Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 10°C

Search
Suffolk Business Awards 2018 Tickets

Teenage mums still suffer from stigma, says university lecturer who had first child aged 14

PUBLISHED: 15:23 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 07 December 2017

Suffolk mum-of-eight Hayley Edwardson with her

Suffolk mum-of-eight Hayley Edwardson with her "amazing" father Kenneth Hall. Picture: HAYLEY EDWARDSON

Archant

Teenage mothers are some of the best in society but still unfairly suffer from stigma and abuse, a Suffolk mother-of-eight has said.

Public health lecturer Hayley Edwardson was aged 14 when she had her first child in unplanned circumstances in 1987.

But the University of East London (UEL) lecturer will be presenting in Parliament next year recent research on using Knowledge Exchange to address low birth-weight.

The 45-year-old, who grew up in Thetford and lives near the Suffolk/Norfolk border, said: “I have worked hard to get here but it’s important that people realise that their life is not over if you have a child at a young age.

“As a teenage mum, you come up against a lot of stigma and negativity. When I had my first son, some people would cross the road to avoid talking to my family because ‘that girl has had a baby – what sort of people are they?’

“When you are part of any marginalised group, it is very difficult to shake that off. We all make judgements, but people may not understand the personal circumstances.

“I think the media is sometimes irresponsible in how they portray teenage mums in such a poor light. They are misrepresented and left feeling very self-conscious. I think it’s unfair. But I think they make some of the best mums. I think they are less inhibited. They get so much bad press that they won’t be a good mum. They are often not taken as seriously as older mums. People think they can’t possibly make the right decision for their child, but that’s not true. I think they have a certain resilience, and perhaps when you are starting out you might be more open-minded.”

She said her family provided “absolutely amazing” support. Particularly, her father, Kenneth Hall. Nationally, teenage pregnancy rates have almost halved in the last eight years, partly due to. Mrs Edwardson cites better education and access to contraceptives for the fall.

“It has also become much more socially acceptable now, but there is still stigma attached to being a teenage mum,” she added.

Mrs Edwardson joined UEL in 2012 and studied for a BSc in Public Health. She will present the research on low birth-weights in Newham to Parliament next year.

She said: “It will be a great opportunity. I’m proud of my achievements but want to do much more in helping mothers to realise their aspirations.”

Hosting a barbeque or grabbing a cool pint in the local pub for the England game tomorrow? Check here to see how warm it will be where you are.

Shoppers have expressed shock after plans to shut to a “struggling” East of England Co-op store in Ipswich were announced.

Thousands of the region’s bravest swimmers donned their wetsuits and took the plunge at the Great East Swim when it returned to Suffolk today.

From a tribute music festival to a muddy obstacle course – there are plenty of events for people to enjoy across Suffolk and north Essex this weekend.

Thousands of runners dressed in pink are expected to descend on Trinity Park near Ipswich this weekend to play their part in the fight against cancer.

Essex Police says it is “very concerned” for the welfare of two missing young people – who are believed to be together in the Colchester area.

Four people arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a man in Chelmsford yesterday have been released.

A special baton relay will arrive on the Suffolk coast on Monday as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the formation of the RAF.

The coast of California USA and Fore Street, Ipswich swimming pool are worlds apart in several ways, but for former Ipswich lady, Karen Quezada, nee Spanner, who now lives in California, the little Victorian built pool in Ipswich holds a special place in her heart.

Rail services between Ipswich and Cambridge are returning to normal after a freight train broke down at Bury St Edmunds this morning.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24