Conversations with Teen Mums

Something in me felt like I needed to be pregnant. I think a lot of it was that I hated myself so much at the time and I felt that there was nobody around to really love and care for me. I needed something that was going to love me unconditionally forever. Getting pregnant and having a baby meant that I would have something that would love me unconditionally. And I got pregnant with Saskia.
In some ways it actually saved me. I felt like I had failed at everything in life. Like I had failed at school, I had failed with boyfriends, I felt like I had failed myself and I thought for the first time this is not something I can fail at. I’m going to be the best fucking parent I can be. And I’m going to prove to everybody that I can be a wonderful teenage mum.
I started studying pregnancy and parenting and how to care for babies and booked myself into ante-natal classes and parenting groups. I can remember at one point I had like 10 books out of the library on how to parent. And I read them all. And I went from being this really sort of damaged and uncontrollable young girl to being this amazing mum in the space of nine months.
My mum had me when she was 18. With the childhood living on the orchard and my mum being home every day and just being mum and cooking these amazing meals every night, I really wanted to be like her. I wanted to be a young mum. I wanted to be the housewife. I wanted to just recreate my childhood in a sense. I think at the time when I was pregnant with Saskia I can remember thinking, ‘This is all I want to be. I just want to be a young mum. That’s it’.
I can remember being in a wheelchair being wheeled to the maternity ward away from the birthing suite and having this thumping headache and everything was just spinning and I had this baby in my arms. My grandma was sort of bent down holding the baby while I was holding her. Then we got into the maternity ward and they put me on the bed. It was like time for my family to go because visiting hours were over and I just remember feeling terrified and not wanting to be left alone. I was just absolutely freaking out, beside myself, crying and screaming. I’d just turned 16, had a really traumatic birth and was now alone with this baby I knew nothing about.
Saskia was asleep in one of those glass basinets next to me and I fell asleep too and when I woke my headache was gone. It must’ve been really late at night because it was dark, and she was awake and for the first time I picked her up and she was so tiny, and I looked at her and I fell in love and that’s one of the happiest moments of my life. And I just spent hours looking at her and kissing her and touching her, and I think that’s when I became a mum.