Is Teen Pregnancy a Turning Point?

young-mother-kisses-baby-text
Image adapted via iStock

By now, we are all a little tired of hearing the negative aspects of teenage pregnancy.

The fact that teen pregnancies make for a harder time for both mom and baby to finish their educations, an increased risk for drugs and substance abuse, violence, child abuse, domestic violence, poverty, depression, and the list goes on. 

Although I was not a pregnant teen, I became pregnant with my daughter at the age of 21, as a senior in college, and even then, I experienced a lot of the negativity surrounding young pregnancies. My first thought when I saw those two blue lines was that I would never live the successful and fulfilling life I had dreamed about – I thought for sure that I would struggle to “get ahead” in my career and that I would be doomed to hardships I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. 

The hardest part about having an unplanned pregnancy at a young age often isn’t the physical challenge of being pregnant or finishing school or finding a job – it’s dealing with the negativity that you won’t amount to anything simply because you become pregnant. Whether it’s blame for “getting pregnant” in the first place or judgment about milking the system or overcoming stereotypes (Teen Mom, I’m looking at you), it’s hard to believe in yourself as a young mom. 

{ MORE: 5 Fall-Themed Ways to Announce that You're Pregnant }

Which is why I was so excited to read this study about teen pregnancy. Instead of listing more ways why teen moms are doomed to failure, the study found that, for some teens, pregnancies actually helped them to lead more successful lives. 

“If there's good education and holistic support for the various needs young families have, teenage parenthood can really be an opportunity for a young woman to really transform her life,” the study’s researcher, Jennifer Hindin-Miller, said. “My findings showed that the young teen mothers I interviewed who had attended a teen parent school were mostly successful educationally and in other aspects of their lives which are valued in our society, such as careers and home ownership.”

Overall, unlike many of the horror stories we hear about teen pregnancies, Hindin-Miller found that for the teen moms that received the right support, their “life trajectories appeared to not have been delayed or disadvantaged by becoming parents early.”

Bottom line?

When it comes to changing the name of the negative teen pregnancy game, support is the answer.

{ MORE: 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Fall Baby }

How do you think we can support teen parents?

ADVERTISEMENT

What do you think?

Is Teen Pregnancy a Turning Point?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!

17 comments

  1. Hallie says:

    I was 15 when I became pregnant and had him when I was 16. It was very hard at first. But I think the hardest thing was to tell your parents and family because you feel like you disappointed them and let them down. You find out who your true friends are. And then again you gain so much. My little boy maybe me work even harder and sure I missed out on a normal teenage experience but I feel mine was even better. I got a job as soon as I turned 18. I finished high school and took the time to raise my child. Now he is five and will be Going to kindergarten this fall and the teachers are so amazed at how much he knows. By the way his father and I are still together and soon as he found out I was pregnant he got a part time job. Now we are married and expecting are second child. You still can follow your dreams just in a different way.

  2. Suzanne says:

    My name is Suzanne and I had my first child at 16, pregnant during my entire 15th year it seems. I had a hard experience, and I wouldn’t recommend becoming a teen parent if you can help it. It was extremely hard to focus at school knowing someone else was caring for my child, and although I kept my grades at a good GPA I sacrificed being a youth. I mean parties, girls nights out, football games, and other things other students were doing I could not do. I had to work to care for the needs of my child. My parents were hard on me they said since I wanted to grow up and have a kid I could do what adults do. WORK. I do want to encourage those of you who are teen’s with children, because a lot of times people are negative about our decisions. It take becoming like a duck, let the negativity roll off your back. Negativity will roll into your parenting if you let it. Working hard is not a bad thing. It taught me to have good work ethic and it helped me to continue my education every year until last year. Now I have my BA, and Masters Degree, and have a great life. I never gave up, even in those times you feel like screaming, just do it go outside for a walk alone and let it out. Every person who has been judgmental in my life about this has seen that my life is no different from theirs, with the acception that I am now a graandmother. Yes at age 40 I have three grandchildren. The great thing is now I am still young enough to chase the babies around. I have a great time. And it nice to constantly hear I dont look old enough to be a grandma. Cool. Just keep your head up if you are a teen parent or if you are about to be a teen parent. It does get better.

