So, I thought about maybe not writing a round up of the year for 2015 – I’ve neglected prymface terribly this year and I think we only managed one and a half #youngmumschats! But then I started to think about what a round up might include ….
January 2015 was a pretty big deal with an event at the House of Commons, where young mothers came together to put their views forward about young motherhood – I can’t thank Jendella enough for organising this. It was such a positive atmosphere, and it was amazing to hear Teresa Pearce MP speak about her personal experiences of being a young mum.
We started a faceboook group to improve communication between our little-but-ever-growing-community of young mums and if you’re ever in need of some motivation you just need to scroll down and read the introductions again because it feels like world domination isn’t far off given some of their achievements so far!
In March I somehow found Prymface being mentioned on The Wright Stuff! Some of my past quotes were read out and got a round of applause – you read that right – no booing or tutting, an actually round of applause – I recorded it all with my phone on catch up as evidence! The lovely Rebecca Fergurson was on the panel too proving my point that young mums aren’t scum!
Sophie K and Laura joined the Young Women’s Trust advisory panel – and have done more than I could ever have imagined to raise the voices of young mums. Sophie was interviewed on the telly re childcare. Laura interviewed a best selling author/young mum. Sophie also attended a meeting with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and highlighted the barriers for young parents, particularly around employment and maternity rights. So so proud of you both! 🙂
In the Summer, Baby Faced Mums aired on Five* – We were all ready for the public moral outrage – except that it never happened. Instead each week viewers seems more and more understanding and even admiring of these ‘baby faced mums’ as they exhibited maturity and motivation not normally associated with TV ratings. We recruited as many as we could to our facebook group…They blogged here and here for us and shared their positivity and wisdom. Maddy was also interviewed on Radio 5 about the best age to become a mum and proved that age is just a number (despite the older mum still assuming it was a competition!).
There were positive articles about young parents in Vice magazine, the guardian and the Telegraph, and personal testimonies were posted by Danny Dyer and Barack Obama! Our Elle also had an article published in the telegraph about why it’s wrong to judge teen mums – Reading her story, no one could argue with that!
Eventually people started to notice discrepancies with the tax credits narrative as young parents under 25 were set to lose out not only from the cuts but they were also deemed unworthy of the increase in minimum wage, so would effectively be worse off than any other age group. This discrimination got attention from Family Rights Group and two MPs, Jess Phillips and Angela Rayner, both former young mums.
In October an evaluation came out of FNP, a scheme set up to support young mums from pregnancy for 2 years. Despite previous evaluations suggesting that results for both mothers and their children were positive, the RCT found that results were not significantly any better than for a similar group of young mothers who did not receive the targeted intervention. This came as a surprise and there were a number of different explanations for this. One that caught me eye was that perhaps ‘teenage’ was not a reliable proxy for ‘disadvantaged’…..
In November Sophie K won a Charity Award for Inspiring Communicator. She is described here as a ‘dedicated champion of young mothers, the unemployed and those who have suffered cultural stereotyping and discrimination – having experienced all these things herself.’ – A worthy winner by anyone’s account!
And so the year ends on a high, with young mothers being recognised as the experts that they are….Not disadvantaged by their age, but with a unique insight and wisdom and motivation, challenging negativity and barriers head on with admirable positivity and confidence way beyond their years. I literally could not be prouder!
So maybe you guys didn’t need me after all!
I can’t wait to see what 2016 holds!