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‘Something has to change’: The realities of being a teen parent

‘Something has to change’: The realities of being a teen parent

The Feed follows four teenagers as they navigate parenthood, discovering that each of them requires a village of support to thrive as parents.

Ella had a gut feeling one day while walking past her local supermarket’s pregnancy tests. She joked with Lochlen about whether or not she should take one. They argued back and forth, laughing off the possibility of being pregnant.

“She was like, ‘just get one just in case, as a joke kind of thing,” Lochlen explained to The Feed.

Ella’s pregnancy test revealed that she was expecting. Ella and Lochlen vowed right away that they would keep their child.

The two 17-year-olds were excited to begin their new journey as parents, as they spoke with The Feed while putting together their hand-me-down bassinet.

“I think it’s cool to be a teen parent because we won’t be as old when they’re growing up, and we’ll be able to do things without worrying about our age,” Lochlen said.

“We can love them for a longer time,” Ella said.

Ella’s mother, Kirstan , stated that regardless of her daughter’s decision, she will support her in any way she can while still giving Ella and Lochlen space to grow into the parents they want to be.

“I didn’t know if Ella should keep the baby, and I didn’t know how she and Lochy were going to support it,” she explained.

Young parents prove graduating high school is possible

“I’m really proud of all the girls for getting through it with a baby on their hip,” Emily said as she awaited her Year 12 graduation.

Young Families Connect, a programme at Queensland’s Ipswich State High School, gives pregnant or parenting high school students the opportunity to complete their senior year while also catering to their needs as parents.

“We’ve had students who had to take two buses and a train to get here with a child,” said Erin Sell, the program’s teacher.

“I believe that many mainstream schools do not cater to pregnant mothers… And I don’t think it’s because the school wants to discriminate; I think it’s because they don’t really understand what the girls are after.”

Emily became pregnant at the age of 14 and gave birth to Izaiah when she was 15 years old.

Emily was not enrolled in any schools at the time and was heavily involved with drugs and alcohol, revealing to The Feed that she had spent some time homeless, couch surfing from place to place.

“I had no idea I’d be back at school. “Throughout my pregnancy, all I could think about was no, school, I’m not going back there, like no way,” the 17-year-old said.

“But once I had him and saw him and looked at him, I knew something had to change.”

Emily is determined to be an independent parent now that she has two jobs and a rental for herself and her 19-month-old Izaiah.

“Next, I’d like to go to TAFE to do my nursing and hopefully my mechanic apprenticeship in a few years,” she said, proudly holding Izaiah on one hip and her graduation certificate on the other.

Midwife says young parents need nurturing

“It’s a self-conscious age to be young… “It’s very difficult for young women to be judged by the community,” Debbi Sutherland said.

“Many young women in their adolescent years have experienced a great deal of trauma in their lives… It’s difficult for them to connect to authority, to health care government bodies, and it can be very intimidating for them, so it’s all about relationships.”

Debbi is a midwife and a member of Caboolture Young Mothers for Young Women, which provides a weekly opportunity for women under the age of 20 to meet and connect with one another.

“The most important thing is peer support; we can give you any advice you want, including health advice… “However, having young women teach each other has a greater impact than me telling them what to do,” Debbi Sutherland explained.

Libby Cash, 15, comes to the group every Wednesday with her four-month-old daughter Ashley.

“Once my friends all found out I was pregnant they pretty much told me that I was going to set my kid up for failure, for being such a young mum and they basically stopped talking to me,” Libby said.

“All the kids I used to go to school with were all commenting on my TikTok and saying that they hoped she died.”

Libby uses her time with the group as a social outlet and a chance to connect with other young mothers. They identified Libby’s symptoms of post-natal depression and assisted her in seeking treatment.

“ All the kids I used to go to school with were all commenting on my TikTok and saying that they hoped she died.”

“I was diagnosed a few weeks ago, but everyone suspected I had it since she was born,” she explained.

“I just get so depressed that I can’t even look at her or hold her… When she screams, you feel like a terrible parent.”

Libby and Ashley are supported by her aunt Jane, who provides a roof over their heads and drives Libby to any appointments she needs to attend.

“When they’re 15, they think they know everything about babies, but there’s a lot more involved as they learn for themselves,” Jane explained.

“I think she’s doing well; she’s not ready to be on her own yet, but she’s doing well.”

by ichhori.com Reference: ichhori.com

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iChhori represents all those females who do NOT believe in stereotypes. iChhori is the voice of the women of substance who are out there in the world dominated by men, to create their own path, their own journey and their own destination.

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iChhori - Breaking Stereotypes

iChhori - Breaking Stereotypes

About iChhori represents all those females who do NOT believe in stereotypes.

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