Help Stop Teenage Pregnancy Now!
The disastrous repercussions of getting pregnant and having babies as teenagers
Out of all the problems that occur in the world, there is one about which I feel particularly very strongly and wish there was a way to prevent it or decrease its rates around the world, particularly in the United States, significantly. That subject is teenage pregnancy and motherhood.
The subject of teen girls wanting to get pregnant and have babies is one of the most popular subjects I have seen over the years on different television talk-show programs, such as Maury and even on Tyra. To achieve this goal, these girls will have sex countless times with their boyfriends, or even with multiple, random partners that they may hardly know. Having a baby becomes an obsession with these girls, who say that nothing can stop them, that no one can stand in their way. They will do anything to fulfill their desire of having a baby. Which brings me to my overall question regarding this topic:
Why do teen girls who want babies want to have them in the first place?
When I saw old episodes of Maury that covered this subject, many of the girls gave the same answer when they were asked this question: they want something to love and something to love them. They feel starved for affection, deprived of love, and believe that no one loves them, so they think that a baby could give them the love that they want, and that they would love the baby back.
From what I’ve seen on Maury and Tyra, a lot of teen girls who want babies come from broken families. This might explain their desire for a baby, since they think having one will rebuild the family they feel they have lost. But there are many other girls who come from loving and apparently stable families. Those from these kinds of families have parents and siblings they love and who love them unconditionally. So if there are girls that have loving, caring families, then why do they think they need a baby to love and to gain love? Well, here’s what I think about it.
During adolescence, we literally start the physical and psychological transformation of growing up. We start to desire more freedom and independence. We become interested in the opposite sex and start dating. We try to figure out who we truly are, who our real friends are, and what we want to be when we grow up. But adolescence also involves learning a lot of tough life lessons. We may feel lost and uncertain in figuring out who we are and what our futures may hold. We can feel lonely since we often struggle to fit in, be accepted, and be liked by our peers in order to make friends. A lot of teenagers can be very cruel, since there are those who like to ridicule, gossip, and talk about people behind their backs. So bullying can affect our self-esteems and any bad experiences we have make us feel that we cannot trust other teens entirely in order to make friends. Furthermore, we begin to separate from our parents and want to be treated more as adults rather than as children. Conflict can be a major factor when it comes to one’s relationships between peers, friends, and family members. Fights and disagreements may happen more often between family members than they did in the past. Some teens have parents who divorce even after being married for so many years. Divorces in families create tension and are upsetting to the children since it means that their parents will no longer be together and they won’t get to see one of their parents all the time. Teens with parents who are divorced and remarried to others are usually the ones who feel that they no longer have a real family nor do they have parents who love them.
These are all of the common examples of changes that can cause unhappiness and depression in kids during adolescence. And in being unhappy, teenagers often feel ignored and neglected, that they are unwanted, unloved, or not getting the attention that they want. So they believe that the answer to all of their problems is having a baby. They want a child that belongs to them, and in their minds, having something like that of their own is the start of something new and special.
A lot of teen girls who want babies for this reason develop a naïve belief that their own baby is something that they can love and that it will love them in return. They hear that the bond between a baby and its mother is unconditional, that the love never ends. They want to create their own babies in order to get or undo the love and attention that they feel they don’t have or aren’t getting from family members. These girls also say they want a baby to love them because a baby doesn’t say or do bad/mean things to you that other kids, and even some adults, do. For example, a baby doesn’t get drunk, beat you, or tease you. A baby doesn’t walk out on you. A baby is always there for you. If you love your baby, it will love you, too. When you die, you have your child to represent you. When you have a child, no matter what happens, it will always be a part of you.
While all of that is true about babies, those are not considered good enough reasons to want one when you are a teen. Yes, babies don’t tease you or walk out on you, but that’s only because they are literally, including physically, unable to do so at their ages. Teenagers don’t seem to understand that there is so much more to having babies than meets the eye.
Many teen girls who want to get pregnant talk about babies as if they are a lot like dolls or other such fancy toys. I’ve heard girls on Maury talk about what clothes in which they want to dress their babies, as if they were living dolls. They also think that babies are cute, so it’s why they find many babies to be irresistible. They think that cute little babies make fun playmates, so they want to have cute babies of their own with which to play. They describe babies as if they are accessories to show off to other people. Teens also probably think of babies as being a lot like pets, like little puppies or kittens, especially because these baby animals are cute, too. Teens with few to no friends especially seem to believe the most that babies can give them companionship and ease their loneliness, which they appear to mistake for friendship in a pet. Some teens who say they want babies for this reason may really, on a subconscious level, want friends instead. But a lot of these girls have trouble finding friends and fitting in, so to them, a baby will quickly and easily give them what they are lacking and can’t seem to get with other people. They appear to give up on finding good friends and think that having a baby is the best alternative. Besides playing with it, teens think they only need to feed a baby a couple of times a day, with the same going for changing it, bathing it once in a while, and that they don’t have to answer to them all the time. Teens think they can dismiss, ignore, or have someone else take care of their baby whenever they want to take a break or don’t feel like taking care of it right then and there.
