- Women's Health
The Hardships of Unplanned Pregnancies
Becoming a Young Mother
It is difficult to become a mother at any age, but when one becomes a mother at a young age, either during the teen years or fresh out of the teen years, it is even more difficult and puts even more strain the life of the mother, and the lives of loved ones around her. When one discovers they will be having a child that is not planned, and one is still living with their parents, or has just moved into their first apartment, is attending high school or college, has a rocky relationship with the child's father, and has not yet grown up into a responsible individual, it becomes very overwhelming and difficult to perceive that one will soon have the label of "mommy". When the hardest choices in life are to wake up, go to class, which party to attend next, and when one is searching for their first job and learning how to stand alone as an adult, is the utmost worst time to discover that one is pregnant. It is known that teen mothers struggle tremendously, but mothers of a young age and just fresh out of their teen years, struggle just as much (and sometimes more) as teen mothers do. When one is about to become a parent and they are not yet sure of who they are as individuals, it becomes difficult and sometimes impossible to deal with. Some young mothers grow quickly, and some break while trying.
Teen Pregnancy Statistics
- 79 % of teenagers who become pregnant are unmarried.
- 80% of teenage pregnancies are unplanned.
- The main raise in teen pregnancy is among girls younger than 15 years.
- 25% of teen mothers have a second child within two years of the first born child.
- The United States spends $7 billion each year due to the costs of teen pregnancy.
- Only 1/3 of teenage mothers complete high school and receive their diplomas.
- Parenthood is the leading reason that teenage girls drop out of school.
- By age 30, only 1.5% of women who was pregnant as a teen will receive a college diploma.
- 80% of teen mothers are on welfare.
- The daughters of teen mothers are 22% to become teen mothers themselves.
- Sons of teenage mothers have a 13% greater chance of going to jail (compared to their peers).
- 8 out of 10 teen dads do not marry the teen mother.
- Almost 50% of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.
- 31% of teenage girls do not use contraceptives and only 1/3 of teenage girls use contraceptives regularly.
- A teenage couple who does not use birth control is 85% more likely to become pregnant within one year.
Even though the rate of teen mothers is declining in the United States, statistics show that 34 percent of teenagers become pregnant at least once before the age of 20 years. When a young girl becomes pregnant while they are still in high school, still trying to learn what responsibility is, when one is still learning what friendship and love is, is still learning what birth control is and how to use it, and when one has just started being sexually active, and learning how to sort through ones emotions and discover self control (which very few teenagers have) is a very difficult time to discover one is pregnant. It is difficult to discover one is pregnant before one has a chance to begin their adult life, before one has the chance to learn how to become an adult, and before anyone else will be able to accept and support the pregnancy and the birth of the child. Many teenagers that discover they are pregnant end up either getting an abortion (which could cause damage to the uterus and prevent future pregnancies), give the child up for adoption (which is a huge emotional strain on the teen), raise the child either on their own or with the support of their family and friends (and maybe the baby's father), or worse, end up getting the child taken away from them because they are to immature and irresponsible to raise the child themselves.
The teen mothers that decide to try to raise their children go through a tremendous struggle to feel a sense of normalcy in raising that child. This is because they more than likely still living with their parents, still have to follow their parents rules and boundaries, they are still young, still growing, and still learning themselves, and now are also forced into teaching a child to grow, giving a child rules and boundaries, guiding a child into how to become a productive member of society while the teen themselves are going through the same thing (and more than likely do not even have a sense of how to even begin to raise and teach a child to grow). Even though the struggle is difficult when you are a teen mother, it is a struggle for the teen to discover themselves, it is a struggle to become a “normal” mother, and it is a struggle for the teen to stand on their own, but there are many positive actions and behaviors that can come out of being a teen mother.
When one becomes a mother in the teen years (as stated above) the teenager more than likely lives with their parents (or under someone else's roof). Due to this, the teen mother has a support system, the teen mother has consistent help and guidance in raising the baby (even if it is unnoticed and disrespected at the time). When the announcement of a teen pregnancy is made, it is difficult for the teen when they do not receive the excitement and positive reaction from their family and friends, but many teens soon discover that the support that comes from their family and friends after the birth is necessary to be able to raise the child, for both financial and emotional aspects.
Some teenagers have the strong and wonderful support of their parents. Yes, teen mothers do have to grow quickly, but most teen mothers have more support and more guidance throughout pregnancy, labor, and raising a child for the first few months (or even years) of the baby's life. Teen mothers do not only have the support of their parents, but if a teen has strong relationships with teachers, friends, siblings, and a strong relationship with the father, than those people will also support the teen with the decision to parent at a very young age.
