It was coming up to my 18th birthday party the invites were sent out and preparations underway! A few weeks before my party I kept getting hot and cold and feeling strange so I booked a doctors appointment. It was a Friday night and I walked to the doctors alone thinking I probably just have a bug, being so young and oblivious!
The doctor was running late, I went in for my appointment and told him my symptoms. He said ‘are you pregnant?’ the first thing I said was ‘I hope not!’. Me and Martin always used protection and I had only just got the pill not that long ago! While he went off to get the test I think ‘no way, I’m not pregnant!’. I do the test and I am. I burst into tears thoughts running through my head: ‘Oh no, what’re my parents going to say, what’s Martin going to do? Only been together 6 months… will he run a mile?’. The doctor tells me I have all weekend to think about what I want to do, abortion never come into my head once – the second he told me I knew I was going to keep this baby and bring it up whatever.
So, I walk home with tears in my eyes thinking the worse bit is going to be telling my parents. I get home, go in to the living room and say to my Mum and Dad ‘I need to speak to you…’ straight away my Mum realises… ‘You’re pregnant aren’t you?!’ how do mums always know? (I have now learnt that myself!) They were both brilliant and said they would stand by me and do everything they could to help; so I thought to myself martin is the next person to tell! Will he be as calm as my parents? He comes in from work and I tell him – at first he thinks I’m joking! Like that’s something you joke about! He then replies ‘has your dad got a spare fag I can have?’, my dad laughs and says ‘Right, first you get my daughter pregnant, now you want my fags?’ and laughs! Martin also says he is here for me and also wants to keep the baby.
A few weeks later it’s my 18th party. By now, I have found out I’m two months already gone, so I turn up at my party two months pregnant – in a size 6 skirt might I add! As the night goes on I announce to my friends and family I’m two months pregnant – as you can imagine there are mixed views. My Mum’s sister-in-law told my Mum that it wasn’t fair as when I have the baby someone has to die to make space for it. My boss at the time told my mum he was shocked my mum was supporting me and she should do every thing in her power to make me get rid of the baby as it would ruin my life and I had a lot more to give then being a Mum. My aunts said they were pleased but you could see they were disgusted when they said ‘so who’s the father? Is it martin?’. My friends were shocked at first and it did not sink in until I showed them the scan. My friends have drifted away after me having a baby as they are off clubbing and at uni and I’m a stay at home mum. I still held my head high and enjoyed my party as to be honest it never really sunk in I was pregnant till I held the baby in my arms .
The midwife that dealt with me was the same midwife that dealt with my Mum when she had me – she was lovely and I felt she treated me the same as she would any patient, not differently because I was young. The doctors were also fine and supportive all the way through – I did feel a bit ashamed at first because I was so young but I’m sure the doctors have seen younger mums. The nine months go past so quick, I have great fun picking out buggies, car seats, cots… I have it all ready, then on the morning of 26th October I can’t rest and am feeling pains in my legs so I get to the hospital as soon as possible. After 5hr and 40 minutes of labour I have a beautiful baby girl called Emily Jessica, weighing 6lb. Me and Martin and my parents and brothers were the first to see her, my mum and Martin were my birth partners and were both brilliant – it all seemed to happen so quick.
I felt very strange at first only being 18 on this ward with my baby and it took me a while once home to go out and not feel bad that I was a young mum. I had comments here and there from people but I thought to myself in the end, I have to get up for her, change her, be there when she’s ill – its got nothing to do with anyone else, so I held my head high and brought my daughter up with Martin. Mums at the local toddlers’ group always seemed to look down at me and have their own little corner which made me feel bad. Some mums were supportive and had been though the same situation, others thought I was throwing my life away.
I also remember one thing a so called friend said to me – he said ‘we’re all off out down the pub tonight having fun… oh, and you can’t as you have a baby,’ which at the time hurt, but I thought to myself I would rather be at home with this bundle of joy in my arms looking at me feeling so safe and loved than to be getting drunk or out at all. This baby did not ask to come into the world, it was my doing, so I will be the best mother I can be. It has been hard because I lost my best years and do think what would I be doing if I had them later in life. The most difficult things about being a young mum are the comments I have got off strangers such as ‘is that your sister?” when I reply my daughter, I get ‘Oh you started young, did you not want a life?”. Also the way young mums get branded – oh they must be a single mum on benefits – which was not true. Being so young I used to get hurt by the comments made but have learnt to let them go over my head now.
I love being a young mum and having the energy to do all the things I want to do with my kids, and love the fact that I can live my older years enjoying myself as missed out on my earlier days! I now have a son Alex who is 4, Emily is 8, I’m still with martin and we are planning on getting married in 2011 and would not change any of it. I am a proud mummy of two .
by Emma Lynne Minchin