So combined with the belief that a baby would give them the love that they crave and that it would be like owning a pet, young teen girls have the false idea that having a baby and taking care of it is so easy to do, that it is a lot of fun, and that having one will make you happy, or feel much better than you do now.
While love appears to be the major and most common reason as to why teen girls want babies, I can think of some other reasons why girls have this desire. There are teens who say they want babies because they see a lot of people around them with their own babies. These girls feel like they have an empty void in their lives, that they are missing out on something by not being parents. So they want to fit in with those parents by having their own child. It’s all part of a scenario they have, in that, a lot of people have babies, so they want to be part of those groups of people. Other teens feel they get good experience and practice if do a lot of babysitting and get to be around kids that way. They think that as long as they are good babysitters (or so they think), it means that they will become great mothers. Since a lot of babies are cute, teen girls think it’s cute to see people out and about with their own babies. To them, parenthood is cute, and that it looks or will look a lot cuter if they have babies now rather than as adults. Teens who feel deprived of attention see having a baby as a chance of getting the good kind of attention that they want. Others are bored with their lives and want an exciting change, so they think that having a baby is the kind of change they need. There is also the belief that girls have that a baby means that they will be able to hang on to their boyfriends, if they have steady ones with whom they have a sexual relationship. Even if they have an ex-boyfriend with whom they are still in love, they believe a baby will bring them back, or closer, together. Since the baby belongs to both of them, it means that the boyfriend will stick around and they will be a family forever. And while many of them may not ever say so, I wonder if a lot of teens want children because they see that many adults have children, so they think that having their own babies will make them seem so grown up, too.
Additional minor reasons I’ve heard for teens wanting babies is because they think they can do more with babies now than they can do with babies when they have them as adults. They think motherhood is cool, that it’s so much better than going to school and getting an education, and many of them say they would willingly drop out of school just to have a baby and take care of it. Many other girls will just get pregnant because of peer pressure to experience with sex. Lots of girls may be pressured by peers and friends in school just because they are already having sex and want to get pregnant. So there are girls who just succumb to that pressure because they want to fit in and be like their peers, not to mention they don’t want those peers to speak negatively about them if they aren’t doing whatever it is everything else is apparently doing. And that if that means having sex and getting pregnant, then so be it.
So in summary, lots of teen girls have this delusion that having babies and creating a family will make their lives perfect, wonderful, that it will be a fairy tale come true.
However, all of these reasons given by teens show their naïveté due to the fact that they do not really know or comprehend how much work is involved in being a parent, especially the repercussions of having children when they are still children themselves. In their minds of what they believe a baby would do for them, it would turn out to be the exact opposite. For starters, the part about wanting a baby so it can love you and you would love it back? That is not how it starts. When a baby is born, a baby doesn’t love you; it needs you (I’ll get to that later), and that’s it. A baby doesn’t know what love is when it is born. Newborn babies don’t know anything about love or anything in the world because they are new, very young human beings who have a long way to go in terms of growth and development. They have not yet formed personalities to know or understand love. They are not consciously aware of what goes on around them. They have to learn from experiences and watching others as they grow up and become people. So the bond of love between the baby and the mother is not an immediate two-way street. A child’s love for its mother, or even its father, has to develop over time as it grows. Sure, the mother (and father) may love the baby, but that love is not reciprocated right away. It has to be taught about love by the parents first. You have to show your child what love is if you want it to love you, too. In life, within relationships, you have to give, not just take, and that includes giving love in order to receive it.
Part of teen girls’ beliefs that having a baby is like owning a pet and thinking that taking care of one is so easy. But I think they confuse it with the fact that the only really easy part of having a baby is the CONCEPTION of the baby! It’s easy for a man and a woman to have sexual intercourse. It’s easy to have sex multiple times in order for the woman to get pregnant. It’s easy for the woman to take a test to determine whether or not she is pregnant. My point is, having sex is all you have to do in order to have a baby, and sometimes doing it only once can result in a pregnancy. So once the girl ends up pregnant like she wants to be, she thinks everything else after that will be very easy, from the actual pregnancy to taking care of the baby.
But the sad truth is, it just doesn’t happen that way.
When teen girls are pregnant, they experience the very same symptoms and discomforts as adult pregnant women do. That includes morning sickness, back pains, constipation, and leg cramps, among many others. Such symptoms cause even more problems for young teenaged girls due to their bodies being far underdeveloped in comparison to women over 20 years old. I think when teen girls want to get pregnant, they are not completely aware of these problems occurring during pregnancy, or maybe they just don’t care (if they even say so) since having a baby is all that matters to them at that point. Still, these symptoms will happen during pregnancy, and they are no doubt going to make the expectant teen mothers physically and emotionally miserable due to them being unprepared for the problems and other resulting effects, such as excess weight gain (which is something that teenage girls absolutely hate) and stretch marks. But there are more ways in which teenage pregnancy causes physical complications for very young, expectant mothers. Before the age of 20, young girls and women are still growing internally. Part of puberty and adolescence in females is the development of the reproductive system and the organs that play functional roles in a pregnancy. Teenage mothers have immature reproductive organs that may not be prepared to carry an infant full term. This means that there is a greater risk of a pregnancy resulting in a miscarriage. Pelvic bones do not reach their maximum size until about the age of 18; therefore, the pelvis of a teenage mother may not be grown enough to allow vaginal delivery of a normal-sized baby. Teenage mothers may also face the possibility of premature labor, or one that starts before 37 weeks gestation. Furthermore, the underdevelopment of a teen mother’s internal organs can make labor even more painful and difficult than for that of an pregnant adult woman. Carrying a baby at such a young age can not only result in the baby being miscarried, but the risks involved for the mother means that there is a chance that she could die during labor as well.
