Teenage mums from Sheffield are hitting back at critics in a bid to challenge stereotypes – and say proudly: “We are good parents too.”
Girls studying life skills and parenting courses with the charity Youth Association South Yorkshire, based on Carver Street in Sheffield city centre, say they have been ‘judged’ in the street by strangers – and even by healthcare professionals.
Beth Sibley was a 17-year-old studying health and social care when she discovered she was pregnant with son Zayn.
She said: “I was in labour for three days and it was a difficult birth, but the midwife said to me ‘you should have thought about this before you got pregnant’.
“I don’t think she would have said that to an older mum.”
Beth, now aged 19, lives in Handsworth and is still with one-year-old Zayn’s dad, Nazrul Hussain, also 19.
She said: “People are always surprised when I tell them Nazrul and I are still together.”
Beth was among young mums who spoke out after figures showed girls as young as 13, and women as old as 52, have given birth at the city’s Jessop Wing maternity hospital in the past 10 years.
Figures also showed more mums aged under 16 in the city are choosing to keep their babies rather than have abortions.
All the mums completing courses with the charity said becoming a parent had given them inspiration to succeed.
Dereece Dyce, 18, was hoping to become a midwife before she got pregnant with her daughter A’vayah while in her final year at Newfield School, Norton Lees.
Dereece, who lives in Southey and, like Beth, is still in a relationship with her baby’s dad, said: “I would like the phrase just to be ‘mum’ rather than teenage mum.
“Just because we are a bit younger doesn’t mean we are different. There’s nothing older mums can do that we can’t.”