Supporting teen moms
I am a local author, Parent24 columnist and mom based in Simon's Town. My book The Girl Who Couldn't Say No: Memoir of a Teenage Mom is available on my website.
Having been a teen mom, teenage pregnancy is a topic very close to my heart. I have seen that in the communities around me, while there may be some limited support available for those going through crisis pregnancies, there is very little support or encouragement for those moms who choose to keep their babies.
Teenage mothers are vilified, judged and ostracised by their friends, families and community at large - seen as bad parents and not given the respect and encouragement they need to be good mothers. Not given a chance to learn to be good mothers, as every single first time parent has to do. Loneliness and isolation are often huge issues affecting their mental and emotional health and ability to be good mothers to their children.
Young moms have the same social and emotional needs as ANY new mom of any age, but are often subtly or blatantly excluded from joining in the usual "moms and tots" kind of group. I've always believed that regardless of her economic, educational or family position - a mother who feels proud of what she's doing will always do a better job for her children.
Of course there are plenty of mothers of all ages doing lousy jobs - but you cannot generalise and paint every teen mom as a promiscuous, abusive or neglectful.
The way I see it, you're either rooting for moms to succeed, or for them to fail. I know which side I'm on.
I am starting a teen / young mom support group in Fish Hoek for girls in the area. Starting small, at first we will simply be a "coffee and cake" type of group where moms can meet with others in the same position, have a cup of tea and talk without fear of judgment.
Later, as word spreads and we're able to do more, I'd like to grow towards offering practical support and advice, 2nd hand clothing, childcare, help with completing education etc.
Once we have gauged the response we will appeal to the public for donations to keep us going.
Please help by spreading the word about our first meeting. Details are below. Please contact me should you require further info.
Are you a young or teenage mom?
Do you feel alone or stressed?
Need to talk?
Need to make new friends?
Come and join us for coffee and cake
Bring your kiddies along
Meet other moms, have a chat & relax
We’ll listen & support each other
Where: False Bay Hospital Hall, 17th Ave, Fish Hoek
When: Saturday 18 December 2010
Time: 10h30 – 12h00