This week on the #YoungMumsProject we are joined by the lovely Lucy from the blog Titchy Princess.
Q1. Can you describe your personal experience of life as a young mum?
I was very lucky as my midwife was lovely. She didn’t once mention my age and was very supportive. My mum was extremely excited to be a Nan, despite me being only 19 at the time and my boyfriend came to all of my appointments. Now I’m 20 and Amelia is four months old and I love waking up to her smiley face every morning.
Q2. How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
I was really confused! I’d been told when I was 14 I would need IVF or at the very least hormone tablets in order to conceive. I fell pregnant two months after I had surgery on my ovaries and was on the pill so didn’t find out until I was 10 weeks as it didn’t even cross my mind it was a possibility until the morning sickness hit me.
Q3. Do you feel like life has been harder because you had children at a young age?
Not at all. I have a progressive muscle disease so as I get older I will find it harder to walk. If I hadn’t had Amelia now I would never have been able to keep up with her once she starts walking.
Q4. Did you ever feel judged by anyone? If so, how did you deal with it?
The most judgemental person I encountered was my Nan! She immediately demanded to know why I wasn’t engaged and didn’t approve at all. My own family aside, I found the most judgemental people were others my own age. I was asked by several people in their late teens/ early twenties why I didn’t get an abortion! I only encountered one doctor that commented on my age. I had a csection so was in hospital a few days and unfortunately Amelia was readmitted after we had been home for a few days. One of her doctors asked how old me and my partner were and said ‘you’re so young this must be so scary’. Obviously it was but I think all parents would have been worried in that situation, young or old.
Q5. Do you think there are any advantages to being a younger mum?
For me personally it is definitely an advantage. As I get older I will find it harder to move around so being a young mum means I am fitter and healthier than I would be if I had children later in life.
Q6. What are the best and worst things about being a young mum?
The best thing is that I have my little lady and by having her now she has been able to meet her great nanny. The worst thing I’ve found is that whilst I was pregnant random people felt it was okay to ask how much money I had and if I would be claiming benefits once my baby was born, assuming that I wasn’t going to be able to support myself financially.
Q7. How do you think we can challenge the stigma that surrounds young mums?
By talking about it more. It is still a common assumption that having babies at a young age means you have ruined your life and this just isn’t the case.
Q8. What are the main issues that young mums have to deal with, and how do you think they could be better supported?
I’ve heard a lot of young mums say that they have not been supported by their health professionals through their pregnancy, with some even being advised to get an abortion by their doctor. If health care providers are not supportive then how can the rest of the population learn to accept young mums?
Q9. Do you think that the support for young mums has improved over time?
Definitely. My Nan was telling me that when she was younger if you had a baby young and outside of marriage you would be hidden away and the baby adopted so we have come a long way since then.
Q10. If you were approached by a young mum asking for advice, what
advice would you give them and why?
Believe in yourself, be open minded and read a lot. Of course you can’t learn how to be a parent from a text book but it’s a lot easier if you have some background knowledge. By reading about immunisations, safe sleeping and both breast feeding and formula feeding you will feel a bit more prepared. If you have your heart set on breast feeding and it isn’t for you or you don’t manage to stick to your birth plan don’t feel guilty. As long as your little one is happy and healthy that’s what matters. I know this is easier said than done but the best thing to do is just ignore anyone who does judge you. Age does not dictate your abilities as a mother.
If you would like to find out more about Lucy and her family, you can find her here.
If you would like to get involved with the #YoungMumsProject and write a Guest Post for us please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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