- Family and Parenting
Being a Mother at Sixteen
There are those who believe being a mother is the best or most rewarding job in the world. Some would be right. Yet there are others who do not believe the same and yet still others believe the decision to become a mother should wait until one is established in a steady career. The one thing everyone seems to agree with is the belief teenagers should not make such a decision when they are still in school. Statistics show even though teenage pregnancy is less than it once was, it is still around.
Parents of teenage mothers usually feel the need to wish their child would have waited, gotten an abortion or what ever else so long as the child did not have to go through with a pregnancy since the parents usually feel their child is not yet ready for such a responsibility of a child while still being a child themselves.
Teenage pregnancy is becoming the norm once again, since the late 1800s and early 1900s when it went out of being the norm, and yet everyone feels the need to belittle, shame, question or alienate those teen moms who make the courageous decision to keep their child despite the odds stacked against them along with the easier options available to them, for example abortion or giving the child up for adoption.
Feelings Felt by Teenage Mothers
Teenage mothers feel all sorts of feelings, in all sorts of varying degrees. There is fear, anger, sadness, frustration, depression, etcetera. The list of feelings goes on and on.
The fear and depression stems from the unknown, from not knowing how they will feel down the road.
The anger and sadness take turns vying for attention in them. Sadness usually stems from knowing her life as it was known is coming to end. Anger usually stems from not knowing how the future will go and having no control over said future.
The decisions awaiting teenage mother are massive and a lot of people don't really understand those decisions and options and other things unless you have been in those shoes and dealing with those same types of things.
Teenage Motherhood: Glorified
These days teenage pregnancy is being glorified through shows like MTV's 16 & Pregnant and MTV's Teen Mom. These shows may tell the moms' stories but they do not show everything that happens with them. Only certain aspects/situations are seen by the viewers. Some of those may show how hard it is to be a single mother dealing with motherhood along with an unfaithful boyfriend, parents who help but with requirements attached right along with either going to school or studying for G.E.D. or doing online courses for their schooling. Most of the time though these shows only show certain aspects or situations that are unique to the situation of being in front of a camera crew due to the fact that some of those situations or aspects would not happen if there was not a type of audience, or viewer ratings to consider.
These shows glorify teenage motherhood in the way and the fact those girls are making money from being pregnant and on the show. I have looked this query up and found disagreeing points on this but for the most part the answer is positive which to my way of thinking is not the right way to show teenage girls they should not get pregnant before they are ready.
Percentage of Change in Teen Birth Rates by Age
Girls 15 - 17
Girls 18 - 19
Teen Pregnancy - Not Rising
According to The National Campaign's website 2013 saw a significant reduction of teen births since the peak year of 1991. 2010 also saw a significant drop in teen pregnancy since the peak year of 1990.
In 2013 there were 274,641 teen births and 27 births per 1,000 girls which was a difference of 10% since 2012 and a difference of 57% since 1991.
In 2010 there were 614,000 teen pregnancies and 57 pregnancies per 1,000 girls which was a difference of 15% since 2008 and a difference of 51% since 1990.
If the above is not proof that teen pregnancy is falling I do not know what else people want since I believe the above information means teen girls are trusting themselves to say no, to not put themselves in a position that may be harmful to them.
If you are interested in learning more or you just wish to see the updated statistics you can go to The National Campaign's website by clicking here.
In my last article, A Single Mother at Sixteen, I told the beginning of my story, how it was I came to be pregnant at sixteen, and I touched on the day my daughter was born.
Now you will hear my story of having a wriggly, tiny body which was still attached to me even though this tiny thing no longer resided in my body and going to school at the same time as dealing with all the emotional stuff that goes along with that.
Before West Virginia
The day my daughter was born, my life became more complicated than it already was. It was also the day my life truly began.
You see when I was ten years old until I became pregnant I was a depressed little girl who felt she could not talk to anyone about what I was feeling, thinking, how I was dealing with several things which threw my young life into such a quandary. I was so depressed by the time I was fourteen I tried cutting to make the pain go away but could never actually get the knife to go as far as it needed to go to end things. My family barely understand that concept. It did not help. Yet if I had not gotten pregnant I probably would not be writing these articles for my daughter saved my life and I tell her that every time she needs reminding.
(The above tidbit did not make it into the previous article because it would not have helped the story at that point.)
We were in the hospital for three days then released to go be able to go home. We spent two weeks after the birth in North Carolina because it is recommended that the child not go outside or around others for at least a week to give the child's immune system time to adjust to its surroundings.
After that week was up, friends came over to see myself and my daughter, we went to my dad's store one night to show her off to his friend's at work. During that last week in North Carolina we went to the doctor to get a quick check up for her before we had to leave for West Virginia. All was well.
Two weeks go by fairly quickly and all too soon I was saying goodbye to friends even though they would see us again come Halloween. Then we were off to West Virginia and my sophomore year in high school.
Moving back in with my grandmother was the only choice I saw for me to be able to go to school without feeling like I was losing something.
At my grandmother's my daughter and I shared a room. Since she was tiny and there wasn't a whole lot of space it only made sense for that arrangement.
She was a very good baby. She wasn't colicky, She began to sleep through the night at a rather early age. But the stated reasons were not the only ones I considered proof she was a "good baby."
While at my grandma's I started high school my sophomore year. While at school my grandmother and my aunt looked after my little one for me. It wasn't a bad deal I had since I know some teens nowadays don't have the luxury of that kind of help for whatever reason.
It was hard though. I was a 16 year old with a load of stubbornness, my own opinions and decisions about things. My grandmother had her own heaping load of stubbornness along with thinking she was always right, no exceptions. My aunt was, at the time, humped up on her own self importance along with her own healthy helping of stubbornness. So when I say we three always butted heads is a gross understatement. Then halfway through the school year my sister turned the triangle into a square and everything turned upside down and hellish. All of our arguments were scalding. It would have helped a ton if they had only listened but what adult listens to a teenager when that adult believes they are right? Not many, if any at all.
All in all, with the help of the the three of them and others of my family, I doubt my daughter's first years would have been as good as they were if I had not made the decision to live in the house I spent my beginning years in.
Living with my family helped me build some of my confidence in myself back up a bit. And helped immensely with the emotions and the fear of not being a good mother to my child.
Today we're doing great! She's just turned eleven years old this past August and is in 6th grade. She calls my boyfriend Dad on some rare occasions but they happen. She's doing fantastic in school. The one thing I blame on myself is her smart mouth. My dad's eldest sister calls her Sassy and she is that and more.
© 2014 Anastasia Smith