FALLING pregnant at 19 wasn't Tracy Kiss' plan – but she's delighted she did.
The 30-year-old personal trainer and blogger, from Buckinghamshire, believes women who give birth in their teens make BETTER mothers than those in their 30s.
She claims young mums snap back into shape quicker, have more energy and relate more easily to their children, meaning they're better behaved and happier.
Tracy has shared her controversial views following new British Pregnancy Advisory Service figures that show teen pregnancies are at their lowest level in a quarter of a century.
Researchers put this down to Gen-Z having less sex as a result of increased interaction online, drinking less alcohol and wider pressure around exams and future achievement.
Here, Tracy tells Fabulous Digital why she believes being a teen mum is a good thing…
My first pregnancy wasn’t planned – it was actually the last thing in the world I expected to happen.
I was on the pill at the time but later found out that I had a hormone imbalance, which may have interfered with my contraception. I would often go months at a time without a period.
It wasn’t until I fainted at work and was taken to hospital that I was told I was almost half-way through a pregnancy.
I was single, young, alone and scared. I'd had no intention of becoming a mum so young
My entire world came crashing down. I was single – the pregnancy was the result of a brief fling – young, alone and scared. I'd had no intention of becoming a mum so young.
As a young pregnant 19-year-old I was petrified. I mourned the loss of my pre-pregnancy body, felt abandoned, unloved and alone.
But when Millisent arrived in October 2007 it was the best thing that ever happened to me. She taught me the meaning of unconditional love and selflessness.
To go from not having a care in the world to suddenly being solely responsible for a tiny person's life was mind-blowing.
Becoming a single teenage mum was a wake-up call. It made me realise that I could do everything asked of me – because no one else was going to do it.
As a teenage mother people would often stare at me. I felt unfairly judged and looked down upon, even more so for being a single parent.
I think it’s a common misconception that older mothers are better parents
But much like overcoming illness, the experiences we go through give us the skills to better cope in life.
I certainly wouldn’t be as successful and motivated today if I hadn’t been a teen mum.
My babies – I had Gabriele when I was 25 – gave me a cause to work hard for when others struggled to find meaning in life.
I think it’s a common misconception that older mothers are better parents.
Women who become first-time mums in their teens make better parents than those in their 30s or 40s.
I believe if I'd been 10 or so years older before becoming a mother then I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with my children now.
For a start, being older I would have had less energy and therefore less patience.
As a teen mum I just got on with it, found my feet and became responsible and capable because at the time I didn’t know any different
I wouldn’t be as enthusiastic to speak to people after months of sleepless nights as I was in my teens.
My body snapped back to its pre-pregnancy size through fitness post-birth, which in turn gave me the confidence to date and find love again. I’ve never been happier than I am now at the age of 30 with two children.
If I’d have been alone at 40 with a newborn baby I’d be more tired, less happy with my body, less energetic and far more stressed from the shock of living my life for myself instead of putting others first. Sometimes age and the innocence of ignorance is a good thing.
As a teen mum I just got on with it, found my feet and became responsible and capable because at the time I didn’t know any different.
If I’d have had a lifetime of selfishness, lazy Sundays and partying it would have been a whole lot harder for me to give up and begin a family later on in life. You can’t miss what you’ve never had.
Being a teen mother made me into the best parent and woman that I could be, it taught me so much and made me unbreakable.
I see my relationship with my daughter very much as a friendship – we’re more like best friends or sisters
I'm friends with my children and that is because of my age. I'm a 'cool' mum.
I was very much over-protected as a child, told that I couldn’t do things because I was too young and it wasn’t safe.
That had a knock on effect and I felt incapable and immature, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’ve given my children the respect and ability to be responsible themselves and as a result of it they are far more mature, well-rounded and motivated individuals.
I see my relationship with my daughter very much as a friendship – we’re more like best friends or sisters.
My children know that they can come to me with any and every concern without being judged or offended.
I’m always honest and open with them, which allows them to be the same with me in return.
I appreciate their individuality and allow them to express themselves in whichever way they choose.
I see older mums in the park having temper tantrums with little ones and stressing out unable to cope
I think older parents have such high expectations for their children, which leaves them constantly stressed, on edge and feeling like failures.
You can’t live your life through your children pushing your wants and needs onto them, you have to allow them to be individuals.
I certainly parent my own children differently to the way that I was raised and as a direct result of our friendship, understanding, mutual respect and constant fun we have the most beautiful life. We’re a team and do everything and anything for one another.
I see older mums in the park having temper tantrums with little ones and stressing out unable to cope.
I run about doing cartwheels and climbing trees with my children, euphoric to have the uplifting relationship of friendship through parenthood.
Meanwhile, my girl is living proof teenage pregnancy can be a positive experience. She’s an A* student who thrives on responsibility. She doesn’t beg me for money.
If my daughter were to tell me she was expecting a baby at the age of 19 it wouldn’t be the end of the world
She dreams of becoming a lawyer or architect and goes to grammar school, can cook her own food, clean her room without prompting, wash her own clothes, complete her homework and set herself goals all with positivity, enthusiasm and a smile on her face.
To think of adults my age doing as much makes me laugh – most don’t even know how to operate a washing machine and rely on handouts from their parents or stay in bed until 2pm on a weekend nursing a hangover.
If my daughter were to tell me she was expecting a baby at the age of 19 it wouldn’t be the end of the world – she’s seen first-hand that having children doesn’t limit your ability for success and happiness in life, it creates it!
Which areas of the UK have the highest rate of teen pregnancies?
- Middlesbrough (43.8)
- St Helens (37.1)
- Halton (34.9)
- Hartlepool (33.2)
- North East Lincolnshire (33.2)
- Blackpool (32.9)
- Hyndburn (32.8)
- Kingston upon Hull (32.7)
- Norwich (31.3)
- Salford (30.7)
Source: ONS for 2017
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