Normally I don't talk about teen pregnancy, but for me it is a subject that is very very personal. For those who know me or grew up with me then they already know that I myself was a teenage mother. No things weren’t like they are today, for starters there was still a social stigma attached to being an unwed mother. Socially girls were still expected to give a child up for adoption and quietly go away until afterwards. Yes pretty archaic but true.
What I remember most was that at a time when young women didn’t buck the system, I was one who did. Learning tolerance, patience and humility at the same time because of that choice. My friends were the kind of friends who stuck around and were supportive. For that small gift I will always be extremely grateful to those who did, and didn’t turn away out of pier pressure. For those who didn't there is no animosity in me toward them. Do I regret it, no not for one second. Everything happens for a reason and although ignorance isn’t an excuse it is sometimes a reason why things do happen.
My beautiful daughter turned into a beautiful young woman of strength and character who was able to follow her own path as an adult and become successful in her own life. We both came through it as stronger human beings and I have only to look to my friends and family who gave their support unselfishly to know I was lucky.
Now for the flip side in all of this, what breaks my heart today is watching these young girls on TV who are becoming mothers all too often for the wrong reasons. Yes, you are taking on an adult responsibility and there is a price that you pay for that choice. It is called giving up your selfishness, your I/me mentality because that small person you created is not just a baby but a person that you are now responsible for and will be for many years to come. You're the parent but you are also still just a kid who has taken on responsibilities that most teens are not ready for. It isn’t your mom or dad’s job to raise your kids while you go out and party all night with your friends. Its yours.
Your choices and decisions do not affect just you. They affect the child that you brought into this world. So when you behave irresponsibly or are running around with someone you know is trouble it is going to have an affect on your son or daughter. Think before you act.
The wisest advice I received came from both my grandmother and father when I had my daughter. They told me that every decision good or bad was going to affect her, and that I needed to stop and think about how those choices would affect our life 3 months down the road then 1 year down the road and then 5 years down the road. I had to learn to look beyond the here and now as a parent and the need for instant gratification that comes with being a teenager.
Being a teen mom isn’t about being cool, or even an adult. It's not an excuse to have someone to love because you may feel lost or alone. Believe me there are so many other ways to show your an adult that will benefit you personally in the long run and give you the time to grow up before becoming a parent. It is the most life changing decision that won't just change your life, but will also change the life of your child.
For you ninnys with all the answers who think you're ready, think about this. Who is in your support system? Are your parents on board, how are you going to support yourself and your child? Because it isn’t the worlds job, are you ready to work double shifts at 16 and on, still trying to go to school to graduate? Are you ready to get up night after night when your child’s teething or sick? Are you ready for guys to look at you differently? Are you ready to drop everything because that small person may need you more then your friends do even though you're having fun.
Having lived through being a teenage mother it makes me extremely sad when I see how these shows glamorize being a teen parent. Reality is much harder than what they portray, and it isn’t your mother’s job to raise your child because you aren’t ready. For you moms with issues out there it isn’t fair to encourage your child to have a child so you can go through being a parent again. That one just really pisses me off as a parent.
It isn’t a game but a choice that is a lifelong commitment and responsibility, it won't go away because you decided it's too hard.So please think! Your decisions do matter.
Some helpful sites with facts on teen pregnancy in the US.