“The Exception To The Rule”

I recently scored what I thought was a victory for the name of young parents everywhere. After having my daughter at the age of nineteen and halfway through university, I found out I would be graduating on time, with no less than a first class honours degree. I thought it was another step of progress; another step towards people realising that young mums don’t fit the stereotype they’ve diligently believed for all these years.

But apparently, I’m ‘the exception to the rule’. My achievement means nothing in the grand scheme of things, because I will always be a young mum, and young mums will always be incapable of achieving.

I don’t know what the ‘rule’ is, but I think it goes something like this – young woman, no matter how clever, ambitious and ‘normal’ (although in the majority of cases they must be uneducated and perceived as promiscuous) gets pregnant and must immediately conform to society’s idea of what a young mum is – a layabout with no intention of working, who claims benefits and spends it on alcohol and cigarettes, before having several more children with different fathers. The young woman must follow this formula to keep society happy. Society then criticises the woman for scrounging, for being a ‘slut’, for wanting kids for the free council house (excuse me while I wet myself laughing; they don’t hand out keys to a three-bed semi in your Bounty Pack, you know…).

When a young woman defies or breaks free of that cycle, as so very many of us have done and continue to do so, it’s too difficult for society to wrap its pretty little head around the idea that maybe, just maybe, they got things wrong. Each and every successful young mum is an ‘exception to the rule’.

It’s easy to read this and think nah, she’s just perceiving herself as being seen this way, but people have told me as much. It’s clear that they think I have broken some kind of ‘Young Mum Commandment’ in continuing with my education (FYI, we don’t have commandments. Or a club, or some kind of chat page where we rub our hands with glee at all the money we get and all the men we sleep with. Sorry to burst your bubbles).

The honest truth is that I’m not an exception to the rule, because there’s no rules in the first place. Young mums and young parents are exceeding expectations every day. Take the general perception that young mums can’t parent properly – their children are neglected, or the grandparents do all the work. My partner and I have lived away from our parents for the last two years; we raise our daughter alone – we are doing that every single day, and I know that we are far from alone in that.

When a young parent makes the decision to have another child, I consider that a victory for young parents too. It is a young person making the conscious decision to have the family they want, at the time they want, without bowing to these pressures put on us. To have one child young is considered careless, to have another at a young age is more often described with words that aren’t suitable for a post like this. But there’s nothing reckless or stupid about it – I have so much respect for the young parents out there who are confident and make the decision to expand their families, putting what is right for them ahead of what society thinks they should do.

The same goes for young parents who continue with their education. I know I’m biased, as I did that myself, but it took so much gritting my teeth and forcing myself through it when all I wanted to do was get out of a lecture and run to the nursery, pick up my five month old daughter and cuddle her, but I did it, and it is one of my proudest achievements, and is paying off now that I am working and bringing in money for her.

And for those who choose to leave education – that’s a victory too. It is young people, the young people society makes out to be so reckless and irresponsible as to get pregnant and have children young, making responsible decisions that work for their family. These are victories, each and every one, because we are young parents, not waiting around for life to throw our next opportunity at us, but going out and finding it ourselves, each in our own way.

And do you know what? Being a young person is tough. Being a parent is tough. We’re combining the two and dealing with a whole barrage of ‘tough’ – and if we stumble, we’re failing, exactly what everyone expects us to do. If we succeed, it means nothing – we’re not like those ‘other’ young mums. What they don’t realise is that these ‘other’ young mums don’t exist. They’re fictional caricatures.

The reality of being a young parent? Trying to write an essay while your toddler taps the + key incessantly to add unwanted symbols to your critical analysis of Ibsen and Ayckbourn. Juggling a baby and a toddler in the supermarket and trying to avoid the dirty looks all around you. Trying somehow to please everyone, when your friends want you to be ‘the old you’, and your baby needs ‘the new you’.

We do this all and more.

We aren’t exceptions to the fictional rule. We smash the rule each and every day. To voice your pride is taboo; you aren’t supposed to be proud of being a young parent. It’s supposed to be taboo; something you suffix with ‘ – but I stayed in education’, or ‘ – but the father and I are still together’, in order to convince people that you’re not one of those usual teenage mums – you’re an exception to that rule.

