Britain’s youngest mum who was pregnant aged just 11 has bittersweet new baby

May 03, 2018 lilit 0 Comments

Tressa Middleton was just 12 when her eldest daughter was born after she was raped by her brother

Tressa Middleton could be forgiven for feeling a rollercoaster of emotions the moment she cradled her newborn baby .

A rush of maternal love as her daughter was placed on her chest for the first time was followed by a wave of longing and sadness.

Because Tressa, 24, is a mum like no other in Britain.

In 2006, she became the UK’s youngest mother at 12 after she was raped by her brother Jason, then 16.

Schoolgirl Tressa was forced to give up her first daughter for adoption at two – and has never stopped thinking about her.

So as she poses for a family snap with second baby Arihanna and partner Darren Young, 31, her smile masks a deep yearning.

And she admits becoming a mum again has been a bittersweet experience.

“I felt pure joy the moment Arihanna was born. There were times I thought I’d never have another baby,” says Tressa.

“But I also feel guilty, because Arihanna is with me and my older daughter is not.

“She’s still the first thing I think about every morning and the last thing at night.

“I love her so much. I can’t be properly happy without her. It breaks my heart Arihanna will grow up without knowing her big sister.”

Tressa and Darren welcomed 8lb 1oz Arihanna on October 6 after a gruelling 24-hour labour.

Today she speaks about her new arrival for the first time in a home adorned with pictures of the daughter who catapulted her into the headlines more than 11 years ago.

She also has treasured keepsakes including the tot’s handprints, baby clothes and a lock of her hair – mementos of a little life born from a harrowing tragedy.

Tressa says: “Arihanna will always know she has a big sister. I talk to her about it now, even though she can’t understand. She’ll never be a secret.

“They are polar opposites – Arihanna is smiley and contented, while my other daughter was vocal and feisty. But I just know they’d get on.

“I tell Arihanna if her sister was here they’d play games together. I really hope that one day they can meet. It would mean the world to me.

“In the meantime, all I want is for Arihanna to have a normal childhood, where she knows she is loved and safe.”

Safety was something Tressa never enjoyed as a child.

Her mum Tracey Tallons struggled with drink and drug addiction and, as a toddler, Tressa cried her way through parties which stretched into the early hours.

When she reached seven, depraved brother Jason began to sexually abuse her. Four years later, she became pregnant after he raped her.

She gave birth aged 12 and she and her baby were taken into care.

Tressa says: “I loved my mum and she tried her best with us but she struggled.

“At times, I just wanted a routine – to watch TV and go to bed on time like other families.

“I couldn’t talk to her about everything that was happening to me because she had so many problems of her own.

“God forbid Arihanna should have to go through what I did – I want her to talk to me about anything.”

For two years, Tressa kept the identity of her first daughter’s father secret from her family – but at 14 she broke down and told a social worker.

A police investigation was launched and Jason, then 19, was jailed for four years in 2009 after a DNA test revealed he was the dad.

Devastated Tressa’s baby was then taken from her, and she was told the girl would be adopted and contact between them phased out.

Memories of their final meeting, when her daughter was three, still haunt Tressa.

She says: “I didn’t realise it was the last time I’d see her. She didn’t recognise me and she was scared. I couldn’t hug her.

“The worst part was when she shouted for her mummy – but she meant her adoptive mum, not me.

“After that, we could only send letters. I wasn’t allowed to say ‘Mummy loves you’ in case it confused her.”

Tressa sank into deep depression and used alcohol and drugs to numb the pain.

At her lowest point in 2011, she developed a heroin habit.

But she managed to get clean with the help of a counsellor and began to build a new life with Darren.

The pair were overjoyed when she found out she was pregnant in 2012 – but Tressa miscarried, and just three days later her mum died of pneumonia at 41.

“Losing both the baby and mum in the same week was so hard,” says Tressa.

“It’s hard to know she will never meet Arihanna. She’d be really proud of her.

“She was with me when I gave birth to my first daughter, and when Arihanna arrived it was hard not to get upset that she wasn’t there.”

Tressa hasn’t seen Jason since Tracey’s funeral, but she still suffers flashbacks to the sex attacks.

She hasn’t received a letter from her family for nearly three years – but she always sends her daughter birthday and Christmas presents.

The girl is now 11 and Tressa knows she will one day learn the awful truth about how she was conceived.

She says: “I hope her adopted parents don’t tell her I fell pregnant because Jason raped me.

“I don’t want her to read it in the paper, either. I think I should be the one to tell her, when she is old enough to understand.

“As for Arihanna, I’d prefer she didn’t know the full details of my past. She needs to have her own life and she is my fresh start.”

Tressa and Darren have set up home in Bathgate, West Lothian – a few miles from Armadale, where she spent most of her heartbreaking childhood.

Tressa now hopes to enroll in college and study psychology.

She says: “I suppose where we live does have painful memories, but it makes me feel close to my mum.

“When I first fell pregnant, I was really scared Arihanna would be taken from me because of my past but social workers can see I have changed.

“Darren and I keep ourselves to ourselves.

“We rarely go out and we never drink or do drugs.

“Now, when I see girls of 11 and 12 on the street, they look so young that I can’t believe I had a baby at that age.

“I want Arihanna to do all of the things I missed out on, like going to college and getting a degree.

“I’m determined that her life will be totally different to mine.

You Might Also Like