In 2006, Tressa Middleton of Scotland gave birth to a baby girl. She was twelve at the time. Now sixteen, Middleton has decided she wants to be part of the child’s life.
From Britain’s Daily Mail:
She [Middleton] was one of six children - by four different fathers - to her then 34-year-old mother, who said she was ‘proud’ of her daughter for keeping the baby.
On the bleak streets where Miss Middleton was raised, petty crime is rife and drink and drugs are ever present. Boarded-up windows abound and gardens are strewn with bed frames, discarded mattresses and other rubbish.
Despite barely being out of primary school, Miss Middleton smoked up to 20 cigarettes a day, used cannabis and downed cocktails of Buckfast tonic wine and vodka.
There is no question that Middleton’s upbringing played a role in her decisions regarding alcohol use and sexual activity at such a young age, but yet it’s still quite horrible to think about children playing amidst broken mattresses and beer bottles. It sickens me, as does the constant presence of drugs and alcohol that were made a regular part of her life before she ever used them.
That said, though, there are tens of thousands who grow up in these types of situations. Some go the route of casual sex, addiction, prostitution, gang involvement, and violence. However, many do not. Regular exposure to the ugliest parts of life can motivate children to focus on working hard and getting a solid education that will allow them to move on to a better place for their own adult lives.
Uh … Tressa Middleton, not so much.
She told the Scottish Sun: ‘I’m not a big drinker now and I don’t smoke hash any more. In the past I’ve cut myself but I don’t do that anymore. I’m going to give myself a couple of years to get my life sorted, then I’m going to fight for access to my little girl.
That’s great, Tressa. Just superb. You don’t smoke hash anymore, you drink Alcopop instead of Buckfast, and you’re trying your darndest to get pregnant at sixteen by your 24-year-old boyfriend. Oh, and you have names all picked out for your future baby, which you hope will be a boy. Fan-fucking-tastic.
So her baby daughter, who was adopted eighteen months ago, is now a focus for Middleton, who clearly has babies on the brain. The adoptive parents send an update to Middleton every six months but have made it clear that they don’t want her to have any further contact with the little girl. Naturally, Middleton had a problem with that:
‘After I’d signed the adoption papers, I went to court to fight for twice-a-year contact. I’d even tried to make a deal that if I signed the papers I would get to see her once a year, but the adoptive parents didn’t want that. They don’t want me to see her. They want to get on with their lives. It makes me hate them.
So let me get this straight. She abused drugs and self-mutilated while in foster care with her baby. She was clearly not able to care for the child herself, and she agreed to sign adoption papers at the recommendation of a child psychiatrist. Now that her daughter is happy and healthy with her adoptive family, she wants to disrupt the poor kid’s life now that she’s sort-of-kind-of got her shit together a little bit? Maybe?
I’ve written before about my own experiences as a teenage mother. There were some key differences—the five years between 12 and 17, for one thing, and the very lucky and fortunate fact that my family was able to provide me with both emotional and financial support—so obviously, this story really resonates with me on a personal level.
I made the decision to keep my baby when I was seventeen, and it was the right decision for me. I also recognize that both adoption and abortion are other valid considerations. When dealing with something as fragile as the life of a child, you must do what is best for that child. You have to take yourself out of the equation to a degree. As Middleton has freely admitted that adoption was the best choice for her child, she should now cherish the updates she receives every six months and hope that, when the little girl comes of age, they will be able to form a relationship. Anything else is unspeakably selfish.