City Weekend

Life through the eyes of Hong Kong’s teen mums: photo exhibition captures tender moments

Group hopes to challenge stigma in society and show a positive side to their motherhood experience

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 June, 2017, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 June, 2017, 5:01pm

A group of young Hong Kong mothers are staging an exhibition to share their lives through photographs and explore the experiences and challenges of teenage motherhood.

The exhibition is hosted by Teen’s Key, a development network for young women, in conjunction with Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s department of applied social sciences and school of design.

The group wants to break the stigma surrounding teenage pregnancy, often seen as taboo and frowned upon by society. The young mothers teamed up with photographers to capture personal moments of what motherhood meant for them.

The exhibition provides an insight into the lives of the women. One mother, Serene, said her pictures, taken by a photographer and herself, conveyed the message of “not letting the past get you down” and “looking forward and not backward”.

Another mother, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the photos taken by photographers allowed her to see her relationship with her daughter from an outside perspective. It made her feel empowered.

With approximately 6,880 unplanned and unsupported pregnancies occurring every year in Hong Kong, the city’s conservatism and traditional values can cause pregnant teens to feel lost.

Most of the pregnancies are attributed to single young women under the age of 25, according to data from consultancy Bain and Company, based on statistics from local charity Mother’s Choice and other social agencies.

Because tensions in the family may arise for women in such situations, the work that organisations like Teen’s Key and Mother’s Choice do – provide pregnant teens with a support network – is important.

Teen’s Key founded a self-help group, the Young Mother’s Club, allowing members to share experiences and join social activities. The club encourages young mothers like Serene to realise their dreams while balancing child care.

The exhibition at Polytechnic University is open now until June 27.