Teenage Mum : Today I was talking to a young woman who fondly talked about her children and experiences. It soon turned into an off the cuff interview where I got to see the depths of her worlds and the struggles she had faced.
A Teenage Mum
Being a teenage mum has an horrendous stigma attached to it. Too young, too soon. Often young mums are criticized for their ability to look after their children and give them a ‘proper’ life. Although teenage pregnancies are declining as a whole, there are actually a huge proportion of Mums who prefer to have their children young. However nine times out of ten you only hear about the ones who didn’t want children young, right? Granted that out of the huge proportion of teenage pregnancies (about 250k in 2014 for the US alone), 80% became pregnant unintentionally and didn’t plan to have a family so young.
She wouldn’t change it for the world.
I recently ended up in a quick off the cuff interview with a Mum who has a 16 month old and a near 13 year old. She was describing to me how she became a teenage mum so young, with the paternal father refusing responsibility and bringing her baby up alone with support from her family.
“I was 15 when I gave birth, yes I was young and yes it meant I didn’t have a childhood but; I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having a child young meant I could run around with her and I could relate to her because I remembered how hard it was growing up. I’m almost 30 and my eldest is a high achieving student in high school. She’s no different to any of her friends with parents double my age.”
While she recognises that having a child so young isn’t practical, she honestly didn’t know how to bring a baby up, especially not understanding how it could affect her development in the long run – She wouldn’t change it. She wouldn’t plan to have a baby that young and would have liked to go to school properly but that’s just the hand she was dealt. In fact when she fell pregnant, she was on contraceptives and used condoms but unfortunately both failed.
A huge struggle
She laughed and admitted she hadn’t really got a clue about how to look after a baby. She has a younger brother with special needs to which she had helped bring up but she was in no way prepared to do this herself. It was hard but she attended young mothers classes to help her understand more and meet other young mothers going through the same hard times. She made an effect to go back to school and graduated, she then continued onto college to take other classes. She openly admits in terms of getting a start at life, having a child at 15 ruined it for her but even through the years she had continued learning new skills and taking as many opportunities as she can.
There have been many times where people have given her abuse for having a child so young. Calling her names or telling her she has ruined her daughters life by having her so young. So many people with opinions. She still gets comments now regarding how young she looks for having a near teenage daughter, coupled with the shocked looks she gets when she tells them how old she really is. To start with she admits that it used to bother her but she’s gotten used to it now and laughs it off.
“You’d be surprised at the funny comments I get even now”
A happier ending
Now this lovely young woman lives with her near teenage daughter, 16 month old daughter and partner. They live a happy life, the children have all the love and hugs they could ever ask for. Often they take trips to the park or play in the garden. While the big age gap is difficult to deal with on family outings (not many places cater for such a diverse age group), it has been a great eye opener. The eldest has been able to enjoy being a big sister and understanding more about it, while seeing herself first hand how difficult babies are. The near teenager herself even says she doesn’t want children until she’s at least 25. (A breath of relief from her Mum)
What started out as quite a negative struggle, has turned out to be a heart warming and deeply felt happy ending.