First we had articles about the new book 'Teenage Parenthood: what's the problem?' by the brilliant Simon Duncan (et al). Guardian covered it on 12th Feb but ended in a terrible quote summing up the ignorance perfectly! Then on 16th Feb we had the case of the decimal place when Tories accidently moved it and everyone went mad (seriously though...over half of girls getting preggers??!). Oh and on the same day we had some woman harping on about how she admired teen parents for having no ambition for their children. Gee thanks! On the 17th Feb Zoe Williams cleverly pointed out a few of the mistakes in interpretations and how it actually boiled down to blatant discrimination! I commented and got 84 people to agree with me - whoop whoop!  On 23rd Feb Gingerbread launched it's 'lose the label' campaign for single parents which somehow included teenage parents (although I'm sure the distinction is missed). Oh, and the 2008 teenage pregnancy data came out on 24th Feb. Under 18 conception rates went down and are now lowest they have been for 20 years but still everyone harped on about soaring pregnancy rates! Hello? Are people that thick? It appears so! Even my fave show Question Time let me down! And Michael Portillo on This Week made me want to stab pins in my own eyes (as Jo Middleton would say). Although Belle de Jour wisely points out teenage pregnancy is not just a 'girl issue' i.e. boys need to learn to be responsible too, it appeared to fall on deaf ears. The country preferred to go with Portillo's explanation of free council houses etc. With this ammunition the media went mad. They even mapped teen pregnancies (presumably so you could avoid them)(?). BBC news did pick up on some of this bad press but it was largely ignored. Instead we saw articles on whether sex ed was working, with some claiming more sex ed always equals more teen pregnancies! Apparently, according to these comments, there needed to be more shame around teenage pregnancy! Nice! (Although again it was picked up later that men are involved in the process too). Then followed discussions about the 'right' time to have a child after author, Hilary Mantel, suggested on 1st March that it's better to have a child in your teens than at 55, claiming we are being forced to fit into a male timetable. Of course everyone went mad again as this was seen to be encouraging teenage pregnancy and it was felt that we had to be reminded that all teen parents were scum of the earth!

During this period Liberal Conspiracy have also ran a number of articles where they actually looked at information, graphs, then some stats! I know, it's quite shocking (even if they do mostly point out the bloody obvious or over simplify everything). One article, however, claimed that teenage birth rates went up and down according to media campaigns... I'm not quite convinced yet but it is interesting to see where you appear on the graph! Apparently I had my son due to the anti-abortion campaign in 1996 but I'm pretty sure I wasn't even aware of this! Today, the guardian have an article on 'teenage mothers forcing us to re-think feminism', which takes us a little over a fortnight of mayhem now and no signs of it calming down! My mum even rang me tonight to say she caught the last 5 seconds of moral maze on radio 4 and heard someone shouting 'Why can't a daughter of a 16 year old become prime minister??!!' (you NEED to listen to this debate!).

There have also been loads of articles in papers such as Daily Mail but they are not even worth commenting on.

Of course, my fellow young mummy bloggers were fabulous throughout this traumatic period! There have been some fab blog posts proving that teen mums aren't all bad and that media is a little bit stupid really! And finally, I am most proud of the fact that all the young mummies I was able to contact on my 'young mum stories' page have written a letter to their pregnant selves for a book that will be published next month. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! ('air high five' and all that jazz!)

Phew... that took longer that I thought!