Teen mothers either grow quickly, learn to be mature, and learn how to stand alone in raising their child or they fall quickly, crumble, break, and spiral into a deep depression and crash into rock bottom.
My Personal and Close Experience with Teen Motherhood
I am able to speak upon the struggle of teen motherhood because I have experienced it very closely. I myself was not a teen mother, but my very best and close friend became pregnant when we were only seventeen and at the end of our junior year in high school. Her and I together were rambunctious, crazy, outrageous, and out of control. We snuck out of our houses, we attended every party we could, we drank, we smoked, we experimented with all substances. We skipped school, we cut class, we cheated, we stole. We had no sense of boundaries, no sense of control, no sense of reality, and no sense of responsibility. We were what every parent fears and then more.
When I heard the news I was sitting on the bed in my high school boyfriends bedroom watching the 90's television series Dinosaurs, when the home phone rang.
“Jami, it's for you dear” I heard his mother yell out.
I ran out of the room, took the phone and and scurried back into his bedroom and sat at the edge of the bed. “Hello?” I answered. I listened intently as my best friend whispered into the phone.
“I need to tell you something, but don't react, it's a secret...”
“I'm pregnant, but I can't tell anyone, and I gotta go, but I needed to let you know.” She said and quickly hung up the phone.
I was bewildered by the information she threw at me and then hung up. I was baffled by the fact that the person who I surrounded myself with on a daily basis, the person who I always stayed in close quarters with, a persons who's strength and intelligence has always inspired me, was now going to be a mother at such a young age. I didn't react, I sat still as a single tear streamed down my cheek and as I thought that her life is now over, the party has ended.
She kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone except for me, my boyfriend, her boyfriend (obviously) and her mother. I supported her in her decision to keep the secret, and I even helped her keep the secret (until she began to “show”). I stood by her side throughout her pregnancy, I watched her make poor decisions throughout her pregnancy and I kept most of my feelings about it to myself.
Nine months later, at the beginning of our senior year in high school, and at six in the morning on a school day, my cell phone rang from underneath my pillow. My eyes slowly opened, I grunted and turned over. I blinked, picked my phone up and looked at the front screen of my silver LG flip phone. It was her. I jumped up, flipped the phone opened, and quickly answered.
“My water broke, I'm on the way to the hospital, I need you, can you meet me there?”
“Yes, I'll be there.” I replied without thinking. I forced myself to wake up, I got dressed without showering, I threw my hair up in a messy bun on the top of my head, and I made several phone calls to find a ride thirty minutes away to the Rutland hospital in Vermont.
I made it to the hospital a few hours after I hung up the phone with her. At her bedside I held her hand and kissed her cheek, until I was told I must wait in the waiting room, and allow her the much needed privacy to push and birth her first child. I patiently and anxiously awaited for the birth of my godson until her boyfriend came out to tell everyone their son was born. I followed her boyfriend into the birthing room, and saw a very small, four pound baby that rested in a bassinet next to her hospital bed. I covered my mouth with my hand as tears fell from my eyes, tumbled down my cheek, and splashed onto my shirt. I could not believe how beautiful and tiny he was, I was instantly in love with this child, and I knew that I was going to be an active part of his life forever.
When she took her new baby home, and tried to settle in, the reality of having a newborn baby quickly slapped all of us in the face. Her relationship with her boyfriend and baby's father began to crumble and fall apart, and he stopped staying overnight to help her with the new child at her mothers home, and I quickly stepped in to help her at night. I stayed at her mothers house with her for weeks, waking up at two in the morning, changing diapers, warming bottles, enduring the long and loud hours of a baby with colic. Her and I stayed up all night, never slept, went to high school the next morning, came home and did it all over again. We began to slack on our school work, our grades dropped significantly and our parents began to notice our struggle. When we could no longer handle the role of being “parents” we would bring him to her mother, and she would care for him while we slept. Eventually when the baby was only a few months old, my best friends mother decided to move his bedroom downstairs so she could take care of him at night, and since we no longer had to worry about his care during the later hours, we began to slip back into bad habits and our old ways. We lost all control, and her mother forced her to sign over temporary custody of her son, which she did with little argument because she knew she could not do it alone (and she knew I was about to leave for college after we graduated high school and would no longer be able to take on the father role of her son).
