Friday, April 15, 2011

How my opinions of teenage Mums has changed since meeting a few

Our local playgroup has 2 distinct groups of women in; those that had children in their 20s and 30s and those that were teenagers when their babies were born.  We have one girl in our playgroup who was 14 when she got pregnant.  I kid you not, 14 years old.

I lost my virginity at 15, but having been raised during the “Don’t die of ignorance” AIDS campaign of the 80s, I was paranoid about both getting pregnant and catching some evil disease, so I made sure we used condoms and the pill and followed the instructions for using them to the letter.
Since then, I have held the prejudice that getting pregnant as a teenager was particularly stupid, and I am ashamed to admit that I had a rather low opinion of teenage parents.

Now when I joined our playgroup and got chatting to the Mums, I discovered a couple of interesting facts.  One – most of the teen Mums were using contraceptives when they got pregnant, and using them correctly; and two - they are without exception all intelligent, interesting women.

The girl who was 14 when she fell pregnant got kicked out of home by her mother and is now raising the baby alone in a rented house.  She’s 17 now, and is working on her college studies in order to get a job; her daughter is always clean and dressed in nice clothes; she disciplines her daughter when she is naughty and cuddles and kisses her constantly.  She has the same frustrations as I do with her daughter’s behaviour and with getting her body back to pre-baby condition.

This girl changed my opinions of teen Mums.  Sure, she had a child very young, but she has not let it ruin her life.  She is studying, learning to drive and saving money for Christmas.  She does seem to have a bit of trouble with managing her money though, as I don’t think anyone has ever taught her about budgeting.  I was wondering how (or even if) I could help her.  How do I reach out to someone who will not ask for help?

Technically I am old enough to be her mother, which is a scary thought.


Lu said...

I was a teenage mum, quite late to the scene though as I was three weeks into being 18 when my eldest was born. I didn't know much about budgeting either, although my lifestyle at the time made it a lot easier to not bother learning for a while.

I'd just ask her, or invite her along to your weekly shop so she can see where money goes and you can discuss how other money is saved. I was helped a lot by people taking me under their wing and either directly asking me if they saw I was having difficulties or carefully showing me without being obvious. I guess it all depends on what sort of a girl she is. If she's headstrong then the sneaky method of invitations should be employed, if she's a floundering sort then just ask her if she knows that stuff or if she'd like help.

Louise said...

Lu thanks for that. She is very much a "I can manage on my own" type, but she does often say how broke she is, so I might quietly ask if she'd like some help on budgeting.