I think we’ve had just about enough of that. We should be standing up and saying no; actually, there is no rule. Each and every one of us isn’t ‘the good kind’ of young parent – we’re all young parents, and we’re all pretty damn excellent at what we do. It’s about time we stood up and took pride in what we’ve achieved – proving that anything other people can do, we can do it, have done it, and continue to do it every day, whilst simultaneously raising pretty awesome tiny human beings. That’s pretty exceptional, and makes me pretty damn proud to call myself a young parent.

July 2015

Maddy tweets at @maddyleigh1994

Becoming a Teen Mum

This is not a topic I speak about a lot, maybe a part of me is embarrassed or worried what people may think, but I am getting to the stage of life where I actually not too fussed what people think. So here is my little story of how my life got twisted up side down… hang on I am not Fresh Prince, No I was just a normal teen who really had no clue.

They say that teen mothers is a trends in families, my mum was nearly 30 when she had me so I did not copy too much. As a teenager I had such low self esteem, I thought I was ugly and fat and that I would die alone. These were far from it and after a boyfriend who told me these I was a full time low. I met my eldest Sons dad when I was 15 and we dated for a few months. Then one month I realised I had missed my period and little did I know who much that would change the course of my life.

Back in the days of camera flip phones and no instagram

I had no clue what a baby would entail or what I would need. I kept it quiet as long as I could and then had to tell my mum and dad. At the ripe old age of 16 sitting down with my parents was a hard thing to do but I carried on, my family in true style ignored it for awhile until I was massive. My mum brought me lots of maternity clothes and off I went getting bigger and bigger. I also had awful fluid retention and was massive (this is why there is no pictures of me when Pants was born I seriously was the size of a house). In this time I lost most my friends they were busy with life and I was stuck with Family and partner at the time. I went along to pre natal groups but a lot of the Mums did not talk to me. I was too young and they just ignored me. I remember it being hard sometimes people often so judgmental and I always felt like I had to justify my self all the time.

Baby Pants

The time came to have my little baby and after waiting 7 days overdue and 24 hours in labour I had Pants. The labour I can not remember any off it but knew it was long. I did not feel love straight away I suddenly felt a huge overwhelming sense of pressure. I felt as if I would never be on my own again. The responsibility hit me very hard and all of a sudden I was scared. Scared I would muck it up, scared I would never have freedom again. I was 17 no college qualification just a waitress. It was then I knew I could not do nothing in my life I needed to get a career show my son to be a better person His Dad sadly never grew up and for that reason we split and then I was on my own. I had my family and my mum was a massive help, the first few nights she sat up with me with a colicy baby who did not sleep and brought things for me when I needed it. She was really amazing.

A teenage me and my Pants

I lived with my mum for a few years whilst I got on my feet, I went back to being a waitress a month after Pants being born a few hours a night just to get a little cash, I did not claim anything except child benefit and relied on my mum. I had no clue and probs would have wasted the money anyway but least I earned the milk and nappy money and that some how justified my decision. I then started university at 18 studying for 6 years to become a nurse. Meeting my husband on the way and having two more children. I would not have had it better if I tried.

Its funny really looking back, for years I suffered this judgement feelings. Even now people look at me with the babies and think I am a teenager in trouble. For years I would always bring into the conversation I was a nurse and married because did not want people to think bad of me, but now I think so what. You know if I did not have a baby at 17 I would not have my life now. I am blessed beyond belief and have done so much more than I ever imagined. My Son saved my life from heading nowhere and helped me find myself. I then joined a church where for the first time since becoming a mother people accepted me for me and there the empty feeling was filled in. My hard layers where brought down and I learned to accept love and to not care if people judge me. I am loved and that’s so so amazing. So if you may think some body is young you never know what life has in store, having a baby brought me determination that I did not have before. I love being a mum I know no different really.

By Sara who blogs at Mummy’s Little Blog

10 things you shouldn’t say to a young parent

Being a young parent comes with so many good points. Being able to watch your child grow older, understanding some of that new fangled fancy lingo they are coming out with, surviving on no sleep.

But it also comes with a wealth of judgement and whispers. You get people come up to you on the street, ask you questions and be negative about your situation.

Unless you know that young person you have no right to make those judgements. So here are 10 things to not say to a young parent.

1: “What a waste of your future, didn’t you want to travel/get an education/get a good job?” Oh how fickle people are. Having a child does not waste your future. It simply changes the course slightly. Having a child young doesn’t mean someone can’t travel, get an education and a good job. Many young mums are teachers, business women and even politicians! Some even have degrees!

2: “Did you do it for the council house and benefits dear?” Wow, yes. I definitely chose to bring a child into the world so I could secure a house and benefits on the state. Umm if you didn’t realise we are in a housing crisis! Less than 1% of council homes are occupied by parents under the age of 25! I definitely was expecting a council house with those statistics.

3: “Is the father still around?” I mean that’s not something that is said to a 30 year old mum so why does it get said to a young parent? So what if one parent is or isn’t involved? Yes there is a lot of single parent households. Not all of them are young parents though.

4: “But you look so young, you’re only a child yourself!” I think my reproductive system says otherwise. I’m old enough to get married, vote, drive a car, live alone, have a job. I’m pretty sure I’m old enough to have a child.

5: “You don’t do it like that, you should really do it like this” When it comes to parenting everyone does it differently. As long as you are not hurting or putting your child at risk then you should be left alone! WE DONT ALL PARENT THE SAME.

6: “I bet you leave your child and go out each weekend” First of all, what a parent does in their spare time is none of your business. If they want to go out, then as long as their child is being cared for and they have some spare money then why shouldn’t they! I know personally I’ve not been out for so long I can barely even remember it. But I do enjoy a good glass of wine and a movie.

7: “Didn’t she know about contraception” This is a touchy subject for me. I was on contraception when I got pregnant. Many girls and women are. The one thing that needs to be noted is education. Sexual health and awareness education is so low for young people that it’s barely non existent. I didn’t know about contraception, stis, implications of pregnancy. I didn’t even know wheat to do when I found out I was pregnant. What these girls need is an education. Not a lecture.

8: “Why don’t you get a job instead of rinsing the benefits system” In a world where it’s hard to get a job for a graduate, it’s even harder for a young parent. With rising childcare costs, lack of support and minimum wage not being a living wage, it’s easy to see how a mum can get lost and not know where to start. A support system for young parents, from education through to the workplace needs to be there in some capacity. They need help as much as the others wanting a job.

9: “You look young enough to be her brother/sister” I’m going to take that as a compliment even though you meant it as an insult. If I can still look young with these eye bags and this saggy body then I must be doing something right honey?

10: “You’re doing so much better than the other young mums, at least you are doing something with your life” See there is my problem. All young mums are doing something with their life. Whether that be working, studying or something else. They are still doing something. They are raising children! That is a bloody hard job and that needs to be applauded too. So if you’re going to give me a pat on the back can you give a pat to all the young parents?

Laura tweets from @maxandmummyblog
Originally posted on Max and Mummy

From young mum to mum of an adult….

Tomorrow my son turns 18.I’ve been reflecting on my journey from young mum to mum of an adult….

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my experience as a young mother. Maybe it’s because I had the privilege to take part in Jendella’s great Young Motherhood project earlier this year (if you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out – youngmotherhood.co.uk). Maybe it’s because the child I had in my teens is coming up to the age at which I had him. Maybe it’s because I’m reflecting a lot at the moment about my own journey- what’s led me to where I am and where I am going. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to write some thoughts down.

Jendella’s Young Motherhood project is fantastic in the fact that it sheds light on what it’s really like to be a young mum, and challenges some of the stereotypes that exist. In a way, it’s really sad that these stereotypes, which rarely, if ever, depict young mothers in a positive light, continue to persist in the way they did when I had my son, 18 years ago, but they do. Indeed, a very close family member only recently made a comment about young girls getting pregnant for housing and benefits, during a conversation we were having about my involvement in the project. Given that I, myself had been a teen mum (albeit an ‘older’ teen mum), this was really surprising to me. But then, you see, in her eyes, I was the exception.

The thing is, in my experience, there’s an awful lot of ‘exceptions’. In fact, it’s almost as if these ‘exceptions’ are actually more like the ‘rule’ and the tired, often baseless, stereotypes are more like the ‘exception’.

In my case, I found out I was pregnant on the day of my 18th birthday party. A previous straight a student, growing up in a leafy part of Cheshire, I fell head over heels for a boy a few years older than me at the age of 16, left my A levels, got a job and moved in with him. I didn’t set out to get pregnant, and it was a shock when I did. I can honestly say that up to the age of 16, I had led a very sheltered life, and had absolutely no idea whatsoever how to raise and take care of a child.

Reactions to the news were mixed. My mum was very supportive and my dad took it as well as could be expected when mum told him (I chickened out). For this, I was very grateful, as elsewhere, reactions were almost universally negative. I always remember the face of the parents of one of the girls I had been good friends with at school, when I bumped into her in the village with my baby bump. It very visibly said ‘that’s it, you’ve ruined your life, now’, and that was pretty much the reaction of many such people. To be fair, it was a shock to many of them who primarily knew me as a straight-A student, but the overwhelming response was not one of support but rather of disappointment and disapproval. For someone trying to grapple with what all of this meant for my life, these reactions did little to improve my self confidence or help with my ever growing anxiety about whether I could be a good enough mother.

My pregnancy in itself was uneventful. I really had no idea what to expect, and, being a natural bookworm, devoured the pregnancy book that my mum bought me. My mum was a great source of support – she’d always wanted a big family and would talk about how she would proudly push her grandchild around in his or her pram when he or she arrived. I still have a letter from her, sent just after my 20 week scan, talking about potential baby names.

However, my mum never did get to push her grandchild’s pram. The letter I have from her, was written while she was in hospital being investigated for abdominal pain, and a few days after that letter was written, we were dealt the devastating blow that she had terminal cancer. I was five months pregnant when that happened. I was seven months pregnant when she died.

My son Daniel arrived on 25th September 1996. I can clearly remember lying in the hospital bed, with him in the cot beside me, totally terrified and overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a mother. I really didn’t have a clue and, with my mum now gone, felt like there were very few people who could help or guide me. The first nappy I put on Daniel, I put on the wrong way round. The midwife saw him in his back to front nappy and asked whether his dad had done it. When I said I had, she just looked at me and walked off. I felt very alone.

The blurriness of early motherhood soon took over. I was overwhelmed by this desire to do everything right for my son. I poured over the book I had, studying the advice given about how to feed, how he would develop, how to interact with him etc etc. I became slightly obsessive about ensuring I interacted with him at every opportunity to ensure that he would develop well. It was exhausting – for both him and me!!!! I was just so desperate to get it right.
My health visitor was a great source of support in those early days – frequently making comments about how he was thriving under my care, which really helped my confidence. However, when Daniel was six weeks old, I was completely exhausted and just felt that I couldn’t breastfeed him any more. You have to remember, I was also grieving the very recent loss of my mum as well as coping with a newborn. So, I went to the clinic to talk it through with my health visitor. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there, so I spoke to another one, who, when I asked for advice about how to stop breastfeeding, gave me a sharp look and proceeded lecture me on how beneficial breastfeeding was to my son. The thing was, I knew this. I had read the books and knew all too well that breast was best. I already felt very guilty about thinking about stopping, but I was exhausted, underweight and in need of some moral support. When I reiterated how tired I was and how I just felt I needed to stop, she advised me to just stop straight away and take some paracetamol if it hurt.

Now, I don’t know whether she thought I would continue feeding once t began to hurt. I do remember feeling strongly that I was being judged and patronised. But, I didn’t know any better, so I did what she said and went from 2 hourly feeds to no feeds at all. And when it began to hurt, I just assumed that was what was bound to happen. I didn’t question it even when the pain became so bad that I couldn’t bear to hold my son close to me without a pillow in between. I didn’t question it when I began to feel feverish.

Thankfully, my six week check was due, so I dutifully walked the two miles down to my GP, feeling horrendous, and, when the nurse asked me whether I was ok, I replied quite meekly that I was actually not feeling too good! A quick exam by the GP was swiftly followed by a prescription for strong antibiotics and an appointment the following morning, by which if I hadn’t improved, I was to be admitted to hospital. Thankfully, I began to improve.

Time went on, and, when Daniel was 11 months old, I started training to be a nurse. My relationship with his father had deteriorated by this point, for many reasons, and we parted . To say I was skint over the next few years is a massive understatement. Due to the way the benefits system worked, I wasn’t entitled to anything as a nursing student, despite the fact I had to pay for full time childcare, rent and all the other usual essentials such as food, nappies etc. If I had not trained as a nurse, but stayed at home with my son, I would not have had to worry about the rent etc because I would have received housing benefit. The result? Well, I often hid from the rent man. I took out payday loans, overdrafts and credit cards, and then began to fall into the cycle of taking out loans to pay for the previous loan. And I didn’t really eat. Any money I had went on Daniel’s food and needs and I quite often lived off the leftovers that from patients hospital dinners, surreptitiously obtained before the trolley went back to the kitchen.

I sadly, also continued to have comments made about my situation as a young, single mum. One comment always sticks in my mind, mainly I think because it was so ridiculous! When I was a student on a ward, On the other side of my name badge, which was clipped to a pocket on my uniform, was a picture of Daniel. One of the patients noticed it and began asking me questions about him, commenting that I didn’t look old enough to have a child and asking me my age. When I told her, she looked at the picture again, shook her head and said ‘well, at least, I suppose you must love your son, to have his picture with you’. As if, somehow, my age meant that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t love him!

It wasn’t all that bad, though. My experiences at that age made me a stronger person. A lot of the time, it felt like Dan and I against the world, but that made me even more determined to succeed and to be the best mum that I possibly could. Daniel himself was an absolute angel. Considering all that he had to put up with – the early starts, the lack of anything other than the absolute basics and so on – he was an absolute star. I never felt, even during the grimmest of times as a student when I literally had not a penny to my name, that I should give up. This was invariably helped by the fact that lots of people were very supportive and affirming. I had an amazing childminder, who looked after Daniel like he was part of the family and who would often knock a bit off the monthly bill because she knew how poor I was. I met some great friends at uni, whose lives were considerably different from mine, but who nevertheless always looked out for me. My younger sister would help out babysitting when she could – especially when I had weekend shifts to cover. And, occasionally, I would go out on a Friday night – my younger sister or a neighbour babysitting. Frequently, I would go out with literally £1 or £2 and buy a half of lager that would last me the whole night. I know some people judged me for going out when I had so little money to spare, but sometimes I just wanted to have some fun. When my daily routine started at 5am, with the bus to the childminder leaving at ten to six, so that I could get to work for half seven, work a full shift, come home, take care of Dan, study till midnight and then start all over again the following day, those nights out were like a bit of escapism.

Those days seem like a different lifetime to me now. Indeed, my life now is very different. I met my now husband in the last few months of my training and am now a very happy, settled, mother of three, with a job I love and a lot more security than I ever felt was possible back then. I work for the church and am married to a vicar, and many people make assumptions about the kind of person I am, based on those two facts. So, I am very open about the fact I was a young mum, mainly to hopefully try and break some of those stereotypes that still exist. Sadly, I have heard judgment directed at ‘teen mums’ from people within the church – very occasionally that judgement has been directed at me. I find this particularly sad because, when I was a young mum, I actually really wanted to go to church. For many reasons, I was starting to think more deeply about my faith and wanted to share that with others. However, I held back because I was afraid of being judged. I already frequently felt that I was being judged negatively by those in the wider world and didn’t really have any desire to subject myself to more. When I did finally start going to church, with my now husband, I realised that the vast majority of people in churches were kind, welcoming and anything but judgemental. It seems like such a shame to me that people outside the church still often feel like the church is judgemental, but that perception is most definitely still there. Because for all the good that the church, and the people within the church, do, you don’t have to look far in the media before you find someone being judgemental and unwelcoming – be it in relation to a person’s sexuality, gender or life circumstance. And the thing is, no matter how loud the positive voices are- no matter how numerous they are – we always seem to hear the negative voices first.

And that is something we all need to be aware of. A young girl, trying her hardest to raise a child in difficult circumstances, will most likely remember the one negative comment or judgement she has heard that day, even if she has heard fifty positive, affirming comments. And, thus, such comments are likely to lower her self esteem and worth and make her life, and the life of her child, that little bit harder. One of the great things I noticed when I went to see some of the Young Motherhood exhibition in Birmingham a few weeks ago is the diversity of young mothers. No two stories are the same. No one fits neatly into the stereotypes that certain corners of the media seem determined to continue to peddle. And they all, without question or exception, like most other mothers the world over, wanted the best for their child.

My son becomes an adult tomorrow. I could spend another thousand words telling you all about his amazing achievements, about the wonderful young man he has become. I’ll spare you that. I’ll just finish by saying how incredibly proud I am that he is my son and how I wouldn’t take back any moment of the journey that the last 18years has taken me on for anything in the world. Having Daniel changed my life invariably for the better and I am forever grateful that I have been so richly blessed.

