Baby Lifestyles has had our eye on teenage pregnancy. It’s been on the rise for the first time in decades and become socially ‘in’ to have babies while young with celebrity examples like Jamielynn Spears, Bristol Palin, and media examples like Juno and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Now add England’s Alfie Patten to that list.
Alfie Patten is 13, but with his baby face, he could easily pass for a mere eight years old. Four days ago, this 13-year-old boy became a father when his 15-year-old girlfriend, Chantelle, gave birth. Their daughter 7lb 3oz was named Maisie Roxanne. Maisie was conceived after Chantelle and Alfie — just 12 at the time — had a single night of unprotected sex.
The shy lad, whose voice has not yet broken, said: “I thought it would be good to have a baby. I didn’t think about how we would afford it. I don’t really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10.”
Alfie, who is just 4ft tall, added: “When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get in trouble. We wanted to have the baby but were worried how people would react. I didn’t know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it.”
Alfie’s dad Dennis, 45, told how the lad does not really understand the enormity of his situation — but seemed desperate to be a devoted and responsible father. “He could have shrugged his shoulders and sat at home on his Playstation. But he has been at the hospital every day.”
The young pair found out about the baby when Chantelle was 12 weeks pregnant. But they kept it a secret until six weeks later when Chantelle’s mum Penny, 38, became suspicious about her weight gain and confronted her. After that Alfie’s family told only those closest to them for fear he would be “demonised” at school.
Chantelle and Maisie were released from hospital yesterday. They are living with Penny, Chantelle’s jobless dad Steve, 43, and her five brothers in a rented council house in Eastbourne. The family live on benefits. Alfie, who lives on an estate across town with mum Nicola, 43, spends most of his time at the Steadmans’ house. He is allowed to stay overnight and even has a school uniform there so he can go straight to his classes in the morning. Alfie’s dad, who is separated from Nicola, believes the lad is scared deep down. “Everyone is telling him things and it’s going round in his head. It hasn’t really dawned on him. He hasn’t got a clue of what the baby means and can’t explain how he feels. All he knows is mum and dad will help. When you mention money his eyes look away. And she is reliant on her mum and dad. It’s crazy. They have no idea what lies ahead.”
Today Sussex Police and the local council’s children services said they have investigated the case and pledged continued support for the young parents. Britain’s youngest known father is Sean Stewart. He became a dad at 12 when the girl next door, 15-year-old Emma Webster, gave birth in Sharnbrook, Bedford, in 1998. They split six months later.