After temporary custody was drawn up, signed, and filed, my best friend spiraled into a deep depression and covered her emotion in any substance she could get her hands on, and as always, I was right by her side, consuming them right alongside her, burying myself in the same hole, following her into hell. Then the day came when we graduated high school, shortly followed by my journey to college three hours away from my best friend. After my departure, life only got worse for her and her hell soon became reality, her demons were soon exposed, her and her boyfriend broke up, and he soon stopped being a member in his sons life. Her mother eventually took full custody and adopted her child; she lost all of her parental rights and was forced into recovery for several years, and as her life fell apart so did our friendship. Not only did I lose my best friend, but I lost a child too. I suffered just the same as she did, but I could no longer follow her into the depths of a burning hot hell. We separated to fight our demons alone. We separated so she could go into recovery and so I could stay in college. We separated to rebuild our lives and find happiness because we knew we could not and would not find it together. We separated to battle our demons in very different ways, but our story did not end, it only began...
Things Young Mothers Have to Worry About (During an Unplanned Pregnancy)
- Should I keep this baby?
- Should I give this baby up for adoption?
- Should I get an abortion?
- Where will I live with this baby?
- Will I be able to afford rent on my own?
- How will I pay for this baby?
- How do I apply for state benefits?
- Should I apply for state aid and state benefits?
- What will my family think?
- What will my friends think?
- What will the baby's father think?
- Should I tell people?
- What if the baby's father and I can't make it work?
- Should I file for child support?
- Should I have custody papers drawn (just in case)?
- Can I really end my party phase?
- How will I finish school? Can I finish school?
- How am I supposed to find a job?
- Should I just stay at home with the child?
- How can I raise this baby?
- Do I love this baby?
- What about child care?
- How can I afford my bills and the baby's bills?
- Will I ever afford to get out of debt now?
- Will I ever be able to afford my own house and car?
- Where can I buy the cheapest, most absorbent diapers?
- Should I get married?
- How am I supposed to come up with a plan?
- How do I budget my money more wisely?
- How can I save money?
- Should I start using coupons?
- How will I be able to balance school, a job, a social life, a boyfriend, cleaning a home, paying bills, and raising a child at the same time?
- Am I really ready?
Becoming a Mother Fresh Out of the Teen Years
It is a known fact that teenagers struggle and find it very difficult to raise a child, and more than likely break in the process, but that struggle is the same or even more difficult for a person who has just grown out of their teen years and have begun living on their own as a new adult when they turn twenty. A young woman who has gone off to college, no longer lives with their parents and are trying to juggle their first real job, college, parties and a social life, and maybe even a boyfriend. Tossing a baby on top of all of that is one of the most overwhelming things one could pile onto themselves at the you age of twenty years. It is much easier to give up your life before it begins (as a teenager), but when you have to give up things in your life such as friends, your social life, your job, your schooling when you first achieve it, and achieve it without the help of your parents (without being under their wing to protect you) it becomes much more difficult.
Mothers at a young age, that have just grown out of their teen years and have begun living a life of their own, find themselves in similar struggles as a teen mother would except that they do not have the close support and guidance of their family and friends, and more than likely lose close friendships, have to drop out of college, and are forced to try to support themselves alone. At this age, their parents are no longer willing to support the mother financially, they are no longer willing to provide a roof over the mothers head, and they are pushing and forcing the mother to learn how to support themselves, grow themselves, and balance life. At this age, the parents of the mother will no longer provide freebies, and will longer extend an arm and help pull the mother out of a rut. This does not mean the parents of the mother will not support them and provide advice, but it does mean that they feel the mother is at an age where they should be grown, responsible, and at a stage in life where she needs to support herself and learn the consequences of life on her own.
When a young woman leaves the comfort of her parents home, rules, boundaries, and guidance and learn to live on their own in the real world, it is a very overwhelming feeling when they discover they are pregnant, especially when they are at the age when their social life is at its peak, when one is almost legally able to drink, when one is discovering how to financially support themselves, and they are more than likely in college (either living in the dorms, living in their very first apartment, or maybe still living with their parents). When a young woman is in college this is usually where the party begins, where one learns how to balance fun and responsibility for the first time, and when a child comes into the picture unplanned it is scary, overwhelming, and seemingly impossible to handle, especially if there is no boyfriend in the young womans life at the time. This is the first step in becoming a well-rounded adult, and when an unplanned pregnancy occurs, they find themselves dumbfounded and afraid that may make them feel that the world is crumbling around them and forcing themselves to take a step backward.
My Story of Becoming a Young Mother
I was not a teenager when I discovered that I was pregnant, I was just barely twenty years old, struggling with demons, fighting my way through hell. I was a young drunk and an addict that was forced out of my beautiful and peaceful college campus, for my lack of tuition, and forced to come back home to Rutland, Vermont, where my demons are at their strongest and where I am at my weakest, to attend community college. My mother had kicked me out of her house and my boyfriend broke up with me due to my lack of responsibility and the abundance of poor decisions. I had just gotten hired at my first real and shitty job making sandwiches at the well known franchise Subway. I was at a point in my life where I could easily conceal my demons, but they were in complete control over me; my demons steered me down my path of inner destruction and deep depression. I was not in a place where I could raise another human being. I was not in a place to guide another through life, because I was allowing a dark forces to guide me, and I was not ready to relinquish them from that control. Before I discovered I was pregnant, I worked full time and went to school full time and spent mostly every dime I made feeding and fueling my inner demons.
I was inches from impaling myself at the rocky bottom of my downward spiral when the little blue positive sign appeared on the home pregnancy test. My baby's father walked into his apartment after a long eight hour day of working in his office. He opened the door and found me sitting at the edge of his bed, staring at my hands, twiddling my thumbs, shaking from the inside out. He dropped everything in his hands and came toward me and stood himself in front of me. I looked up at him with swollen, red, tear filled eyes and said, “I'm pregnant”. He embraced me in his arms while I cried, he said nothing. Even though I shrugged and shook my demons from my back at that moment, their claws still stuck underneath my skin, clawing me, making me bleed, reminding me of what was once there.
I may have been struggling with an internal battle, but I was lucky enough to have a baby's daddy who was older than I, more responsible than I, and more financially secure than I. After I became pregnant I was lucky enough that he gave me another chance and was able to support me through a very difficult time in my life. I thank him for sticking by my side and seeing the light behind my eyes.
Throughout my pregnancy I continued to work full time at Subway and I continued to go to my college classes. We were financially secure with two incomes and the struggle seemed to have depleted. I worked six days a week, standing on my feet all day. I opened the store at six-thirty in the morning, I put away deliveries, I made sandwiches, I baked bread, I went to class after work and then went home to sleep and do it all over again for nine months. I worked all the way up to a week before my due date.
I understood the financial and emotional strain a child puts on young mothers, I lived through it with my best friend in high school. I understood that children need a stable and loving environment. I knew what it would take on my part to be able to raise a child, but nothing prepared me for the challenges and obstacles that actually occur when you bring your first child into the world when you are still at a very young age.
When our daughter was born, we made the decision that I would become a homemaker and stay at home to raise our baby. We could no longer afford for me to go back to work as we had planned since child care costs more than we had ever imagined. We moved into a different town where we knew no one so that I could keep my demons at bay and so my child's father (and my boyfriend) could be closer to work to cut down our mileage and gas cost. We moved into an affordable, one bedroom apartment where we struggle to fit the three of us and all of our stuff. We had to cut all luxuries out of our life just to be able to feed and pamper our young child. We had to apply for state benefits just to be able to pay all of our bills, keep food in the house, and take care of our child. Even now that our daughter is two years old, and I have managed to keep the demons off of my back, we continue to struggle in our day to day lives. The financial struggle to raise a child is more difficult than I ever had thought of, and the financial struggle causes a deeply rooted emotional strain.
We do struggle to pay our bills, keep food in the house, keep the gas in the car, and to live a normal and relaxed life, but I have accomplished great things that I never thought were possible. I have graduated with my associates degree from college, I have began to work toward my dream career of becoming a writer, I have become a wonderful and responsible mother and adult, and I have kept myself free of my inner demons for three years, and my baby's father and I have a very strong, loving and committed relationship.
The icing on my accomplishment cake, is that I have even reconnected with my best friend from high school and we have begun to rebuild and strengthen our relationship. We are now both sober and actively working on our goals, lives, and personal issues (and support each other through all of life's struggles). She has given birth to her second child and her mother has graciously allowed her to be apart in her first child's life. Not only did I get a second chance at life, but I got a second chance at my greatest friendship as well as a second chance at becoming a godmother.
When you plant the trees, life will give you lemons.
Plan to Have Children
There is no right age to start having children and beginning a family. Every person is different and every person finds stability at different times and ages, but if there is one thing that is for certain, it is that it is best to wait to have children when those children are planned and when one reaches a stable point in their life. A stable point in life is when one has graduated and ended their schooling career, has moved onto a stable job that has a specific schedule (a schedule that fits ones individual lifestyle), when one is in a committed and strong relationship, when one becomes financially sound (and are able to pay their bills on time), and when one learns how to gain control over their actions, behaviors, emotions, as well as having an understanding of obedience, commitment, and consequence.
Not every young parent is struggling with dependency issues, but every young mother has a personal struggle and an individual battle they are fighting through as they are raising their children. Every young mother has yet to learn how to control themselves and their emotions and have yet to discover themselves, which makes it even more difficult to raise another. Being a good young mom is not impossible but it is a lot more difficult. There is no reason for unplanned pregnancy with all of the information and availability of contraceptives in the United States. If one is sexually active, one must protect themselves from unplanned pregnancies.
Imagination is much more forgiving than reality.
How It Works
Not engaging in sexual intercourse.
A latex or sheep skin shealth that covers the penis and prevents sperm from getting inside the womans vagina. Male condoms are a barrier method.
Just as male condoms female condoms are a barrier method meant to go inside the vagina to prevent the sperm from getting into the uterus and implanting into an egg.
Spermicides come in various forms-- foam, gel, cream, film, suppository, or tablet-- the spermicide is placed inside of the vagina to act as a barrier so that the sperm cannot enter the uterus. One leaves the spermicide in the vagina for at least six to eight hours after intercourse, they can be combined with other forms of barrier contraceptives and can be purchased over the counter at any local drugstore.
Diaphragm or Cervical Cap
This type of contraceptive is another barrier method placed against the cervix to protect the uterus from sperm entering. This contraceptive should be paired with a spermicide.
Some women choose to get progestin shots in the buttocks or in the arm every three months to help prevent against unplanned pregnancies.
Combined Oral Contraceptives
Also known as "the pill", this is a combined oral contraceptive that contain estrogen and progestin (female hormones). This is a prescription contraceptive that should be taken everyday at the same time.
Progestin Only Pill
This pill only contains the hormone progestin, usually prescribed to women who cannot ingest extra estrogen hormones. This should be taken by mouth everyday at the same time.
The skin patch is worn either on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper arm (not on the breasts). This is a hormonal prescription contraceptive method. It releases estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream. One will replace the patch every week for three weeks (the fourth week one does not wear the patch to allow for a menstrual period).
The vaginal ring releases the hormones estrogen and progestin. One places the ring inside of the vagina and it stays there for three weeks, take it out to have a period, and replace it after the one finishes their cycle.
The implant is a single, thin rod that is implanted underneath the skin of a woman's upper arm. The rod contains progestin that is released into the body over 3 years.
Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)
This form of IUD is a small device that is a T-shape with a small amount of copper wrapped around it. It is put inside the uterus by a OBGYN. This device can stay in the uterus fro up to ten years, it is non-hormonal, so if/when one plans to become pregnant the doctor can easily remove it and there will be no hormone build up in ones system (so planned pregnancies are more attainable after one is off of this type of contraceptive).
This is another form of an IUD, and just like the copper IUD this is a T-shape device that is placed inside the uterus by a doctor. This differs from the other because it is plastic and contains the progestin hormones to help prevent against unplanned pregnancy. This IUD can stay in place for up to 5 years.
Emergency contraception is not the ordinary form of birth control. It is used when no form of birth control was used during intercourse (or a form of contraception failed. Ex. the condom broke) and an emergency contraception is used up to 48 hours after intercourse to protect against an unplanned pregnancy. This form is usual a pill (known as the morning after pill). There are three types of emergency contraception, one can either purchase over the counter, go to the local planned parenthood, or get a prescription from the doctor.
Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are physically, emotionally and financially straining.
A baby is emotionally and financially straining. A baby is fully dependent on it's parents for everything.
A toddler is physically, emotionally, and even more financially dependent. A toddler needs more attention, play time, interaction, boundaries, rules, guidelines, a schedule, and consequences.
The larger a child grows the more difficult they become to raise. The larger a child grows the more demands they have on their parents emotionally, physically, and financially.
A teenager is the most difficult to raise; a teen is emotionally straining, financially dependent and requires to have a set schedule, specific guidelines, firm boundaries, consequences, and a parent who is willing to push them and force them into becoming strong, independent adults.
Before one has children, they should plan to be at a proper age to be able to handle and properly raise a child at each stage in the child's life.