I was 18 when first found out I was pregnant. And I was the least maternal person I know so it was very hard. We didn’t tell anyone and I hid it from my parents.
My pregnancy was fine initially, but by 22 weeks, I hadn’t ever felt a kick but was told my 20 week scan had been fine and I would feel him soon. Then at my next appointment, a few weeks later, the midwife couldn’t hear a heartbeat. He hadn’t made it. I chose to be induced and it was very surreal coming out of hospital. I went to a family party that weekend and couldn’t get my head around the fact that I’d just had my baby but that no one knew.
A few months later, I found out I was pregnant again and the same thing happened. At my 20 week scan I was told my baby girl wasn’t alive. I gave birth to her a few days later and my mum was right there at my side.
You can’t explain what it’s like to be in that situation or how strange it is. With my son, I was put on a labour ward, not a private room, and was surrounded by babies. Then your milk comes in. It is very hard. I hadn’t felt ready to be a mum in the first place and now I had to get my head around having been pregnant and not being a mum.
With my daughter, I was on a ward with older ladies and some with dementia. There was regular screaming in the nights and I found the language people used with me difficult. They talked about her as a miscarriage, but she was my baby. It’s all very silent. There is no baby crying next to me and you are never prepared for that. I was given a leaflet on miscarriage and told to go home.
My parents were very upset but were an amazing support. And you need it. For under 25s there is
a free counselling service that I knew about because my mum is a psychotherapist. You can also go to young parent groups locally and get professional advice and support from your GP if you’re struggling.
A post mortem on my baby girl showed that I have Antiphosphliphid, a blood clotting condition that affects my placenta, but is treatable. So when I found out I was pregnant again I was put on the right medication. Despite this my son stopped growing at 27 weeks. He was delivered by Caesarian, 13 weeks premature, with a chronic lung disease, and was in an incubator for months. I was so excited about him just being alive that I never even thought past leaving the hospital.
It was during my caesarian that I found out I only have half a womb, which you can’t see on scans. This means, for me, I will always have premature babies.
I had Mia next, and she grew really well until I had a placental abruption. I was really close to dying but was, luckily, in the hospital car park at the time. She was 12 weeks premature and, because of the emergency delivery, had bleeding on her brain.
My pregnancies were really tough. But now my babies are four and two, and incredible fun together- they’re terrors! Somehow you can get through even the most difficult of times if you have the right support.
This is why Our Chance is so important. It’s got everything you need to know about having a baby, in one place and is specially designed for young mums. It breaks information down into chunks that you can watch on your phone 24 hours a day. There’s none of the conflicting information that you have to wade through online.
For your first baby you just don’t have a clue, but everyone is in the same boat, whatever age you are. You just need to know your risks and get good support, from your GP, online forums or your midwife, and be honest about how you’re feeling and what you’re worried about.
If you ever feel judged about being a young mum, know that there are ten other people that you can speak to. Don’t be afraid to ask to see someone different if you want to. You need to feel comfortable about your pregnancy. And always trust your instinct. If you feel something isn’t right with your health, or the health of your baby, don’t just keep going. Stop and ask for help.
There are so many pluses to being a young mum. It’s about looking forward, not backwards, and being positive. For me it’s seeing my Mum and Dad being young grandparents and hopefully they will see my own children grow up and get married and still be able to run around after their great grandchildren, which I know is going to be amazing!