Scared and daunted by the prospect of becoming a mum, but surrounded by a supportive family and a loving partner, Deirdre shares her journey from party time to nappy time in her new memoir and pregnancy guide Growing Up Pregnant.
Here are 7 Things She Learnt As A Teenage Mum:
1. Being a young mum is nothing to be ashamed of. I think it’s easy to judge the young couple that choose to have a baby before they have all their ducks in a row. But there is a great argument for having kids younger.
Just because you may be doing things in a slightly different order to what society deems ‘the right way’ doesn’t stop you from being the person you want to be, or having the life you want. Being a young mum has opened my whole self to a greater appreciation of all humankind, all that we can achieve through love and kindness, and to accept that no one is perfect.
2. There is a life after nightclubs! The miracle of a new life more than compensates for the late night/early morning circuit. Even though the tiredness you experience is off the scale, the love you have for your baby is bigger and better and more unconditional than any transitory passion you will find on the dance floor.
Staying up all night nursing your baby and watching them develop is sweeter than any strawberry mojito. I would take nappy time over party time, every time.
3. Support is key. It’s a huge adjustment to make when a baby comes along, especially as a young mum. Whilst your friends are out there having fun, you are having to change in so many ways.
It is vital to say yes to offers of support and not try to do everything yourself. Although you are wearing the cape of superhero mother it’s ok to ask for help! For me, my support mostly came from my now husband, family members and a few key friends that stuck by me. There are a lot of pregnancy books out there but none of them really resonated with me.
So I wrote my book to offer support and friendly honest advice to other mums-to-be.
4. Managing money. I’ve worked menial jobs, part time jobs, anything to keep me circulating in society and give me much needed funds but still allow me quality time for bonding with the baby. I’ve grown to understand that you are not defined by what you do or how much money you earn but who you are and what you give back to others. Money really can’t buy happiness, what your baby really needs is love, not the most expensive pram on the high street.
5. The real meaning of patience. I’d always led a fairly hedonistic lifestyle, always onto the next adventure and not being fully present in the moment. All of a sudden I found myself taking moments to stop.
I gave myself time to get my body back after pregnancy, I gave myself time to learn how to breastfeed, I gave myself time to win at motherhood (still trying to win). I learned the beauty of being patient with my body, my mind, and with people. It’s a word I always go back to when I just need to stop.
6. Good nutrition. Before I fell pregnant, like many teenagers, a nutritious diet was not a big priority for me! But I’ve realised how important nutritious food is for my own body, and therefore a growing baby.
Even if you think beans on toast is adventurous, there is a lot of joy to be found cooking up wholesome meals which for me is a form of meditation now.
It’s incredible how much you can save by swapping takeouts for cooked meals and how good you feel when you fuel your body with goodness, giving you more energy for changing nappies!
7. Life goes on, really it does! Life is not over when you have children, everything you want out of life is still achievable. And you grow and change and become a better person who learns what it’s like to put someone else before yourself.
Teenagers are fundamentally naval gazing individuals, but suddenly when you become a mum you are not the centre of the universe.
And guess what? This is not a bad thing! There is no right time to have children, and if you have your first baby at 19, 31, 37 then know you are lucky to be part of the miracle that is the cycle of life.
Motherhood is an amazing and life enriching experience there to be embraced.
Growing Up Pregnant, A Young Woman’s Journey To Motherhood by Deirdre Curley is published by Pinter & Martin £9.99 Twitter @deirdrescurley. Buy it here