Medical problems can occur for adult pregnant women even when they are healthy, but certain risks are far greater among adolescent mothers. Pregnancy places an extra demand on the body to circulate blood to the developing placenta and baby and can rob the cells of iron. If the mother receives little or no prenatal care, which often happens with pregnant teens, anemia (low iron) can result. This is especially common for teens under the age of 15 if they do not seek prenatal care. Other medical risks for a teen mother include high blood pressure, which is known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, and preeclampsia. This is a dangerous medical condition that combines high blood pressure with excess protein in the urine, swelling of a mother’s hands and face, and organ damage. Many pregnant teens are at risk of nutritional deficiencies from poor eating habits that are common in adolescence. These include attempts to lose weight through dieting, skipping meals, food faddism, snacking, and consumption of fast food. Since teenagers are still growing from within their bodies, a teenage mother needs to eat properly not only for her own growth, but for a normal, healthy growth of the fetus. Pregnant teens who do not follow a healthy diet will cause their unborn babies to develop with poor nutrition, and those babies maybe even be born with malnourishment.
So while teenage pregnancy involves problems that could be very serious to the mother’s physical health, there are also factors that pose risks to the health of her baby. The actions of the expectant mother will ultimately affect the well-being of her child, both during the pregnancy and after the baby’s birth. If she has bad health habits, those habits are passed on to the baby in the worst possible ways, and it’s not solely limited to what she eats. If a pregnant woman smokes cigarettes or consumes alcohol, that increases the chances of the baby having birth defects, such as orofacial clefts (from smoking) and fetal alcohol syndrome. And a mother who abuses drugs can cause her baby to have horrible deformities that could surpass birth defects caused by alcohol or smoke. Due to the mother’s underdevelopment of her reproductive organs combined with any bad health habits, a baby born to a teen mother is more likely to be premature and have a low birth weight. Low birth weight raises the probabilities of many other risks for the baby, including death, blindness, deafness, and chronic respiratory problems. Babies born with low weights also have greater chances of developing mental retardation, mental illnesses, and/or cerebral palsy. Despite them being born with or developing more health problems than children born to older mothers, children of teen mothers are far less likely to receive medical care and treatment for their problems, largely in part because their mothers cannot afford the expenses.
For teen girls who want to get pregnant and end up getting pregnant, one of the greatest and most serious risks of all, besides complications during the pregnancy and giving birth, is catching one or more sexually transmitted diseases. Chances of this happening is far greater if the girls have sex with so many random people. If a female ends up pregnant along with an STD at the same time, it is only extremely likely that that disease is going to be passed on to her baby! HIV/AIDS is unquestionably the worst condition a female can develop from having unprotected sex with multiple partners. Disease in a baby can often be prevented by giving both the mother and child antiretroviral medication.
The other known types of STDs listed below cause the following problems to a mother and her newborn baby:
- Herpes: Herpes infection in a pregnant woman is relatively safe until she is ready to deliver. Active herpes lesions on the genitals are highly contagious and can infect the infant as it is being born. The virus may begin multiplying and become infectious before any skin symptoms appear. Therefore, many women with a herpes outbreak will have a cesarean section to prevent the transmission of herpes to the newborn.
- Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is usually diagnosed by performing a test on a swab of vaginal fluid. If contracted during pregnancy, the infection can cause vaginal discharge, burning while emptying the bladder, or abdominal pain. A pregnant woman with untreated gonorrhea may have an increased risk of a miscarriage or preterm delivery. A baby that is born while the mother has an active infection can develop blindness, joint infection, or a life threatening blood infection.
- HPV (Genital Warts): Genital warts often appear as small cauliflower-like clusters which may burn or itch. If you contract genital warts during pregnancy, treatment may be delayed until after you deliver. Sometimes the hormones from pregnancy can make them grow larger. If they grow large enough to block the birth canal, the baby may need to be delivered by a cesarean section.
- Chlamydia: Chlamydia may cause an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. Newborns who are exposed can get severe eye infections and pneumonia.
- Syphilis: Syphilis is most often diagnosed with a blood test, although a syphilitic skin lesion can also be tested. Syphilis is easily passed on to an unborn child and is likely to cause the baby to develop a very serious, even fatal, infection. The infants are often born premature. Untreated infants that survive tend to develop problems in multiple organs, including the brain, eyes, ears, heart, skin, teeth, and bones.
