'My baby is a blessing, not a mistake': 15-year-old mum
AT THE age of 14, most girls are still treated as children - but Peyton Pearson was about to take on a responsibility far beyond her years.
She was preparing to become a mother.
The Emu Park girl spoke candidly to The Morning Bulletin today about her journey through adolescent motherhood and all the challenges that come with it.
Her son Charlie was born in December last year after Peyton had unprotected sex with a peer she was dating at the time.
"The boy told me he was wearing a condom, afterwards he told me he didn't," Peyton said.
"You don't just have unprotected sex without thinking anything will come of it."
While the pair are no longer together, Peyton, now aged 15, said having Charlie has been "a blessing instead of a mistake".
"It is very stressful at times but there are good days and there are bad days and as a mum you just go with it I guess," she said.
But Peyton is not alone in her life as a teen parent.
Statistics from the Every Child Central Queensland report show Central Queensland has a teen pregnancy rate twice the national average - a figure that doesn't surprise Peyton "because of the way most teenagers behave now days".
Despite her young age, Peyton and bub have the full support of her parents with the pair still living at her mother's home.
"My mum was upset for me but not angry," she said.
"My dad was a bit shocked but again not angry."
As a mother-to-be, Peyton had support at home, but school was a different story.
"When I fell pregnant I continued my schooling," Peyton said.
"When I announced I was pregnant I got a lot of bullying from males and females at school such as name calling, gossiping about who the father was, dirty stares and people would say 'slut' as I walked past."
The pregnancy even cost her some friends, but Peyton said she was thankful for those who supported her through "pregnancy, birth and now motherhood".
Leaving school behind her, she now intends to begin distance education in June so she can get a university teaching degree.
Although Peyton said she mainly learnt about sex through her friends, the teen doesn't think extra sexual education would have changed her outcome.
"[School name removed] did offer sexual education which I did do, but it was after my new friends had told me what they knew about it which to be honest wasn't much either," she said.
"I think most teenagers will experiment and that's just what I did."
It's been a hard road, but Peyton said she wouldn't change what happened "for the world".
Emu Park woman Reasha Keato also shared her story of teen motherhood today.
At the age of 18, Reasha fell pregnant to her partner of four years, Reid, despite being on the contraception pill.
Now baby Chase is nearing his first birthday.
"I had no symptoms whatsoever apart from a missed period but I brushed it off...," Reasha said.
"After a week or so passed I started to think I might be pregnant so I went and got a test and sure enough there was two solid lines.
"I felt scared and nervous but it very quickly grew on me and it was the best thing to ever happen to me."
The couple received the full support from their friends and family and although Reasha occasionally got rude stares she "just ignored them".
Reasha said she didn't receive much sex education as she went to a catholic school, but her mother took on the role and taught her what she needed to know.
"I believe I did have enough knowledge, but just not from the school," she said.
"I was also on contraception so I was definitely careful."
Like Peyton, Reasha said her child has been a blessing in her life and she has no regrets.
"Getting to watch this little boy that's a perfect mix of me and his father grow up into such an amazing little person," she said.
"I wouldn't have life any other way.
"Being a mum at any age is hard but it continues to get better.
"Having your baby in your arms makes every second worth it."