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H.O.W. to Make A Difference in the Life of an Unwed Pregnant Mother

Updated on January 4, 2013

Pregnant Happens, Get Over It

It isn't rocket science, females get pregnant. While for me it would have been an answer to my prayers, for many it is an accident. Of course we can play the "blame game", but to what avail? It is a little too late to warn of the dangers of sex before marriage. It is also too late to counsel a young woman lacking in self-confidence that she need not settle for the first guy that comes along. Instead, it is time to step up and be the person that the young girl needs. You've always wanted to do the right thing. Will you do it now?

A Miracle, Not a Mistake

Source

Children are Not Mistakes

It's a fact of life that mistakes happen, but I refuse to believe that a child is a mistake. When I was fifteen my unmarried sister, who is seven years my senior, found out that she was pregnant. All of a sudden the atmosphere in my home became uncomfortable to say the least. I was raised Catholic, my mother was very devout. My brother had attended the seminary for two years. All three of us kids had received at least ten years of Catholic education, if not more. Heck, the parish priest, who I thought of as Uncle Bill, was at our house every evening working jigsaw puzzles with my mother and watching "Barnaby Jones", "Kojak", or "Baretta." But, it still happened. Then something else happened. The loser father skipped out of town and missed out on raising a precious gift from God. (This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.)

Gradually, my parents and my sister started looking forward to the event, as well they should. My sister, who had been quite tiny, became huge. She eventually had the baby, who wasn't too big, a month late. Our lives changed immediately. Although I was in high school, I got up many nights with Chris so that sis would have her wits about her for work the next morning. I have to admit, I miss those days when I would rock him in my grandmother's red-cloth rocker, singing old songs and lullabies to what appeared to be a purse-lipped little cherub. When I would tiptoe to his crib, place him gently in it, and slowly tiptoe away, I would be relieved that he didn't wake up again. That is until I was safely under the warmth of my covers, ready to sleep for three more hours, and he would start to cry again. In all actuality, I really miss those days, uhm, I mean nights, and the feeling of his warm breath on my neck as I rocked him back and forth.

Eventually my sister would marry and have two other little boys -- each a unique gift. How blessed we were. But how many others can say that? I have had many students who have gone through the same thing -- pregnant at a very early age. Yet for many of them, they did not have the support system that my sister did. Instead they have been ridiculed, and left to fend for themselves. Where is the humanity in that? Is there anyone so perfect that they haven't made a mistake somewhere along the way?

It saddens me to know that in some countries, such as Malaysia, young girls are so shamed by their parents and others around them that girls dump their babies or kill themselves. Even here in the United State, young unwed pregnant teens have felt compelled to try to hide their pregnancies, choosing instead to discard their babies upon chlidbirth. What signal have we sent to these young women that makes them believe that killing a child, or themselves, is better than having a child out of wedlock? We have to change this attitude and show these young ladies that it is okay to be grateful for a new life.

Breaking the Cycle

Many times we observe things happening as if they are vicious cycles. If we don't educate and take care of one another, poor judgments tend to repeat themselves. Therefore we witness generation after generation of families continuing to live in poverty, being forced to take menial labor jobs, and struggling to put food on the table. When I was a teenager, just after becoming a news junky, a saw an article on the nightly news about a young woman who had struggled for years to make ends meet for herself and her daughter. The details of the story are sketchy now, but I seem to recall that the young woman had been the daughter of an unwed mother. Rather than learn from the struggles of her mother, she sought refuge in the arms of a boy, which lead to her own teenage pregnancy. My response at the time was to write about it. I wrote a poem entitled "Fifteen" which can be found on HubPages.

HOW You Can Help

It is so easy to turn our backs on those who need us, often times without realizing that there was something we could have done. What would you do if given the opportunity? How would you react? Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Talk to the young lad in a respectful manner, which will give her a sense of self-worth. Let her know that she is not alone, and can always talk to you.
  2. If you are male and feel uncomfortable with #1 above, put the young lady in touch with a local minister or social worker.
  3. Offer to drive her to medical appointments and guide her in proper prenatal care.
  4. Speak to her realistically about the future, but also be excited about the baby. This way she won't romanticize the pregnancy, making the baby seem more like a toy. Instead, she will come to terms with what she is up against, while at the same time begin to grow into a mature young lady, ready to take care of her child for the long term.
  5. If you are a teacher, don't allow other students to bad mouth the student. This is definitely no time to be a bully.
  6. After the newness of the newborn has worn off, help her to look toward the future, again, realistically.
  7. Help her find support groups and resources to raise her baby in a clean, healthy atmosphere, while still allowing for her own growth and reassurance.

