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Why young mothers are hesitant in asking for help

Social Change

"There is no influence so powerful as that of the mother."

— Sarah Josepha Hale

For a lot of people, mother-figures play an integral part in shaping our lives, biological or not. For young mothers, these figures aren’t always easily found or easy to become.

Raising and parenting a child is a complex, difficult and important job. Adding in factors like gender inequality, socioeconomic challenges and teenage motherhood, it is especially hard for younger mothers trying to finish school. There are many statistics that show the negative effects becoming a young mother can have on education and future economic independence.  One study even found that daughters of teenage mothers were more likely to become young mothers themselves and in so doing, fall prey to many of the same barriers their own mothers faced.

There are many reasons why young mothers are hesitant in asking for help, some are afraid of judgment, lack support systems to begin with or suffer from depression, while others have difficulty accessing child care:

[After] having [my daughter] I knew I had to have an education so I could give her a future. But I wouldn’t have been ok to go to school...if I wasn’t sure [she] was getting good care.
Program participant, YWCA Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care.

I am scared that people will judge me or report me...Giving me this idea that people [will] take my baby away, so I was scared.
 – Program participant, YWCA Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care.

Breaking the cycle over poverty for teenage mothers

YWCA Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre provides free, high quality early learning and child care in a facility next to Tupper High School in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Here, young mothers learn valuable parenting skills relating to early childhood development, nutrition and budgeting while completing their education through Heron's Nest: Education center for young parents. Staff at YWCA Emma’s also provide valuable connections to additional YWCA programs and community resources that will assist with employment, housing and long-term economic independence, helping these young women prepare for their futures.

YWCA programs are more than just a quick solution for our participants, we're foundational. We provide tools and support for young mothers that goes beyond those mentioned in this article, truly giving them a strong start on their futures.

I’m 18 years-old now and next year I’ll have my high school diploma. Despite all my challenges, I’m moving ahead. I’ve got plans for the future and that’s something I didn’t expect.
– Program participant, YWCA Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care.

This year, why not make a young mother’s day? Skip the chocolates and support YWCA Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre by making a donation.

Your donations will go towards empowering young mothers in completing their education and achieving economic independence.This program is funded in part by United Way Lower Mainland.

Click here to make a donation. 

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