- Hepatitis B: This is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. If a pregnant woman is infected with hepatitis B, she can transmit the infection to her baby through the placenta about 40% of the time. An infected newborn can become a lifelong carrier of hepatitis B leading to liver disease and even death.
- Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is an infection that can cause yellow-green vaginal discharge and pain with sex or when emptying the bladder. It can increase the risk of having a preterm baby. Rarely, the new baby can get the infection during delivery and have a vaginal discharge after birth.
Now I want to get back to the part I said earlier about babies needing, not loving, their mothers the moment they are born. Newborn babies are defenseless and helpless; they cannot take care of themselves at all. They need other people to care for them. It is the responsibility of the parents to take care of it. But the fact is, taking care of a baby is A LOT of work! The parents have to literally to do every single thing for the baby, particularly during the first couple of months after it is born. They have to wake up at 6:00 A.M., or even earlier, to start taking care of the baby. Newborn infants are extremely demanding in needing continuous care from their caregivers. They constantly cry, and they do so very loudly. They need to be fed and burped every few hours each day (including in the very early hours of the morning), and they need to have their diapers changed just as much. Babies spit up, drool, and make messes on their parents’ clothes or their own. They are very vulnerable to germs and can become sick easily. They get colicky, which might explain incessant crying in most weeks-old infants. If there are moments that the parents aren’t doing all of these major tasks, they are more often than not washing their and the baby’s clothes and cleaning up messes made by the baby. If they try to take a shower or eat a meal on one of these brief breaks, chances are that they are going to be interrupted by the baby once again, so they have to tend to it before they can do whatever they were previously going to do. Doing each and every one of these kinds of tasks for a baby so much each day leaves the parents feeling very exhausted. They experience sleep deprivation since they may be staying up at night while the baby is still awake and needs care, and they cannot go out to have fun or do the things that they would normally do before the baby’s birth. Even more so, babies cry as a way of telling people that they need or want something. But babies will cry even when they are not hungry, sick, or need a new diaper. They may just cry for no reason and the seemingly never-ending sound can quickly and easily annoy the people around them, especially teenagers, since they don’t or won’t always (if ever) know why babies cry when they do.
So as you can understand from everything I’ve just said, taking care of babies is literally a full time job. It is not fun and glamorous at all. Babies need attention 24/7; your life revolves around them and you get virtually no breaks from taking care of them when they are so little. A lot of teens who want babies think that they are well prepared and very capable of caring for them. Some believe that having babies will offer them the freedom that they want, and that they will no longer be bossed around or told what and what not to do by their parents. But having a baby turns the tables and does just the contrary. With all of the work that comes with having one, that baby is now going to be the boss of you. And all of this is where problems can immediately start to occur for the young mothers. It is just in teens’ natures to not be physically, mentally, or emotionally ready for the unending challenges of baby care, especially if they’ve never done it before. Okay, yes, babysitting can give you experience, but it’s still not the same as parenting. Babysitting is always a temporary job. Whenever you babysit, there’s always a point when you go home and the children you look after are no longer your responsibility. But when you are a parent, the responsibility of the child is permanent. This child is your own, and you cannot be irresponsible by just walking away from it whenever you please. It is a far bigger responsibility and commitment than caring for a pet because a baby will grow up to be another human being in this world. Many young parents think that the work is all over once their baby finally goes to sleep and then they can sleep. But the hard and real truth is, a parent’s work is never done; it just keeps on going every single day of your and your baby’s lives. If it seems so complicated when you have a baby as a teen, it will only become increasingly more difficult and time-consuming as your child grows.
Lots of teen girls who want to have babies, like those I have seen on TV, appear to be completely ignorant and oblivious to the hardships that come before and after a baby is born. They start off thinking things like, “I want a baby. I’m gonna love this baby. This is my baby,” “My boyfriend is older and more mature, and he’s gonna stay with me to raise our baby,” or even “I know I can get a job and my boyfriend can get a job, too, so we will be able to support our baby.” But besides the physical and medical problems/risks that happen during pregnancy, there are emotional and mental factors that come in to play after the baby is born, and teens do not seem to consider them, either. They don’t comprehend that the things they say they will do with a baby is literally so much easier said than done. The reality of it is, life offers unpredictably, uncertainty, and no guarantees about many things, and that includes what happens when you have children. You never really know what the future will hold, and you don’t know what is going to happen if you have a baby so young, until it actually happens. You may have dreams that becoming a mother will be a wonderful experience. You may think that having a baby is going to make everything perfect because you will gain the love that you want and want to reciprocate.
And yet no matter how optimistic you can make a situation sound, you really have no way of knowing what the future will be like for you and your child. A lot of teenagers are arrogant, cocky, and believe that nothing bad can ever happen to them. They may particularly think just that if they have sex so many times without getting pregnant or catching an STD. But bear this in mind: bad things can and do happen to people, and teenagers are stupid to think that such things would never happen to them. If they haven’t gotten pregnant or caught an STD yet, that doesn’t mean those things are never going to happen. If you continue to be as sexually active as you have been, sooner or later, one or both of these things will happen. You can’t ever say, or think, “It will never happen.”
