Tressa Middleton could be forgiven for feeling a rollercoaster of emotions the moment she cradled her newborn baby. A girl who has given birth aged 11 is believed to be the youngest ever mother in the UK with a family unaware she was ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ, according to reports. 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 ʀᴀᴘᴇᴅ by her brother Jason, then 16. A source told: “It has come as a ʙɪɢ sʜᴏᴄᴋ. She’s now being surrounded by expert help. The main thing is that she and the baby are OK. There are questions around why people did not know. That is very worrying.”
Schoolgirl Tressa was forced to give up her first daughter for adoption at two – and has never stopped thinking about her. 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 ᴀᴡꜰᴜʟ ᴛʀᴜᴛʜ about how she was ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ.
At her lowest point in 2011, she developed a ʜᴇʀᴏɪɴ 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 ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ in 2012 – but Tressa ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴇᴅ, and just three days later her mum ᴅɪᴇᴅ of ᴘɴᴇᴜᴍᴏɴɪᴀ at 41. Losing both the baby and mum in the same week was so hard.
Tressa and Darren welcomed 8lb 1oz Arihanna on October 6 after a gruelling 24-hour ʟᴀʙᴏᴜʀ. 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 ʜᴀɴᴅᴘʀɪɴᴛs, baby clothes and ᴀ ʟᴏᴄᴋ ᴏꜰ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴀɪʀ – mementos of a little life born from a ʜᴀʀʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴛʀᴀɢᴇᴅʏ.
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. Tressa said: “I felt pure joy the moment Arihanna was born. There were times I thought I’d never have another baby. 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 ʙʀᴇᴀᴋs ᴍʏ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ Arihanna will grow up without knowing her big sister. I don’t want know the full details of my past. She needs to have her own life and she is my fresh start.”
Pᴜʙᴇʀᴛʏ normally begins around 11 for girls but it can span from eight to 14, with weight playing a factor. Before that, the youngest mother in the world was recorded was a Peruvian girl called Lina Media who was only five years and seven months old when she ɢᴀᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ in May, 1939 to a boy called Gerardo. Her parents thought she had a ᴛᴜᴍᴏᴜʀ but when she was taken to hospital, she was found to be seven months ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ.