Today's piece is about women who have chosen to have children at a much younger age and what their experiences have been. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with us, answering some intrusive questions. You know the saying ‘grow some balls’, I think it should actually be ‘develop a vagina’ because it takes real strength and power to bring a child into this world. Men are rendered useless when someone kicks them in where it hurts… so I’ve just never really understood that saying.
I think Mum’s are amazing and a pillar of strength, however those who have children at a much younger have something undeniably strong about them too. You’re just figuring out your own life and you have this whole other human to look after as well. To feed, to wash, teach and love… when you’re in a world trying love yourself as well.
I’m glad to say though not everyone felt judged, majority of you did – but that one person gave me a sense of hope that this social stigma will change one day. In fact someone did tell me the mothers in the playground do not speak to her (she’s 27), except 1 other mother similar to her in age and her son’s best friend’s mother. These are grown adults behaving like this – who are 30+ years old, shunning someone. Like I said, there is hope.
Not all young mothers are alone either, some are doing it on their own, some are married, some co-parent, some are still with father of their child and others have gone onto have other relationships. All are absolutely fine, as long as their child is healthy and happy. My mum had me when she was 23, co-parented with my Dad without financial support from him and then done it completely on her own when I was 13. I had an amazing childhood, I went to theatre school, travelled the whole world and experienced so many things I feel blessed for. So to anyone who reads this and thinks that single mothers can’t do it… they can.
The best part about young motherhood by far was growing with your child, having the energy to run around with them and them becoming your best friend. Although I get sense that some felt like they missed out on their young years, they have no regrets. They have a child that’s shown them an unbreakable bond of love, which can never be taken away. There’s also this misconception that younger mothers couldn’t possibly have planned a baby… Which is not true. I think people just assume that every person who is young and has a child isn’t one mature or two financially secure. A child will make you mature very fast but maturity lands on everyone’s door step at a different age. Financial situations also differ from person to person.
Around 30,000 young women die every year from pregnancy or child birth that’s 1 every twenty minutes. 2 women lost 3+ pints of blood, the body only holds 4 pints. One flat lined and thankfully survived, don’t let ‘One Born Every Minute’ fool you. The world is obsessed with image and after having a baby your body will change, imagine having all the pressures of having to look good, look like your friends that haven’t had children and live up to societies expectation of being perfect. It’s just not possible. Everyone who messaged me, said they just ended up not giving to fuck and learned to hold their heads up high no matter how hard it got. That’s superhero business, just without the cape.
Termination was something I asked about too, I always said to myself when I was younger, if I was to ever get pregnant I would not have the child. Which after reading all of these stories, seems like something which is A LOT easier to say than do. When you see a heartbeat on a screen, feel movements in your stomach or just do not believe in terminations at all, you want to bring a life into the world. I’m very pro-choice, I think whether you choose to go full term with a pregnancy or not that is your choice and your choice alone as a woman. Men you may disagree with me on this, but let’s remember it is way easier for you to walk away than it is for a woman. Although there are some amazing single Dad’s out there, so salute to you too.
In 2008 40% of younger mothers suffered with post-natal depression, as opposed to 18% of women between the ages of 23 – 28. Even in 2014 only 3% of the UK had sufficient access to mental healthcare for all new mums. Mental health wasn’t even a thing 10+ years ago, imagine being 17 back then, not knowing why you’re sad and struggling to bond with your child, let alone having sufficient access to help. Although one touched me and said that her child has helped her through the worst time of her life, giving her hope.
The NHS are currently a bit marmite, I think we are very lucky to have them – in the US you would have to pay $8,802 which is around £6,500 - £7,000 to give birth or get the bill after. There were a couple of bad experiences with staff and hospitals but I’m glad to know that even whilst under severe pressure, majority of the doctors and nurses showed a duty of care and importantly respect. Which I think is important, you’re at your most vulnerable point and I know a couple felt really spoken down to, which just should not happen.
Although I do worry that I will suffer with post-natal depression being that I suffer with bouts of depression already, this has definitely opened my eyes WIDE to children and child birth in general. Some of the answers given to me surprised me, which shows that I had prejudices I wasn’t even aware of. I really hope this opens people eyes and takes away judgement. That’s what No Angles November is about. There is so much more information I could write, but blogs are generally supposed to be 600 words and I’ve written over 1000 here. My next goal would be to get some women together and do a mass interview because you’ve all got some amazing and different experiences! Anyways I hope you enjoyed.