I’m proof that being a young mum doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.
Being a young mum is a tough gig; people you don’t know already have preconceived ideas and opinions about the type of person you might be. We’re often categorised instantly and looked down upon. There are looks of shock and disappointment everywhere you turn, staring, whispering and shaking of heads. This is how I remember being treated as a young mother.
At age fifteen I fell pregnant. No matter where I went, the judgmental comments and actions of other people me made me feel uncomfortable. I would intentionally wear bigger clothes to hide my growing belly because I felt embarrassed, and yes, it worked until I was pushing my baby in a pram – then there was nowhere to hide. My family made life no easier, most telling me I was too young and that I should do the right thing and abort. That was never an option for me, I chose to keep my unborn baby and that also meant I distanced myself from my family. So, I was fifteen years old, pregnant, living away from home and without family support. Yet, I was determined!
In February 1999, just two months after my sixteenth birthday (and ten days past my due date), I was admitted to hospital to be induced. As a young mum I had no idea about labour and what I was going to endure. I arrived at the hospital, they put the drip in my hand, broke my waters and within a few hours my pain went from zero to one hundred. I thought I was going to die! I was too scared to ask for pain relief because I didn’t want the midwives to think that because I was sixteen, I was weak. The doctors came in hours later and advised me that I could now push (hmmm push what?). Four hours later, exhausted and eager for my baby to get out, the doctor informed me my baby was in distress and they would have to get her out, which meant an epidural (needle in the back….Yep I was dead for sure) and episiotomy (still freaking out about the needle… Wait. What cut? Where!?). Finally, after 26 long hours, I gave birth to my baby girl, Symonne.
From the moment I saw her it was love at first sight, and I knew from that very second everything would be fine. I was determined to raise her in a loving environment with good morals and, most importantly, I wanted her to know she was loved and wanted. I also knew then that I wanted a big family, and today that is what I have.
I now have eight children
My husband Ramsey and I now have eight children, Symonne, 18, Celinna, 15, Tifinney, 13, and Sebastian 12. Twins Alesha and Ethan, 10, Amaliyah, 4 and Aliyrah, 2. In between having all of our children we also got married in December 2011.
Both Ramsey and I are 34, we own our house, we have two cars, two businesses, and I work full time. Our eldest started university this year and has started dating. The middle three children are all in high school, the twins are in grade 5, and our second youngest started Kinder. Our household is mega-busy but we are organised and most of the time our house is quiet (yes, seriously).
My husband and I are hard workers; Ramsey runs an online store whilst doing school drop off and pick up, homework and dinner. I work full-time as a manager for a data marketing company and at night run my online store, as well as help juggle kids, clean the house and maintain my relationship with my husband.
After all these years I look back and know I made the best decision for me at the young age of fifteen. I am living proof that being a young mum does not mean your life is over, or that you will never become anything. You become what you are willing to work for!
In saying that, I do know the struggles and how hard it is. I have always been very open and honest with my children, I have explained that having children while you’re young is hard, your life gets put on hold as you become responsible for another human beings life, and that my upbringing was very different from theirs. My dream for my kids was for them to focus on education whilst I assisted them to create achievable goals and to support them through it all. Never let anyone make you feel you are not good enough or are incapable because only you can drive your future.
Sharon is mum to Symonne, Celinna, Tifinney, Sebastian, twins Alesha & Ethan, Amaliyah and Aliyrah.
They live in Melbourne, Australia
Between motherhood and working full time, Sharon runs her own online store, Lullabye Baby. You can find her website here.