You’re not in trouble. And darling heart, you’re not alone.
If I could say anything to the fourteen-year-old girl who gave away her baby to a random family on Sunday night – that’d be it.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me take two steps back.
On Sunday night a four-day-old baby boy, wrapped in a pink sheet and tucked into a bassinette with a bottle by his side was left on the doorstep of a stranger’s suburban home in Griffith.
Can you imagine? You’re up late watching TV on a Sunday night when the doorbell rings at 11.30pm. You think, “What on earth?” You open the door and no one is there. Well until you look down and see a beautiful, healthy, plump baby crying on your doorstep. A baby with a note attached to him.
It’s the opening scene of a thousand fairytales.
“Please take care of my baby. He is beautiful,” says the note. “I cannot look after him because I am only fourteen years old. My parents will kill me.”
I am only fourteen-years-old. My parents will kill me.
Do you remember being that scared? Do you remember fourteen?
I do. My fourteen was full of A-ha and spiral perms and unrequited love and washing bird poo off my mum’s car using STEEL WOOL. At fourteen, you’re childlike but not a child. And you’re trying to navigate that rickety bridge towards adulthood. You’re worrying about pimples and bad hair and lost homework. You love fiercely with your whole heart and grieve with the hurts of a thousand years. There is an intensity to fourteen. You are wise and also naïve. Brave and also vulnerable. And you’re still terrified – TERRIFIED – of your parents.
At fourteen one mistake can feel like you are doomed forever.
Watch Bec Sparrow reveal what she’d like young people to know about adulthood below. Post continues after video…
I remember fourteen like it was yesterday.
That’s why when I think of this fourteen-year-old girl who feels scared and trapped and who just days ago HAD A BABY – I get it. I think we all do. And I think what she did – leaving her baby on a doorstep – was loving and brave. I think what she did was try hard to find her baby a safe, new life.
So this is what I want her to know.
It’s going to be okay. And you’re not in trouble.
We all screw up. We make mistakes. We make bad judgement calls. And not just teenagers. Adults too. ALL THE TIME. (One day let me tell you about the time I married a boyfriend in Vegas. Ay Karumba.)
Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and think we’ve completely ruined everything. But getting pregnant and having a baby as a teenager does not make you a bad person. There is no shame here.
Rather there is always, always a way forward.
Take a pause, take a breath, have a think and allow people to help you. You’ll discover that there’s always a Plan B.
Albert Camus was a famous author and philosopher and I love this quote from him. He said, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
In you there is something stronger. Something better, pushing back. And if you’re not feeling strong right now, that’s okay, let other people be strong for you. You are just fourteen.
No one is waiting to yell at you. Instead what they want to do is make sure you are okay. Are you okay? They want to pour you a lemonade and cut you a slice of cake and they want to sit with you and help you make a plan. Plans are good. Maybe it will mean allowing a loving family to adopt your beautiful son. Maybe it will mean working with a team of people so that you can keep him and still go to school (it’s possible!). Maybe it will mean letting foster parents look after your son for a little while. Maybe it will mean having some counselling sessions with your parents to work out a strategy together.
Leaving a baby in a basket on a doorstep is like something out of a fairytale. But in real life you, dear girl, get to choose your own adventure. You are the hero of your story and you get to decide what happens in the next chapter.
Update: Following public appeal amid concerns for the 14-year-old girl’s welfare, she has visited Griffith Base Hospital and is currently being attended to by hospital staff and Family and Community Services.