Young Mums have a stigma which is hard to shake off.
My personal experience of being of medically perfect birthing age (mid 20s) and looking a lot younger than I actually am is actually really eye opening.
Medical professionals and general people a like seem to think every body who gives birth under the age of 30 are vulnerable, thick young women. Sadly this isn’t always the case. Before I gave birth to Pebbles I had an A* in Childcare, worked as a volunteer at my local girl guiding organisation and worked with children from 6 months old to 11 years. This seems to not count for anything when your classed as a young mum.
I am writing this article as I have had a busy month, where I have dragged myself and Pebbles to many hospital appointments and it outraged me how my Mother and I are treated completely differently.
My mother thankfully drives me and Pebbles to any appointments which are based at the main hospital in our county. I live in a small town about an hour away, I haven’t got a car and I heavily rely on public transport which has recently been cut from my local area. When we go to hospital appointments and specialists meet us for the first time they always assume that Pebbles and I are sisters and my mother is also Pebbles mum.
First of all when my Mother asks questions to people/medical professionals, they are genuinely sincere and answer her questions to the best of there knowledge. Now when I ask a question I generally get ignored or a short answer. At this point I usually introduce myself as Pebbles mother politely. Nearly 100% of the time they look slightly embaressed and start addressing me instead of my Mother.
Then sometimes they ask my Mother if she looks after Pebbles a lot. I think the most offensive question I have ever been asked by a medical professional had to be “Who wakes Pebbles up in the morning?” This was after I had told the Doctor I lived alone miles away from my Mother. I have even had people believing I was lying about my age because I look allegedly “about 16”. Even if I was 16, I am still Pebbles mother and still deserve respect. Believe it or not there are some very mature 16 year olds out there who look after their children completely on their own. It is also important to note, that if you look 16 or 90, this has nothing to do with why you have travelled one hour with your child to come and see a specialist doctor.
Now, I always bring somebody into an appointment with me to look after Pebbles whilst I am talking with the specialists or signing forms because she is a toddler. From Pebbles point of view she is stuck in a office with a stranger, grandmother and mother talking and like most two year olds she gets bored. As Pebbles can’t talk she just babbles or becomes frustrated because she can’t communicate how she is feeling. So having a second pair of hands to help look after Pebbles whilst I talk is essential. Which happens to usually be my Mum as she drives us to the hospital.
If I go to an appointment with Pebble’s father who is nearly at the golden age of 30, people assume I am older than I look and treat me with a little more patience and respect.
This isn’t just isolated to medical professionals I see on a six monthly basis, this extends to the general public. One time I hadn’t combed my hair, my make up was a mess and I was rushing to get Pebbles to nursery as we were late. I felt like a old hag with bags under my eyes. Then about a six builders who were eating lunch started looking at me and one said something like “Teen Mum’s psst”. I was so happy he thought I looked like a young vibrant teen but to an actual teenager that could be quite daunting.
The point of this post is to help educate people that Mothers are not all 30 year olds that look the same. There are young girls who look older, there are older women who look young for there age and no matter what age you are there are mature and immature people.
Please be more excepting of people and don’t take things at face value. All Mum’s deserve respect we are all poop, pee and snot rags it doesn’t matter your age.