Love & Family

Teen mum – I had a baby at 13

Alda became the youngest girl in her country to give birth

When Alda Johanna Hafnadottir fell pregnant at 12, people had a lot to say.

Now, 14 years on, she shares how rewarding the journey to raising her daughter has been.

I’d never seen my mum, Helena, put her shoes on and rush out of the door so fast.

She returned quicker than I thought she would, and in her hand was a box from the pharmacy.

‘You have to pee on the stick,’ she said, unwrapping it and handing it to me.

I looked at it, bemused. I’d never seen anything like it before.

But, I did what I was told and took it to the bathroom to pee on.

On the way out, I handed it to Mum and she sat on the side of the bath with it.

‘Alda, I’m going to faint,’ came her words a few minutes later.

As I took the stick off her, I saw that two lines had appeared on it.

I hadn’t been worried before this, but seeing Mum’s shock sent me into a spin.

Suddenly, I was terrified and, apparently, also pregnant.

This was certainly not the plan. I was just 12 years old.

The first of many tears began to spill down my face.

‘This is all his fault,’ I sobbed.

I was so confused and angry.

How could this be happening?

I’d met the baby’s father, then 14, through friends. And we’d been dating for a few months.

Both of us had been very naive and, without any sex education, I hadn’t known about contraception.

‘I haven’t had my period,’ I’d told Mum that day.

Having older sisters, I knew that no period could mean I was pregnant, but
I hadn’t thought I would be.

Now, as I stared at the positive test, my world came crashing around me.

Me at 12 (Credit: Supplied)

At first, it felt like a termination was my only choice.

Mum and my dad, Hafne, promised to support me, whatever my decision.

But, at the ultrasound, everything changed.

‘I’m going to keep it,’ I said, completely in awe.

‘It’s going to be very hard,’ the social worker said.

I tried to understand that but I didn’t really grasp the enormity of it all, especially at 12.

I kept the news from friends and teachers until I was showing at five months.

Thankfully, they were as supportive as my family.

My obstetrician worried that, as I was so small, my hips wouldn’t be wide enough to give birth naturally. But I managed it.

After a 12-hour natural labour, I had my daughter on January 26, 2004.

Her dad and my mum were there with me and we named her Andrea.

By then, I was 13 and her dad was 15.

It was overwhelming and more painful than I had expected, but that wasn’t the worst part.

Andrea as a baby (Credit: Supplied)

While I was still in the delivery room, phone calls from the media began.

‘You’re the youngest girl in Iceland to give birth,’ a journalist said.

Everyone wanted to talk to me, but they were not all congratulatory.

The news blew up and I was shocked to discover strangers were making cruel comments.

‘Children shouldn’t be having children,’ was a common one.

But it was the comments about how fat I looked that cut the deepest.

‘You have to ignore them,’ Mum told me.

Back home after the birth, Mum looked after Andrea while I went to school.

But, of course, everything changed.

When Andrea was two months old, her dad and I broke up.

My friends and I grew up together but in different worlds.

They all doted on Andrea though, and even when things were really hard, she was the most loved baby there was.

I might have been young but I still had so much to give her. I especially loved watching her play with her singing toy flower.

‘You are my sunshine,’ it trilled out and, through it all, it felt like she was my sunshine.

Determined to show her and all my critics what I could do, I finished the equivalent of my school certificate.

Then, when Andrea was four, I moved out and started supporting her myself.

Andrea and me today (Credit: Supplied)

Today, Andrea has grown into a strong, smart 16-year-old, and I’m studying and working as a social worker.

I’m also engaged to my boyfriend of six years, Arve.

‘You’re the strictest mum out of all my friends!’ Andrea tells me regularly.

While I worked hard to raise my girl and make a life for us, I’d never wish it on her, or any teenager.

Andrea and I talked about sex at a very early age and, thankfully, she doesn’t seem that interested in boys yet.

It was a hard, but very rewarding journey being a teen mum.

I’ve had to deal with a lot of snide comments but I’ve also shown I could do it and, with Andrea as the proof, do it well.

She really is the sunshine of my life.

I think my ‘record’ as the youngest mother in my country still stands and actually I’m glad of that.

Of course, it depends on the circumstances, but becoming a mum at 13 is a lot to take on.

I hope other teenagers can look to, and learn from, my story.

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