  3. raven says:

    im 19 and this is my 1st pregnancy just finished high school and i start college six months befr my due date im scared out of my mind

    • Sarah says:

      You got this! I just had my first, and I’m 19 as well. I’m in college part time right now, although I was full time (and working) while I was pregnant. My son’s due date was the week after finals, but he came three weeks early. However, I was able to go in and take my finals while my husband watched the baby, and I made all A’s that semester! The point is, even though it might be hard at times, you can still make it through. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And congratulations!

  4. Sylvee says:

    I was 18 when our daughter was born. Half-way through my senior year, my mom encouraged me to leave high school and get my GED. I did; and got a nearly perfect score on it. I left high school with a 3.75 GPA. I enrolled in college and went through a couple months of class before my fiance and I found out that I was pregnant; and six months along nonetheless! My then fiance was in tech school for the Air Force and in a different state. He didn’t get home until I was almost eight months along. We pushed up our wedding date and had an absolutely beautiful wedding! We had our daughter a month later. She’s now ten months old and absolutely brilliant! She’s so far ahead developmentally I am amazed; but she does have some pretty clever parents. We have a home, two cars and a beautiful Red Heeler. I am one year away from my medical degree. My husband has a very successful civilian job and is getting ready to deploy in about a month to the Middle East. I’ve recently been promoted to a manager at my own job.
    We feel like we’re successful individuals and parents. Our daughter has everything she could ever ask for and we have a wonderfully comfortable life. We have an emergency savings that could cover three months of our expenses; a savings that grows with every paycheck. Most people our age are doing what they "should" be doing, according to society. Still living with their parents with no responsibilities; partying every weekend; sleeping around; and essentially not doing anything with their lives. Despite all this, my husband and I still get glares and nasty comments from the people around us. We do better than most people twice our age, but because we decided to get married young and have a child young we’re judged.
    I love my life and couldn’t imagine it any other way! My family is beautiful and we’re achieving all of our dreams together. Being a wife and mother doesn’t condemn you to a wasted life, it is an amazing opportunity to change the world! After all, it’s because of a mother that there was an Albert Einstein, a George Washington, and a Martin Luther Kind Jr.

  5. Angela says:

    I feel you. I was also 22 when I had my first. People were always saying that same thing to me too. "You’re too young." All new mothers need support, no matter what their age is.

  6. TwitchyFox says:

    to be bluntly honest are they really bad looks? a pregnant woman has a glow to them that is hard to miss… and a belly that is hard to miss, i catch myself looking a little longer at a pregnant woman no matter how old or young they look and if your just starting to get your bump the look may be "is she fat… or pregnant?" they need a little time to figure it out cause its not something to ask lol. it wont be long till they are just gonna come up to you and say "can i touch it?!" hahaha. the looks are not cause your young and pregnant… the looks are just cause your pregnant and thats that.

  7. TwitchyFox says:

    if your doing great as a mother then they have no reason to put you down. besides, if your too busy talking, teaching and laughing with your child then you have no time to hear them anyways.

  8. TwitchyFox says:

    i would respond with "ya, just like you"
    your not a failure because you made different life choices then other people, the only way you can be a failure is if you give up, work towards proving them wrong and stand up for yourself. my way of doing that is if someone is putting me down for not being perfect then get a comeback as to how they are less then perfect too. no one deserves to be put down unless they are putting you down when you dont deserve it, you need and deserve all the love and support you can get!

  9. MomAgain says:

    I had my oldest daughter at 17 – back when you may only know one or two teen moms and there was no special schooling programs or medical care tailored to teen pregnancy and motherhood. So, was my life ruined? This baby born to a teenager is now turning 20, at the top of her classes in college and is sought after and almost fought over as she is starting her career in Early Childhood Education. She is in a stable relationship, handles money well, and is respected and adored by employers and teachers. I think that means success, don’t you?

