‘People think I’m the same age as my daughters I’m actually a grandma’
A grandmother said that people often can’t believe how old she is and think she’s the same age as her 21-year-old daughters – because she’s only 37. Kelly Jackson fell pregnant for the first time when she was 14 and had a pair of twins at 15, then one of her daughters had a child herself at 17.
Now Kelly, from Northampton, has five children and four grandchildren – and her youngest son is only just older than two of her grandchildren. They’re so young that the matriarch has been mistaken as a sister to her daughters, with some people even thinking she is younger than them, and the glam gran is constantly mistaken for her grandchildren’s mother.
Kelly said: “I fell pregnant with my twin daughters at 14 and had them when I was 15, so we are close in age as it is, but we are best friends.
“I have five children altogether – Jade and Jasmine are 21, and then I have three boys – Harry, 14, Jasper, eight and Zachary, five.
“Jade has a daughter who is four and a son who is three, and Jasmine has a son who is two and a daughter who is three months old.
“My son has just left nursery but he was there at the same time as my grandson, so we would do the drop off and pick up together, and spend the day together too.
“I am constantly being confused as my grandchildren’s mum, or people think I am my daughter’s friend or sister.
“I have also been asked where I get my botox done as I don’t look like a grandma, but I have never had any work done!
“When my daughters were in secondary school their friends would always say, ‘oh my God, I can’t believe that is your mum’. It was nice but also at the same time it feels as if you’re in a fish bowl and everyone is looking at you which did give me a bit of anxiety.
“I do like my clothes and dressing well and I take care of my appearance and I find it fun dressing up. It did attract attention which I don’t think my girls appreciated but they have always been so proud to call me their mum.
“We’re so close, we have such a close relationship and it’s so nice to have the bond that we have. We spend a lot of time with each other.”
At 33, Kelly became a grandma, becoming one of the youngest in Britain, and arguably the most glamorous, and now at 37 she has four grandchildren.
Being a young mum at 16, it was still a shock for Kelly when her daughter announced she was expecting a baby at 17, as Kelly had a four day old son herself.
Kelly explains: “I was sat on the sofa winding my four-day-old son when Jade told me she was pregnant.
“It was a shock, I had been a young parent myself and everyone wants better for their children but how could I be angry about the fact my family was expanding even though it was a shock to the system.
“There is a small age gap between my youngest son and my eldest granddaughter, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Zachary was born in July and Mila, Jade’s daughter was born in the following January.
“I have loved having my children young, it means I am able to share these experiences now with them and being a young grandma is nice.
“It can be difficult some days, but I am still very young and active. I have a very active role in my grandchildren’s lives and I see or FaceTime them every day and have done since they were born. We all have a very close knit relationship.
“My mum also had me at 17, so we’re a family of young mums. It hasn’t worked out to be a bad thing.
“I do worry about the stigma around young mums and teen mums, but it is so outdated and needs to change.
“I think we have all well and truly broken the stigma, we all have done well for ourselves and our partners and children’s fathers have worked so hard to provide for us all.
“I was 15 and my partner was 16 when we had our twins, and he worked so hard to provide for us all, and my daughter’s partners are exactly the same.
“I do help with childcare as and when it’s needed but we’re together so much that the support is always there. I do have young children myself and my oldest son is SEN, so I try and help as and when, but they also have support from both sides as well.
“When I tell people they are my grandchildren, the response I usually get is a wide open mouth followed by ‘no way, you’re lying’ and being told I barely look 25.
“I’ve also had people tell me that there is now way can be I can be a grandparent and I get a lot of shocked reactions, but my daughters are used to it now and just laugh it off.
“I’m shocked with myself I sometimes, I think wow how has this happened and laugh to myself.
Having children at such a young age is something Kelly is glad she has done, which means she can have such an active role in her children and grandchildren’s lives.
Wanting to break the stigma around teen mums, Kelly thinks having her children young meant she was a lot more worry free when bringing her children up.
She adds: “What works for some doesn’t for others, and being young mothers obviously works for my family and we’re doing our own thing.
“The stigma is outdated and being a young mum means having a lot more energy. I envy my younger self, but I also wonder how I managed twins at 15.
“Although it was far easier to have twins at 15 than have a son at 31.
“You don’t worry as much when younger and you have more energy, so you are worry free and don’t stress as much.
“My health visitor said doing better at 15 with two than those at 30 with one. I didn’t really have much anxiety about anything and I had a get up and get on with it attitude which meant I flew through it and didn’t find it difficult.
“My shop is now shut, I don’t want any more grandchildren, neither do Jade and Jasmine, so it’s now up to the boys.”