Review of 2014 - Young Mama Power!

December 31, 2014

With only hours to go till 2015 I thought I should write a quick recap of the year. It has the feel good factor of writing a to-do list of things you've already actually done so you get the instant satisfaction of ticking them all off straight away. If I'd written a to-do list at the beginning of this year though I wouldn't have had a clue where to start. The great thing about this year is that it's been full of surprises and it really feels like a UK community of young mums are coming together, supporting each other and challenging the myths and negativity. Here are my top 5 amazing things that happened in 2015 for young mums!

Young Motherhood Project

I can't remember how I first got in contact with Jendella at the beginning of the year but I'm so glad our paths crossed as the Young Motherhood Project has had such a huge impact on everyone involved. Inspired by friends who had children young, Jendella has taken photos and filmed young mums all over the UK for this project about challenging stereotypes and celebrating young motherhood. For many young mums this is the first time their experiences have been recognised and acknowledged, particularly around the stigmatisation of young motherhood and the importance of having people around who just believe in them. The exhibition is still on at RichMix, Shoreditch, till 4th Jan and I guarantee you will go away believing in young mums. I can't thank Jendella enough for the opportunity to tell our stories and all her hard work in sharing them too!

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#YoungMumsMeetUps 

The Young Motherhood Project has also created the opportunity for a number of young mums meet ups this year. This is something I've wanted do since starting Prymface and has been so worth it. This year I have met up with Natalie, Lucy, Sorayah, Isra, Laura, Sophie T, Dee, Sophie K, Grace and Juvin; all amazing young mums who I got to know on Twitter first (apart from Dee who lives round the corner)! Thanks also to everyone who helped us raise money to cover travel expenses to allow this to happen, and especially to Sophie T, who uses all her spoons to travel from Norwich and never lets us down!

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Young Mamas

One amazing character I've got to know this year is Juvin, who has recently launched a new website for young mums called Young Mamas. Juvin is so passionate about improving support for young mums I can't wait to see what she does next. She has big plans and I have no doubt she will be super successful. Her energy and positivity is infectious! I wish every young mum had a Juvin!

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Young Parents Associates

Sometimes people think they don't need to actually involve young mums to understand the kind of support they need, and the barriers that get in the way. Unfortunately this means sometimes professionals are actually excluding the people they say they want to help. In December I decided to collate a number of posts from young parents onto a blog. This is the result! A place where young parents are recognised as being experts through experience. Huge thanks to all who have contributed, especially Professor Ros Edwards for her latest post on Stigma!

Focus E15 Mums

I can't take credit for having any involvement in the success story that is the Focus E15 Mums, apart from inadvertently finding myself on their first march round Stratford in July (I only went to observe) and then when I wrote about it for the Telegraph the council demanded the piece was taken down as it clearly hit a nerve (it wasn't taken down but they insisted on inserting a quote saying the council had helped the young mums all they could, totally contradicting what I'd written!). I realised then that this wasn't a normal reaction, the tone was one of indignation and anger that people who didn't matter had dared to speak up, and maybe also a hint of fear that people might actually listen. And eventually they did. The Focus E15 amazing campaign has become mainstream news.The main thing I've learnt from the Focus E15 mums though, particularly Jasmin, is that young mums don't need to change who they are to get listened to. Jasmin is just a shy young 20 year old mum from a hostel who happened to find herself in a situation that she knew was unjust, and so she fought and fought and fought until she was heard. The council assumed that these young mums, with no power of their own, could be ignored and they would simply go away. But these young mums simply refused to accept that. They continue to fight evictions in London and have contributed more to the community spirit in Newham than any 'professional' ever has. These are real people, real young mums, telling it how it is. And this is exactly what we need. 

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Next year we will be taking the Young Motherhood Project to the House of Commons  (14th January) to give MPs the opportunity to engage with the project and the issues surrounding it. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported young mums this year: to Tommys for involving young mums in the Young Women's Guide to Pregnancy, to OnlyMums and OnlyDads for having me on your board (and sticking up for me against Fathers 4 Justice!), to Carly at Bubbalicious for recognising the value of young mothers as peer educators, and to all the young mums, and former young mums, who are out there just doing a great job.

Have a fab 2015!


 

Delayed Update... The first Young Mums Meet up!

November 5, 2014


I'm aware that I've neglected this whole blog post feature lately so I thought I should do a quick post on our first Young Mums Meet Up back in July!  Hopefully you're all aware of the amazing Young Motherhood Project by Jendella. The preview exhibition was launched in July and we managed to raise some funds to pay for a number of young mums to travel to London and meet up before the launch and then attend the event.

It was amazing to finally meet Sophie and Emma, Sorayah, Laura, Natal...

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Why #YoungMumsChat?

July 14, 2014
#Youngmumschat is an opportunity for young mums and others to share experiences and stories of young motherhood and issues that affect young mums. A while ago we asked people what difference #youngmumschat had made to them. The following quotes show just how important this community of young mums is, and how much better it could be!


"It's helped me to create a non-judgmental and supportive community of young moms and former young moms"

"Remembering we're all the same and all different"

"I'm alwa...

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Child Maintenance Service is no silver bullet

July 8, 2014

The CSA is now the CMS.

Over to next year cases will move over to the new system. The plan is that it will be a much better service, replacing the old outdated CSA system which left parents waiting on cases to be processed for years. There's been concern among single parent charities that the charges to the parent with care of their children are unfair, but there are few young parents' voices in the debate. Young parents are less likely to receive any financial support from an ex partner. They...
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This means nothing to me!

February 13, 2014

Sometimes I'll be listening to something on the radio or reading something and it'll be someone really clever talking about motherhood or feminism or equality or whatever and I totally wanna support what they're saying and get behind it....but I can't because there's this niggling voice in my head shouting 'BUT YOU'VE FORGOTTEN ABOUT TEEN MUMS!" 
I honestly don't think its intentional, its just that if your life experience, and all those around you, only involve parenthood occurring way after ...
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Young Mums in 2013

December 29, 2013

Well, 2013 has come to an end and it's time to reflect on the year again for young mums. Some months have been busier than others for Prymface but many young mums (and some young dads) have been making their own networks and working much harder than me to improve opportunities for young mums and show just how amazing young parents can be:

January

The lovely long standing Prymface supporter with a huge fab base of her own, Simply Hayley, featured on a BBC Radio 4 programme in Jan after they cont...
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Food and nutrition during pregnancy

November 29, 2013

Tommy‚Äôs the Baby Charity are keen to hear from young women about their thoughts on food and nutrition during pregnancy.  This is to help them with the resources they provide for young pregnant women.  If you are interested in answering a few questions please click on the following link: 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TommysYoungWomenSurvey


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Once a young mum always a young mum Part 2

October 25, 2013

Being a teen mum is tough, you get shitty looks, people think they can say what they want to you, it's hard to find your niche or know what your niche would be if you did find it... You can't wait to get older to rid the 'teen mom' label and feeling like you only exist to be judged by proper middle class boden mothers....While getting older means you might spend less time attached to the little  person, who also doubles as a neon sign above your head stating "I'm with this white trash teen mu...
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#WeAllBenefit

October 7, 2013

When I was 17 and a new mother, I lived with my partner who did not work... I knew I wanted more for my life. I knew I wanted to show people that I had a brain. I wanted to be a good role model for my son. I wanted to be part of the world that everyone else was part of. I didn't want to get left behind. Even though my partner was against it, I continued at college to complete my A-levels so that I could go to university the next year. He told me I was selfish, and that A-levels were useless f...
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Go home to your Momma's!

August 14, 2013

Last month I was asked to speak on local radio about the proposal to not offer any benefits to 'teenage mums' who refuse to live at home with their parents or in supported accommodation.

The proposal is based on the outdated, simplified and ignorant myth that young girls get pregnant just to get a free council house.

The 40 Group, a coalition of the most vulnerable Conservatives, put together a set of policy proposals to win over voters and unfortunately this proposal feeds into, and appears to...
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