12 Mar 2015

Judge the person, not the bump

4:12 pm on 12 March 2015

Victoria Scheule wants people to judge the person and not the bump.

Victoria Scheule and her son, Carter

Victoria Scheule and her son, Carter Photo: SUPPLIED

The now 24-year-old remembers too well the stares and backward glances when she was pregnant, aged 16.

"It was hard constantly being judged, societal judgment towards teenage pregnancy was hard, but I'm just a human being.

"They didn't know I had dreams of being a teacher and going to university and getting a degree ... I was a 16-year-old, I was nervous, I had no idea what was going on with my body, I was new to everything."

She left her regular Wellington high school to attend the He Huarahi Tamariki school for teenage parents.

Ms Scheule was 17 when she gave birth to her son, Carter, during the summer holidays, then went straight back to school in February.

"I already had NCEA level one when I went to He Huarahi Tamariki. It was a really good set-up, there was a crèche in the complex and when your baby needed feeding you could leave your schoolwork, and feed your baby. "

She achieved NCEA Levels Two and Three and went on to university to qualify as a teacher.

There were times she wanted to drop out.

"Finding the balance initially with studying at university and parenting Carter was hard. In the first year, I was obsessed with getting As until my son was two or three and started playing up.

"I realised his playing up was a result of me not really being there when we got home, so in the second year, I had to take the mindset of doing what I had to do at university to pass.

"And when I came home, it was Carter time - feeding him, bath, bed, a story every night ... I must admit, he was being read Shakespeare, I had to mix the two together to get it done, and then I'd study more when he went to sleep."

Carter is now seven years old and Ms Scheule is in her first year of teaching at Avalon Primary school, in Lower Hutt.

She is rightly proud of her success.

"It's moments where I have people come up to me and they say 'hey you've made it' and that's when I think 'yeah I have; I'm in a role where I can give back'."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs