Belfast Telegraph

The most important thing is that this baby is wanted and loved

By Fionola Meredith

It's very easy to the point the finger at the 29-year-old woman from north Belfast, who's been described as the youngest grandmother in the UK and Ireland.

She gave birth at the age of 14, and now her own teenage daughter is pregnant. There will be plenty of people who will use this as an excuse to fulminate about social disintegration, moral degeneracy and sexual incontinence. But they're missing the point. This isn't a story about the state of society at large. It's about the value of individual lives.

Of course, having a baby at 14 is no joke, as I'm sure the prospective grandmother has already told her daughter, speaking from her own hard-won experience. For the young mother, it means an abrupt end to the carefree days of childhood, and a shutting down of opportunities, at the very time when the possibilities of adult life are just starting to open up.

In an ideal world, it wouldn't happen. Better sex education in schools would make situations like this far less likely. Young people should be equipped with all the facts they need.

And I bet it's no joke, either, to be a granny before you've even hit 30. These days, many people are barely out of their own extended childhoods at that age, and can hardly contemplate having kids of their own, let alone becoming a grandparent.

But all that really matters is that this baby is truly wanted and loved by her family, and raised with care and dignity. If that's the case, then the fact that she was born to a child herself will, in the end, be of little importance.

Belfast Telegraph

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