James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Pregnant teen's letter draws praise

Pregnant 15-year-old overwhelmed by support, though some people have criticised her.

Georgia Hageman. Photo / Supplied by Facebook
Georgia Hageman. Photo / Supplied by Facebook

A young mother-to-be has been overwhelmed with support for a letter she wrote about being a pregnant teenager and says having a baby won't derail her career plans or overseas travel plans.

Georgia Hageman's open letter in the Weekend Herald about her pregnancy sparked an outpouring of support - and some criticism.

The 15-year-old is 36 weeks pregnant and is expecting a boy, Mason.

Yesterday, Georgia said she had been overwhelmed with support via Facebook messages that were positive and reassuring. There were also a few from people who didn't agree with her situation.

Read more:
Georgia Hageman: My life as a pregnant teenager
Family backs pregnant tell-all teen

"There have been other teenagers who have contacted me somehow and it's a reassuring feeling to know I'm not alone and how I'm feeling is normal," she said.

"It's a positive feeling to know I've been able to help girls in my situation because when I was going through this I felt very alone and I couldn't relate to anyone because I didn't know anyone who had been in my situation and I didn't really have the strength to approach people."

Georgia's story was viewed by close to 400,000 people on the Herald's Facebook page, and more than 100,000 read it on the Herald's website. It was the Herald's most-read story of the week on Facebook.

Georgia's father, Rob, wrote on Facebook: "Georgia made a mistake, she knows that but she made an informed decision to keep her baby. There is a little more to this than meets the eye, and certainly a lot more to this beautiful young lady. As her dad I am incredibly proud of her having the courage to speak out ..."

In her letter, Georgia said how she wished she could see a normal teen girl's body when she looked in the mirror and to have clothes that didn't have to be three sizes too big, and how she was battling with the different physical pains brought about by pregnancy.

She wished she was a "normal 15-year-old girl" still learning to be responsible for herself, and not for two people, and how she missed sitting in a classroom or gossiping with her friends at school.

Georgia will have her final scan tomorrow and feels sore and exhausted emotionally and physically while having to deal with the break-up with Mason's father. But she has the full support of her parents, who are excited about the imminent arrival of their first grandchild.

Georgia turns 16 in January and said she had been on the receiving end of comments such as how she had sacrificed her career and any future prospects, but she remains upbeat and optimistic.

"It's definitely not like that - it's just delayed and I don't have any doubts that I won't get there in the future.

"At the moment the most important thing is to look after Mason and to give him what he needs and then once we have passed the peaks there's definitely a future for me with a career and to travel and all of that sort of stuff," she said.

Georgia grew up with a passion for animals and a desire to be a veterinarian and open an animal rescue shelter. She also has a love of writing but could also see herself in a role helping other teenagers going through pregnancy.

"I went through stages where I wanted to be a lawyer, then a journalist. Lots of people have commented how I should start a blog. That's what I do: when I feel confused or overwhelmed, I attempt to write so I can put my emotions and feelings into perspective so I can understand why I'm feeling like that."

On Facebook, Jasmine Hodges wrote: "Good on her. I got pregnant at 14 and it saved my life. I quit the alcohol, smoking and drugs and violence that had ruled my life since 10.

"I did it cold turkey but people still judged me for my past ..."

But Bryan Booten said it was irresponsible to glamorise teen pregnancy. "Now what happens? I guess it's okay to go around knocking up 15-year-olds."

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- NZ Herald

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