Jendella Benson, a U.K. photographer, is using pictures to challenge perceptions of young mothers.

Benson began the “Young Motherhood” project in 2013 in hopes of illuminating the lives of women who became mothers in their teens and early twenties. As part of the project, Benson interviews young mothers and takes portraits of the mothers and their children.

Benson was inspired to start the project by her friends who are young mothers. Benson has watched her friends take on the role of motherhood despite the negative assumptions society holds on young mothers.

“I could see first hand how hard they worked to raise their children and work and continue their education, which was in direct contrast with the stereotypes of irresponsible young mothers with no ambitions other than to get benefits (welfare) and a house from the government,” Benson said.

Since the start of the project, Benson has photographed 27 women and their children across the U.K. and has learned of their many experiences in the process. Benson hopes that their stories will create more empathy and support for all parents regardless of their age.

In addition, Benson wants to create a community where young mothers know that they are not alone.

“I wanted to create something that might also encourage other young women who may relate to the challenge of parenting under such scrutiny and judgement, and to let them know they aren’t the only ones going through it and that despite what people may say they haven’t ruined their lives or limited their chances.”

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.