Conversations with Teen Mums


Pregnant at 15


I went to play netball and I wasn’t feeling myself. I didn’t want to play. I was running, but I was slow. I wasn’t as fast as I thought I was. Then I went to the toilet, had a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I texted Tawhiri straight away. I told him, ‘I think I’m pregnant’.

The next day I went to the nurse, and she did another one, it came back positive again. That’s when decisions had to be made. Abortions and all that. I did want to abort my son, but only cause I wasn’t ready. Tawhiri wasn’t ready. It was like a truck just hit us. It was quite hard to cope. And then I didn’t know what my mum and dad would do. 

I was scared to tell people. I was scared for myself. But when they started going over the plans, what abortions do and everything, it just stopped. I couldn’t.

I didn’t know what was best for me at the time. We did finally tell our parents. Like all parents, because we’re young, they see a dream, they see a future. And then bang, they have a moko, someone’s coming on the way. Their babies are now going to be parents. It was a lot for them to take in, especially for my mum and my dad. Took them a long while to come around.

I didn’t feel my mum had expectations for me. I knew. My mum’s dream was for me to make it in netball. Like go all the way to Silver Ferns, Mystics. Like make the top team, be the best of the best. I still want that to happen. I want to make her happy, but then again I ask myself, ‘What do I want to do?’

Now when I play netball with everyone else I see better players. I see how I used to look like to others, and now I can see where my mum was coming from. She pushes me to try and do fitness again. Everything to try and get back on track but since then I just feel different. Things ain’t the same for me anymore.

Having a baby just changed it all, changed my perspective of things. It’s hard to explain, from being one of the best, to sitting down and watching other people grow to be the best.

Time is my enemy at the moment. I have to find time for my son, time for school, training, family, my partner, social life, and I don’t have much time for that. Like school takes most of it, we can’t do much about it. My son takes a lot of it, all of it. But he’s worth every minute.

My family, I see them now and again now that I don’t live with them. I miss them being there pushing me. I just don’t have that here. My in-laws are beautiful people but they have their own family they are trying to push and I feel sometimes I’m just a weight so I keep to myself.

I just don’t have that constant pounding in my head like I used it. ‘C’mon Kym, you can do it. Let’s go training. Let’s go shoot some hoops. Let’s go running. Let’s go swimming’. I don’t have that anymore. I have, ‘Oh, baby’s crying, you need to change his bum’, or, ‘He needs a wash’, and then, ‘Why aren’t you at school? Why are you late? Have you finished this? Have you finished that?’

There was about a 10% possibility I would be where I am now, but the other 90%, I was going to go back to sports, I was going to go back to school. I’d planned it. While I was pregnant, I’d planned how my life was going to be. But when my mum and them moved, and I moved, my plan just wasn’t there anymore. My heart and soul wasn’t in it anymore. And it just doesn’t know where it wants to be anymore. I’m just a bit lost.

I would say the first couple of weeks of Temanawanui were the hardest weeks of my life. The sleepless nights. The getting up. The having to rest.

I lived with my mum and them until baby was four weeks old. Before we had to move, before everything just fell on them. My mum and dad, when they had to move out they went to a lot of places. They went house to house, they started shifting things all the time. It was hard for them to get to work. I found it hard watching them struggle, going places to places. I wasn’t coping all right, but I would always keep it to myself. It was hard to reach out to people to ask for help. They would say, ‘You should just focus on bubba and they will be alright’. It was just the fact, knowing, I know they’re not alright.

I wanted to do everything. I looked for houses. I stopped school for a while. Education is important to me but my family is more important, my son is. I would choose them over everything; a job, school. Even though the job puts food on the table I would manage. I could never see my parents go through that again. I would drop everything and go. I wouldn’t care if I got kicked out of school or anything, because there’s always another doorway of opportunity for education.

My mum used to text me every night, ‘Good night. I love you, miss you’, and that would break me. Knowing I sit in a sheltered house with food in the cupboard and in the back of my head my mum and dad struggling. I blamed myself. I thought, ‘If I wasn’t pregnant, things could have been different’. 

But then I got my life back on track and everything started falling in to place. My parents finally got a house. I started going to school, my education was back on track. I got used to Tawhiri going to work. I had a better bond with my son. Everything is how I wanted it to be at first. But sometimes it takes hard work to get it. And I think that’s what I learnt.

It’s very important to me to have Temanawanui know who he is. To know the language, to know where he comes from, so when people ask, he will have that knowledge at the back of his head.

Where I’m from, they speak Maori fluently all the time. I don’t want him to be that one that sits there and doesn’t know, because I would feel sad for my son. So I want to take him to Kohanga and probably a Maori school, so he would know stories of his tupunas, his ancestors.

Me and his dad are from different iwis. Tawhiri’s from the Far North, I’m from the port, Waikato, and both tribes have different beliefs. I want my son to know that, so he knows where he stands and who he is, and if anyone asks him, he knows what to say and where he belongs. 

I think about Temanawanui’s future and where he wants to be. I do want him to do sports. I can see how my mum feels. And I want him to go far. I know he will have that potential in him because it runs through both sides. His dad’s side and us. But I don’t want him to do it just to make me happy. I want him to do it for him. Like I can’t always push him into sports because I was. He’s got to love it. I don’t want to control his future, but I will guide him.

I just hope he does something better than just sitting home and playing the game. Or have a girlfriend. If he got a girl pregnant young, I wouldn’t judge but I would tell him it’s going to be a hard road. I probably wouldn’t rage and go ‘How dare you’, because who am I to talk? I did exactly the same.