My views on welfare reforms for teenage mothers

by Veronica on May 5, 2011

in Headfuck, Soapbox

Teenage mothers are going to be running the gauntlet in trying to keep food on the table, with the government announcing new welfare reforms for young parents. Once their child is 6 months old, they will be expected to attend Centrelink interviews once a week and will be forced into compulsory education or work training after their child turns one.

“It’s not a question of punishment, it’s a question of providing opportunity.” says Wayne Swan, Treasurer.

And with that comment, my blood pressure starts to rise and I’m not sure if I should yell about things, or cry at the stupidity.

I had Amy when I was 17, so I have a vested interest in teenage mothers and the help provided for them. I also know how hard parenting is, regardless of age and I’m not sure a policy that seeks to make life harder for a minority of parents is, in any way, a helpful thing.

Centrelink interviews are time consuming. You sit in a waiting room for an hour, waiting to be seen by someone who only knows you as a case file number. Add in a 6 month old child, who may or may not be an “easy” baby and a stressed mother, who may or may not have had any sleep and it feels like a recipe for disaster. I couldn’t find the time to shower and eat when Amy was a baby, let alone lug everything into the city and spend half a day waiting to have my name ticked off, so that money would continue to trickle in. And believe me, Centrelink is a trickle, it’s not a flood of cash, or an easy life.

I’m curious as to why, you can leave school at 16, but now, if you have a baby as a teenager, once your child is one, you will be forced back into schooling, or certificate level training.

Sure, it all looks great on paper, but who is looking after the toddler while Mummy is forced out of the house?

I see that 100% of the childcare costs will be covered by the federal government. Do they really feel that is it better to force young mothers to give the care of their child over to “professionals” while they “better themselves”? We’ll leave aside the issues of finding decent childcare to begin with.

And I’m sorry, but at any age, parenting is IMPORTANT. Kids need parents who are around. Childcare workers, while lovely, are not the same as Mummy and Daddy.

I know you’re going to argue with me that “These kids having kids, they need help and prospects” and I’ll agree there. They DO need help and they DO need support.

BUT – this is not the way to do it.

It feels like punishment for young women daring to fall pregnant.

You know what we need? Sex education in schools. Free contraception. Discussion and advice.

We do not need to make mothers feel like second class citizens, no matter their age.

This is hearkening back to the 70’s, when unwed teenage mothers were put in homes until their baby was born. Then the mother was forced to give her baby up for adoption and life went on as normal for everyone else.

I am angry, I am so so angry. Beating teenage mothers with a stick is not the answer to the problem.

Did anyone in the government think to speak to a teenage mother and find out what hardships she is facing and how it could be made easier for her? No?

How about I put my hand up.

Dear Labor Government: I would be more than happy to meet with you and discuss the real issues facing teenage mothers, so that you can have an insight into Real Life and not life as it’s written on paper.



Jayne May 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

I completely agree. I see this as punitive towards both the mothers and their babies 🙁 SUPPORT them to become educated yes. But it shouldn’t be mandatory, certainly not while the child is below school age.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

Support, exactly. More support is needed, but this is not the way to go about it.

Lisa May 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

I’m a mother of 7, had two kids while I was a teen, was on welfare at the time. I wish programs like this were open for us.

Its a load of crap to say that teens moms can’t pull this off. If the gov is going to pay for it you know damn well you better take advantage of it while its there. This is welfare reform take it or leave it. The next step is NOTHING, they want to do away with it entirely. So those teens moms better get up get moving and get educated or they will be worse off than they are now.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

I don’t agree that this is the way to go about doing it. Make a program, make it optional. Don’t FORCE teenagers to hand over care of their child to someone else, just to be able to eat at the end of the day.

More support is a good thing. Making it harder for them is not.

Lisa May 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

No one also forced them to get pregnant either. You pay the costs it takes to raise a kid.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:19 am

Forced is a bad word for this, because some girls sadly, have been forced.

You do pay the costs, but more support needed and definitely more sex education. I don’t think this slap dash policy is a good thing in the long term, even if it looks good short term.

william freeman August 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm

ever since prep i have be hammered with sex education! we dont need any more! kids know that if you have unprotected sex you can fall pregnant. dont play in inocent card. and by the way australia does provide free contraception, go to faimily planning and see for your self…

Veronica August 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

You are one of the lucky ones then, when so many schools and programs fail to supply adequate information about sex.’

Also, no contraception method has a 100% success rate and I know women who have fallen pregnant despite taking all precautions to avoid a pregnancy. Like I said, not everything is black and white.

As for family planning providing free contraception, I feel you’re mistaken there. They will provide free condoms (but what about women and men who are allergic to latex?) but you have to pay for the pill, or a diaphragm, or any other form of contraception.

And, in a lot of cases, the issue is with getting into a family planning clinic to begin with. You sound like you’re lucky enough to live a privileged enough lifestyle that accessing transport isn’t prohibitive for you. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with all of society.

fiona May 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Abortion is not readily available either, I can staort on that one later

william freeman August 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

you need to remember that the government is GIVING you money for your mistake. and there will be some conditions, if you dont like it go to somalia where the government wont bother you with welfare at all

Robyn May 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I FULLY agree with you Lisa! My best friend, God rest her soul, was on welfare for 27 YEARS!!! She went on it when she had her first child, and was still on it when she died earlier this year. She used to tell me that there was no reason for her to work, no incentive. the government gave her money, paid for her and her childs health needs, gave her a house to live in, what more did she need? She then had a second child ten years later and lived quite well. If this was in place back then, she would have been FORCED to do something and FFS, what is a half a day out of your two weeks to get over $600 (and that’s just the pension, there is more for each child, you with two would be clearing $1000 a fortnight I assume) for free??! I wish I could work just half a day every two weeks and get given that much money! Apart from fostering, I have raised four of my own without being on a pension. And to say teen mums dont choose to have a baby is WRONG! I have been a foster parent for years and the amount of little ones I have had come into my care from teen mums who just wanted the baby bonus and the free money, not the child, is frightening! Okay, you may not be like that, but you are in the minority and no country can go on handing out money the way they have because there are just a few that are genuine. I know you are disabled, but healthy teen mums CAN and SHOULD contribute. Why should hard working tax payers pay to raise your children while teenagers CHOOSE to have sex, then ‘accidentally’ fall pregnant, then sit home all day?

