Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 10:44 UK

Teenagers 'desperate' for a baby

With the UK's teenage pregnancy rate the highest in Europe, and one in 10 UK babies born to a teenage mother, a BBC documentary crew followed two girls who badly wanted to get pregnant as they were forced to rethink their decision.

The girls were put through their paces by crying dolls

Sixteen-year-old Chantelle lost her virginity at 13. Having been with her boyfriend for a year and a half, she was desperate for a child.

"I could see myself as a mum next year pushing a baby around, I get jealous when I see people with babies, I feel like it should be me."

But her mother, Mandy Pitt, was horrified by the idea, as she knew only too well the stark reality of being a teenage mother.

"She basically thinks that she's got all the answers and all the solutions, like, 'oh you'll help me', well I won't, I'm not turning my back on her, but I won't help her make that wrong decision."

"Chantelle wanting a child brings back memories, I made that decision at 17 and thought I was ready to have a baby.

At one point I got the Argos catalogue out and wrote everything down that I'd need if I had a child
Lydia, 14

"I ended up on my own… and it was really rough and it was tough and there was no support or nothing… it was horrible not having anyone to turn to."

Mrs Pitt found teenage motherhood so hard she eventually gave her child up for adoption… and was adamant that Chantelle did not follow in her footsteps.

But there was an underlying reason why Chantelle was so desperate for a baby.

"I want a baby because I had an abortion when I was 14, I didn't want to do it but I had to because I needed to live myself and ever since, there's just been that little bit missing."

Headstrong only child Lydia, was convinced she was independent enough to raise a child, even though she's only 14 and does not have a boyfriend.

"I don't know anyone else who wants a baby as much as me… I really, really, really, really, really want a baby.

Mandy, Chantelle and Maggie Pitt
Chantelle's mother Mandy had her daughter when she was 17

"At one point I got the Argos catalogue out and wrote everything down that I'd need if I had a child."

Lydia's mother Josephine Boggis was 37 when she had her daughter, and cannot understand why she would want to throw her teenage years away.

"I think she's looking for something or someone she can shower in love, something that she can be in charge of, because she likes to be in charge."

The relationship between Lydia and her mother has been strained, and has played a large part in the reason why Lydia wants a baby.

"Well I'd love to have a baby so you could bring it up like you wanted to have been brought up, if you know what I mean."

In order to help the girls make an informed decision about getting pregnant, both were taken to see what their future could be like.

They met with teenage mothers who were living in one-bed mother and baby hostels.

Kim, who is now 16, gave birth to her son when she was 13.

With nowhere to go after he was born, she was one day away from being housed in a hostel for drug users and abused women.

"You have no choice, it's not that easy to get a house.

"I don't know why you'd want to have a baby so young.

"I don't want people to make the same mistake as me and to have to face everything that I have, just because they want a child."

Lydia and her mother Josephine Boggis
Lydia and her mother clashed over her desire to get pregnant

Both families visited a maternity ward and talked openly and honestly about themselves and their relationships with a psychotherapist.

The teenagers also had a sleepless night looking after computerised babies, in order to have all the information they needed to make a decision.

After going through a week of these tough challenges, Chantelle and Lydia decided that motherhood could most definitely wait.

Chantelle has enrolled at a hairdressing college and has decided to wait at least a decade before having a baby.

Chantelle said: "When I see babies and (their) mums now I feel sorry for them and ask, 'are they good sleepers?'.

"That's the first thing I ask."

Her mother Mandy Pitt has said she is thrilled with her daughter's decision.

"To hear her say that now, I think phew, it's amazing, it's just a relief you know, and I just think, thank you."

And while Lydia still likes the idea of having a baby, she has decided to pursue a career in the catering trade first.

"When I see babies I think, 'oh how sweet', I'll definitely have one one day… in the future."

Watch more on Pregnancy - My big decision, part of the BBC's Adult Season, to be broadcast on BBC Three, Thursday 16 July at 2100 BST.



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