From what I described about the work of baby care above, it proves that having children really does change your life so much. Furthermore, having them so young does not provide much optimism; it only makes your and your baby’s futures look very bleak. There is just so much that you do not know or can predict until whatever happens actually happens. You don’t know if your baby is going to be born with serious physical or mental problems. You don’t know if you’re going to catch one or more diseases from having numerous sexual partners. You don’t know if you will be able to go to school (if you still want to), work, and have a baby at the same time, because it’s increasingly difficult to balance all of these things every single day of your life. I mean, face it: there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t always fit everything you want to do within a single day. You don’t even know if your boyfriend or the would-be father is going to stick around when the baby is born, even if he says he will. When you and you boyfriend are that young, you shouldn’t believe everything he says, no matter how sincere he sounds. There are many babies born to young, unwed mothers who are denied paternity by the alleged fathers. In fact, in these cases, over 90% (and I don’t think that is an exaggeration) of teen mothers who appear on Maury are on the show because the man/men they say are the father(s) of the children are denying paternity. And I believe that a lot of young boys and men deny paternity not only because they don’t want the responsibility of fatherhood, most especially at such a young age, but because denying is far easier than taking responsibility. When a baby is finally born to a teen couple, the father may immediately see just how hard it is to be a father at his age, and subsequently decide he doesn’t want to stay with the mother and help take care of the baby. Furthermore, the mother is the one who carries a baby in her womb and and gives birth to it. She literally carries all the weight of having the baby. All it takes to make babies from men is his sperm, so denying paternity and walking away, whether or not the baby is actually his, is far easier for him to do than for the mother to do the same thing.
I also think that what many people don’t seem to grasp is that, being a parent, and a good one, nonetheless, is largely a matter of maturity. When you are a teenager, you are still growing in maturity, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. I’ve seen a lot of teens on Maury say stuff like “Age is nothing but a number,” and “I feel that I’m very mature for my age, so I know I’m ready” when their parents and Maury himself objected that they were too young. Teenagers believe that in being teenagers, they are actually grown men and women now. They think they are no longer kids and can and should be allowed to do whatever they want. But you HAVE to bear in mind that being a teenager does NOT mean you are an adult yet, and that includes the age legality. Contrary to what they may believe or say, teenagers do not know how to do everything themselves; they are going to still need help and guidance from their parents. During your teenage years, you don’t know everything about people and what is happening in the rest of the world. Your personality and brain is still developing because you don’t have enough education or experience to have a broad knowledge of life. There are still many things you need to learn about life before you enter adulthood, and that is why you have to be in school. You may not choose to go to college, but having an extended formal education can get you further in life than if you don’t have one.
Much like when they are little kids, teenagers are frequently indecisive and change their minds a lot, and that is part of the developments of their brains as they continue to grow up. I’ve seen a lot of teens on Maury hesitate or stumble over their answers when asked why they want babies. They rarely sound very articulate or confident in their answers, as if they are unable to form complete sentences. Their actions and words show their ages, that they are inexperienced, indecisive teenagers, not mature adults like they believe they are. Whether or not it is always intentional on their parts, teenagers also tend to be irresponsible or careless and still rely on their parents to keep them on track, even for the smallest of matters. A minimal education stunts your knowledge on many different things, and that can include baby and child care. Many teens know nothing at all about feeding and changing babies, or even anything about careers, finances. insurance, and medical care. They argue with their parents, even with Maury for those that appear on his show, that they can take care of themselves very well, which means, to them, they can take care of a baby as well by this time. But because teens have a very minimal amount of an education, work experience, and lots of other things of which adults would have more, they have virtually no idea of all the dos and don'ts with children. Additionally, these limitations mean that many teens cannot completely take care of themselves despite their claims of the contrary.
Many teen girls who aspire to get pregnant and appear on Maury talk very confidently about themselves. They think they are so wonderful that they will be great mothers, that their babies will love them, and that they can handle taking care of a baby. But many of them don’t appear to know what it’s really like to take care of a baby until they actually get some hands-on experience. Before they actually get to live the experience, they stubbornly refuse to listen to their parents’ objections and understand why they shouldn’t have children just yet. They feel confident in their decisions and say that their minds are made up; they won’t change their minds despite what people say or tell them otherwise. Even if they are told by teen mothers that a baby doesn’t love its mother when it is born, the wannabe teen mothers disregard that advice and still believe that their babies will instantly love them. But when people are that young, they don’t always stick to the decisions they make; in fact, they change their minds much of the time. And having children not only changes the lives of the parents so much, but it can change the parents themselves. They can change instantly, and not always for the better, because of all the new, sudden pressures put on them. But while older adults more likely make efforts to cope with the changes of having children, the same cannot be said for teenagers who have babies. They have a lot of difficulty dealing with the pressures of taking care of babies due to their immaturity and lack of experience. When they find out just how difficult baby care is, they will undoubtedly decide that they don’t like all the work involved, so they will change their minds about wanting a baby. This could be another explanation on why teen fathers deny paternity and walk away from their children. Of course, no teen parent should walk out on their child because they got what they wanted and have to face up to their new responsibilities. But it’s better to change your mind early on before you end up pregnant than to actually get pregnant and have a baby and decide not to take responsibility for that baby.