Try putting the shoe on the other foot.

This is the BEST idea they have come up with in ages!

You ask why you can leave school at 16 but be forced to go back to school whern you ahve a baby? The answer is simple my dear, you are responsible for another life, or in your case, two, and you need to get a job to raise them! It is not everyone else’s responibility to pay for your children, or for any other teen mums babies. Yes it’s hard! So DONT HAVE SEX AT A YOUNG AGE! (Your blog already admits you had a pregnancy scare at 14) Who’s fault is that? certainly not the governments or the millions of hardworking Australians that are then forced to pay for silly teenage mistakes….

I think it’s time you grew up

Veronica May 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Asking why you can leave school at 16, but be forced back into school, was a hypothetic question.

Also, you are free to disagree with my opinion, but personal attacks will be deleted. As will comments I deem offensive and you’re walking a fine line, making judgements about my personal situation, when blogging is such a small slice of reality.

frogpondsrock May 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

You sound a tad bitter Robyn. It is the measure of a decent society that we look after those less fortunate amongst us.

frogpondsrock May 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

Sweetheart, I am so incredibly proud of you.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

Why thank you!

Toushka May 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

The policy makers never talk to the people their policies are going to effect. Fucking dumbarses. I was not a teenage mum. thankfully. Because being a mum is hard enough without the added judgement and condescension. Introducing a paid maternity leave scheme so that mothers can stay home with their babies but then making teenage mums leave their babies is fucked up and backwards and wrong.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

Yes. Obviously children of teenage mothers are better off with someone else caring for them /sarcasm.

It’s just frustrating.

melinda May 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I would rather have poked my eyes out when I had a baby, than leave him in the care of strangers, no matter what age I was.

Veronica May 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I wouldn’t have been able to leave either of mine. Isaac is only JUST able to tolerate being at his grandparents!

melinda May 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I agree.

Hear Mum Roar May 5, 2011 at 11:09 am

If the young mum still is with their partner, then I would have no problem with centrelink requiring at least one of them to do these things. I think providing the opportunity for young mums to get the education is important, but should be flexible enough to wait until they’re ready.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

My issue is with the lack of flexibility. The fact that it is forced work/education. I am all for people bettering themselves, but it needs to be reworked and better thought out, rather than “do this or we’ll cut your money off”.

When Amy was a baby, Nathan was working full time and I was getting a small amount of parenting payment. He was a shift worker, so he was either at work, or asleep. There is no way I would have been able to meet the requirements to continue getting paid, because I was living in the middle of nowhere – closest c’link a 40 minute drive.

Hear Mum Roar May 5, 2011 at 11:19 am

I fully agree with that. I think it should be a case of, ‘if you’re at a stage where you’re ready, interested and able, here’s what we can provide to help you to do that more easily’. I don’t like the idea of one rule for young mums and one for everyone else. I have a big issue with the fact that the fathers in this don’t seem to be getting the same treatment also

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

Agreed. And really, why are young mothers being singled out? Yes, we need more education and to breaking the poverty cycles, but singling out and targeting ONE group seems like a bad thing.

Whoever receives the parenting payment is the one who has to fulfil the conditions, so that could be fathers too, but it would happen in a minority of cases.

Toni May 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

I totally agree.

They are (once again) punishing all for the sins of a few, and this happens when people in charge never have had to live in the Real World.

How about teaching our girls that they have the right to say NO to sex until they feel ready for it, as well? I wish I had known that. My life would have been considerably different.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

I think sex education is sorely under utilised. We had sex ed in highschool – only by the time they got around to talking about it at school, 50% were sexually active anyway. And then, all the education given was how to put a condom on a banana and a unit on STI’s. No real education on how to avoid pregnancy, or dispelling myths, or options if you did get pregnant.

melinda May 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Countries that have a high standard of education have a lower birth rate. So stopping the problem before it begins, by education, is the first way to address the problem. The number of girls deliberately getting pregnant to get welfare is very small. Most single mothers are divorcees or separated. So punishing all single mothers is grossly unfair. All single mothers who get social security (I hate the word welfare) HAVE to work when their kids are small, which means that the only women who can stay home with their children are the ones with partners who work and get a good income. Choices are ever decreasing for women today.

Madmother May 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Very, very well said.

Oh, and I didn’t join in last night as I keep my name and blog seperate and I noticed you had to put your URL out into the public domain. Sorry – just had some unsavoury people in my life.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

You didn’t have to if you’re worried about privacy! Just so you know for next time.

Kathy May 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Baseline equality fail for me here. I oppose any government measure or reform that targets or singles out a subsection of the population based on an intrinsic characteristic (eg. age, gender, ethnicity, dis/ability, sexuality).

So that is my first reaction – why only teenage / younger mothers? If you really think this is the way to go (highly questionable in my view), then why logically doesn’t it apply to ANY person receiving a parenting payment? Are we arguing that there is something different or special (for which read, in this context – specially reprehensible) about young people receiving their sole income from parenting payments? Or is that the “problem” is with young people being parents at all?

Making 100% childcare rebates AVAILABLE to parents returning to work or study whose incomes fall below a certain threshhold? Good idea, I am in favour! Making work or study COMPULSORY for parenting payment recipients once the baby is 1? Bad idea, for all the reasons everyone has given above, but most of all, because it’s not fair to parent, child or society.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm


melinda May 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Yes, we mustn’t overlook what is best for the baby, short term.

