Welcome to week #16 of the #YoungMumsProject. Time is absolutely flying by. This week we are joined by the lovely Emily from Babies & Beauty sharing her experiences as a young mum of two little boys.
Q1. Can you describe your personal experience of life as a young mum?
From day one of finding myself pregnant with Noah, it was drilled into me that twenty one was ‘incredibly young to have a baby’ when in retrospect twenty or thirty years ago it would have been very much the norm. Sadly that just doesn’t seem to be the case now, it was so rare that I could make a trip out with my visible bump and not be faced with a glare or remark from someone. Even now at twenty five people seem shocked I have two children. Though the initial thought of having Noah seemed terrifying, now I couldn’t be happier that I decided to start my family life so soon.
Q2. How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
With Noah I was actually 21 weeks and 5 days pregnant when I found out. So as you can imagine, it was a shock. I didn’t feel ready but I’m not sure anyone ever does.
Q3. Do you feel like life has been harder because you had children at a young age?
Not at all, me and John had already been together for three years before I fell pregnant and having our sons just made us transition through life a little bit quicker. Of course there are things I miss from time to time, but I’ve gained so much more than I’ve lost by having my boys so young.
Q4. Did you ever feel judged by anyone? If so, how did you deal with it?
ALL the time. Especially if one of the boys are misbehaving in public, I can sense the feeling people think I can’t handle them. But they’re children, and whether I’m 40 or 20, they’re going to have meltdowns in public. I shrug it off and give a huge smile in their direction.
Q5. Do you think there are any advantages to being a younger mum?
Definitely, me and John will be 39 and 40 when the boys reach the age of university whereas if we’d have waited we might have still had children in primary school or nursery when we’re that age. Instead, we’ll be relaxing on a beach somewhere as opposed to doing the school run. Plus, we’re full of energy, I couldn’t imagine having these sleepless nights in another twenty years, I don’t think I’d have it in me.
Q6. What are the best and worst things about being a young mum?
The best is of course I get to experience my children for longer, meeting grandchildren is almost a certainty and who knows, perhaps even great-grandchildren. The worst, the judgement.
Q7. How do you think we can challenge the stigma that surrounds young mums?
I don’t think you can, if people are ignorant and assumptive that is their problem and only they can change themselves.
Q8. What are the main issues that young mums have to deal with, and how do you think they could be better supported?
I think a lot of young parents probably struggle to get back into work, there definitely needs to be more support though I know the Government do offer up a large proportion of childcare fees for those parents who are still in education which is fantastic.
Q9. Do you think that the support for young mums has improved over time?
Oh yes, as I say thirty or so years ago it would have been the norm to have a child between the ages of 17-24, therefore there wasn’t so much support as everyone was in the same boat.
Q10. If you were approached by a young mum asking for advice, what advice would you give them and why?
It’s about you too. Don’t lose yourself just because you’ve had a child, if you still want to travel, travel with your children, relive your childhood by spending days at the zoo and aquarium. Having children is the biggest adventure.
If you want to know more about Emily and her family, you can find her here.
You can also find her on Twitter.
If you would like to get involved with the #YoungMumsProject and write a Guest Post for us please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more posts from the #YoungMumsProject here.