Tressa Middleton became pregnant with her first child at the tender age of 11-years-old. She reported having had unprotected sex while intoxicated, which led to the pregnancy. In 2006, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl and the pair were both placed into foster care.
Then, a child psychologist decided that the baby would fair better without her biological mother, and the infant was subsequently placed with adopted parents. Now, Middleton plans to do everything she can to see her little girl again. She said:
“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 any more. 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.”
All Middleton has of her daughter now is a semi-annual letter from the adoptive parents to update her of the little girl’s progress. For Middleton, this isn’t nearly enough. She remarked:
“I got to meet her adoptive parents but I wasn’t allowed to know their names. They were maybe mid-30s. They seemed lovely but it doesn’t really matter who was taking her – I never wanted to let her go. 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. At the end of the day, she’s my wee girl and I’m doing them a favour. I wasn’t asking for much, asking to see her once a year, but they thought I was.”
Some say that Middleton was doomed from the moment she was born to end up in dire circumstances such as these. She grew up in the ghetto, on the streets of one of Britain’s toughest neighborhoods. Her mother had six children by four different fathers by the time she was 38-years-old.
Middleton recalled sleeping with the boy who got her pregnant:
“I slept with him because I was drunk and I wanted to. I don’t regret it because if I didn’t have sex with him I wouldn’t have my baby. I knew straight away that I couldn’t have an abortion because that’s something I don’t believe in.”
At the time when Middleton first made headlines for getting pregnant when she was barely out of primary school, she was criticized for her excitement over being a young mother. This trend runs in her family. Shockingly, her mother had given birth to her youngest child just days before learning that she was going to be a grandmother.
Middleton now plans to join the Army in an attempt to show that she has matured and should be awarded custody of her daughter. That seems a far-fetched idea though, as the little girl has been thriving with her adoptive parents. One of her progress reports was proof of that. Middleton said:
“When I read it I just started crying. It says she can read numbers 0-9 and count to 20. That’s all the things I wanted to teach her as her mum. It’s wee simple things like that which affect me. I get upset when I see wee girls walking past with their mums. I miss my wee girl every day. I’ve kept all her clothes from when she was a baby. I keep under my pillow a wee pink Babygro and hat from when she was born.”
Even her daughter’s progress seems to be heart-breaking for Middleton, because she cannot be involved. She explained:
“My daughter sometimes called me “Mummy” then one day she called me by my first name and called her foster carer “Mum”. It really hurt and I burst into tears. Then she wouldn’t come to me. She refused and would start screaming. It felt like every time I saw her I was losing her more and more. The adoptive parents gave her their surname. They’ve kept her first name the same, but hearing that her name had changed was heartbreaking. It’s like they’re turning my wee girl into someone different. She was dressed different and her hair was different. It was hard to see someone else bringing up my wee girl.”
Middleton seems to be very conflicted with the notion of what is best for her small daughter as opposed to what makes her happy. After stating that she holds resentment for the adoptive family who has given her daughter a much better life than she ever could have, she said of the adoption:
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think I can give my daughter the life she needs just now. When I’m older I want to build a relationship with my daughter. I’m concentrating on sorting myself out so that one day I’ll hopefully see my wee girl again. I love her to bits.”
This certainly speaks to the perils of underage sexual activity. Middleton did not have the foresight at the age of 11 to realize that a moment of passion could lead to all of this heartbreak. Now, almost a decade later, she is still struggling with reconciling what is best for her, versus what is best for her daughter.
This is quite a sticky situation. Do you think Middleton should be allowed to have a relationship with her child? Give us your take in the comments section.