Ali May 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I’m with you. So angry I can barely see straight. I was pregnant at 17, first was born after I turned 18. I would have moved heaven and earth to stay at home with him. That is how I chose to parent him and how I have chosen to parent the three subsequent children as well. You’re right. Nobody’s getting rich from centerline payments, least of all young mums. I feel like I’ve stepped into the twilight zone, that this could be something being proposed by a government in 2011. It’s true, my life was different than others my age. I was at home raising children while friends were getting degrees and building careers. It doesn’t mean that my youth was wasted or that my life has had no purpose. Quite the opposite. I still went to uni eventually and got a career but by far the thing to shape me most as a person were the years I spent raising my first two kids, a teenage mum but also a really good and dedicated mum. How dare they propose to take parents away from their children and deprive children of their parents at such a young age. It’s not easy being a teenage mum but this will not make it easier, this can only be harmful. You can make services available to teen parents that will help and support them without making their life decisions for them. Grrrrrrrrr.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I’m glad it’s not just me who got all het up about this. I had Amy 10 weeks before my 18th birthday. It changed my life and because of it, I’m doing something now that I wouldn’t have gotten into otherwise.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I am probably going to take a caning for this one, however….

I understand your sentiments, however I am not opposed to these reforms. It is all well and good to say that teenage mothers should be able to stay home with their child until they start school. Until they have another one… Then another…

I was 22 when I had my first child… I went back to work when my son was 5 months old. I started a uni degree when he was one, which took me six years to complete, during which time I worked to support him (and later my daughter) as a single parent for 5 of those years.. I was motivated. Quite frankly, alot of teen mums aren’t. A kick up their backside is just what they need, and money is a huge motivator for most people. A centrelink interview and returning to school seems pretty reasonable to me.

I also don’t think kids should be able to leave school at 16 either, unless they have a FULL TIME job, traineeship or apprenticeship. But if they do leave school and go on welfare, they ARE required to look for work and turn up at centrelink once a fortnight…

As for sex education, Schools have enough trouble teaching kids to read, write and add up. PARENTS need to take some responsibility for Educating their children about sex, beyond what is taught is school.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I’m not going to growl because you disagree! Promise.

I think that this takes away from teenage mothers, without really giving back. A lot of teenage mothers are motivated, but they’re not the ones getting airtime (at least, no one is interviewing me about being a teen mum and what I’ve done since).

I think these measures ought to be put in place as an opt-in program, when the child turns two, with help and support given. I know I wouldn’t have managed to meet the requirements for continuing to be paid, because like I said above, I was living rural, without a license, with a partner on shift work and the closest centrelink 40 minutes drive away. It would have made my life hell and more stressful.

Obviously I’m bringing my own issues to the table here – but I will say, I’ve seen a teen mothers program run at a college, wherein the mothers attended school three days a week in a separate area, their children were watched inside the classroom by child minders and they studied. This seemed to work really well for everyone involved and I think it’s a better idea than compulsary childcare.

I’m all for more support, but I think this particular policy isn’t in the best interests of anything except statistics for the Gov.

Hear Mum Roar May 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

What bothers me is the general attitude in society that if you become a stay at home mother (at whatever age), then it’s believed you haven’t made anything of yourself, or done anything with your life.

Until stay at home motherhood is viewed as a valuable role (or fatherhood, for that matter), then we will continue to have this problem. I certainly would not like to be told to put my children into childcare full time, no matter what age I was! Mothers of all ages get different benefits.

We have no right to dictate/punish anyone for when they have kids, or how they wish to raise them. And to me, I am happy and willing for my tax dollars (I hate people who say MY tax dollars lol!) to support any mother of any age to stay at home with their children if that’s what they choose. If they believe that is the best thing for their child, then that’s exactly what they should do. I chose that, and I’d have been devastated if I couldn’t have made that choice

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I think that is part of my problem too. And yes, the government will use the ‘but how can you educate your children, if you yourself are uneducated, or barely literate’ in which case I feel that it needs to be a holistic approach to education, not a ‘do this or you’ll get no money’ approach.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I have nothing against stay at home mothers. I think they are awesome and I take my hat off to anyone who can do it and remain sane.. I couldn’t..

When someone actually makes a decision to have a baby cause they are at a stage in their life when they are in a relationship, and can afford to raise a child on one income (or live with the financial hardship). And before anyone starts in on me saying I’m anti-single-mother, I’m not. I know there are circumstances where there is no choice and sure there should be help for single parents, but they also need to take responsibilty for themselves.

And if you choose to solo parent from the start… God knows, why, it is bloody hard.. Then one would think you’d also have had consideration for the financial responsibilty of raising that child.

What I am against, is ANY women, falling pregnant then putting their hand out for the rest of their life expecting the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

But as it is, mothers have to go back to work once their child is 6 anyway, so it’s not a lifelong thing.

I think it’s easier if we think of welfare as a hand up, not a hand out. It’s an interim measure, to make life easier in the short term. As someone who has accessed welfare, it’s not easy to live on and you are perpetually broke, and I can’t fathom wanting to do this for my entire life.

Sometimes though, you do have no choice but to use welfare, for however long. It’s a safety net.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm

That is how everyone should think… Sadly not everyone has the same sense of social reponsibility… Unfortunatley, not everyone considers welfare in those terms. Remember mothers have to go back to work or study when their YOUNGEST child is 6 years old!

I think giving teenage mothers a ‘hand up’ (even if you have to ‘force them’ into it) when they are 17 instead of 23 is going to be better in the long run… That’s before they have another baby.. Before they lose valuable study skills (It is much harder to go back to school in your 20’s than your teens) and while they still have energy to burn!!

Katy May 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm

The only real problem I have with your post is that you have indicated that its teenage mums who have a baby every 5 years… its actually many mature women who do that and not just teenage mums at all. For every downfall in society, it usually crosses all demographics at some point and is not just one part of the population.

