"People definitely judge me – after I left school, people from school were calling me up, shouting at me as I walked down the street, bullying me. I just laugh at them – they don’t know me, and know how different my life is now."
- Babes graduate and teen mama Lily (pictured)
Scan any mainstream media stories about young mothers, and the evidence piles up fast - there's a huge stigma attached to being a teenage mum.
While just a quarter of the mamas we work with at Babes are teenaged, it seems there's a public obsession with teen parents.
Too often, news coverage shouts criticism at these brave young people, rather than give them a voice.
When Seven News visited our Frankston centre earlier this month, they heard the stories of two of our young mamas - including 19-year-old Raechal, who said the hardest part of her journey had been the criticism and judgement she'd faced.
Worse that that, last year our survey of TBP participants found nearly 50 per cent faced social isolation - a feeling that isn't helped by slurs in the media, or on the streets.
Here at Babes, we're determined to change the conversation about the capability of young mamas - and ALL mamas - and you can help us.
This week, studio current affairs program Insight on SBS will feature teenage parents.
As we've found at Babes, creative a positive image of young parents can get a vicious response, especially through social media.
While understanding why people turn into trolls on the internet is beyond our comprehension here at Babes, we do know the value of supportive voices - both to our mamas, and for the project.
If you're tuning into Insight (SBS TV at 8.30pm on Tuesday, or livestream here) and decide to join the social media conversation, please feel free to tag Babes (@thebabesproject on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and talk about the important work we do.
You never know who might be moved to reach out - or who just takes hope from a different perspective on motherhood.
A couple of our incredible Frankston mamas had their voices heard when Seven News profiled us recently.
Let's give the last word to Lily, whose experience having bub Rosalie at aged 16 has changed her view of the world.
Now aspiring to become a midwife and help other mothers, Lily's planning to head back to school, and show her critics what she's made of.
"When people say that teenagers are too young to have babies – I just want to prove them wrong. I want to study, to get a really good job, and a house. I’m young enough that my whole life is still ahead of me, just it’s as a mum now."
More power to your arm, Lily and every young mama out there - you've already achieved so much more than you know!