Fourteen years ago I found out I was pregnant, the father did a bunk and I was 16-17 years old.
Fourteen years ago I found out I was pregnant, the father did a bunk and I was 16-17 years old. I was at college at the time and doing extremely well. I was studying Hair and Beauty. My story, however, isn’t like your average story where the girl’s parents try and persuade her to abort the baby. Oh no. In fact, my mother was totally the opposite. She was so happy that she even begged me to keep the baby. She promised me how my life wouldn’t change, how I could go back to college and she would help me during the day with the baby. etc etc etc! (I was considering a termination because I was so young, and I truly felt that I didn’t have a maternal bone in my body). I decided to keep the baby, I was living at home and mum promised to help, so why abort?
I used to adore my mother; I hung onto her every word. In my opinion, my mother was never wrong. Only things didn’t exactly turn out as planned. The first few months of baby’s arrival went great. She was showing me how to mix feeds, change nappies, bathe baby. Basically everything a first time mother should know. Then after about three months, she stopped helping me. She turned nasty and insisted that it was about time I found my own place. She would never babysit anymore or help with anything. All I got from her was "You have to face up to your responsibilities".
She wouldn’t let me go back to college; she wouldn’t let me go to work. She kept saying, "You’re a mother now". I had nobody to turn to, and there was no way that I could possibly go back to college without her help. Fourteen years ago there was no funding from the government for child care costs. There was nothing to help young mums in my situation. I remember going to the job centre absolutely bawling my eyes out, begging the lady behind the desk to find me a job. We sat and worked it out that if I were to get a full time job, (I would’ve also had to have paid FULL child care costs myself) and I would’ve been £1 better off. I was dooooooomed!!!!!!!! It was awful; I had to wait until my child was at school before I could do anything.
As soon as my son was 5, I enrolled myself onto a computer course. It was only part time, a couple of hours a week. But by now I had spent so much time in the house just being a mom that I had forgotten what the real world was actually like. I had lost all my confidence. I was petrified to go back to college, but I knew I had to do it. I remember thinking to myself how I was just a mum. I would put myself down all the time. I felt as if I didn’t have what it took to go back to college. I wouldn’t fit in. I remember thinking, “How the hell am I ever going to fit in at college? I’m thick.”
I remember making the appointment to meet the lecturer. I got to the roundabout and saw the college and didn’t have the guts to go in there. The college looked so daunting to me. It was huge and there were hundreds of people about. I plucked up the courage to go back. That decision was a major turning point in my life.
My mother never helped me again. She developed an alcohol problem and can barely look after herself these days. She taught me how to look after my baby in the first few months of his life, for that I will always be grateful. However, she really needs to practice what she preaches. She also taught me to be responsible and to face up to my responsibilities. I studied hard at college, I kept it up. I finished the course and met a really great friend through it. I used the qualifications I had gained to secure myself a decent position within the college itself. He he. I remained there for a couple of years to gain my confidence back up and also earn some decent money for my son and me.
I eventually plucked up courage to take my education further. I felt that I had hit a brick wall, and I needed a change. I went to Law school. (Now this is coming from a girl who didn’t have any confidence - now isn’t it amazing what "just us mums" can do. And to think I was nearly a hairdresser as well. LOL! I studied for two years full time at Law school. I graduated last September from a Higher National Diploma in Law, I am now due to start the LLB. So it just goes to show that having a baby so young does not ruin your life. Yes, I admit at times it was hard for me, being so young and being stuck in the house all the time. But I got through it. My son is 14 now and he is the best thing I have ever done. Giving up my teenage years was worth it.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It’s recently been noted in the media that pregnant teenage mums sometimes do better at school because they are motivated to do well despite the pressures of having a young child at home. Your story is evidence of that, and you didn’t have all the support young mothers can have now. Yes, it was difficult for you and it was painful to learn the lessons your mum was trying to impress on you, but you’ve worked hard. Congratulations on starting the LLB.