  10. Stephanie says:

    I became a mother at the age of 15, totally unplanned. I am now 27 and have 5 children (ages 1-12) but I was also the valedictorian of my class and have earned my degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois. As a teen mother, I received every hateful comment imagined and my high school principal even tried to push me out of school. I succeeded in my goals because I refused to be another stereotype. My eldest daughter is a straight-A student and my eldest son skipped kindergarten because he was so advanced. Bottom line, not all teen mothers will be societal trash and not all children of teen mothers will fail in life either. It is all circumstance and determination.

  11. I’m a teen mom, and i would like to say that I hate being a ‘failure’ the way I supposedly am. My own step-sister, who was a parent at a younger age than me, told me I had wsted all my potential and my life. I’m sick of it.

  12. Marilyn says:

    It really just depends on the person. It has nothing to do with being a teen. There’s plenty of bad moms out there who had their kids at the age of 30. I know many girls who got pregnant at a young age and decided to improve their lives all for their child.

  13. Grace says:

    good read, i too became pregnant at 21 and was told by my support system that i would not amount to much because i had not waited until i had finished college… (i’m a grad by the way). i agree having a good support system makes a hhuge difference esp. emotionally, without it for me -well i struggled with post-pd . i think we can support teen parents by not judging them-they have allot of growing up to do but they need to know that they are not judged/but loved, they need to know that their decisions have consequences but that does not define who they are- that they can achieve what they put their minds to with hard work and determination, my cousin/at the same time as me got pregnant and is younger than me- then 17, and she is now almost finished her training to be a nurse, our girls at smart 5 yr olds… another note- i think pregnancy resource centers can be a huge help to young moms…

  14. life says:

    i has say being a teen mom does take a big turn because when i had my first son at 17 school awas harder for me. when being a teen mom with no kids school was about learning and friends and hanging out and haveing a baby in your teens you lose friends and you dont have that much time to hang out like before, because now its about putting your baby first before your self. even when doing home work your ok when the babys asleep but when he wakes up you have to feed him and play with them and show them love.but even if ppl give ypu bad looks or say mran things about being a teen mom that should never turn the tables because as long as your being the best mon you can be wheather your providing, going to school or even showing love ppl well see that and show respect. but you shouldnt care what ppl think or say if your doing your job as a parent. unless your doing wrong of leaving your baby with your patents, friends or any family member all the time just to go to partys and do all the bad things and then get home late then just go to bed and act like you never had a responsibility.

  15. MAMASEXXY says:

    THIS IS SO TRUE IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE HARDSHIP OF BEING A YOUNG MOTHER OR PERGNANT TEEN THAT TAKES A TOLL ON MANY, IT’S THE NEGATIVITY FROM OTHERS, THE MEAN LOOKS, THE COMMENTS. EVEN WHEN YOUR NOT IN THAT SITUATION IF YOU LOOK TO YOUNG THERE ARE JUDGEMENTAL STARES AND SOME EVEN HAVE THE NERVE TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE "YOU HAVING A BABY?, BUT YOUR SO YOUNG". I WAS 22 WHEN I HAVE MY FIRST CHILD AND I GOT THE SAME REACHTIONS. IN EVERYONES MIND THERE’S AN AGE RANGE THEY FEEL YOU SHOULD FALL INTO IN ORDER TO HAVE A BABY. IT PISSES ME OFF.

  16. KaelinRae says:

    I’m 21 right now and pregnant with my first child. My fiance and I weren’t exactly planning this, but I feel like it is a tremendous gift that has been given to us. I have been noticing the looks I get at the grocery store, now that my bump is coming in, and I can’t say I like them. I couldn’t imagine becoming pregnant as a teen, there is so much going on in their lives already. I think its important that we don’t judge them, everyone makes choices and sometimes they come with a surprise. We need to make sure that there is support there for them and ways to find the proper tools for help if they need it.

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend