I've been meaning to write this post for a while but time passed and it slipped to the back of my mind.

Then something came on the radio that made me so angry I came out in the ugliest heat rash all over my neck and I knew then that the only way to get it out of my system was to do a blog post.

The radio show was about how pregnant girls often feel judged at clinics and therefore aren't getting the support in pregnancy that they should. The answer? Well, naturally the answer, according to callers, is to reduce support and increase the stigma around being a young mum (Because by offering any support for young mums it clearly 'normalises' teenage pregnancy and makes everyone want to do it)  - Oh yes, won't that be nice - Ostrasize young mums to 'teach them a lesson' - take away any support -  make sure they stay poor and their children suffer - what a lovely world we live in!! I really do find it difficult to understand how people can believe that 1. there is now no stigma around being a young mum and 2. that this is the reason we have 'more' teenage pregnancies.

1. WHERE? WHERE is there no stigma?! Please show me this place and I will bloody move there!

2. Teenage birth rates are now the lowest they have ever been since the mid 50's in the UK* - the 'soaring rates' and epidemic are all totally in your head. What? - because you saw a group of young mums in town once you think they've taken over the world?! - Get some perspective!


We (and when I say "we" I mean the media and politicians) have created a nation of young mum haters - FACT!

A few weeks ago I was sent a DVD called Teenage Kicks. The best word to describe it is refreshing. It was refreshing to hear young mums describe how THEY see their world, not through the eyes of docu-drama makers. It was refreshing to see young mums who were all individuals, not playing the part of a one dimensional  'teen mum' role. It was refreshing to see young mums speak honestly about being a mum and how important this role was to them, rather than the irresponsible, selfish teenage mums politicians like to talk about. The DVD was created and designed by two young women's groups -  There were no actors given scripts (as in 'Underage and Pregnant'-shame on you!!) - There was no need for sensationalism. There was no competition for TV ratings. The difference was stark:

"Being a mum is hard whether your 13 or 30 - it's all day everyday"

"I get funny looks walking down the street but you just get used to it"

"My life belongs to my baby now"

(On finding out her daughter was pregnant) "You think about what people are going to say, which is wrong really"

"Even though it wasn't planned this is how I wanted my life to be" (Young mum who managed to finish college before giving birth)

Rather than wasting their lives, these young mums all clearly had high aspirations for themselves as parents. They worked hard to be the best they could be, for their children, for their communities and lastly for themselves.

It's not young mums that need to change, but the society that tries to hold them back.

Support, like the two women's groups featured, that enables young mums to grow in confidence, to know that they have a voice, and that it counts, to feel positive and proud about what they can contribute, can only ever be a good thing.

Media and Politicians and all young mum haters TAKE NOTE: If you really believe that normalising something (or simply making it more visable) makes it happen more then why do you insist on portraying young mums as lazy and feckless? Surely it would be far better to ‘normalise’ hard working, caring, responsible young mums. They aren't hard to find - Just stop giving them your scripts and let them speak for themselves....

<Glosspdale and New Mills Young Women's Groups-You Rock!>

*Birth Statistics Series FM1 Office For National Statistics