And even better yet, before you even think about having children, learning to take care of yourself should be your top priority, and it’s best to start doing it when you are a teen. In that process of beginning to grow up, many teens wants to start being treated as adults. If they want that, however, they have to act like adults first, and that means learning to take care of themselves and gaining independence rather than relying on others for everything. The best starting examples would be getting yourself up in the morning and getting ready for school, make contributions to your family by doing certain chores, do your homework, household chores, and everyday tasks (e.g., brushing your teeth and cleaning your room) without being told or reminded to do them. Taking care of yourself is a question of responsibility, and responsibility is something you have to maintain as you gradually go out and start learning how to work, both for payments and manual labor, such as cooking. As you get older, the things you do can and will have an effect on other people, which is why it’s important to be responsible. When you have a job, you will occasionally have to make promises and commitments in which other people are involved, so if you say you’re going to do something, you have to do it when you say you will do it. This is because people need to know that they can count on you. If you don’t follow through on your commitments, you may end up getting a negative reputation among coworkers. They will view you as unreliable and untrustworthy, which could cost you your job and even good references for another job.
So when you are a teenager, instead of having or wanting to have children, what you should be doing instead is learning how to take of yourself and being responsible, not just for yourself, but for your family when you have to be. Not only that, but when you are teenager, you should be having fun by hanging out with friends, going to parties, school dances, doing sports or after-school activities, and many other things. Of course, if you want to be having fun, you should not engage in certain habits if you are underage or if they are illegal. Outside of school and having fun, it would be good if you get a job to earn money of your own so you can spend it, but also be responsible and save it, too. You would only be able to work a minimum wage job due to your age and minimal education, but it would still be a good thing because you don’t have to work 40 hours a week like full time jobs require. Not to mention, if you’re still in school, you can’t work full time because more hours should be directed your studies since that is more important for the time being. When you have a baby, it prevents you from doing the activities you love to do and anything else that gives you freedom. It’s a lot better for you to use your teen years, and even most of your 20s, to be carefree and have freedom to do the things you love to do in your spare time. After you have spent some years being free and learned to do responsible adult things, such as getting a good job, earning some money and being financially secure, having your own place, keeping it in good condition, and paying your own bills, then that is the best time to finally have a baby, and get married if you want to do that, too. Things just really do have a tendency to work out for the better for many people if they can get their lives in order first before they take on the responsibility of being a parent.
I stated before that taking care of babies involves so much work everyday. They need so much attention that you have to put their needs first from now on. Even as they grow, you still have to put them first as much as possible; it’s not all about you anymore. Being a mother is a very big, life-changing, lifetime commitment, and I think there a lot of people who don’t really take these words to heart until their first child is born. But the fact that it is a very big commitment plays a factor in why teenagers shouldn’t be parents. Having children can be stressful for many parents, but it creates a huger amount of stress for younger people due to them being less mature and unprepared for any difficulties that can and will happen as a baby grows. They just are unable to cope with all the different pressures that they face every day, especially because those pressures never stop and only intensify as time goes on. When I hear teens on Maury talk about their desires for children, a lot of them don’t seem to grasp the fact that babies are not toys, pets, or fashion accessories. You must get this through your head: a baby is a new life. It is a living, breathing, fragile human being that will grow into a child, teenager, and then an adult with its own thoughts, rights, and problems. And when I hear teens mention their reasons for wanting children and saying that they want them now, they really don’t even seem to be thinking about the baby at all! They think only about themselves and what they want, which unequivocally proves that are just being spoiled and selfish. But I guess that relates to the fact that they see babies only as cute little accessories. They don’t see them as human beings who will have feelings and emotions, and be a lifetime commitment. I think that many teen girls who end up pregnant don’t usually see a doctor or get medical care because they probably think such care is not important at all, neither for themselves nor for their babies. Like I said earlier, they think having a baby is so easy just because the conception is the easy part, so they think nothing of seeing a doctor for those who end up pregnant. And for those who sleep with multiple men just to get pregnant without taking diseases into consideration? Well, all of this is perfect proof to me that they are just selfish, careless, irresponsible, and really show no concern for the well-being of their potential children!
