Mother's Day: This is not a cry for help

Sunday 11 March 2018

This is not a cry for help. This is a call for change. 

shanae city hallOver the last two decades we have seen the government put a lot of effort into reducing the rates of teenage pregnancy. They have done this as a response to an ‘economic burden’ but they have not put to same efforts into supporting young mothers. 

Becoming a mother at any age is extremely tough and young mothers often face additional obstacles that those in power often don’t seem to care about or even acknowledge.

As I mentioned in my previous blog for International Women’s Day, there is a negative stigma attached to young mothers which influences the way society sees us and this stigma is reinforced by government policies which further disadvantage young mothers. 

I would like politicians to think about this especially. Why do we have systems in place which stifle a young woman’s ambitions when she falls pregnant? Young mothers face huge barriers when they attempt to complete their studies while pregnant or as a parent. After giving birth and returning to university in time for my last year, in my first meeting with my tutor I was advised to maybe ‘go home and give myself a year off’. I felt like that at every corner someone was tempting me to turn back.  Why isn’t our education system supportive and flexible enough to allow everyone to reach their full potential? 

When a young mother is ready to start or return to work they’re faced with another set of hurdles. This needs to change. Young mothers need to be supported and encouraged when they start work and I would like to see industries accommodating this with effective flexible working policies including flexible working from day one rather six months into a role. If I need flexible working, I need it from day one. Not having this option for six months is a huge barrier for mothers. 

Well this Mother’s Day I’m calling for change. I want to see a society which respects and values the paid and unpaid work that mothers undertake; where nursery fees are affordable and where women are encouraged to pursue their education or their career AND have a family, rather than being indirectly forced to sacrifice one for the other, and I hope that politicians and employers alike support my call. 

Happy Mother’s Day!