Leading up to Christmas, I want to share with you FIVE GIFTS of LIFE. These are five real stories of local women who fell pregnant young, outside of their plans, and made good anyway. Each Friday between now and Christmas, I’ll publish another. First was Rachel. Second was Stacey. Here’s the third: Lucy.
“I was scared to tell people I was pregnant.”
Lucy sits comfortably beside Evie who is asleep, nestled against her hip. The blonde-haired toddler will be two in June. Lucy contentedly strokes her daughter’s hair and begins to share candidly about how she came to be a mother at the age of 16.
“I was finishing year 10 at Queechy High School,” she says.
That’s when she first had suspicions that her expanding belly was more than a bit of bloating. Still, the softly spoken teen stayed tight-lipped until her stepfather noticed the changes and bought her a pregnancy test.
“I already knew what the result would be – I was 19 weeks pregnant!” Lucy laughs.
She was lucky. Lucy’s news was met with love and deep support from her boyfriend Jake and family. In fact, the first hint of negativity around her pregnancy was experienced when she went to her doctor for a dating scan.
“She asked if we wanted to get rid of it and when we said no, she pretty much said my life would go down the drain.”
Lucy’s walnut eyes flicker briefly and she smiles.
“I was shocked she said that.”
Her hair matches her eyes in colour and her skin is as clear and milky as a newborn.
“I always wanted to be a mum,” she continues, “I always told Jake that I wanted to be a parent and I didn’t care when.”
Evie stirs beside her and Lucy reaches a hand to reassure her.
“I loved being pregnant.”
She loved being able to feel her baby move within her and she loved having that special time together, just the two of them, when Lucy was the only one physically connected to this new little life.
Lucy continued her schooling at Launceston College until her due date. It was hard work and exhausting at times, but Jake and her family “looked after me,” she says. They all live under the same roof – Jake, Lucy and Evie along with Lucy’s mum, stepfather and younger brother. It’s a blended family providing the essential support needed – not to mention a live-in babysitting service!
Lucy remembers Evie’s birth with bright clarity.
“She was born on Sunday morning at 2:59am,” she says, explaining a complication-free, natural birth.
“I remember the first words I said to her were, ‘hello’ and ‘you’re beautiful’! We were so happy.”
Lucy, now 18, has been on a steep learning curve, but one that holds such relevance to all areas of her life, including her career choice. Last year she picked up where she left off with her studies, completing a Certificate Two in Community Services (Working With Children) and this year she is continuing with a Certificate Three in Early Childhood Education and Care.
“I want to work in a child care centre until I can save enough money to buy a house and start a family day care – then I can look after Evie as well as looking after other people’s kids.”
Evie is rubbing her eyes, looking around the room in a sleepy daze. Lucy gently lifts her onto her lap, smoothing the flounces of her pink skirt. She hugs her close, allowing her to wake slowly in the safety of her arms.
An 18-year-old and a two-year-old.
A mother and her daughter.
Living proof that life doesn’t “go down the drain” when a young mum chooses to keep her baby.
*All names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
Are you facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy?
Before making a decision, why not check out some of these sites where you’ll find information, understanding and support.
Babymum Australia: for mothers under the age of 21.
Not Born Yet: for women grappling with a tough decision.