Teen pregnancy can lead to negative effects for the mothers’ social lives. They think that getting pregnant and having babies will be a good way for them to get attention. While they may get attention for being pregnant or walking around with their baby, it certainly won’t be positive attention like they think. Many teen girls who are pregnant or already have babies often face illegal discrimination in school, most often in by administrators, teachers, counselors and fellow students. Such discrimination is a major contributing factor to high dropout rates of these mothers. This is because many of their peers and fellow students will gossip and spread nasty rumors about them around the school(s). Such talk gives the pregnant or teen mothers a negative reputation, sometimes embarrassing them so much to the point that they decide they can’t take it anymore and leave school for good. Principals or other heads of schools find having pregnant students in their schools to be an embarrassment, which may lead to those students getting suspended or expelled. Other times, teen mothers drop out of school because their grades suffer due to them missing school because they are spending more time taking care of their babies at home than focusing on their schoolwork. Even if they are not taking care of their babies, chances are that they are sleeping or doing anything else that directs their attention away from schoolwork. Furthermore, many pregnant teens lose their friends because they no longer have time to hang out with them. A teen mother’s inability to spend time with her friends anymore leads to those people deserting her. It is also because those friends don’t think having a baby at this young age is cool. Even when they are out in public and not in school, teen mothers may face discrimination from strangers and be shunned by them because those people do not like or accept teen pregnancy or motherhood. Seeing this might make those kinds of people think that the girls who got themselves in those situations are bad people or are setting bad examples for others by bringing their babies out in public.
Besides the physical, psychological, and emotional problems of teen pregnancy and motherhood, there are also financial factors, at least potential future ones, to be considered. Due to the fact that they have to spend so much time taking care of their children, teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and attend college. They are much more likely to live in poverty, sometimes to the point of being homeless. Many teenagers who have appeared on Maury say they are willing to drop out of school to have a baby. They also talk about what kind of jobs they would get to support their babies, such as working in a fast food restaurant. Others say that they can work odd jobs to get money to support their babies They talk about it so confidently as if getting jobs are not a problem, like they can get them in a heartbeat. But getting a job is not always as easy as it sounds or one thinks it is. For starters, child labor laws in the United States say that children under 14 may not be employed, children between 14 and 16 may be employed in allowed occupations during limited hours, and children between 16 and 18 may be employed for unlimited hours in non-hazardous occupations. When they are under the age of 18, children and teens are supposed to be in school because they are not yet at the legal age to work, at least not full time. Laws do not allow this for minors because they are far too young and inexperienced to be doing certain kinds of work. This includes any kind of work that involves driving, since you have to be at least 16 to drive and have a valid license to legally drive. So teen girls who feel confident that they can get jobs to support their babies are much more unlikely to get the ones they want due to them being underage.
I’ve also heard girls say, especially if it seems that they don’t want to work, they would go on welfare to get money. But hell, there’s even a problem with that, because if you go on welfare, you may eventually have to pay that money back to the government. It seems that many teenagers just don’t comprehend why it’s so important to have an education first. You see, when you don’t have enough of an education, especially one that isn’t beyond high school, that greatly reduces your chance of getting a decent-paying career in the future. Even if you are under 18, any jobs you could get would be part time, minimum wage ones, such as working as a waiter/waitress. But those kinds of jobs don’t pay nearly as much as ones you can get when you have a college and/or graduate degree. And as for odd jobs, those kinds of jobs are always temporary. This kind of work really only involves nothing more than doing tasks or chores for family members or neighbors, such as babysitting, shoveling snow, and mowing lawns. The people for whom you do the work are the only ones who pay you, and you can’t always expect them to have jobs for you or even enough money to pay you whenever you feel like working. What I mean is, these kinds of jobs offer far more minuscule payments than even a minimum wage job would pay. This is because the person who does the odd jobs does them for a small amount of people. In other words, when you have an official job, whether it is part time or full time, legal documents and/or formalities are involved, because you have to fill out applications or have official interviews in order to secure a job and have arrangements set up so you automatically get paid every couple of weeks.
The best kinds of jobs that many people love, and those that pay good money, are those that involve education and training. What teens apparently don’t understand about babies, among lots of other things, is that they are very expensive, especially after they are first born. You need to buy them food, clothes (of which they quickly outgrow and will need brand new ones), toys, diapers, and many other necessities every day and every week. A minimum wage job cannot provide enough money to pay for all those necessary expenses in a single week, much less an entire year. There are also medical and health insurance bills to pay when your child gets sick and has to see a pediatrician. These kinds of expenses means that mother may even have to get a second job, but that can also be a big problem because she wouldn’t be able to stay home and look after her baby. Since babies and young children cannot stay at home by themselves, the mother would have to hire a babysitter. But there are no guarantees that she would have a babysitter available every time she had to go out and work. Besides the baby’s needs, the mother would also be working to support herself for groceries and bills. Minimum wage jobs just do not provide enough money for the mother to support both herself and her child. This is further proven by how much more expensive children become as they grow up and become individual people.
