Three in 10 girls in the U.S. will become pregnant at least once before age 20. Daughters of teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves. Shows like “Teen Mom,” “16 and Pregnant,” and movies like “Juno,” illustrate the overall experience. Teenage pregnancy is a global issue and among America’s youth has reached epidemic proportions. It is a matter of negligence, being unaware about sex education, and prevention. The issue is rarely addressed and change needs to come!
I myself am a teen mom. My daughter was born November 27, 2008 (my freshman year in high-school). Thankfully, and with the great encouragement and support from my family, I am doing great. I am a successful teen mom and my daughter is very well taken care of. Being a teenage mother is a very rigorous task. It takes strength, faith, intelligence, patience, and family support. Without those factors it can end in tragedy. As of today, I am a senior at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School, and I will be graduating in June 2012. My child’s father and I aren’t yet married, but we are happily and successfully together, still striving for the best outcome of our child’s future.
Teenage pregnancy is the process of “babies raising babies.” Teenage girls and boys who can barely provide for themselves or make informed decisions about their futures are making the risky decision of engaging in sexual activities and making babies. Teenage pregnancy is associated with numerous social issues: poverty, low education levels, and the lack of awareness about sex and pregnancy prevention. Three million teens get a sexually transmitted disease/infection every year due to having unprotected sex. This can also lead to pregnancy, giving birth to a HIV/AIDS positive baby, or even death. Pregnancy and other sexual issues can be avoided by abstinence and proper education.
Parenthood is the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. Less than half of teen moms even graduate from high-school and fewer than 27% earn a college degree. About one fourth of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of the first birth. Eight out of 10 teen fathers don’t marry the mother, or contribute to raising the child, leaving the entire responsibility on the young mom.
Financially, raising children is very expensive. There are a number of necessities required to provide a child with the best care including diapers, food, clothing, strollers, car seats, health care, etc. The cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is currently over $200,000 (not including college). Just one year of spending on a child can be up to $13,000. With teen parents already having the responsibility of taking care of their child, maintaining a well-paying job in order to gain financial stability is even more complicated. Sadly, some babies are born with illnesses or birth defects, which will strain a young mother’s finances even more. Most teens don’t realize the financial cost of having a child until it is too late.
Aside from the financial data and statistics about the epidemic, teen pregnancy also involves many emotional costs. Unplanned pregnancy or teen pregnancy can result in a number of challenges: depression, frustration, and fear, all of which can result in the baby experiencing abuse. It can be scary for young teens to face the responsibility of making important decisions for their babies. This stress can lead to depression which may result in miscarriage, an unhealthy pregnancy, engaging in risky activities to cope like drinking alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating and sleeping patterns, and also dropping out of school due to frustration. Stress, depression, and dropping out of school reduces the chances of obtaining a well-paying job and the cycle of teen pregnancy therefore often continues.
Pregnancy is a risky and difficult experience for young girls and boys to go through, especially without the proper education and family support. Teenage pregnancy can and sometimes does end in tragedy. Many families have kicked their young daughters out of the house after discovering that she was pregnant and in some cases teens run away or rebel in an attempt to avoid dealing with the consequences. Sadly, teenage pregnancy whether planned or not, can result in abortion. More than 80 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended or unplanned due to an inconsistent or incorrect use of contraceptives or not using any at all.
Teenage pregnancy is a global issue and is often not properly addressed or discussed openly. Young girls and boys need to be more aware of the consequences of their choices and be fully educated about sex and the many challenges that come with it. How can a positive change be made without this happening?