By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney
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Videographer / director: Marcus Cooper
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
While many of her peers are finishing senior year and deciding on what college to go to, 18-year-old Tamajah is already a mum to baby twin girls and living in a countryside home with its own library and lakeside views.
Tamajah lives with her partner Markus (as well as a medley of cats and dogs) but her parents haven’t come to visit. Aged 48, Markus is older than both Tamajah’s mother and father.
Markus told Barcroft TV: “Reactions that we've gotten across the board usually fall in one of two camps, there's the camp that looks at Tamajah as being this young girl who's latched on to an older guy, and she's trying to exploit him for whatever reasons, and then the other camp, here's this old creepy guy who just wants a young girl and wants to exploit her.
“We just get along I really don't think of her as being 30 years younger than me.”
Tamajah added: “Guys my age - it's very awkward talking to them because they don't know how to express their emotions.
“They don't know how to have an actual conversation with you.”
Tamajah conceived when she was just 17 – the legal age of consent where she lives but she first met Markus when she was just 16.
While on a grocery shopping trip to Walmart with her grandma, Tamajah noticed an older man looking at her.
She said: “I was 16 when he approached me and I told him I was 18. I didn't want to like scare him off because of my age.”
After going on a date, Tamajah knew she had to come clean - only to chicken out again and say she was 17. A couple more dates later and Markus found out the truth.
He said: “When I learned that Tamaiah was 16, it obviously came as a surprise.
“It puts you in a tough position because here's a girl that you really like, that you want to spend time with but now you have to also think of it from the whole, legal aspect of ‘Well, can I?’
“She was only a month away from her 17th birthday so we just kind of put the brakes on things for a little bit and then moved forward after that.”
After not seeing each other for a month their relationship quickly accelerated with Tamajah’s surprise pregnancy coming just five months after they started seriously dating.
Tamajah said: “We’d been together for five or six months and we found out we were pregnant.
“I took a home pregnancy test and we found out, and then we went into the doctor and we got our first ultrasound then we took another ultrasound and we found out it was two babies.”
While Tamajah still takes the twins to her old family home, Markus has never gone with her. Like many protective parents they have expressed concern about Tamajah dating a man 30 years older than her.
Tamajah said: “I mention Markus when I'm around my parents. They don't really bring up Markus because it's kind of an awkward situation.
“My mom was like, ‘why are you with this older guy? He is a molester, a paedophile, he's giving you Stockholm syndrome, it's okay you can come home’.
“I was like wow, you don't even want to meet the guy and ask me what I like about him or what we have in common?”
Markus adds: “I can understand their viewpoint and I don't happen to agree with it, but I can understand where they're coming from as a parent.
“If you if you have a son or daughter that's dating somebody that's much older than they are and have children with, and there’s the fact that I'm actually older than either one of them.”
Relations with Markus’s side of the family are better. They have spent Christmas together and Markus’s mother helps with babysitting.
Markus said: “I think my family as they've been very accepting, they love for us to come over, obviously bringing the twins - they're the centre of attention.
“Once you have twins, you're no longer in the limelight.”
As the twins approach their first birthday later this year, the couple admit it would be too difficult to have a family party but hope with time the situation will improve.
Markus said: “For the sake of the twins, I hope that her parents and I, and us this whole situation, that it resolves itself and that we can be a little bit more inclusive rather than exclusive.”
Tamajah concludes: “We grew up on opposite sides of the planet and they're going to have fun with both of their sets of grandparents and I feel whether my side of the family warms up to his side of the family or his side of the family warms up to my side of the family if that happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it's really not our fight to fight.”
“Because this is our family here and what we're doing with this family [Tamajah, Markus and the twins], with this part of our family and what's the most important as long as they know we love them I feel like that's the most important thing.”