There’s a lot of stigma and bullcrap around Miscarriage and even more about teen pregnancy. The fact my pregnancy and miscarriage occurred in my 18th year should not mean I feel desperate shame and embarrassment but it does. This embarrassment meant that I did not go to the doctors when the bleeding started. It meant that I went through it without the support I craved from my mother and grandmother. It also meant that every single time anyone says anything negative ever about teen pregnancy I feel this intense anger.
My age does not define how capable I am of caring for a child.
I have a lot of experience with children and babies. I’m an aunt to 4 with one on the way. I am a trained Young Leader in scouting for kids from 6-18, I’m trained in first aid, I’m a qualified first responder. I know how to burp, feed, sooth and change a baby. I know more about child development than most mothers I know. I work with children with additional needs throughout my holidays at a forrest school. I am a reading mentor, I assist in year 7 classes and have babysat since I was 12.
I am not clueless, uneducated, irresponsible or unintelligent. That stereotyping is total rubbish.
I am mature, responsible, I am not highly educated (yet), but I had a reading age of 19+ at the age of ten. I’m not stupid. I was not careless, and anybody who tries to tell me that all teen pregnancies are wrong, disgusting or mistakes can go choke on their opinionated bigotry.
So if you’re on this site, and you’re in the same boat as me, or you were or your daughter is, the last thing any young mother needs to hear is that ‘it’s a shame’, or that she’s a slut. (I have been with my partner for 5 years this April, yet if I was to have a 24 week pregnant belly at school that is exactly what people would be calling me right now.)
Even my ‘sister in law’ who’s pregnant at 20 is getting a whole lot of this negativity and she lives independently with a stable job. The stigma doesn’t revolve around age, or the teen years really. It revolves around the outdated patriarchal idea that to have babies you have to be married and settled. Newsflash. Nature does what she wants, babies don’t magicaly only occour only when you take your vows, so we should all stop pretending like this is some kind of unnatural phenomenon.
Things they need to hear are:
- We are here for you
- You are not alone
- We still love you
- What can we do to help?
- Do you know your options? ‘What do YOU want to do?’. It is not your decision to make, so don’t push your opinion.
- Do you need help getting to the doctors etc…
If things with the pregnancy don’t go as expected for christs sake please don’t ever. Ever. Say that it was for the best. Don’t you dare.
Offer comfort, not platitudes.
- Hug her.
- Let her cry
- Give her time and space to grieve, don’t put a time limit on it.
- Don’t hush it up because you’d rather it stayed a secret. That won’t help her, and this isn’t the 1950’s.