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To think teenage mums are just as capable as any other mum.

(74 Posts)
HopAndSkip Fri 25-Jan-13 21:11:52

It's really getting on my nerves how some people seem to assume a teenage mum needs extra advice, guidance, interference so on, purely because of age. It's understandable if the mum is struggling, or ask's for help, but some women seem to think their opinions and knowledge is "superior" purely because they are older.

I am 19 with a DD, and i have had comments such as "does your mum help a lot", "Do you miss going out" and "Are you finding it really hard having a baby", and maybe I'm just being a bit sensitive, but I doubt they would be the first choice of question as much if I was older. (The answer to all 3 is no, other than the occasional tiredness which I'm assuming all mums also get..)

I've also seen comments on here such as "she'll need guidance as she's a teenage mum" (sorry to pick on that one comment - it's just the one that's been most recent) and I just find it a bit naive that people are assuming being a teenager or younger parent automatically hinders to someones ability to love and care for their child.

Or is this a general view that I need to ignore and get over...?

quoteunquote Fri 25-Jan-13 22:08:34

OP, I know exactly how you feel, I was in your position 22 years ago, out of all of my friends who also were, all of our children are happy, balanced adults, all have gone onto university and have done really well, as have all of their mothers,we all have degrees, great jobs and careers.

I get very stabby when I hear people being judgemental about mother's ages, I did both, young and old(30s), there are good points to both,

as for the "help' bit, lots of people get help, I didn't, my family lived in another country, not handy for baby sitting.

Just keep doing your best and it will be good enough, and when those with their judgy pants up their arse feel they have the right to comment, smile and use the old MN favourite, "Did you mean to sound so rude?"

If we had been able to have all of ours younger we would of, after my first it took well into double figures to get the next round, we had a lot of miscarriages ,still borns and a death before we got two more,

I spend a lot of time comfort friends who are only now in their 30s and 40s finding out it not always a given, the difference they haven't got a spare decade to dedicate to the project of having a baby.

I think this attitude that it is wrong to have your babies at an age when your body is best up for it, is dangerous and leads to a lot of heart break.

StateofConfusion Fri 25-Jan-13 22:49:14

I understand op, I had my ds at 18 and me and dp did just fine with him.

The problem is the countless feckless younger parents who do use there parents as constant childcare, make bad decissions and believe they're entilted to a break as 'I'm only young'. People are more likely to notice the bad than the good who quietly get on with it.

StateofConfusion Fri 25-Jan-13 22:53:25

Pressed post too soon.

So basically as 'bad' is more noticable people assume we all need the help and guidance.

I was amazed at hoe differently I was treated, not that I was treated badly before, but anyway, having dd2 at almost 25, compared to ds at 18, and dd1 at 20 by midwives, HV, all hcps and people in general!

SirBoobAlot Fri 25-Jan-13 23:56:21

The ones that got on my nerves were "Are you still with the father?", and "You will be going back to work soon, I'm sure...".

And I know the thread you got that comment from, where actually I agreed with her needing guidance, not because of her age, but because she was making her parenting choices based on how her friends would react. Which shrieks of immaturity and insecurity.

I made mistakes with DS as a baby, but think that came more from 'first time mum blunders' than my age. Some new mums do need more support than others, and that is related to their character and situation rather than their date of birth.

So, no, YANBU. You would, however, BU to let it get to you. wink

thebody Sat 26-Jan-13 00:02:44

I think it's crap

My mil had her first at 17 and last and 5 th child at 27.. I aspire to be the mom she was.

I had my 4 in my early 20s and late 30s. Yes u learn as u go but I think I was as good/ not do good parent each decade.

You only know what you know.

Do I think a mum can be 'better' at 17 than at 40. Of course yes depends on the person.

iwantanafternoonnap Sat 26-Jan-13 00:06:15

I am 40 and my DS is 3 and I find it bloody hard and I miss going out grin

I see much younger people coping far better than I do at least you young uns can get up from the floor quicker than us old folks wink

Birdsgottafly Sat 26-Jan-13 00:07:22

I am supporting a relative, who is having her first baby at 17, she has just gone into a Mum and baby Unit. She needs support, so do all of the girlsin there, it is a pity that there isn't more places.

Tbh, i had my first at 18, 28 years ago, i wish that there was the system around that we have today, Children's Centre's etc.

It depends on your family set up, but it is the lack of family support that often means that services are needed, as there is little support from a peer group of 17 year olds and that applies to the father as well.

19 is very different from 17 year olds, who unless they have monied family cannot get housing, the changes in the benefit system don't help.

Many girls wouldn't know where to look for, for help, so it is good that teen mums are refered to their own MW's etc.

My relative doesn't want to go to classes, with (in her words), older Mums.

Birdsgottafly Sat 26-Jan-13 00:09:13

Also, teen mums have a higher rate of PND, which again, it is good that this is being identified.

But then i am not anti-services, probably because i work within them.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:10:01

Bit of a sweeping generalisation in the op. Do I think a 14 year old is as capable of bringing up a child as an actual adult for example? Um, no, not really.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:15:55

And that's a pretty sweeping generalisation there too, PrettyKitty.