And for the motivation part, I am a part of a local teenage mother support network in a mentoring role and you would be surprised at the motivation these young (not always single) mums have and its more often the single ones who work that bit harder to prove themselves to society and the network is a great example at how the right support at the right time can be amazing. Force is not needed when guidance is given at the right time in the right way. Scream at someone and they will not listen, talk to someone and you will be heard and in my opinion the government is screaming!

frogpondsrock May 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

hear hear Katy.

christine May 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

its to easy l get housing school money ect

christine May 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

all my friends still at home cant get nothing anoyher three more more money

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Hi Christine, whereabouts are you (roughly)? It’s not that easy to get housing down here in Tassie.

river May 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This certainly seems like a backward step. Probably they’re thinking that if “they” make it too hard, girls won’t fall pregnant, then they can point to their statistics and say, see, teenage pregnancies are down, we’re a good government. “They” can’t see that it won’t work any better than raising the price of cigarettes sky high.
An alternative plan, like a school that mothers can attend WITH their babies would be a much better idea. I don’t know if these actually exist, but I’ve seen it in movies. A high school for teenage parents, with changing and feeding rooms for infants who otherwise stay beside their mothers, and playrooms with minders for older infants and toddlers. The minders are usually other teenage parents taking turns by roster. It still needs to be optional though.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

There is such a school in WA and by all acounts it works very well and should be available everywhere.

I don’t think the government is naive enough to believe that this will stop teen pregnancies.. I think their aim is to stop the ‘repeat offender’ for lack of a better word.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Well, our comments are almost identical!

But also, with “repeat offenders” I had a second baby because I wanted Amy to have a sibling. Not all of the thinking going into having children is financial.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm

That is a good reason to have a second baby and you went into with foresight and planning. Many young mums go into their second pregnancies with alcohol and poor self esteem as the driving force!

Katy May 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

sorry going to butt in again here Natruly but you are generalising with the word YOUNG and putting that towards alcohol and low self esteem? age has no limits with that one. I think maybe you should come into my work place and have a good look at where the issues really lie. We have a large number of women attending antenatal clinic under the ‘vulnerable families’ title which includes all sorts like substance abuse, social issues and about 5% of those women are teenagers.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I am aware that Young, could well be substituted with, substance abusers, people with mental health and social issues etc.. I am also a midwife and am well aware of where ‘the issues really lie’.

My ‘generalisation’ is simple a matter of staying on topic. Sorry if you were offended in any way.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

There is a similar program here in one of our colleges and by all accounts, it works very well for helping teen mothers finish school and prepare for work. It’s excellent support and the kind of thing that would work well rolled out in most areas.

Jayne May 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I had my eldest shortly after I turned 19 and was married but I was only married due to the ‘stigma’ that some people still held onto in the 1980s.
This is crap.
Plenty of single mums, no matter what their age, I’d like to see them try to force a 20 or 30-something back to school/work training; oh, wait, they’d have to reel in the maternity bonus they’ve just put in place, not to mention the number of unions they’d have kicking their arse.
So….teens are a different breed, eh?
Give them a contract to pursue further education and part-time work after the baby turns 2 and it’ll be a whole different ball-game.
Don’t pressure parents who are sleep deprived, super hormonal, possibly depressed, overwhelmed, flying solo…such easy targets, too much like shooting fish in a barrel, Joolya.

Veronica May 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm


Fe May 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Yeah Veronica!

The REALLY scary thing (well after the fact that the whole concept is SO frigging Big Brother-ish that it makes me want to puke) is the statement that they will get extra funding to go towards child care. The reality of that is that they’ll get $x a day towards it, but will probably be forced to put their child into ANY child care that they’re lucky enough to be able to get into, at ANY cost, most likely at 3 times $x.

(sorry if this has already been written… haven’t read my esteemed fellow commenters’ comments)

I also have to add that, as a single mother since before my second son was born (WAY back before the baby bonus), I have had such minimal govt support that it’s laughable.

They do not collect the child support that my dropkick ex refuses to pay. They take what I’m MEANT to be getting out of my family tax benefit and tell me that it’s MY responsibility to collect it. They don’t give me any type of pension or support or help… which means I either choose to live in poverty (with my parents) or work for the man and have other people raise my children.

I have chosen the former… and my children are SO much the better for it. Now I just have to hope that one of them can support me in my old age, because I owe more than most people’s mortgages and am way too old to pay it off in my lifetime (and have zero assets).

BUT… my children are well adjusted, loving, bright and shiny human beings.

TICK (no thanks to EITHER of the govts in the last 14 years) (or their f*wit father)

Sandy May 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I don’t know why you complain about the father not paying child support when it sounds like you have arranged a collection agreement with the CSA (ie: you collect it yourself). Why wouldn’t you have THEM collect it for you?
Then they can garnish his salary/tax returns if need be. He will have this debt FOREVER. I realise this takes time, but he will pay – somehow – eventually.

It is shitty he doesn’t pay – but do you honestly expect the Government to pay you what he isn’t? It’s not particularly realistic, you could be getting paid by him (they would never know, you could swear black and blue he wasn’t) and then get some support payment from the Govt. Therefore, they have to do it this way. It would not be fair otherwise.

I agree with your post to a point, Veronica, but I have seen SO MANY PEOPLE get into a loop of hopelessness and there is never a way out. It should not be mandatory to enter into this agreement, but I do think that a lot of girls are going to lose sight of themselves and do need to re-focus after having a baby. If they do not then they very well may face a life of welfare forever.

Fe May 7, 2011 at 12:39 am

OMG. Are you for real?

You have no idea. No idea.

I have been “opted in” for CSA to collect the child support for TWELVE years. My ex is a self-employed plumber who lives the high life and hides his money… in fact he has not earned more than $6K per year for the last, oh, 12 years.

I could not afford to pay forensic lawyers to FIND the money. When he inherited half a million dollars, he spent it taking me to court to get out of paying the $200K that he owed me. A self-proclaimed hung-over judge came into court without having read the documents and dismissed the original court order because the whole thing was “too complicated”.

My ex THEN took me to court to try to have the children 50% of the time. In the middle of it, he moved interstate and ended up asking to have them half the time that he had them when he started the procedings.

