This week we are joined by the lovely Katie from A Mothers Love.
“Hello, I’m Katie, I’m 26 years old and I live with my partner and 2 children. I fell pregnant with our son when I was 21, and we decided to do it all over again just 2 years later when I became pregnant with our daughter.”
Q1. Can you describe your personal experience of life as a young mum?
Personally, I love life as a young mum… I feel I have a really close relationship with my children, they bring out the big kid in me and we have loads of fun together, they are like my little best friends.
Q2. How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
I was so pleased when we found out we were expecting, we experienced miscarriages prior to both of our children, so we were over the moon when that second pink line appeared before our eyes. As a child myself, I considered my parents “old” compared to my friends parents, so I think this is one of the reasons why I wanted children young.
Q3. Do you feel like life has been harder because you had children at a young age?
It is hard getting to grips with life as a parent at any age, be it 20 or 40. I think it can make things harder, such as getting onto the property ladder because you have less income available to save for a deposit due to your added baby related expenses, whereas if we’d been a little older we might have already done got a mortgage. Also it can be more challenging to build up your career with a little one in tow, but that’s not to say it cant be done. One of the things I would say I have definitely found harder because I had children at a young age is being judged by other people, which takes me onto the next question…
Q4. Did you ever feel judged by anyone? If so, how did you deal with it?
Sadly yes, I was judged from the moment I was pregnant, I look younger than I am too which doesn’t help. I felt the glares as I sat waiting for my scans, I even felt I was being judged by the medical staff, I can still remember the midwifes surprise when she asked if it was a planned pregnancy and I answered yes. My husband said it was clear to see I was being judged during the delivery of our first child too. It didn’t end there, when I went to baby groups with my son during maternity leave there were no mums of a similar age to me and they all seemed to be in unapproachable cliques which made me feel too uncomfortable to return. Still today I feel the parents at nursery looking down their noses at me, I took my son to his first school induction the other day and the other parents sat on my table chatted away amongst themselves without even so much as a hello, they had no intention of speaking to me, so I am sure the judgemental views shall long continue. I used to get quite upset about it all, but overtime I have grown a thick skin, and my children have grown into happy healthy polite little beings whom I am immensely proud of so no one’s preconceptions will take that away from me.
Q5. Do you think there are any advantages to being a younger mum?
Being younger and fitter to run around with them is obviously a bonus, and I love the fact that we are growing up and going through so much of life together.
Q6. What are the best and worst things about being a young mum?
You know that unconditional love that you feel for the first time when you become a mum which you never knew previously existed, well I can’t help but feel a little smug that I have been able to experience it from a young age myself and that my children have been a part of my life for so long, as opposed to not discovering these feelings until later on in life.
The worst part of being a young mum is of course being unfairly judged, but I believe that it is not my problem if someone else decides to judge me as a mother based on my age, it says more about them than me 🙂
Q7. How do you think we can challenge the stigma that surrounds young mums?
I think we just have to keep being us, don’t let anyone put you down, because all parents love their children unconditionally regardless of their own age. As we all know, their is no handbook to parenting, we all start out as a novice, people don’t have an advantage because they are older, we are all just as brilliant at being parents at any age.
Q8. What are the main issues that young mums have to deal with, and how do you think they could be better supported?
Young mums have to deal with some people’s prejudiced views being imposed upon them whether they like it or not, and it is simply not fair. I think that the facilitators of baby and toddler groups should be mindful of ensuring no one is excluded, and I think that in amongst all of the leaflets you are given at your first midwife appointment there should be something specifically for young parents pointing them to the resources and groups available.
Q9. Do you think that the support for young mums has improved over time?
The fact that there is a project such as this running is only a good thing, but I’m not sure support or acceptance is improving as much as it deserves to be. If we can keep having these conversations though then hopefully more people will see that no young mum should be made to feel any less than any other mother, and things will get better.
Q10. If you were approached by a young mum asking for advice, what advice would you give them and why?
Believe in yourself, you will be the best mum to your child and they will adore the bones of you no matter what your age is, so do not allow anyone else to make you feel any different. “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” Xo
If you would like to read more about Katie and her family you can find 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.