Teenage pregnancies can go through families in generations. It’s quite common in fact for young mothers to be the offspring of young mothers. It’s the lifestyle and culture that many women know and find it hard to break.
I met Leah as a young mum to be who was from a family who were part of this chain of teenage pregnancies. Her mum had a huge family and her sisters are all young mothers, each continuing the cycle and lifestyle that went before them. All of them had many interactions with social services which led to a distrust of all professional agencies.
Leah was different though, scared and lost (as young people tend to be), she was trying to escape the same lifestyle that she has seen growing up and had affected her mental and physical well being. She had also lost trust in everyone that she came into contact with, professionals and people who said that they were trying to help her.
She didn’t want to be a teenage mum, struggling to support her baby until they too became a teenage mum. She needed to be guided and to be helped, simple information and support that could help her change her life.
Because Leah wanted to be different, I was able to show her a way past the problems and hassles that she was expecting to face, showing her that if she was able to make the first move then she would be rewarded for it. Silly little things like taking her to parenting classes and doctors appointments so that she was able to care for her baby, filling in application forms for benefits and grants so that she was able to look after the baby on her own and helping to build her confidence and trust by speaking to her honestly and openly, without looking down on her or her situation. She so desperately wanted to be different to all of those others that have their baby taken away from them that she was prepared to do anything she could to help herself.
These “silly little things” add up, she realised that I was there for her all the way, that I wasn’t going to take a half hearted ‘OK’ for an answer and that together, we would follow through with the things that we said we would. I gained her trust by doing what I said I would, when I would and made sure she kept to her promises too.
The Leah that I saw at the start of our is a completely different person to the one that is now the proud mother of her baby girl. She’s happy, she’s confident and she is accessing the support that is available to her, from professionals too!
And of course the baby is gorgeous!