If the CSA had collected the money, if this country actually DID tie child support payments into drivers license and passport renewal systems, if this country actually GAVE A SHIT, then none of this would have happened.

I had a house, two businesses and now, at 45, 12 years down the track, I live with my aged parents in a 2 bedroom flat with a $300K debt to lawyers and my parents and NO assets and I receive LESS government money per fortnight than my girlfriend who has a husband who earns $150K per annum.

But you think I shoudln’t expect the government to pay me when my ex doesn’t. No… I’m a loud selfish cow who should just shut up and sit in the corner and support 2 teenaged children on just over $100 per week.

I DO work, but I’m in the 2nd year of running my own business and I am still paying off my initial investment and have not yet earned a penny. And before you CONTINUE to judge me, I have suffered debilitating depression BECAUSE of the stress that I have been under… and have been unable to work for all those years. But no, a 20 year old centrelink employee ignored my psychiatrists report and decided that I was NOT ill enough to receive a disability pension.

So… you said it’s “shitty he doesn’t pay – but do you honestly expect the Government to pay you what he doesn’t?”. No, I do not expect the govt to pay me the equivalent of the child support that my ex is supposed to pay me. But I do expect them to pay me the same amount AT LEAST as they pay my married, supported-by-her-husband, friend. And that’s with a total child support obligation of only $20K a year.

I also expect them to actually collect the child support for me. He now has a full time job, but they still aren’t garnishee-ing his wages. I am on the phone to them for at least an hour every fortnight DESPERATELY trying to convince them to do that. It seems that my ex is more convincing than I am.

Just to add… you also said “he will have this debt FOREVER”. That doesn’t help me raise my children. And if I raise them (keep them alive and off the streets) without his child support, another judge will also decide that I obviously didn’t need it. The debt does NOT last forever in this country. If you get your children to 18 without child support, the general consensus from all government bodies is that you didn’t need it.

So, people who don’t pay it, generally get the debt wiped. Oh, unless the mother is a prostitute, in jail, or on the streets. Our family court system is completely messed up. Completely. And because we’re not legally allowed to publish the results of any family court matter if any of the parties is recognisable or identifiable, the outrageous judgements will continue.

I hope you don’t ever have to find this out first hand.

But I also hope that you consider every single word that I’ve written before you EVER write a reply like the one above.

Fe May 7, 2011 at 12:59 am

I”m sorry for being rude, Sandy. I’m sure you didn’t mean to be judgemental. My points all stand.. and I hope you consider them before jumping in like that to any other single parent.

Every story is different. You need to find the individual story before passing judgement.

I’m reading so many judgements here about single teenage mothers.

Other than not having sex (unrealistic, and as Veronica pointed out, not all get to choose whether to have sex or not) do you encourage abortions?

Or is it just “don’t have a baby”. “make it go away”

And WHAT about the fathers? If they stayed around and took responsibility, then the teenage mums would not NEED welfare.

What about educating them? What about enforcing child support obligations? What about forcing them into school so that they can get an education and afford to support their child/ren who are being brought up at home by their mother (if she CHOOSES to stay at home)?

This whole thing is skewed. And I am so saddened that it has, in many cases, become about “single mothers”. I have put up with that stigma for a long time. And I was married to my boys’ father.

It’s so easy for people to be “-ist”. Racist, fatt-ist, single mother-ist. It’s a sad sad reflection of the society that we live in.

katy May 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Wow your story sounds like so many women I know and I know its off the original topic but I think it goes to show that the gov’t targetting one group isn’t helping the many who really really need and want the help.

Oh and I totally agree on how wonderful and helpful the CSA are (insert sarcastic tone), my ex pays under half of what he is meant to pay and they collect on my behalf. He over estimates the time he spends with them and way under estimates his earnings and he is in the military so works for the gov’t, and he hasn’t done his tax in 3yrs now but is still allowed to keep his CS at a heavily reduced rate. I’ve shown proof that he hardly see’s them, I’ve shown proof of his current income yet I should just be thankful of the pissy amount i do get to raise 4 growing children on.

But kudo’s to you for working like you do, your children will appreciate you for it and you will reap the rewards in other ways and your ex can go rot in hell!!!

BendyGirl May 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I fear for Australia and welfare as you are following the same direction as we are in Britain, except yours is already harsher. I’m proud to see you speaking out about this Vonnie. Maybe ABC rampup would be interested in this or a similar piece? BG Xx

Katy May 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

well said!! I too had my first child at the age of 16, and it actually was an accident but I made do and I did get an education because I had family support. There is no way I would have survived without the loving support of my parents. Lots of these young girls do not have any support at all and forcing this will not at all stop young girls (or women of any age) having babies. More sex education, free contraception and more of the right support at the right time is needed. I think it would be a great idea for girls (or women) who want this option but it needs to be exactly that… an option. I just don’t like how they are targeting a minority, why not target other demographics who use and abuse the system properly like those mothers who have children 5 years apart so they never have to work, I could go on for hours as I see this everyday in my workplace. I am a midwife working in a tertiary level maternity unit and teenage mothers are the least of the problem and I mean the absolute LEAST!!

And if they are going to offer this kind of support to single teenage mothers to get them off the pension… then offer it to all women of all ages who recieve the benefits. When I educated myself and put myself through uni full time as an adult with 5 children (single due to a divorce) I had to fully fund my daycare and education costs, yes I am aware that all parents do that but I will reiterate what was in the original post for those who might have missed the comment, the pension is not raking it in, its a trickle of money that only just covers the bare basic cost of living and then most often it doesn’t even manage that. And just for the record also, I educated myself out of choice and not to get government allowances which is often a wrong assumption made.