Grace

September 2014

STIGMATISATION: DOES LESS MEAN MORE?

I love to read the blogs on this site, to drop in on #youngmumschat, to browse the Young Mamas website, and to think that someone had the insight to come up with the Young Motherhood exhibition and others had the bravery to be participants. They’re important because these are all honest and strong accounts of becoming and being a young mother in a society that frowns upon and tries prevent teenage mums.

I feel a sense of connection with these women because I was (am?) a young mother.  I put ‘am’ in brackets with a question mark because age-wise I’m not young at all now.  I’m still a young mother in that I’m younger than most people I know with kids the same age as mine.  But nobody tuts at me or says ‘you look too young to be a mum’ anymore. Actually I’m not sure they did that very much when I was younger either. I’m starting to think that the young mothers who blog and make themselves visible in other ways have a far tougher time now than I did.

I became a mother in my late teens at the start of the 1970s. That was at the peak of teenage motherhood, when the birth rate was 50 out of every 1000 women aged 15-19.  Nobody got their knickers in a twist about being a young mother then, it was fairly common. The average age of first time motherhood amongst all mothers was about 23. What would have stigmatised me was if I hadn’t been married – but I was (however short lived).  So I happily went off to the maternity ward, the health clinic, the mother and toddler group etc., without being aware of anyone eyeing me and sniffing or assuming I would be a rubbish mother because of my age.

But the rate of teenage motherhood has gone down – it’s now nearly half the early ’70s birth rate.  And the average age at which a woman becomes a mother for the first time has gone up – it’s now just over 28. So being a young mother is no longer commonplace.  It’s not doing things at what’s supposed to be the ‘right’ time.

I think that the fewer young mothers there are, the more they get stigmatised.  And that means that young mothers today may well feel the need for support that’s specifically targeted at them in ways that I didn’t. But some of the professional services aimed at young mothers are based on the assumption that, by virtue of their age, they don’t know what they’re doing, are damaging their babies’ development, and need to be taught how to be a good mother.

I returned to education after I became a young mother, went on to study in the social sciences at university and now I’m a professor (could you tell – all those figures about motherhood?).  When my co-researchers and I undertook a study of young mothers we decided to listen to what they had to say about their lives. We ended up calling our report ‘Teenage parenthood: what’s the problem?’ because – as the mothers themselves often pointed out – they were just another mum like any other, and being a good mother has nothing to do with age.

Friends of my age are just becoming grandparents now, while I’m grandmother to an 18 year old. I think the way round I’ve done things is quite sensible actually – have children in my late teens and then get on and establish a career. It’s society that has the problem with young mothers, not young mothers who are a problem.

Ros Edwards

December 2014

RESPONSE TO CALLING YOUNG MOTHERS “VICTIMS”

“Good evening,
I am writing this message in response to your page titled “SAY NO TO TEENAGE PREGNANCY“. I have come across this late Sunday evening whilst writing a university assignment and my 15 month old daughter is asleep in the next room. I am twenty years old so was a pregnant teenager and in my first year of university. Now before you jump to any conclusions my daughters father was my boyfriend of a few years. Once I had my daughter I took a year out of uni and managed to transfer my course to my local hometown Uni and I’m now continuing my degree in geography. I have read this page in total shock and it has actually made me quite furious. Your choice of wording is dreadful and if you came and spoke to a group of teenagers in the hope of “educating” them with that language it would come across as bullying, rude and stigmatising. Particularly your focus on pregnant teenagers not reaching potential. Do you not think you could focus your attention on giving pregnant teenagers confidence and help in embracing the situation they are in rather than belittling them and forcing them back into the corner of stereotypes   that unfortunately we already  have. I also wanted to comment that my health is probably a lot better now I have a child. I don’t drink heavily my lifestyle is healthier and I eat better so I am not entirely sure what you mean by that. I agree that more often than not teen pregnancies are unplanned but this does not mean these young mothers lives have to become meaningless and unproductive life. I do appreciate the knowledge you want to spread but I think you could look at your choice of words. A baby at 19 might not have been my plan but it’s my plan now. My life is in a strong forward productive direction balancing university and raising a child and I find reading an article like this only makes me want to achieve my initial life goals ten times more. Positivity really is the key.
Kind regards.
Alice”
Alice also blog at Alice and Amelia and tweets from @newyoungmum