One of the more troubling statistics in the world is the rise in teenage pregnancy. More and more girls are becoming pregnant in their high school years, as well as younger. Moral positions aside, this is a trend that suffers from a multitude of causes, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to examine teenage pregnancy more closely to find answers.
What is causing this influx of teenage pregnancy? Some believe that it’s a matter of a lack of sexual education. Perhaps it’s just that the girls aren’t sure about how to protect themselves from pregnancy. Many women today still think that they can protect themselves from pregnancy by doing certain things (douching after sex, the pull out method), but these thoughts are inaccurate. With proper instruction as to how to prevent pregnancy, it may be possible to start reducing the rate of pregnancy.
But there is also concern that these teenage girls are placing themselves into situations that they are not emotionally ready for. Perhaps they are heading into relationships thinking that they have to have sex in order to please their partner and feel loved. Maybe they’re not getting enough attention at home and they find that being in a sexual relationship can provide that attention that they need and crave.
In any case, teenage pregnancy is something that affects everyone. Many of these new moms are unable to hold down jobs and may require social assistance to help with their medical bills – instead of being in a position where they can support themselves as well as their new child. Likewise, many of these girls are unable to return to school, leaving them without the education that could afford them a better paying job in the future. And that affects us all.
Preventing teenage pregnancy isn’t as simple as giving out condoms or talking about the birth control pill. In the interest of reducing the rates of teenage pregnancy, a multi-faceted approach seems to be the best solution. By combining education with an available supply of birth control, teenage girls can empower themselves to make decisions that will keep them from a pregnancy that they can not physically and emotionally support at their age.
This is not to say that all teenaged mothers are unfit or unable to become a parent. And this is also not an invitation for these girls to continue to have sex at such a young age. However, by equipping girls to make the right decision for their health as well as their life, as a society we can show that we are supporting the choices that they do make. Because, in the end, these women have to live with whatever outcome occurs.
These girls do have choices in their pregnancy. Many will choose to hide the pregnancy, giving birth to a child that hasn’t had the proper prenatal care or attention. Others will choose to have the child in hopes that the father will support the new family and care for her – but in many cases, the father is not ready for the responsibility as well.
Teenage mothers can opt to carry their children to term in order to offer the new baby up for adoption. This is a very complicated process, but one that can give her child a new life that might be better supported because of the financial abilities of the new family or the older age.
Still other pregnant teens opt for spontaneous miscarriage, or abortion of their child. This is a difficult decision that can not be taken lightly by the mother. There is a limited time in which the procedure can be performed, as well as the need for parental consent at certain ages. The emotional ramifications can be just as difficult for the girl as having the baby.
What a teenage mom needs to know is that she does have choices, but in the end, it’s what will work best for her that matters. It is a good idea to consider the work that it will take to raise the child that they give birth to as well as the financial responsibility of taking care of a family. She will also want to consider the fact that her life will change for the next eighteen years. If these aren’t things that she feels she can handle, she may want to consider her alternative options.
In the end, teenage pregnancy is something that affects the society as a whole, but it’s the child that truly suffers in the end when the mom hasn’t thought about the options that she has. When she does, the child has the opportunity for something better – and that’s really who matters.
Copyright 2006 WomanCentric Inc.