Ness at Drovers Run May 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Here’s my honest 2c. I agree wholeheartedly that teenage mums need support. But I believe that there is at least some thought going on, as to what the govt will provide for them. In the UK, unwed mums as young as 14 are having more than one kid, to increase the amount of child support that they receive. The fact that there are no ‘checks and balances’ in terms of making sure they do a good job, or at least are attempting to support themselves too, has meant that the UK has become a welfare state, with a lazy population (I’m not talking about everyone here, just the ones abusing the system) who don’t think they need to be productive members of society. So, with that in mind, I am glad that the Aus govt is putting some thought into it. As long as it doesn’t become a nazi state where unwed mothers are herded back into schools, then I think you don’t have cause for too much worry. The logistics of it, of course, need to be looked at – and maybe home visits would be a better idea than having to trek into the city (as you mentioned). All I can say is, having lived in Africa for most of my life, the fact that you have a govt that is willing to get involved, rather than turn a blind eye to the thousands of unwed mothers, who kill their own babies because they have no hope of ANY welfare payments, no access to medical care, believe me, you will see the govt reforms through very different eyes.

Please note, I’m not criticising your views at all, just providing a different view point 🙂

Claireyh May 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Wow, there are certainly varying opinions here.

Veronica, I really agree with you, this is a great policy to OFFER those who want it.

I don’t know all the details of the policy, nor anything much about teen mums, but I do know that leaving my baby at six months would have killed me. There are many reports that show an excellent bond between mum and bub lead to life long healthy connections, it can affect a babies communication, it can affect the behavior of teenagers, it is the whole reason people study early childhood development and see that an excellent Mum (whatever that may be) is one of the best things a child can ever, ever be given. For me, this issue is about a woman (whoever she may be) being forced to be parted from her infant. For some woman, this is easily done, but for some it isnt. It is hard to demand feed a baby if you are not there, or learn a routine for the development stage of your baby, I could go on.

I am not encouraging social welfare as the support for teen mums, I do think they need to find their place and become able to support themselves and contribute to society, but this isn’t the policy to do that.

Natruly May 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm

No one is asking anyone to leave their baby at 6 months.. That is when they need to attend an interview to plan education and work activities… They won’t be required to go back to school until the child turns one..

I think that is important to note that teenage mums ALREADY have the option of going back to school after their baby is born! The trouble is that so many don’t.

Last comment… Promise… (Yes I need a life)

katy May 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

there are so many valid opinions on here, my big gripe still is that its all focussed on one small demographic and there are so many men and women of all ages who abuse the system and I think they need to look at that first. I only get upset because there are so many women (including myself) who were forced into being on welfare and we get dragged down into the dirt with the scum that sit on their butts and never work with or without having children.

I think all mums of all ages who are married, single or whatever could do with some support if they wish to re-enter the workforce or re-educate themselves. They make it so hard for the ones who do want the help. I was only able to do it with family help with financial assistance, housing and child-care, the government offered very little support at all.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Exactly. Teen parents are such a tiny percentage of the population and irresponsible teen parents are an even smaller percentage of that group.

How about programs are brought in for anyone who wants to better themselves, rather than making it mandatory?

nat3ds May 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

On a point made earlier. The depression issue is really going to hit out with mothers forced to break the routine that would otherwise keep them sane. IMO again the government puts everyone concerned into the same box and labels it “problem solved”. I wonder if the gov even asked anyone on the subject of maternity and depression?.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm


And no, I don’t expect they did. Surely young mothers don’t get PPD? That’s only for “proper” mothers.

Leah May 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

it’s not so easy to get housing down here at all.. I re applied for housing a few weeks ago.. and because my partner earns $10 over the limit we were denied. now we and our 2 kidlets are facing either Homelessness or paying $250 rent in a home that we cannot afford. it’s sad really that Housing Tasmania can let all these people who have no kids, drink, smoke drugs ect have all their houses because they dont want to put up with them, when in reality there are people that are DESPERATE for houses and Housing would just rather see them out on the street than House them. That’s my opinion anyway.. I know it’s off the topic you origionally posted but I couldnt resist haha

and as for your origional post.. Couldn’t agree with you more 🙂

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Trying to get housing down here is a nightmare. We were lucky, but not everyone else is.

kebeni May 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I think it is sad that the government are using young mothers as pawns in a popularity contest to win votes. Why does age have to affect this. I am a single mum, I am 42. My kids are over 1yo and I never did year 12!! Should I be made to go back and finish???
I remember attending a conference a couple of years ago and a speaker was talking about teen mothers. Statistics show that teen mums (usually single) often have more ‘get up and go’ and drive to improve themselves and their situations than older single mums. This is because of the stigma attached to their situation and the urge to prove people wrong.
I wish I could remember who this speaker was to find the data and research paper she had done.
I agree Veronica that education is the key, from a young age! I do know many young girls thing it will be fun to have a baby, that they will keep their boyfriends and get paid but that are sadly mistaken, all too late. I really hope that something else comes along to distract Julia as this is truly unfair, exclusive and non supportive.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I agree, I had more drive to “prove my worth” because I chose to have children young.

kebeni May 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm
Bec @ Bad Mummy May 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I totally agree with you Veronica! Yes, teen mums need help, support and prospects, but to insinuate that all teen mums are bad parents is discriminatory! This Labor government has lost it’s MIND. First they’re talking about forcing people on income support to take their child to the four year old check up or risk loosing their benefits and now this? Basically they seem to be saying that young parents and those who need financial help are bad parents.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I heard a little bit about the checks and I guess we’d have to attend. But it makes me laugh, because they want to check the emotional/social with each child and Amy wouldn’t rate anyway, because hello, ASPERGERS. Sheesh.

Deidre May 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I am not super familiar with the centrelink sytem…but I totally agree that the support and education and all those things are so important for mothers of any age but particularly teenage mom’s!

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Yep, support and education are key. And making education easier (financially, geographically) rather than making it harder.

Brooke Farmer May 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm

From one (formerly) teenaged mother to another… AMEN!

I am from the U.S. so I should preface this by saying I know nothing about your governments particular policies as they stand. However….

