Tasmanian Australian of the Year finalist named Barnardos Mother of the Year 2009

Posted 15 May 2009 12:00am

Tasmanian Australian of the Year finalist 2009, Bernadette Black, was last night named Barnardos Mother of the Year 2009.

Bernadette was nominated for the Mother of the Year Award by her 15 year old son, Damian Oliver-Black for her work helping young mothers. When she unexpectedly fell pregnant with Damian at age 16, Bernadette promised herself three things: to be a good mother, finish her education, and write a book encouraging other young mothers.

She now has three children, with her eldest in high school, and has fulfilled all three promises. Brave Little Bear is the book. It endorses motherhood, showing that teenage mothers can be good mums and still have a great life, but it is also very frank about the issues Bernadette had to deal with.

With around 25,000 teenage pregnancies in Australia each year, Bernadette hopes Brave Little Bear will offer 'that first bit of light' that enables them to see that with the help of healthcare professionals and educational resources they can do it.

"When I fell pregnant I desperately searched for support and inspiration from others who had been in my situation, but found none," Ms Black said.

"So I wrote the book to show others that through perseverance and determination you can overcome life's challenges and fulfill your dreams."

Bernadette is passionate about raising awareness and reducing teenage pregnancy but she also wants to 'help the girls who are there at the moment walking this journey.' She regularly speaks at schools and community events and provides advice on teenage and unexpected pregnancy.