At Girl Got Faith we try to equip young women to walk boldly and successfully on their journey with God. We truly believe that sexual intimacy is something that God desires us to save until marriage between Husband and Wife, but we know that sometimes that’s not what ends up happening.
Recent estimates found 50,000 mothers in the UK were under the age of 20 years old. One of the greatest risks to young Mums’ is depression and feelings of low self-esteem and isolation. Having the support and encouragement of a loving community can literally be life-changing for both Mum and baby.
Sadly, church can often be one of the scariest places for a young mother because of fear of being shamed and judged, when it should be the first place that anyone can come just as they are, and receive grace, love, and true community.
So to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we spoke to a fabulous young Mum called Sophie, who will be celebrating her first Mother’s Day! We believe that in all circumstance Mums’ are amazing and new life is something to be celebrated.
Hey Sophie! Can you tell us a bit about what life was like at the time you discovered you were pregnant?
So I was at University and I was just a normal student. I didn’t know what path my life was going to take. I went on holiday and I started to feel so unwell and that’s when I found out I was pregnant. It was very soon into my relationship with my partner, even though I’d known him for years. My life was basically anything but the environment I’d want to have a child in. The adjustments I had to make were crazy.
Wow, so what was your initial reaction?
At first I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t know any other Mums’. Being Catholic there is a huge pressure to not have a termination, however, we did consider it. Now I can’t believe that it even crossed my mind, but at the time it’s definitely something we considered. We kept it to ourselves and looked on websites and found one that was basically a discussion script for me and my partner. It really helped us to talk it through and at the end of it we were like “we can do this.” The love we would have for the baby would override any doubt.
How did you tell other people?
At our age (20) it’s kind of a fine line where you never know how to react when someone says they are pregnant. Some people at our age have everything sorted and some are out partying all the time. Girls were a lot more positive but boys were more cynical. The overwhelming response was positive, which really confirmed we had made the right choice! Because both my parents had passed away it was finally some good news to tell people – a positive announcement. All my family were supportive, just worried about me finishing uni, that was the only obstacle!
That’s totally understandable. So how have you managed to juggle your university work and being a new Mum?
I am currently in semester 2 of second year. I finished semester one of first year but they wouldn’t let me continue while I was pregnant and I had to restart. They’ve been helpful since I’ve been back but I don’t think they expected me to come back at all. It was encouraging but at the same time it was a motivation to prove them wrong. The people that co-ordinate the course arranged it so I only go in 3 times a week and then I’ll stay from 9-5 and get my work done so that home is a special place for quality family time.
And how did your church react when they found out?
I lived with my grandma and she is a very strict Catholic and so to tell her was really scary – I was worried I’d be shunned or that I’d hurt her, but she has been fine and she loves the baby so much. I was nervous about being judged. I think in this day and age people are coming to understand that if you can love a child and care for it them that’s all that matters.
I was going to a church but when I was pregnant I stopped going cos I felt silly. I thought people were going to look at me or my grandma negatively. When I gave birth, I decided to move churches and have a fresh start with more activities for children. I’ve been going to a different church now for about 2 and a half months and everyone there has been so nice. Nobody seems to look like they are judging or anything and the Priest is so lovely and I am getting my baby baptised next week! It’s a course with other young Mums’ and it feels nice to be in an environment where you’re coming to celebrate your faith not be judged. So yeah, so far it’s been fine and I haven’t received any negative vibes, which is what I was really worried about.
That’s so fantastic to hear! Have you got any advice for young Mums’ that don’t feel supported by their church?
One of the basics of Christianity is to love one another and the fact that some churches discriminate against someone because they are pregnant doesn’t align with that. A girl that is pregnant has actually been brave enough to choose to have that child, when they could have terminated the pregnancy secretly and carried on as normal. So they’ve been brave enough to go against the norm. I’d encourage any young Mum to hold your head high and remember you’re brave, and some people won’t see that. But as long as in your heart you know you have done the right thing, it doesn’t matter what anybody else wants to think.
That’s so true. What are some ways that we can all support young people that might be expecting?
Well, before the baby comes, remember to take everything with a pinch of salt. When you’re pregnant your hormones go crazy and you can be a bit erratic. Pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to be housebound so invite your friends out and make her feel comfortable. Even things like coming along to appointments. I was lucky because my partner was able to have time off work but there was a few appointments where I had to go by myself. I could feel people were looking at me and judging me, so even little things like that to help confidence. After the child is born it’s just working around the Mums’ schedule. Don’t over think anything. She will be going through such a huge change in her life and she will need you. I even appreciated trips to the garden centre just to get me out the house!
If you could go back in time to when you just discovered you were pregnant what would you tell yourself?
I’d say everything is going to be fine. Take time and don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re going to have bad days and that’s normal. You aren’t the only girl in the world that’s going through this.
That’s what’s hard for young Mums’, pregnancy in itself isn’t that hard it’s just such an isolating time and you feel like you’re the only person that this has happened to. Try and find other Mums’ in similar situations who know what you’re going through and who you can talk to about questions or worries.
Thanks so much for speaking to us Sophie you’re a super Mum and deserve to get truly spoilt this Mother’s Day! And to any other GGF Mums’, WE LOVE YOU!