At first, I didn’t plan to keep my baby cause I was in a bad place. I didn’t think I could bring a baby up this young. I was more like enjoying partying, not being at school, not having my parents around and doing whatever I wanted.
I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do. I wasn’t thinking about my future at all until the day I found out I was pregnant. I knew it couldn’t carry on the way it was. That’s when I needed to start making changes and start that journey.
I had my first scan at six weeks. We went in there and she looked like a little jelly bean. Then we could hear the heartbeat. I was just like, ‘That’s my baby’s heartbeat. I can’t, you know. That’s my baby’. So it sort of sunk in then, like, ‘Shit, I’m going to be a mum’. It definitely was a shock. It still buzzes me out that she’s here and she’s mine and I grew her.
I rung my mum. She was up north in Wellsford at the time. She started bawling her eyes out and she came to Auckland straight away. I went back up north and just hung out with my mum and sort of talked things through with her. She was really excited after she got her head around it. It definitely took my family a lot of getting used to and a lot to accept it.
I kept it secret from my dad for three months, because I knew he’d be the hardest to tell. When I told him he sort of turned around and said, ‘Well, why did you do that?’ and was really angry at me because of it. And so that was really hard because me and my dad have always been really close. I knew he was disappointed in me and that was really hard to deal with.
When I was 10 months old my biological dad left and then my mum got a new partner and we moved in with him. And then when I was three and a half, my mum’s husband at the time, took my mum to court for custody of me. So my family was quite dysfunctional when I was younger and I grew up with my mum’s husband and his parents.
They were Catholics, so I went to church, had a really good upbringing. I saw my mum maybe once or twice a fortnight with police supervision. Me and my mum never really got along. We always had a really rocky relationship I guess you could say. It’s gotten a lot better now that we’ve gotten to that point where we can sit down and talk about the past and what happened.
During the first stage of my pregnancy, my family wasn’t doing the greatest. Avanna sort of bought us back together as a family and we started helping each other out a lot more. So it was good that I moved back home into my mum’s.
Listening to what my mum went through as a young mum and then knowing what I’m going through as a young mum, it’s so different but it’s so much the same as well. The way me and my younger brother were raised definitely made me see how I wanted to parent my daughter and how I didn’t want to parent her. We were always yelled at and that’s definitely one thing that I have always been adamant about. I don’t want to be vocally abusive and physically abusive with my kids. But that shaped me into the person I am today and makes me the mother that I am.
I was in Tokoroa with my mum for her court case to get like visitation of my younger siblings, when my midwife rung me asking if I could get to Waitakere Hospital in half an hour because my placenta had dried up. So the baby wasn’t getting any food or anything. So that was like a big turn around. We were all really worried. But we couldn’t get back to Auckland until the next day.
When we got to the hospital they took me to my room, put me on some monitors and then the nurses came in explaining what was going to happen. And then it sort of hit me like, ‘Shit, I’m in hospital. I’m going to have a baby. It’s actually happening. All these months of feeling her in there and being pregnant and then I’ve actually got to give birth’. It scared the hell out of me. I looked at my mum and I was like, ‘I’m so sorry I did this. I never want to get pregnant again.’ It was a really terrifying but joyful moment.
My labour was two days long so it was quite a long process. The last four to five hours of my labour was really traumatic but then they pulled her out and put her on me and she was just there. It was so like, ‘Oh my god. You were inside me and now you’re here and you’re so little and not real’. She was just so perfect to me. It was really freaky, the whole process of going into labour and then going through labour and at the end of it the outcome of it all is huge. It was really overwhelming.
Everyone sort of wanted to help me and tell me what to do but, like, I just wanted to do it on my own and figure it out for myself. So everyone got a bit of an ear full after a couple of days because I was stressed over everyone trying to tell me what was what and how I should do it. So once everyone backed off a bit and I found my feet and we sort of got into a little routine, it was a whole lot easier.
Avanna’s dad has actually got two other kids so he doesn’t have anything to do with Avanna. That’s his choice. Going through the pregnancy alone, Avanna’s dad wasn’t there to feel the first kick or to come to all the baby scans and experience it with me. He was there at the birth for a little bit, but even then he was still too busy with his friends and on his phone. He came to see Avanna when she was about two weeks old and then that was it. He’s never come back, never messaged me or anything. I sort of figure if he’s not going to put the effort in, I’m just going to put my effort into her and give her the best that I can.
Before I left school and fell pregnant I went to Green Bay High School, then moved back to my mum’s to Kaipara College and then back to Green Bay. It just took its toll on me being in a really big social situation with my depression and anxiety. At that stage, stuff at home wasn’t the best, so it just kind of got on top of me.
One day I decided to get up from Laingholm and walk to Helensville and not go back to school or my dad’s. My mum lived in Helensville so that was the first place I thought of. I got up at four o’clock in the morning and started the mission. It took me six hours just to walk to Parrs Park and I stopped there and got my mum to pick me up. She was really good about it. Mum’s always been real open and accepting when it comes to my mental illness issues. I knew she wouldn’t force me to do something that was going to make my head messier.
I left school at the beginning of year 10, so I didn’t have any qualifications whatsoever. Now looking back at it, I definitely wish I stayed at school. If I had known all of this would have happened, I would have just smashed through it and got it done then. But I’m definitely happy with where I am now, with what I’m doing and where I’m going.
At the moment I just want to get my NCEA level one and level two and that’s my Uni qualification to go to Uni. That’s my main focus. In a few years I’d like to be at Uni studying, hopefully getting my certificate in midwifery. I never used to like kids but after having Avanna, it’s definitely changed my mind on what I want to do career-wise. I’d like to think Avanna will be at school doing well, enjoying herself and that hopefully she might even have a little sibling.
My biggest struggle at the moment? The emotions with the not sleeping cause Avanna’s teething. Everything’s a bit mumble jumble and gets on top of me. My partner’s good, he helps out a lot so that takes off some of the stress.
Avanna’s very adventurous, extremely cheeky. She’ll pull faces at you. She'll laugh at you if you do something that she thinks is funny. If you say, ‘Ouch’, she thinks that's great. She loves playing peek-a-boo. She’s a really happy, bubbly baby.
I like the unexpectedness of it all, believe it or not. Like things never go to plan. I don’t make plans. We just take it day-by-day. I love the little surprises and all of the little cute moments or when she’s saying, ‘Mum’. Or when she wakes me up, pulling my hair at six o’clock in the morning and I roll over and she smiles at me. Just the special little moments where it’s just us connecting and she’s looking at me like I’m her everything.
For Avanna, I just want her to enjoy the normal things. You know, going to the park, or her holidays, her weekends, going to the beach and just playing, getting dirty in the mud and having sleepovers with friends and making a mess and getting souped up on sugar and enjoying herself and just being a kid. Doing all those fun things and not having to worry about anything else because kids shouldn’t have to worry about things like that.
I’m excited to see what the future will turn out like. I want to see Avanna grow. I want to see where we’re going to be at in a couple of years and see if my goals change or not. It’s exciting thinking about the future.