Making money in order to support you and your baby is especially important because you need to use some of it to afford a place to live. A lot of pregnant teen girls and teen mothers end up living in their own homes with their parents because it’s so much easier for them to afford and to have help with their children. But there are parents out there who become so angry and unforgiving towards their daughters for getting pregnant that they kick them out of their family homes. I’ve heard teens on Maury claim how their parents threaten to disown them and throw them out if they get pregnant, and yet this kind of threat doesn’t seem to faze them. Some of them don’t appear to take such a threat seriously, and it might be because these teens believe they know their parents so well or that their parents love them so much that they (the teen girls) would never be kicked out, no matter what bad thing they did. Besides that, others even talk confidently that they can just go somewhere else if that happens. But if it happens that they do get kicked out of their homes, sooner or later, those girls will find themselves in deeper trouble. As part of what I said earlier about teens still needing guidance from their parents, a lot of them do not always know what to do if a situation looks bleak or hopeless to them. If asked, they rarely appear to have an answer or a second option if their was a chance that their main plan might fall through. This is probably because they feel so confident in the first plan and that it will stay intact, so coming up with another plan just isn’t necessary to them. So if there are pregnant teens who get thrown out of their home, more than likely, they will not know what to do next. In being underage, these girls may not be able to get the kind of job like they wanted, and without a paying job, they won’t be able to afford a new place to live. This is how a lot of pregnant teens end up living in poverty, or worse, become homeless.
For girls who don’t get kicked out of their homes for getting pregnant, they consider themselves lucky, and they should, especially if their family members want to stand by them and help them with their child. In these situations, yes, you can have help, like your own parents’ help whenever you really do need to get some rest. But even if you do have backup support, what you should NOT do is take advantage of that by dumping the baby on them and doing whatever the hell you want. So you shouldn’t go out to party and have fun, especially engage in bad, illegal behavior, while your parents take care of your baby. If there are times that your baby is being cared for by your parents, you should either be at school, doing homework, or working. Let me make it very clear: your baby is your own baby, not your parents’ or your siblings’ baby. You are the parent. You have to be responsible for your child, especially if you wanted this child in the first place. You can’t use whatever help you receive from your parents, siblings, or even sitters into thinking they should be the primary caregivers while you only have certain time shifts of doing the baby care. You are the one who wanted this child and you were confident that you would take care of it. Well, when you finally have one, you cannot go back on what you said. So if you take care of your baby and soon afterwards, you decide you don’t want your baby? Well, that’s too bad! You have to own up to your responsibility. You paid the price of losing your freedom, and now you have to deal with the consequences whether you like it or not!
Throughout all of this, I have been talking about teen parenthood as if the mother is the only parent involved in her child’s life. Well, as sad as it sounds, much of the time, it IS only the mother who cares for the child. As I said before, a child born to teenaged parents rarely has a present father because he denies paternity and refuses to step up and take responsibility. While some teen mothers are lucky to have help and support from her family to raise her child, there are others who are much less fortunate. Those who end up having no family or friends to help are the ones who struggle the most to bring up her children, especially if she could also be facing poverty and being without a home. Having a stunted education and minimum wage fees while taking care of a baby at such a young age will make the mother will struggle every day to try and make ends meet. And as her child grows up, making ends meet would just become more and more complicated. You may think that as your child grows up, your life will get a lot easier than it is now…but it won’t, and that’s the sad truth. 😞
And so while I have described just about all of the hardships teenagers are bound to endure when they have children so young, bear in mind that they are not the only ones. Children born to teen mothers will also face hardship in their lives due to their situation. As I stated before, babies born to adolescent mothers can have physical and mental health problems, which adds to the stress of the mother. Their mothers, and often their fathers as well, are typically too young to master the demanding job of being a parent, which puts the children at a higher risk of being poor parents themselves one day. Since many teenagers can quickly become disenchanted with taking care of babies because of all the demands and lack of freedom, their children may often grow up being ignored, neglected, and possibly abused. The potential father may deny even being the father and walk out on the mother and the child. If social services determine the parent(s) to be neglectful or irresponsible, then the child may be put into foster care and shuffle through different foster families. Without a stable family and home life, these children may end up getting into trouble with drugs, alcohol, and other legal problems when they become teenagers. In fact, girls born to teen parents are very likely to experience teenage pregnancy and motherhood themselves. Children of teenagers often suffer from poor performance in school. Children of teens are 50% more likely to repeat a grade; they perform much worse on standardized tests, and ultimately they are less likely to complete high school than if their mothers had delayed childbearing.
So as you can see by all that I have said here, there really are a lot of cons and virtually no pros when it comes to teenage pregnancy and motherhood. There is nothing wrong with wanting children, and women have this beautiful gift to be able to carry and give birth to children. But we are not meant to use this gift when we are teenagers. Having babies as teenagers creates a lot of negative repercussions for both the mother and the child. It’s just too big of a commitment to make when you are so young due to all of the stressful work that comes with it. You only going to make your and your child’s life miserable. The best way you can live life to have a good future is grow up, finish your education, get a stable, good-paying career, spend a few years on your own and have some freedom, learn to take care of yourself responsibly, and then settle down and have a baby.
So to any and all of my friends and followers here on Tumblr, please read what I have to say about this subject. Pass it on and share it with other people. Maybe we can help a lot of teen girls from making a big mistake. They just need to understand why it’s bad and dangerous to have babies when you are a teen. It is better to wait until you are in your 20s or 30s to have children. For any of you who are teens and want to have babies, please read this and consider what I have to say. We can make a difference in this world, and it starts with every single one of us.