Babies before 20

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I met Bernadette Barwise in my last year of high school and we became best friends. 👯‍♀ Our journeys in life took us on two completely different paths; I moved to South Africa to pursue a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. Bernie became a wonderful mother to two beautiful children and still managed to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. 👩🏫

We opted to an interview over Instagram on a Sunday as we were both in different countries at the time. Three positive pregnancy tests and one doctor’s visit later Bernie was plunged in to the world of young motherhood. 👩👦 As a sexually active female in her early twenties I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I found out I was pregnant. So my first question to her was ‘What were some of the thoughts that went through your mind when you found out that you were pregnant with Ruger (her first born)?’ 👶  

Bernie gave a very honest response over a voice note ‘I remember hearing Ruger’s heart beat for the first time and I can’t even explain the feelings I had...I had a lot of thoughts, I am eighteen, I have nothing but in that split second of hearing his heartbeat everything was just perfect even though everything was crumbling around me. In that moment it was just perfect!’ 😍

Bernadette and her partner decided they were going to tell her mother together but her mother saw the blood test needle mark on her harm and asked her if she was pregnant. Bernie couldn’t hide it from her and they burst into tears😢 ‘The hardest part for me is that, I know my mom was disappointed in me and she said that this is not what I wanted for you and she carried on crying. Instead of giving me a hug, saying we will get through this, she shut me out’🥺

My heart completely sank, I have never got to tell my mother I was pregnant. I had experienced my mother being disappointed in me and completely shutting me out. I have realised that one of the most complicated relationships we will have in our lives is with our mothers. 👩 Sometimes our mothers drive us to the point of insanity and other times they give us the best advice. At the end of the day, our mothers will always hold a special place in our hearts. 💖

When Bernadette was 7 months pregnant her mother turned a new leaf and started warming up to her. Luckily her partner’s mother was there to support her. 

Her story reminded me of a time I made a mistake and was completely shut out by my primary support system. The most unexpected person helped me get through the whole ordeal. When we are going through something life changing, it may feel like we are completely alone. 😰 God, Universe, mother earth, your higher self, whatever you believe in, there is always something looking out for you; sometimes there will be a person, sometimes it will be a quote, a tweet and sometimes you will find the strength to show up for you.💪

Bernie goes on to say with her adorable children playing in the background ‘I am not going to lie, throughout my entire pregnancy. In the back of my mind I still had the thought; oh you know...what if I don’t have this baby. 😓 Not that I didn’t love him. Of Course I loved him with my whole heart, throughout my entire pregnancy! but because I was unsure about a lot of things, I had that in the back of my mind...oh you know what if I never had this baby. But I had to own up to what I have done and stick to my decision of keeping Ruger’.

There will be times in our lives that we will have doubts about something we love. That does not mean that we love the thing or person any less, it just means that we are human. If you are a young mommy with a little one on the way and are experiencing these, know that it is okay. These momentary doubts do not have any effect on your ability to be a great mother. 🤰🏿 

My next question to Bernadette was ‘What is some of the backlash you have received as a young mother? This is what she had to say, ‘Nothing was said to my face but there was a lot of gossiping going on around town and I heard about it ‘via-via’, and people automatically think that you got pregnant that you are a slut, she is eighteen and she had her whole life ahead of her. 👧 But the worst is...and I noticed this in the first year of being a mom, people who are parents at 29 years old, that went through the exact same thing I went through in the first year of parenting, saw me as an unfit mother.’ 😞

Her response instantly made me wish that I could jump through the phone and give my friend a hug. We as society need to realise that everyone has a different journey in life and saying hurtful things doesn’t make us better people. We are all human therefore we are all bound to make life changing mistakes. We need start showing the kindness that we would want someone else to show if were in a similar situation. 🥺

Just like all the other mothers in the world. Bernie is no stranger to mommy melt downs and having feeling like she is just a mom or just a wife. Days like this can be extremely difficult and sometimes you just need to take a little time to figure out who you are. 😖 Bernadette goes on to say ‘It can be a challenge to figure out who you are and you can forget that often and it’s easier said than done’. Life is working process so take your time to do what you need to do and everything will fall into place. 🧩

Young mothers have been judged harshly by the world. When all they are doing is to provide the best for their children. As Bernie said to all the young mothers out there we solute you and take our hats off to you. 👒

Bernadette finishes off the interview with ‘if you decide to not keep the baby, then that is your choice and no one can put themselves in your shoes. In your heart, if you feel like if you can’t give the baby what you need to, then that's a very strong decision and it takes a lot out of you to decide and make that decision, so don’t be hard on yourself’. As long as you make your choice everything will fall into place. 🙂