Monday, 10 September 2012

Amy Meets... A Teenage Mum

Most teenagers spend their days working hard for exams and making time for friends. Lucy* does all this and more.

When the 18 year old does manage to find the time to go shopping with her friends or head to the park, she has a permanent sidekick with her.

“It can be draining at times,” she says, lifting her incredibly heavy bag onto the table. “But I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Although she looks like a normal teenager, with her H&M skirt and New Look jumper, Lucy doesn’t act like a normal teenager. Instead, she has to focus her energy on caring for her son, Harvey*.

It was two years ago that Lucy found her life changing, when she joined her friends at a celebratory barbeque after receiving their GCSE results. “That was when I met him.”

The ‘him’ is Luke*, the then-18 year old who swept her off of her feet. “I'd never had a boyfriend or anything like that, and neither had my friends,” she explains. “We were all totally clueless. But he was older and I trusted him and I believed him.”

Lucy trusted Luke to the extent that she believed him when he told her she could take the morning after pill for up to a week. “I was such a silly, silly girl,” she sighs. “I didn’t realise that it was only effective for 72 hours. I felt so stupid when I found out.”

Just four months into their fledgling relationship, Lucy received the news she had always dreaded receiving. “I was never maternal, at all,” she laughs. “I had never mentally prepared myself to see those two little blue lines.”

Although she feared telling her parents, a dentist and a teacher, she was overwhelmed when they announced their support. Tears forming in her bright blue eyes, she says “they were so disappointed when I told them. But they promised to support any decision I made. It meant so much to me.”

Discovering she was pregnant at just sixteen changed Lucy’s life in more ways than she expected. “I lost nearly all of my friends. They just didn’t know how to accommodate a baby into their plans, which is fine. I miss their company, though.”

Despite being heavily pregnant, Lucy, who had dreams of studying politics and economics at university, managed to sit her AS Level exams last year, obtaining two As and two Bs. “My teachers thought I was insane,” she laughs. “They were probably right, to be honest.”

Today, Lucy’s life plans have changed. “I don’t want to work in politics anymore. They wouldn’t have me anyway,” she laughs. “I'm going to go back to school this autumn and continue my A Levels. After that, I'm hoping to get a place on a midwifery course.”

It’s a drastic change of career choice for the teenager, who admits that she has ulterior motives for the change of heart. “I had one health visitor who was incredibly horrible to me,” she explains. “I don’t know if it was the pressures of the job or a dislike for me, but she was so mean.

“I was having a rough time with postnatal depression and that was the last thing I needed. I'd like to train as a midwife and hopefully offer some vital support to other expectant mothers.”

It was, she stresses, a unique incident. “Every other midwife and health visitor I've seen has been nothing but lovely and supportive.”

Support was something Lucy was desperate for during the first six months of motherhood, when she found herself suffering from postnatal depression. “I just felt so empty and useless. I didn’t know what to do.”

Her condition was not made any easier by the breakdown of her relationship with Luke. Taking a deep breath, she says “he just walked into my house one day and said he didn’t want that life. No reasons, no excuses, just a simple ‘this isn’t for me.’

“I was absolutely heartbroken. Completely devastated. But mainly angry. So, so angry that he could just turn his back on his son, especially when I was having such a difficult time.”

Feeding Harvey a banana, she explains that Luke hasn’t been heard from since. “He left when Harvey was four months old and I haven’t seen or heard from him,” she explains. “He’s missed all of the best bits and it’s his loss.”

Lucy insists she has no regrets, stating that Harvey has given her life a new focus and direction that wouldn’t have been possible without him.

“I just want to work hard and give him the best possible life. After all, he gave me the most amazing life.”

*Names have been changed.

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