Like many of us, Jamie Lynn Spears had a lot to celebrate in 2022. She reflected on the last year — and the last 15 years! — in an emotional post, where she shared a brutally honest peek into how hard it was to follow her dreams after being a teenage mom. And how she finally feels her own worth.
“2022 brought me so much to be grateful for, and so much to learn from as well……,” Spears wrote on Instagram.
The Zoey 101 alum got pregnant at 16 years old with daughter Maddie Briann, now 14, with ex Casey Aldridge. Spears is now 31 and is also mom to Ivey Joan, 4, with husband Jamie Watson. She stars in the hit Netflix show, Sweet Magnolias, is a voice actor in the animated Alice’s Wonderland Bakery, and is the author of bestselling book, Things I Should’ve Said. She will also be competing in the new Special Forces: The Ultimate Test show, premiering on FOX Jan. 4.
“I can remember about 15-16 years ago, when every headline around world was telling me that I was a failure, everything I worked my whole life for would be gone, and I had ruined my whole life, bc I was young girl who got pregnant, & decided to keep my baby,” Spears wrote in her lengthy post. “I accepted every awful thing said about me as the truth, my only wish was to be left alone to raise my baby in peace and so I did just that.”
What a huge decision for a teenager to make, and she did it with so much grace — while in the public eye. She also didn’t give up on herself. “I did things here and there to be able to get by over the years, but I couldn’t help myself from doing what I loved,” Spears continued. “I worked quietly, and found ways to have my creative outlet, but assumed I’d never be allowed to go after my ‘big’ dreams again, bc the ‘world’ decided I didn’t deserve them anymore, I kinda agreed with them too, but I still kept going anyway.”
“Little by little, year after year, project after project, things started to chip away both personally & professionally, then I found myself having the opportunity to do things that my 16 year old self wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do again,” she went on. “I can’t believe I get the opportunity to do all the things I dreamed about since I was a little girl, as well as be able to provide security and safety for my own children and family.”
What a beautiful message of hope for both teen moms and moms of any age who feel lost in the throes of taking care of kids. You can have everything you’ve ever wanted — even if it doesn’t happen in the way you expected.
In her long tribute, the country singer added, “2022 brought me confirmation that nothing over the past 16 years of my life was worthless and I’m also NOT worthless, because look where it led me to today.”
Spears also thanked her fans and thanked God “for NOT giving me what I thought I wanted, or when I thought I wanted it, because now I am blessed beyond what I deserve.”
At the end, she shared a message of hope for others: “Yall, please Don’t ever give up on yourself, especially when it gets hard, because nothing worth having ever comes easy. You are capable of doing whatever you’re willing to work hard for. You are WORTH so much, and never believe anything otherwise. Now, 2023 is about having gratitude & giving other people the grace, that we wish we would have been given at times.”
Singer RaeLynn commented, “Beautiful. So thankful for your story and it leading you to where you are today. ❤️”
“I adore you and count you and your family as such treasured blessings. Happy new year!” her Sweet Magnolias co-star JoAnna Garcia Swisher commented. “ I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings!”
Former Nickelodeon actress Victoria Justice wrote, “❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️.”
This isn’t the first time Spears has opened up about being a teenage mom. In an interview with Glamour in 2012, she talked about the experience. “It was 2007. I had been on a Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, and after we wrapped shooting, I just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader, all that,” Spears told the outlet. “Then I found out I was pregnant. I was 16. I’d had one boyfriend. It doesn’t make it perfect or all right. But I was judged for something that probably most everyone does. I was young. I was in love. I was like every other teenager, except I had this last name. And I made a decision that is forever my decision.”
She added that she “wasn’t trying to glamorize teen pregnancy.”
“I hated when [the tabloids] said that. Everybody is dealt a hand of cards. It was my choice to play them the way I played them,” Spears continued, adding, “These days, the only thing I’m afraid of is not being a good mom. As long as Maddie is healthy and she loves me, the rest doesn’t matter.”
Last month, Spears seemingly reconnected with her older sister Britney Spears. In December, the “Toxic” singer wrote a heartwarming tribute to Spears.
“It’s my b-day but you’re my heart so I’m thinking about you … congratulations on being so brave, inspiring, and showing guts and glory in your show 🎉 !!!” Spears wrote. “You ain’t alone … if anybody knows what that feels like … I get it 🤧🤧🤧 My baby sister !!! I love you !!!”
It seems like Spears is following her dreams, focusing on her loved ones, and enjoying life as it comes in 2023. It’s something we can all strive for!
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