This film followed teenagers Chantelle and Lydia who both, at the start of the film, were convinced they wanted a baby.
Chantelle was 16 while Lydia was just 14 and the differences between them – despite the obvious common ground of wanting a child – were immense. Chantelle had had an abortion when she was 14 and it became evident early on that her unresolved grief over losing that child made her want to replace it with another.
Lydia however came across as wanting a toy; a living doll who, the way of many rabbits and guinea pigs belonging to teenagers, would lose the novelty value rapidly. It was also evident that Lydia’s a spoilt brat. Being an only child whose mother was nearing her forties when she had her, she’s clearly been indulged at every turn, and it hasn’t turned her into a nice person.
She was constantly rude to her mother, constantly disobedient and frankly, if there were a blueprint for chavness, Lydia’s it. At the start of the film, she didn’t want to work and I believe that was central to her reason for wanting a baby, though it was never said as such. I think she saw a baby as a state funded meal ticket to her own place and no requirement to get a job because she’d get benefits.
So, the road trip of maternal discovery began with Lydia, her mother Josephine and family friend Lynn in one camper van and Chantelle, her mother Mandy and lovely gran Maggie in another. One of the first ‘tasks’ was to wear a simulated pregnancy bump which, though both girls enjoyed the aesthetics of, both found hard to cope with.
While burdened with the bump, both girls had to go shopping and then cook dinner and while Chantelle accepted it with a few groans, Lydia simply refused to do it and couldn’t understand how she could be expected to shop AND then cook! Oh the horror! If I was her mum, I’d have said to her, “What do you think I have to do every day of my life?!”
But I also got the impression that Josephine was afraid of Lydia in many ways. She seemed to me to be walking on innumerable egg shells for fear of setting off a tantrum of Hiroshima proportions.
For both girls, just four hours of wearing the baby bump saw them fed up of it and they didn’t get to go through the real fun stuff like sickness, swollen everything, piles, a long line of medics waiting to inspect your nether regions and watching yourself turn into the Michelin Blimp complete with skin that’s literally stretched to breaking point…
Next was meeting girls in the position they so badly wanted to be in themselves; young mothers with young babies. Of course, the two young women they met had very little by way of anything positive to offer about becoming a mum so young. They were struggling for money, constantly knackered and had no freedom, but while Chantelle took it on board and listened, Lydia took on the gum-chewing, blasé “f*** you” attitude that she seems to apply to anything that doesn’t get her what she wants or isn’t what she wants to hear.
Then it was time to have a faux baby to care for – one of those dolls that they had in Big Brother one time that demands everything a real baby does. Surprisingly, Lydia coped better with hers than Chantelle did; Chantelle got fed up and stressed out which, had I been a betting woman, I’d have said would more likely be Lydia’s outcome.
The girls also got a taste of what their lives would be like if they followed the careers they’d most likely choose, which for Chantelle was hairdressing and for Lydia was becoming a chef. Fortunately, both girls really enjoyed their mini work experience and it was probably this that ultimately changed both their minds about wanting to have a baby so soon.
There was a very touching and sad trip to a psychotherapist along the way as well as a visit to a new mum on a labour ward whose partner went into grisly detail about the less romantic side of birth. Chantelle shyly enquired if the new mum had poo’d during the birth, and the new dad answered that there was “so much… stuff, everywhere” in terms of gore and goo during the birth that a poop was likely to go unnoticed anyway.
The five day roadtrip ended with both girls deciding that they would wait for a baby and pursue careers instead, much to the relief of all the adults who must’ve been kept awake nights worrying that their child was about to have one of their own, and the more worrying prospect that they’d end up looking after it!
This was a really enjoyable show and I suspect if every teenage girl who was contemplating getting pregnant could have a similar journey, we’d have a lot less children born to children.
If you missed it, you can see it here on iPlayer.