Actress Teuila Blakely reveals shame and stigma she was made to feel as a teen mum - 'I can't be a good mother because I'm young?'

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Actress Teuila Blakely has revealed how being humiliated and judged as a teenage mother led her to consider taking her life.

Blakely had a baby at 17, and faced condemnation from the public - including other mums.

"One of the worst experiences I had was when I was in Kmart trying to get my son a toy, and I couldn't afford the toy. It was really embarrassing.

"The lady behind me - who literally had her own toddler - said: 'This is why people like you shouldn't have kids, because you can't even afford to buy your child toys. I feel sorry for your child'." 

Blakely says the incident was typical of public attitudes towards teen parents in the 1990s.

"So, I can't be a good mother because I'm young? [The woman] felt, as a mother, that she had the right to judge me and put me down."

On this weekend's episode of The Inside Word, Blakely explains how she was kicked out of home on the day she told her parents that she was pregnant. 

Blakely says she and her son, Jared, were on their own for 10 years. She would "literally get abused while walking down the street" by people who didn't even know her.

"It was so tough, and to be honest, I constantly felt like I wanted to kill myself. Because of the pressure, [and] because it was so tough.

"But in saying that, because I had this beautiful little boy who completely, solely depended on me, he was the one reason I was never ever going to do that.

"I just had this determination that I was going to make a good life for myself and my son."

Watch the full episode of The Inside Word on Teen Parenthood on Sunday at 9pm on DUKE.

Where can I get support and help?

If you want to talk to someone about any challenges in your life, free call or text 1737 anytime to speak to a trained counsellor.

Lifeline - 0800 543 354

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email: talk@youthline.co.nz

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 or www.depression.org.nz

The Lowdown: A website to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. www.thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

SPARX.org.nz: Online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed

OUTLine NZ - 0800 688 5463 for support related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

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