I got knocked up at 17. I was on my own by 20. I worked my ass off to provide for my son with no government assistance and rarely a drop of child support. Where is the program to get the baby daddies (who are so often absent) to go to interviews and be forced into school and start supporting their children financially.

I am proud to say I put myself through school as a single mom. But I am buried in student loans that I doubt I will ever get paid off. Also, it was the hardest four years of my life. I managed to keep my job, take a full time school schedule (graduating in four years with a double major) AND volunteer in my son’s classroom every week.

But I did not get to enjoy the time with my son the way I would have liked to during those years. I am proud of the determination I had, but looking back I am not always sure it was worth it. I missed a lot.

Katy May 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Well done!!

And you make such a great point too which should be taken into consideration by our government. All those parents (both mums and dads) who do not work and do not pay child support, force them into work and study so that they can provide for their children!!

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I think it’s hard whichever way it falls, if you end up on your own. And I definitely agree, fathers should be being held way more accountable than they are at the moment.

melinda May 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Yes, the mothers have enough to worry about, make the fathers do their bit too.

Bron Harman May 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I agree with you, Veronica. I thought discrimination on the basis of age alone was illegal here? You might be interested in my research report on teen mums,

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thanks for that link Bron.

And I thought it was illegal too. Apparently only illegal if you haven’t had a baby.

Hal May 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm

i couldnt agree more i think it is very unfair. i would not want some lady from childcare raising my two children. its wrong in so many ways i think it is discriminating i think its disguting that its fine for a mother not under the teenage catagory to be alowed to raise thier child be a full time mother see thier first steps and hear the first word, while teenage mothers will now be forced to miss out on a very short and special time of their babys life while the childcare worker gets to see it. i had my daughter at 18 i now have a son aswell. i have not missed a thing never had them babysat nothing until my daughter turned 2 she would occasionally take a trip to the zoo with her nanna or aunty. i am very picky about who watches here even then her trip to the zoo is nerve racking. it make me shudder thinking of dropping my 9 month old son to a daycare center he is exstremly dependent of me it would be tramatising for him to suddenly be away from me in a strangers arms. also my other question is how is this supporting breastfeeding.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm


Nicole May 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

When I first heard this on the news I thought to myself, oh yes that might be a good idea to stop young ones getting pregnant, but then I really thought about it. What teenager willingly gets herself pregnant, really? I have an 8 month old, and I can’t find time to go to the toilet uninterrupted let alone go to Centerlink or study. It is absolutely ridiculous. Let these girls be mothers, I think being a mother is THE most important job, I wouldn’t want someone else bringing up my baby because I was forced to go back to work or study. This is coming from Julia who hasn’t had children of her own, has no idea what the first days, weeks, months of raising a baby is about at all.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I got pregnant at 17 by choice, and because of my health/joint issues, that was the best choice for me. It’s very likely I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby to term after 30.

I don’t believe that Julia cares to understand what motherhood is like and as much as I know she loves her nieces and nephews, it isn’t the same thing.

Nicole Hastings May 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I suppose I just generalised with that comment, sorry! Which just makes it more obvious that it is a silly idea, because everyone’s situations are different, some young mothers have support, others don’t, while it is good to encourage them to go back to work what about the people that want to be stay at home mum’s? They don’t have a choice.

Veronica May 31, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I think you’re very right.

melinda May 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I was discussing this issue today with someone who works with the long-term unemployed at an employment agency, and her opinion is that these teenage mothers are started on the welfare roundabout and they may never get off unless something is done to stop it. She also said that the babies would often get better care in a creche than at home, because they just don’t have a clue, and what’s more, they usually don’t care what is good for them or their babies, because they are repeating their own family history. While I’m in no position to disagree with this opinion, I can’t help but think the good ones will have to suffer because of the new rules.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I think there will always be people who see only the worst parts of society – usually because of the jobs they have. It does tend to make for cynicism. I am not saying all teen mothers are stellar mothers – the same as I’m not saying all WOMEN regardless of age are stellar mothers.

I think more support for the women who need it is called for in these situations, not just ‘beat them until they give in’ policies.

Lisa May 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I respectfully disagree with the “Kids need parents that are around” comment. Obviously underage girls who get pregnant (as well as their parents) have very little to offer children, as they lack self-control and good judgement. It would be GREAT to send these young mothers to school, and have their children watched by someone with an actual responsible job. And for everyone else at any age: if you and/or your partner make enough money to support both yourselves, a secure future, and for children including proper daycare costs without government assistance then have as many children as you like! Otherwise… if you are asking for the governments’ help, the government has every right to enforce stipulations like counseling and job interviews or schooling because that is why I vote and pay taxes for.

Also – instead of continuing welfare, the rest of the money should go to the schools. Children should not be penalized for irresponsible parents. Children should have all school supplies, food and medical attention available in schools because they are innocent victims here.

Veronica May 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I’m sorry Lisa, but it feels like you just called my children “innocent victims”. I had my daughter at 17 and that was a choice I made. 6 years later and her father and I are getting married, own our house and land and have given her a baby brother.

I think you’re generalising a bit. Not all teenage mothers are irresponsible, or lacking in self control. And I don’t feel that a child care worker is more qualified to look after my children simply because they have an “actual responsible job”. I think you’re failing to look at the situation from all angles.

william freeman August 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

you planned to have a child at 17? that is iresponsible at the least

Veronica August 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Yes William, I did. For me and my personal situation, it was the best thing I could have done. 5 years later, I am working doing something that I love. Life isn’t all black and white.

melinda August 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I’m just amazed at the lack of respect for motherhood that I encounter these days. And after watching the 7:30 Report on teenage mothers in Burnie the other night, I’m even more against these new rules. There are no creches in any Burnie school, so forcing mothers to go back to school is unworkable. Every child deserves to be with their mother for the first important 5 years, and not with a low paid child care worker. Give the girls every support and encouragement to go back to school when they are ready, because if you try to force them, everyone’s miserable, and politics aside, it’s the babies welfare that is the most important, and if mama aint happy, aint nobody happy. I’m not sure of the stats these days, but a few years ago the percentage of mothers that had never married, was as low as 4%. A tiny minority.

