Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What advice would I give a young expectant mother

I have been thinking a lot about this lately... mostly because where I work I see a lot of young girls who have just had a baby or are expecting soon... the problem, for me, is that some of these girls are 16-19 years old, and have not experienced life yet.    Actually, the funny thing it is the expectant fathers who comes to me for advice... strange that one.  For them, I just tell them that they will need to be there for the child, start putting money aside.. even if there is any do doubt of paternity from the start, when the child is born get a DNA, then make sure that if it is their child, know that they might not be together with the child's mother and no matter what the child comes first and that their new main priority in life is that child (if theirs).

OK.. because my advice would be coloured  by my life experience  and because I sometimes know their parents (I know this is really an awful thing to say) they think that having a child will be the "solution" to their problems... In the UK it is a misconception that if you are a young single mother you will be given social housing, that you will earn more on being on welfare that working (which unfortunately in some cases is true) but taking this into account, I thought I say what I would to any of them if they came to me for advices, so it made me think, as I have always said that if a young pregnant girl came to me for advice I would tell them about adoption being one of the options they have.

Of course the first thing I would make sure of is that they are pregnant... or maybe I should use a English term... preggers, I would make sure that they have gone to their GP and got their pregnancy confirmed.

There is four options, the fourth option is abortion... and personally for me, it is not something I agree with (for me), so I could not advice someone about that, if they want to consider this I would refer them to the Mary Stopes Clinic or somewhere like that.

So on to my so called advice... I call it "so called" because what ever advice I would give is based upon my experiences and I cannot tell anyone that what I say would be right for them.

So let's pretend that someone called Isabella has come to me for advice so roughly here is what I would say, I'm actually basing Isabella on a couple of girls I know, so the advice is based on their situation:

As I see it, Isabella has three options:
  1. Keeping the baby
  2. Placing the child into temporary foster care
  3. Adoption
Option 1: Keeping the child:

My first question would of course be about the baby's father... are you still together, would he support you, and to remember that even if the two of you don't work out... you cannot let your feeling for each other affect the child.

Then I would tell Isabella that having a child means that her life will be forever changed... her priority is no longer which new Paul's Boutique's bag she can buy, her nights out with friends is no longer an option, but it is all worth it.  This little child would be the be all and end all for her... there are no stronger love she will ever feel.

If you are worried, believe it or not there are more help out there than you think... your family, your friends and even the State... but please know that if you decide upon keeping your baby your life is no longer your own.

For one, you need to tell the baby's father and your family.... You might no longer be together with the baby's father and that should not affect the child.  If the relationship is not working, it will not work just because you have baby.  Whatever happens next, the baby's father needs to be a part of the options and you have to think about him as the baby's father and not your boyfriend (or even ex).  As for your family, OK sometimes they might not "approve" and you will quickly find out who your real friends are.... they are not the ones who will say they will be happy to babysit... but the ones who says something stupid like...."OK... I'm more than willing to babysit... but if you need private medical care... I can only afford £xxx" .  I'm not saying this to be horrible but a real friend will understand that you have a difficult choice to make and want you to make the right choice for you and your baby.  Raising a baby is harder than you think but worth it in the long run.

Option 2: Placing the child in temporary foster care

I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but in the UK, you will have the option of asking Social Services for help... and as horrible as it sounds, to place your child in temporarily foster care might be good... yes it is a risk, but it will give you a chance to get your own place, get some help in making sure that you fully understand that the baby will be your main priority from now on.  Since I do not know about all the ins and outs you will need to speak someone in the know.

Option 3: Adoption

Ok, this is what I can tell you about...

Firstly, it is important to remember what ever decision you make now will affect you for the rest of your life... no matter what you decide you will always have"what ifs" many years down the line.

If you decide upon this option, you should know that it will always be with you.. you will always wonder if you made the right decision.  Your decision would impact on ever aspect in you life.  All your future relationships will be affected by this...and it might even impact on your ability to have more children.  You see, some women who give their child up will suffer something called secondary infertility, so there is no guarantee that you can have another child in the future.

Some people think that you can "forget" about your child... it will be impossible... over the next months when this child grows inside you, the bond you forms is unique and impossible to break... from your side.  The important thing to remember is that YOU will have an unique bond with this child but again is no guarantee that in the future, your child will have the same feelings for you.   Even though you think of yourself as the mother of the child you will never be their mum, they will have grown up and (hopefully) had a mum and dad who have been there for them through thick and thin.   Just don't think that 20+ years you can suddenly appear in their life and be MUM.   The adoptive parents will possible see you as a treat to their role in your (you are all the child's parents) child's life.  Please remember that they will have been told some lies about you and your reasons for relinquishing your child.

If you still think about adoption, make sure that you get an "open adoption"... even if it is only letterbox contact.  Make sure your yearly, monthly or weekly letters is never missed, if your child or their adoptive parents do not respond, carry on with your letters.  Then if you are finally lucky enough to be reunited.... no matter the amount of bad stuff throw at you by your child's adoptive parents (if any) you have to turn the other cheek... you will have to rise above it and be the bigger person. Your child might even try to play you against their adoptive parents.

Also, you child will be deeply affected by your decision... even if they will not admit it... they might be angry with you... but remember they did not have a choice in your decision.

After your child is born, make sure that you hold your child and spend some time with your child, before making your final decision and PLEASE REMEMBER YOU STILL CAN DECIDE TO KEEP YOUR CHILD.

The  final thing I could tell Isabella, is that if she made this choice and she signs the papers, it is a decision she will have to live with all her life... there are no going back, she will have to learn to live with it... hindsight is a wonderful thing but it is just that... no matter what you decide you will have "what if" moments, but if it feels right at the tine it is right under the circumstance... no matter what others tells you.

Some of you might not like my "so called" advice and think it is rubbish or bad, especially because I have not said see a counsellor,  but at least I can say it is honest and from my heart.

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