Fam­ily aside, I was mostly on my own

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

Sophia Mus-Tal­bot, 16, is in the first few weeks of moth­er­hood with son Spencer. She is cur­rently study­ing to be­come a child care provider. “When the news got out that I was preg­nant, the one thing I kept hear­ing over and over again was, ‘Wow, you’re the last per­son we ever ex­pected to be­come a teenage mum’ and in my heart, I agreed.

My whole life I’d been vo­cal in my de­sire to go to univer­sity to study ei­ther jour­nal­ism or psy­chol­ogy and here I was hav­ing a baby. It wasn’t the orig­i­nal plan, but even from day one I knew I could al­ways work it out as I went along.

My par­ents were sup­port­ive, but of course be­ing 15, ev­ery­one else tried to con­vince me to ter­mi­nate the preg­nancy. My boyfriend and I broke up, friend­ships fell apart over my de­ci­sion to keep the baby and it soon be­came clear that fam­ily aside, I was mostly on my own.

For­tu­nately, the Royal Ho­bart hos­pi­tal had a great young moth­ers group which as­sisted with sup­port, par­ent­ing cour­ses and in­for­ma­tion about ac­cess­ing things like ren­tal sup­port, and that helped get me through while I fin­ished Year 10.

This year I started do­ing a diploma of early childcare ed­u­ca­tion and it’s been great although I must ad­mit I was very en­vi­ous of my friends do­ing their col­lege ex­ams a few weeks ago be­cause I had so badly wanted to do three years of col­lege (Years 11 and 12 are re­ferred to as col­lege in Tas­ma­nia) be­cause there were so many sub­jects I wanted to do!

“It’s so far re­moved from the life I have now, but a week ago I had Spencer and he has re­ally been the most gor­geous thing. Mum Mum’ss taken long ser­vice leave to help me out which is great as it al­lows me to study and I’m plan­ning on start­ing work in a childcare cen­tre next year.

Peo­ple are al­ways go­ing to get caught up with stereo­types when they think of teenage mums, but I’m the same per­son I’ve al­ways been. I’m still plan­ning on liv­ing that full life I dreamt of less than a year ago, and once I’ve worked for a bit and saved enough of a de­posit for a house, I’m go­ing to go to uni, and catch up to where I left off. The only dif­fer­ence is, with this plan, I’ll have an amaz­ing lit­tle pas­sen­ger along for the ride. Sophia Mus-Tal­bot, 16, with new­born son Spencer. Pic­ture:

Luke Bowden

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