Good Golly Miss Holly! May 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Hey Lisa, if V wanted to hear an asshole then she would have farted. Why don’t you take your narrow minded opinion and respectfully shove it.

Veronica May 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Holly, no namecalling here, okay? Respectful discussion.

(Also sorry that it took me so long to reply)

Good Golly Miss Holly! May 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I know the cycle of welfare needs to be broken but I don’t believe this is going to do the job. It’s a quick-fix from a government that is so clearly out of touch with the needs of the people it serves.

Good Golly Miss Holly! May 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm


william freeman August 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

your an idiot, the government is clearly attempting to obtain a long tern solution! by educating these mothers they will be able to provide for thier children later!

Veronica August 14, 2011 at 11:04 pm

No name calling, or I will delete your comments. You are welcome to disagree, but I won’t allow name calling, or personal attacks.

william freeman August 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Veronica, you arctical misses serveral key issues that surround teen pregrancy. For a start you portray teen pregancy as planed and ligitimate, for example you state “it feel like punishment for women daring to fall pregnant” correct me if im wrong but falling pregnant at 17 would not be a good idea. it is as if you are on some wild rant about womens rights. the government is attempting to achieve a long term solution for the sticky situation many teen mothers find them selfs in. think about it, if i had a child a 17 and had to leave school, my child would be more educated them me by the time im 35… who wants to employ a uneducated 35 year old? ohh and by the way i am a 18 year old student, and i can tell you that through out all my school i have had very good sex education and people in australia can obtain free contraception, any family planning climic will give you a bucket of condoms happily

Veronica August 14, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Falling pregnant at 17 also isn’t a life ending moment. It just changes the path you take. I AM having a rant about womens rights and the rights of mothers and children to not be separated by a government who may not have everyone’s best interests in mind.

I’ve answered your comments about sex education and family planning in another response to you, so I’m not going to respond again.

Katy August 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

William, you may have had a great sex education but you certainly didn’t listen to your english teacher and learn how to spell or use grammar. I think its rediculous of you to ride in here on your narrowminded judgmental horse and spout opinions left, right and centre on a topic you don’t have the life experience to understand. Why don’t you go out, live life a little, experience a little, maybe go through some actual hard times in life that so many have to. Pay your own bills and not rely on your mummy and daddy for once and you may know what life feels like for so many others living on a poverty level.

GG October 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I fell pregnant at 15, and gave birth 4 days before my 16th. It wasn’t planned, I could hardly look after myself, I was in a deep dark hole without a ladder, and looking after someone else was the faintest thing to ever cross my mind.
I chose to keep the baby. I believed that an abortion would only make my mental state much worse, and that I wouldn’t handle putting him up for adoption after having to grow something so close to me, just to give it away to somebody else, then act like nothing had ever happened, or deal with the stigma of still having been pregnant at 15. All of my available choices had the chance of that stigma, living in a very small country town.
Before I found out I was pregnant, I had been given a job at Mcdonalds, I lasted a month and was fired for being too sick to work. In that same week I had been told i was pregnant, and was the reason for throwing up and fainting all over the place. That week sucked. A lot.
I finished up yr 9 at school with the intention of doing half of yr 10, but at the start of that year my body couldn’t cope with being pregnant and school, so I dropped out with the intention of proving everyone wrong and returning the next year.
My depression was pretty severe, the father had raped me while pregnant, and at one point, I decided to try to save me and the baby by trying to kill myself. I am very thankful that it didn’t work. Most days of my pregnancy was spent sitting on the computer in my room, or sleeping. I never went out, I never saw anyone, and no one ever came to see me.
When I was in labour at the hospital, I was given all sorts of crap because I was a teen. At the time I didn’t care much, but my mother heard it all, and fumes about it even now. Mum was my birthing partner; or you may as well have just called her my partner, because she looked after me, and did everything for me, just like a partner would. I wouldn’t be at the point I am without her.
Raising a child was/is so very hard, even with the full support of my mum. At some point DHS was called to suss everything out, and made life even harder for us. They told us that they could not see anything wrong with how i was doing everything, because i was already getting help for everything i needed help for. They told us that they had to send me and my baby to a mother baby unit 5 hours away, just so they could be seen as doing something. I only lasted a week there, without my family, my support, and just the general change in everything. I had to follow stupid rules of the unit, for ‘health saftey’ such as “no sharing toys or blankets”, yet the babies could pay together fine. The only outside was a tiny triangle of fenced off grass and a tree, and we had to be watched all the time by a carer.
By the time I came back I was a mess, and mum had to work hard to get me back to doing everything I needed to be doing.
I spent about 8 months at home with the baby, we did nothing, saw no one. I was going nutty.
When the time came, I put him in childcare. It was hell to get him in but I managed to get him in 3 days a week at a good place, with my mother caring for him the other 2 days. I went to school.
It was horrible going back. My old friends wanted nothing to do with me, and I gave up on getting along with the 2 or 3 people that tried to, simply because we couldn’t talk about anything any more. I didn’t do things other kids do, and my topics of conversation revolved around kids.
I have eventually made a few ‘friends’ but I more sorta just sit there listening to their crap, waiting for the bell to go.
I am now 18, in yr 11. Its too hard to get all the work done, look after a 2yo, and do housework too, now that I’ve moved into my partner’s family. At mum’s she did all the housework (Somehow! I swear my mum has a magic wand there somewhere..). I am looking at going into an apprenticeship next year instead of completing school, just because its too hard.

I have so much more support than most other teen mums, and I am finding it so hard to cope. And its not because I’m not trying. Boy, I’m trying bloody hard, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough.
I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be on every teen mother out there, single or not (I’ve been both), if this stupid thing comes in as mandatory. YES, teen mothers need every bit of support and help that anyone can give them, but as I grew up with: Help is only help if it’s helpful.

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