A couple in their early thirties have become two of Britain’s youngest grandparents – and say strangers often mistake the newborn girl for their child.
Jenni Medlam, 34, and husband Richard, 35, were delighted by the birth of baby Isla-May in June after being told the unexpected news by their daughter Charmaine.
Having given birth to Charmaine herself when she was 17, Jenni was determined to support her child when she became pregnant at the age of 16.
However, the new grandmother admits that when the couple, from Hull, take Isla-May out for a walk, strangers get the “shock of their life”.
“When we are out with Isla everyone just assumes that she is mine and Richard’s daughter,” she says.
“When we explain to them that we are actually grandparents they get the absolute shock of their life.
“Most people don’t believe us when we tell them.
“But I can obviously understand why people would think we are her parents as we are still in our early thirties.”
When Charmaine first told her parents that she was pregnant, Jenni – who was 33 when Isla-May was born – admits they were “really shocked”.
However, after coming to terms with the news, she now says they are both loving their new roles.
“I’m Nanna and Richard is G’pa,” she says. “Being young grandparents just means you have more time to love your grandchild and longer to cherish them.
“And we might even get great-grandchildren.”
After becoming a teenage mum herself, Jenni – who also has two other daughters, Chelsey, 13, and Scarlett, 10 – didn’t have a support network to help her through it and she was very isolated.
Jenni didn’t want her daughter to have the same experience as she did and vowed to support her.
“I knew exactly how Charmaine would be feeling having to tell her mum she was pregnant,” she says.
“But I told her it’s her body and her decision and I would support her either way.
“And since falling pregnant it has really made Charmaine grow up, Isla has been the making of her.
“She is an incredible mum and I think it has made the bond between Charmaine and me even stronger.
“I think she has even more respect for me now as her mum”
Charmaine has been with her partner, the baby’s father, for nearly two years and Jenni says their whole family all live under one roof together.
The loving grandparents regularly look after little Isla to “give Charmaine a break”.
“I think it’s brought us all even closer,” she adds. “My other girls absolutely love having a baby in the house, they love having a niece.”
Jenni, who runs her own cleaning business, thinks that teenage mums are stereotyped but insists that having a baby doesn’t mean your life is over.
She says that although she was a teen mum, she was still able to work and bring up her daughter, and even start her own business.
“Charmaine has watched me go to work and do well for myself while bringing her up, so she knows it’s possible,” she explains.
“She wants to go to college and do beauty. There is a stereotype about young mums which I don’t think is fair.
“You can still enjoy your life and achieve whatever you want even if you have a baby when you’re younger.
“I am glad that I am able to show my daughter that everything can still work out for you.”