These are only a few of the ways that you can help a young mother succeed in raising a healthy, happy child, while at the same time providing for her own emotional well-being.

Comments

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    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      Mhatter99,

      Bless you for volunteering! I am certain that you provided a lot of reassuring guidance to many troubled and scared kids.

      Thanks for stopping by! -Donna

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Bless you for this. As a one time youth volunteer this came to my attention. Fortunately I had wonderful resources at my finger tips.

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      Absolutely, Mary! I'm not sure why I didn't include it.

      I am so happy that you did the right thing for your birth-daughter. In the process you gave a loving couple a chance to share that love, and you gave your daughter opportunities. I'm sure that she will know that it must have been hard for you, but that you loved her enough to give her a better life.

      Thank you, and God bless you!

      -Donna

    • MaryProud profile image

      MaryProud 

      5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      #8 Let her know that adoption IS an option! I know personally how heartbreaking it is to give that little baby away, but I also know that if a loving and able couple had not been available to adopt my birth-daughter the both of us would have grown up in extreme poverty, probably homeless.

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      Moonlake, Your mother sounds a lot like mine. When I've had exchange students, I've worried just as much about the boys becoming fathers as I have about the girls getting pregnant. Therefore, I watch them all like a hawk! lol

      Thanks for stopping by and for the vote up! -Donna

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      I whole-heartedly agree. Education has to come in to play. Where my sister was concerned, she was not in a situtation where she was not educated. We were both from the same household, had the same upbringing, and were raised with the same moral and religious teachings. However, my sister experienced some detrimental life-changing situations that I did not. Experiencing what she did, I'm not sure that I would have ended up any differently.

      Where others who have continued a cycle are concerned, I agree that they need to be educated. But where to begin? So many in our populace detest already having to pay anything for another person's well-being, would they even consider helping to pay to educate someone else's daughter in morals and values?

      And yes, many of my students who got pregnant worked and went to school while still trying to provide for their babies. But employers, in particular the fastfood industry, are not very kind when it comes to scheduling, nor when it comes to a sick child. One student had a child who was born with a hole in her heart. That child was rushed to the local hospital repeatedly, and then flown to a hospital in Louisville. My student was doing good to be able to graduate because of numerous missed days. I know without a doubt that she was doing the best that she could, but she needed someone who would offer support in ways that the school couldn't. She was torn between her daughter's health crisis, her education, and her employment. I'm almost 50 and I am not sure I could handle that. She was only 17.

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      Eric,

      Yes, it seems to me that even when I've given every ounce of love I think I have to give, a student comes to me with a problem and I find that I have so much more yet to give. It is exhausting, but so extremely rewarding.

      Thank you for commenting.

      -Donna

    • Donna Kay Bryan profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Kay Bryan 

      5 years ago

      Yes, it is always heart-breaking when a student comes to you with this kind of news, although not usually unexpected if you know your students and their backgrounds. I did have one student who was a sophomore when she had her baby, the father was a junior. They stayed together, and, I'm happy to report, are still together to this day. The "baby" just turned six years old, so I guess miracles do happen. Thanks for your comments, Bill.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      My mother always said to the girls in our family, "First don't get pregnant but if it happens we won't throw you out but you will not give our grandchild away."

      I don't think she worried about the boys that they could become fathers young.

      Great hub. Voted up

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Yes, mistakes happen and the baby needs to be the first concern. But I also think education is necessary in order to deter babies from having babies. Most of the teen mothers have help from there own mothers therefore they know nothing about actually raising and providing for the child on their own as the rest of us have done.

      Support them, yes. Love the babies, yes. But teach our children not to become parents before they've stopped being children themselves! Do the teen parents work for a living? Do they pay for the roof over their children's back? Do they pay for their food? What self sustaining morals do they teach their kids when someone else is raising them?

      Kids have no business having sex, but they do. That's wherein the education must take place. Babies should know who their parents are and should learn from them striving to give them a good life.

      How can a 15 year old who is barely out of puberty teach what she doesn't yet know?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Donna, Love is so valuable. The more you give the more you get.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      An excellent message about a situation I faced several times while teaching. Thank you for these words. Great job Donna!

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