You could offer me a million pounds and I will still choose young parenthood!

Hi! My name is Lettie and I am 21 years old. I am not your regular 21 year old. I am one of the luckiest 21 year olds as I get to be called Mummy by three beautiful children. Yes, I know the baby can’t talk but still!

I first became a mother to Zachary aged 18, back in 2012. Soon after came Henry in 2013, followed by Elsie in 2014. I am engaged to my children’s father and we are due to be married in August after 4.5 years together.

Recently life got a bit exciting. I saw an advert on twitter for a casting call looking for mums and mums to be aged 16-21. I thought why the hell not and applied for the TV show. I got a phone call later to fill in the application form and ask some questions.

I then didn’t hear anything for a few weeks and had another phone call from the TV company asking if we were still interested and if we could skype the next day.

So the next day we did our skype chat with the TV company. Throughout this I had Elsie (then 3 months) on my lap the whole time! The skype chat would then be shown to the producers.

A few weeks went by and we heard nothing. I honestly thought they hadn’t picked us, began to forget about it and move on with life. One day I was actually in the car coming back from the doctors when I got a phone call from one of the show’s producers. They said they would love to come and film with us and gave us a weeks notice!

I had a rough idea of what we were being asked to do and what they wanted to achieve. I personally feel as a young/teenage mum that people easily judge you and just class you as a statistic, when that is completely uncalled for. Everyone’s situation is different and I knew that this show was set out to prove that.

So we skip forward a few days and filming began. It was much more intense than I expected but the crew were such lovely genuine people, just like the casting team and producers we had spoken to so far were.
They basically followed us through our day but did ask us to talk about certain things and do certain things.

I wanted to make sure that we hopefully portrayed ourselves well. Showing that although we are young we are mature, good parents who are capable of supporting themselves and their family.

Friday and the second day of filming began. This day was more focused on me and the responsibilities that come with being a young mum and how that makes me feel along with the stigma. I personally feel judged against as even though my partner works a full time job he works shifts so is around a lot in the day depending on what shift he is working. I feel that people seeing us walking down the street and just automatically assume that we are young parents on benefits popping out kids for money/house or whatever reason they are thinking. When it’s not like that at all!

In this day of filming they sent me and my partner on a date. This was the first time we had been out since November 2013! We had such an amazing night and it made us realise that we need to take more time for ourselves as a young couple rather than ‘mum and dad’. It was lovely for one night to feel like a young couple just enjoying some food and drinks like most 21&25 year old couples do! Of course, mum and dad duties were still going on though. This was the first time I had left Elsie and after messages to the baby sitter I began to relax.

It’s really hard to try and get some time away from the kids especially when some months money can be tighter than others. They are my top priority so they always have what they need and more. If we can’t have one night for a meal that month then that’s fine. As long as my children are happy, healthy and not wanting for anything then that makes me happy.

Sunday was day three of filming. During interviews in previous filming we had talked about me wanting to work my way back up and be a midwife. So we took the boys to the library and I wrote out a CV while looking after a 3 year old and a 2 year old! Let’s just say they were being ‘lively’ and I actually found the whole scenario really stressful. Trying to do 100 things at once is really hard!

Overall though I found filming the TV doc a really really positive experience and I do not have a bad word to say about it.

I’m hoping that by allowing the camera and crew into our lives it will show the true reality of what it is like to be young parents in Britain today.

Yes, it is hard to be a thriving young parent, it’s very hard when you face a constant battle of trying to defend yourself from a constant stream of judgement, critical opinions and being labelled as a ‘ statistic’ but you know what? I would not change anything for the world. You could give me a million pounds and I will still choose young parenthood, my three beautiful babies and my amazing supportive partner over everything. I have no regrets about that path I took and we are only getting stronger better and more wise.

July 2015

Lettie tweets at @head_lettie