Fans of the ‘broken Britain’ rhetoric got a chance to air their rusty old opinions this week as news was announced of the UK’s youngest mother. She gave birth aged just 12. She became pregnant whilst still in primary school, which is a terrifying thought. She met her now-13-year-old boyfriend in the park and a year later they’re still together and parents to a baby girl. They’re ridiculously, heart-breakingly young, of course, although their ability to stick at a relationship puts many adults three times their age to shame.
This too-young mum only told her parents that she was pregnant a month before she was due to give birth. No wonder. Can you imagine how confused and scared she was? And can you imagine her parents’ reaction? Your daughter, a baby herself, announces that in four weeks’ time she’s due to have a baby of her own. The baby is here now, but the shock may not fade for a long time.
Nobody wants to become a grandparent before they hit 30. It’s devastating to think of someone so young becoming a mother. Many parents would be angry and ashamed. That’s understandable, but we’re seeing something different here. What’s impressive is that the girls’ parents are actively and publicly batting away the public vilification predictably being thrown at their child. Love, for a change, is replacing fear.
The radio station LBC received a call from a man claiming to be the young mum’s father. It would be odd to pretend to be that person so we had to take him on trust. I hope it was him, because he demonstrated what unconditional, marvellous parenting looks like. He was honest about his distress for his daughter but refused to be drawn into a conversation about shame. He was proud of his little girl, he said, and would do everything to support her, emotionally and financially.
This young dad – only 29 himself – is standing by his daughter whilst the rest of the country looks down on her. He’s not asking anyone for help and he doesn’t care about anyone’s disapproval. He just wants to be there for his family. No matter what anyone thinks, the fact is that this young mum now has a baby to raise and she’ll need all the help she can get. In her dad, she has a fine example to follow. This baby might be luckier than you think.