Hello and welcome back to the U30s Round-Up! Amie and Hannah (your hosts) took a couple of months off to reassess what the U30s community really wanted and needed from this Round-up and we hope you agree we’ve come up with a winning formula.
Each month, we’ll be featuring a different member of the community, telling their story and giving you a chance to really get to know each other. Whether you’re married with three kids or a single dad co-parenting through University, we want to hear about your experience of being a younger parent. Be sure to get in touch with Amie (@amiecaitlin) or Hannah (@hibabyblog) for the chance to be featured. And don’t forget to join the U30 Facebook Group for support, chat and banter.
Name: Maddy Matthews-Williams
Blog: The Speed Bump
Location: Near Llanelli
Number of Children: 1
Hi! My name is Maddy, I’m 22 and I blog at The Speed Bump. I’ve just moved to the south Wales coast, near Llanelli. I am married to Daf, and we have a three-year-old daughter, Celyn.
I found out I was pregnant when I was nineteen, and just about to start my second year of a Theatre & Performance degree. To say it was a shock is an understatement! Initially, my parents were gutted, as they thought I’d drop out of university. Once they wrapped their heads around it, they were supportive. My friends couldn’t believe it at first – I was the last person they’d have expected to get pregnant at a young age! – but I couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging, loving group of people around me.
When I was twelve weeks pregnant, I started my blog. I’d been given a copy of Emma’s Diary, the pregnancy week-by-week guide, and I couldn’t relate to it at all. While the magazine is great for a middle-class, married couple in their thirties, I was a nineteen-year-old student, living in one room in a student house with her boyfriend. I set up The Speed Bump as a place to chart my own pregnancy journey – a very honest, no-holds-barred account of what it’s like to be unexpectedly expecting.
Life changed beyond imagination after my daughter was born. In the space of nine months I had gone from a carefree, party-loving student to a nineteen-year-old mum, desperately trying to juggle essays and classes with all the responsibilities of caring for a newborn baby. One of the toughest things about being a young parent was – and still is! – feeling the pressure to defy the stereotypes. I nearly made myself sick with stress, writing essays less than two weeks after my daughter was born, because I didn’t want to be seen to be taking the “easy way out”. It paid off – I graduated in 2015 with a first-class degree, finishing university just after my daughter’s first birthday – but it was immensely stressful.
That said, I wouldn’t change a thing. At nineteen, I was starting to see the world with the cynical eyes of an adult. Suddenly, I have this little person who is seeing everything for the very first time, and there’s so much wonder and magic in her eyes. I feel like I’ve grown up alongside her over the last three years, which is a huge privilege. To have had her at my graduation, at Daf’s graduation and at our wedding in December last year was amazing.
I’ve continued to evolve The Speed Bump over time. What started out as a pregnancy diary is now a hybrid of a blog documenting Celyn’s childhood and me adjusting to adulthood – sometimes smoothly, sometimes disastrously -, and a (hopefully!) useful collection of resources for young parents and student parents, covering topics like dealing with prejudice and stigma, budgeting, study tips and wrapping your head around student finance. It’s all worthwhile when someone gets in touch to say that my blog has helped them! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that people find my blog helpful.
I love having my own little corner of the internet that I can use as an outlet for my thoughts and to help others and combat the stereotypes surrounding young parents. It’s one of the best things about blogging – that, and the brilliant community of parent bloggers! If I had to pick one thing I don’t like about blogging, it’s seeing other bloggers lose faith in their site and feel like quitting. Everyone has unique and interesting stories to tell, and every blogger should be proud of what they’ve created. I love reading other people’s blogs; especially ones that can make me laugh, cry and learn something new – sometimes all in the same post!
This is the awkward moment when I try and “sell” my blog to potential readers in a few short soundbites. Considering that I’ve been blogging for three and a half years, I’m shockingly bad at it. All I can say is, some blogs are made of sugar, spice and all things nice. Mine is made of sarcasm, tea and ADHD. If that sounds good to you, we’re going to get along brilliantly!
Don’t forget to follow Maddy to keep up to date with what they get up to!
Facebook: The Speed Bump Blog
Holly from Little Pickle’s Mom. I love her writing style; when you read her posts, it feels like you’re talking to a friend rather than just reading a blog – and I was lucky enough to meet Holly at BlogOn last year; she is even lovelier in real life!
Laura from Max And Mummy. She is a fantastic blogger who has put so much work and effort into a number of projects supporting and helping young mums!
Kirsty from Life With Boys. Her blog is visually stunning, she takes amazing photographs, and I love her writing too.