I know - and supported - a 14 / 15 year old who was getting up at 1am to breastfeed, then 3am and 6am to express milk for her DC whilst she was at school studying for her GCSEs. And frankly, having met her mother, she was much better than her.

threesocksmorgan Sat 26-Jan-13 00:21:20

yabu I have met SirBoobAlot for instance in rl

but I can't help but want to mother her, even though she is a brilliant mum with a lovely ds(who needs to see me hint hint)
so imo older mums just want tohelp

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:22:36

Well good for her. Talking 'typically' without countless, I wouldn't say that a child is as 'Capable' of raising a child as an adult. They have no qualifications, work experience, way of financially supporting a child. A 15 year old is not fully developed physically or emotionally. Sorry, but I don't buy the 'anyone can make a fantastic mummy, age is irrelevant' line. Age does matter where a person is significantly younger or older than a 'reasonable' age to be bearing children IMO.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:24:26

^^ It's true. They all do it at meet ups. Though they might all be slowly seeing me as a younger sister rather than a daughter..? wink Mainly because they're all far too young to have a 21 year old daughter... grin

Coming from MNers friends, it's different. Strangers are the ones to watch out for.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:26:33

And there are plenty of adults without qualifications, work experience and finances to support a child. Would you feel it was as readily acceptable to attack them as well?

TraineeBabyCatcher Sat 26-Jan-13 00:29:24

There is young, and then too young. And those are two completely different ages for different people.

Here is something that was presented recently in one of our lectures as part of a piece about teenage pregnancy.

"I think, to some extent you will get a distorted view on teenage pregnancy because I've had a huge amount of support from my family which has enabled me to be here now. Financially i have never had many issues and i think that alone has made it a lot easier.

My biggest issues were letting go of my life, a life i had planned for years. Many people asked about my pregnancy, about whether I wanted to keep the baby etc, but no one ever talked to me about what I was letting go of. No one asked me if I was scared. No one told me everything would be okay (though i probably wouldn’t have believed them if they did). Most people just left me to it. I was scared. I was angry. I was jealous. I was sad. I was confused. And most of all I was lonely.
As a result i was depressed (though un-diagnosed as my midwife was useless). For the entirety of my pregnancy i cried myself to sleep at night. Other issues would include: being scared of what others thought, doing it alone and my body changing. It was, and still is, the scariest, hardiest thing i have ever had to deal with. Even now, it takes a lot to stop me from crying about what i had to deal with when talking about it, and some nights (very infrequently now) I climb into my sons bed, cuddle him and sob myself to sleep.

Its taken me a long time to be able to stand up and say being a mother hasn’t ruined my life; it has just changed its direction." Pregnant age 14. Now doing a degree and wonderfully in life.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:31:35

Who's attacking?
I'm as entitled to my opinion as you...nothing could convince me that a well-rounded child is as capable at raising a child, as a well rounded adult...I find it ludicrous to suggest they would be tbh.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:37:15

You didn't answer my question.

Your points were lack of qualifications, lack of work experiences and financial concerns. Do you judge those over 18 as harshly on those as you do those under?

I've seen gentle parenting teenagers and screeching, swearing, smacking 'adult' parents. Know which one I'd opt for as a preferential.

MummyDuckAndDuckling Sat 26-Jan-13 00:38:46

I had dd at 26 and was still asked on a daily basis, 'so do your parents help out a lot..?'

HopAndSkip Sat 26-Jan-13 00:39:22

It's nice to see a lot of people don't judge from reading these posts. smile

Birds I see your point that some mums do need help, and that if they are clearly struggling or asking for help that it's great they get it, but I don't think it's helpful to put that one-fits-all treatment on all young mums. Also I think the way it can be done could put some mums off asking for help with smaller problems, when it comes patronizing or openly judgmental health staff etc.

Pretty I have a friend who had her DS at 15, and she has done an amazing job. She did have childcare help from her mum until she did her GCSE's, but she moved out at 16, completed a hairdressing apprenticeship and now has a part time job, and a very happy DS who adores his mum. I think a lot of older mums would struggle to do that alone, and so in that sense yes I'd say they can be just as capable if not more so than certain others.

threesocksmorgan Sat 26-Jan-13 00:45:40

SirBoobAlot cheers for have just proved the point how "older" parents cannot win

ProtegeMoi Sat 26-Jan-13 00:48:48

I was 17 when I had DD1 and 27 when I had DD2. While I think I was a good mum both time I feel like I'm doing a much better job with DD2 mainly because I'm more mature so more informed. That's not to say young mums are not good parents however.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:50:26

Three I think your a wonderful mum, and a great person smile

FWIW, I think older mums will always feel judged, younger mums will always feel judged, and those in the middle will too. Once you become a parent, it's like you and your actions suddenly become public property, to be discussed from every angle. All you have to do it take one glance at sites like this to see that. And because parenting is an every day worry for all of us, we feel more anxious about it, so the blows are harder when they come down, which they inevitably do at some point.

If you love your children, you care about their upbringing, and want to do the very best by them in life, then you could be 14 or 41, and still do a brilliant job.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:50:34

It's not really an 'answerable' question though...because I'm not 'judging them harshly', I'm voicing my (IMO) realistic opinion.
That opinion is simply that children should not be having children...and no, generally (once again without the countless 'well I know a 12 year old that's a fabulous mummy'-esque comments, a child is not in most cases as equipped or capable at coping with bearing and raising a child as an adult.

SirBoobAlot Sat 26-Jan-13 00:52:00

* you're. Brain fail tonight.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:56:06

How can people realistically say that age is not relevant? How many people would be comfortable in leaving their newborn for a whole day with a 13 year old babysitter? Age is completely relevant IMO.

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