Pregnant at 16
We recently celebrated my eldest son’s 21st Birthday! Me and him have been mistaken for brother and sister few times, what a great compliment! These compliments, however, are not the result of my fabulous skincare routine. I was teenage mum.
Often I am asked about my parent’s reaction. I was 7 months pregnant when they found out. In the circumstances, they dealt with it rather well. I concealed my pregnancy because I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I had let them down.
Trying to ignore the fact that I was pregnant, I just got on with life. I don’t recall when I confided in my friend, I was around 5/6 months pregnant. My secret seeped out amongst friends and friends of friends, until most of the people I knew, knew my secret. The father of my baby reacted negatively to the news, we had broken up and he had moved on to a new relationship. I felt consumed with guilt as if it was all my fault that I had ruined his life.
When my parents found out
One morning I came downstairs as my mum was putting the phone down. My mum looked serious. The first sentence she said to me that morning was, ”Kate, are you pregnant?” All at once, I had a rush of every emotion possible; Anger that someone betrayed me and told my mum, relief that finally, my mum knew, worry about what would happen next. My Mum held me tight as I sobbed. My auntie’s neighbour, a youth worker had found out I was pregnant and that I hadn’t told anyone. She informed my auntie, who then quite rightly called my mum to tell her the news.
There was an urgency to get medical attention as I hadn’t had any antenatal care at all. Every new health professional I met I had to repeat the story of how I concealed my pregnancy for that long and why – it became quite arduous.
My son Ollie (Oliver) decided he would arrive 4 weeks early, 2 days after my 17th Birthday. You know, just so everyone had less time to come to terms with the news- oh and buy baby supplies as I had nothing! He was utterly perfect. The maternity staff were amazing, I feared they would look down their nose at me.
Adjustment to becoming a mum
Being a mum felt right, I adjusted well to my new role. Knowing that there were derogatory comments being made about me proved hard, people implying I didn’t know who the dad was – yes that old chestnut 😒 plus the general stereotypical comments about teen mums. This became a catalyst for me to prove them all wrong.
The constant praise I get about my son now makes me confident that I must have done an alright job. My life hasn’t followed a conventional route, I didn’t complete a whole college course or go to University. However, I studied open university modules from home – with a young child this was challenging at times.
If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change having my son for the world, I wouldn’t change the fact I was a teenage mum. If I had the opportunity to give advice to young women in similar circumstances I would categorically tell them concealing a pregnancy is not the right route to go. Things could have gone wrong. Nowadays there is a wealth of information online. If you happen to be facing a similar situation You can find information on where you can go to get free confidential advice here. Though I wouldn’t change anything, I also wouldn’t suggest it is a good idea to have a family so young.
I regret not following an opportunity offered to me back then by a health promotion company, to be trained and give teenagers advice. This is something I would still be interested in doing now I’m a ‘grown-up’ and have more life experience under my belt.
I really hope you found my story interesting. There are so many topics to cover what I went through I couldn’t keep it to one post. Maybe someday there will be a calling for me to discuss and advise.