so I decided to take him to the park, there he could scream and jump all he wanted. .
When I got to the park, there was this old lady and I noticed that as soon I got there, she had not taken her eyes off me. I started to wonder, does this lady know me? Do I have something on my face? What’s the deal? The next thing I knew she was asking me “how old are you dear?” I told her that I was sixteen. When I said that number I saw her eyes get wider, and she nodded as she told me “aren’t you kinda young to have a child?”
With a bit of a smile on my face, I told her, “ Oh no, he is just my cousin.” With this wired face and a smile, in a way that she was making fun of me she told me, “ Don’t lie, it is ok, I’m used to seeing lots of teenage mothers, especially Hispanic girls, they usually get pregnant at such a young age.” When she told me that I felt like screaming and cursing at her, but all I did was turn around and sat on a bench and thought about what she had told me. It made me sad that she has such a view of Hispanic girls, just because she knew a couple that had got pregnant as teenagers did not mean that every other girl would do the same. Then it came to me that I, too, would judge people without knowing anything about them. I guess its always easier finding the wrong in other people even if you don’t know them. I think that there are more to people than what is seen. You never know the pain that is caused with the words that are said, and the looks that are given.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.