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Interview 22

Age at interview: 16
Brief Outline: Unplanned pregnancy at age 15. Pregnancy normal. Part of placenta retained after birth resulting in heavy bleeding. Coping well with motherhood.
Background: Children' 1, aged 6 months at time of interview. Occupations' Mother- student. Marital status' single. Ethnic background' White British.

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Getting pregnant when she was very young led her to break off the relationship with her boyfriend...

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How did you feel when you discovered you were pregnant, what happened?

I was upset. And I dumped my boyfriend because of it.

You dumped him?

Yes.

When you told him that you were pregnant how did he react?

Well, I didn't tell him. My mum told him.

Your mum told him? How come?

Because I didn't want to tell him, because I wasn't speaking to him. So my mum told him. And he didn't speak to us all the way through my pregnancy.

Did you not want his support at all?

No, because he didn't really talk to me while I was going out with him really.

And how did you feel?

I felt weird at first because I didn't really want a baby. But I didn't want to get an abortion because I don't like the sound of it. So I got asked off my auntie if she could have him, because my auntie can't have children. And she didn't know whether I was going to keep him or not, so she asked if she could have him. But I wanted to keep him.

When did you decide that you wanted to keep him rather than give him to your auntie?

When I was about three or four month.

Right. So, at the beginning though, if you can think about how you felt right at the beginning, what kind of thoughts were going through your head then?

I wanted to get him adopted because I was, I felt that, I felt as though I was too young and that I wouldn't be able to cope, and that I'd get called all sorts of names off people. But it all changed once I had him.

Can you remember what changed your mind, what, what it was that made you change your mind?

I think it was feeling him kicking for the first time. I think that's what changed my mind as well. And just feeling him moving around all the time. It's weird.

 
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She would have felt embarrassed at antenatal classes, and preferred the support organised by her...

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Did any of the midwives mention that there were classes?

Yeah, they suggested it and they give me leaflets. But I didn't want to go.

How come?

I don't know, I just felt a bit embarrassed.

Were you uncomfortable because it was going to be all probably married couples?

Probably. I thought about it, but then it wasn't that that'd like embarrass me. It's when they tell you to like kind of pretend and go through all your breathing, breathing and things. I think that's what made me embarrassed a bit, just thinking about it. So I didn't want to go. But the midwife, the SureStart midwife, she took us round the hospital and showed us like the delivery wards, and told us about all different deliveries you could have and pain relief and things. So that was helpful, knowing what it was like in the hospital, and knowing that there was somebody going to be there all the time, even during the night. So I was glad that somebody was going to be there.

Tell me more about the SureStart and how they help you or helped you?

They've got like loads of groups on that you can go to. There's like the Teen group, and Bumps and Beyond, and they sort out the Maybe group. They've got loads of learning classes where you go to learn about things in pregnancy and afterwards. They have like the Fathers' group as well.

Did you like it when you were going?

Yeah, I liked it at the Maybe group because it was people that I knew that was the same, in the same situation and things. And in Bumps and Beyond that was kind of the same, like there was still people my age going, there was people who's older going. So that was a good help, like listening to other people's pregnancies. And it's kind of learning a bit of what yours is going to be like - well, you're not quite sure what it's going to be like.

 
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She was scared of labour and did not like the thought of an epidural or gas and air.

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I was scared of the labour because everyone was saying that it was painful, so I was scared of that. And because everybody, nearly everybody else had had epidurals, they were just telling me to get one because I'll fly through it and it won't be painful and things like that. And it just frightened me, because my boyfriend's mum, when she had an epidural, they'd clipped her spine and left her paralysed for like a couple of days, and I didn't want to have the epidural just in case it happened to me. And then I didn't want the gas and air because, when I was watching it on the TV, it's the thought of the mask going on your face, I didn't like that. So I didn't really, I wanted pain relief like about a week before my due date, but then once I was in there, well, I was fine. And it's awful when you go over your due date, that frightens you.

What did you worry about?

I don't know, that he was going to get too big to, like so I'd have to have a Caesarean. And I was frightened of that as well, I didn't want to get that.

 
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Before the birth she worried about pain and the possible side effects from an epidural, but...

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Did you have any pain relief during the delivery? Nothing?

No.

Didn't want any?

No. I was scared of the epidural because I was scared that it might paralyse us, because I've heard of it happening. And I didn't really, well, I didn't really need none. But everyone was saying to get the epidural because it was, the labour was so painful. But then when I, once I was in labour, before I went to the hospital I was, I'd been getting my pains like every five minutes for the past couple of hours, so I'd got used to it all. And I was just walking around the room, just to stop my legs from hurting. That was all.

So you found the pain manageable?

Yeah.

Was there ever a point in the pregnancy where you felt, I don't know, frightened or thinking, 'Oh, my God, what's going on?' or...?

Near the end. I think it was about a week before my due date.

Tell me about that?

I just, I was scared of the labour because everyone was saying that it was painful, so I was scared of that. And because everybody, nearly everybody else had had epidurals, they were just telling me to get one because I'll fly through it and it won't be painful and things like that. And it just frightened me, because my boyfriend's mum, when she had an epidural, they'd clipped her spine and left her paralysed for like a couple of days, and I didn't want to have the epidural just in case it happened to me. And then I didn't want the gas and air because, when I was watching it on the TV, it's the thought of the mask going on your face, I didn't like that. So I didn't really, I wanted pain relief like about a week before my due date, but then once I was in there, well, I was fine.

 
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Her family and the baby's father sometimes look after the baby to give her a break, but she...

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So in terms of your social life, all your mates are doing whatever they do, you know, people your same age. Presumably your life's a little bit different, you can't just go out whenever you want and do whatever you want, can you?

Not during the week, but on a weekend, when he goes to his dad's or goes to my mum's, I always get to go out and meet friends down town. And like go out with my cousins that live down the road, I go out with them as well. So I do get to go out on a weekend, but in the week I don't, I just sit in the house. Or I'll go into town and take him for a walk and things, buy him loads of things.

Do you mind that you haven't got the kind of freedom that other 16-year-olds have?

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I wish that I could just go out for a walk on my own for half an hour, or like for an hour or things. But then, if I ask my stepmum to look after him while I go out, as soon as I walk out the door I don't want to go out, I want to come back in. It's weird. Because you can't wait for him to go away for the weekend, but then as soon as he's gone you can't wait for him to come back, because you miss him straight away. It's awful.

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