I became a mum at the age of 19, just left college and I still lived with my parents. All of this for some women would be tough enough. Some people would class me as a ‘young mum’ and that is fine if they want to class me as that but what they don’t realise is that even at only 19, I had to experience a few tough things as well as becoming a mummy.
When I say tough things, I mean when Rory was born. What I haven’t spoken about is my pregnancy with Elsa and how I felt and how it affected me as mum when Rory was born. My pregnancy with Elsa was quite straightforward until I got to 36 weeks when I started to have a few episodes of reduced movement. This went on to happen a couple of times over a few weeks and I remember going for a scan up my local hospital and they couldn’t understand why Elsa had stopped moving. Her heart rate and everything else was perfect but we never found out why she randomly just stopped moving. The hospital made the decision to induce to, just to be on the safe side. After being in hospital for 2 days, Elsa was born. The birth was an ok experience and I managed to do it with just gas and air.
17 days after giving birth, Rory was born. At this time I was still living with my parents so this meant that I was on hand to take over looking after the house and my other siblings while my parents were with Rory. Living at home wasn’t ideal but in the grand scheme of things, I helped so much and it lifted some worry off my parents shoulders. Rory went on to have his stoma operation and as much as I want to be at the hospital to see him, I had a new-born to look after. It was hard. Elsa was so tiny and at the same time, I wanted to be there for Rory but I couldn’t be as much as I wanted. Being on the other side of those NICU doors because Elsa wasn’t allowed in there.
I had to balance being a new mum and being introduced to the world of Down Syndrome. I had to learn everything about having a baby at the same time as worrying if my brother was actually going to come home. I wasn’t the nicest experience for me and at the time, I guess I just got on with it but looking back now. I don’t know how I coped. I am proud of myself for being as strong as I was and being able to face the fact that even though I wanted to be by Rory’s side all the time I couldn’t because I had this tiny baby that was my own to love and care for. It was liked being pulled in 2 different directions at once.
Elsa has grown up to learn everything she wants to about Rory. If she asks a question, then I will answer it honestly. It is important to me that she understands Rory’s conditions and how they make him unique.
It was a tough time to be a new mum at 19 and at the same time become a sister to a baby that almost lost his life. I have now told myself that if anyone needs someone to talk to that is going through a similar experience then I will be there for them as I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the experience I had.