Mothering Forums - Reply to Topic

Thread: Is teenage pregnancy that bad? Reply to Thread
Title:
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Trackback:
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:
 

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-28-2011 07:36 AM
AbbieB

Everyone says that being a teenage mom can be/is very hard. But it seems to me, based on the things that the posters who were teenage moms are saying, that it's hard because our culture makes it hard.

 

I became a mother at 32. Nobody looked at me with scorn. Nobody (accept my own mother) judged me for making that choice. I didn't need any one's permission or compliance to follow my own choices.

 

If I had been 16, I'm sure that society would have made it so much harder for me. There would have been less positive community support. If I had decided to end the pregnancy, I might have needed a parent's approval. I might have needed a parent's approval for the type of health care practitioner and birth style. I'm sure that health care providers would have made all kinds of assumptions about me and crisis type resources would have been thrown at me, since obviously teen pregnancy=clueless shitty mothering in our society. My partner would have been facing his own version of parental pressures and need for approval.

 

How different could it be for teen moms if they reaped all of the positive support that older mothers are freely given? What if we assumed that every pregnant women is on the verge of an exciting transformation in her life and we celebrated that first? How can we expect the best of mothers if we are selling them the message that they are ruining there lives and a baby will prevent them from ever again having any joy?

08-27-2011 07:43 PM
shayinme

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post

I always wonder what percentage of the teen mom statistics are made up for 18/19 year olds who are married and wanted a kid.

 

In college I  worked with a girl who was 20, married, had two kid, and was going for an engineering degree.  She was incredibly happy and last I heard had a kick ass job.


 

I got married at 18, had my son at 19 and was divorced by 21. Being a teen mother does not mean your life is over but it can be very hard, for me it turned I was not nearly as mature as I thought I was and while my son is now a 19 yo college sophomore who is more or less well adjusted it has been a hard road. I did eventually go on to college, I have a BA and an M.Ed, I run a small non profit on the outside it looks like well it all worked out. No, I am 38 and I feel like I have lived a million lives. My own mother had me at 19 as well.

 

I work with low income youth and often times I tell my teen girls who talk about wanting babies, don't do it. Yes when I got pregnant with my son, i wanted a baby problem is I had no idea who I was or any of that and babies cost and an 18 yo and 20 yo back in the early 1990's didn't have the skills to make a decent living. Nowadays it would be even harder. But no being a teen mom does not mean you can't love your babies or anything else but it can be very hard.

 

The flip side is nowadays when so many women delay having kids being in your late 30's with an adult kid is awkward at times. I have a 6 yo and most people assume she is my only/first kid if they don't know me. One of my oldest friends who also had her first child at 19 and she is now a grandmother at 38 which is very hard for her especially since she is assisting her 19 yo daughter in raising her grandson. I see having a baby as a teen as a multi layered issue.

08-27-2011 11:25 AM
Sharlla

I guess it just depends.  At 18 I was pregnant and married.    I dont regret my choices to start a family early and if I hadn't my choices in lifestyle would not have changed. 

08-27-2011 12:56 AM
KaylaBeanie

Overwhelmingly yes, it is that bad. The statistics are heavily stacked against teen moms. Sure, there will be those who rise above it. However, the majority won't. Going to college, doing well, finding a job, it's hard enough when you're a single, childless young adult. Skipping college and working to find a decent-paying job, THAT'S hard enough when you're a single, childless young adult. 

 

Having a child is hard at any age, there are good and bad parents at every age. However, teens need to be discouraged from getting pregnant because it's very unlikely their partner will stick around (some guys do, a ton don't), they're unlikely to finish their schooling (possible, yes, likely, no) and it makes life way harder. Once someone is an adult (i.e. 18, legally speaking), they are equipped with legal rights and independence and most likely a high school diploma. I don't think a baby ruins your life. If someone gets pregnant under the age of 18, reviews their options and decides to parent her baby, she is fully capable of being a good mother; it will just be that much harder. In general, it's a good rule of thumb to not purposely make your life harder than it needs to be. 

08-26-2011 11:37 PM
featherstory

Before me the last 3 generations of my family have been teen moms.  My great grandmother had her first when she was about 14-15, my grandmother at 17 and my mom was almost 18.  These women are some of the best mothers I've ever seen.  And not just because they're my family.  I have a huge family and I've worked with lots of mothers.  These women were and still are great moms.  They enjoyed being moms too.  I don't know about my great grandma, but my grandmother finished high school on time, and went on to cosmotology school and learned baking at a technical school.  My mom finished high school and never missed a day while she was pregnant with me, and went on to study as a daycare worker.  My mom definitely parented AP style, and it was just her intuitive style, it wasn't a movement she knew about like things are today.  I know the major struggle for her when I was a kid was the judgement and pressure other people put on her to work full time.  She worked part-time at first and was always there for me before and after school.  She was very involved with my school, dance and taught me crafts that she sold on the side.  My mom was my best friend.  I thought she was the-coolest-person-ever.com  Some of the people in my family gave her a lot of b.s. however and eventually she caved to the pressure and started working full-time.  I think this really changed things for her.  She was doing fine as she was, but people judged her for being a young mom and thought she should be doing more, working more in a job, than working as a mom, cause she didn't get paid for that.

 

Anyway, in my family we look really young.  So, I had my first at age 23 and people think I'm 14-16.  While I was pregnant with my first I got horrible looks, comments and discrimination due to people thinking I was a teen mom.  I'm 27 now and I still get these reactions.  It is definitely disturbing and sad.  I've also known lots of teen parents who were married, chose to have a child and were great parents.  I've also known some who were married, working, middle class and didn't do such a great job.  And of course I've known lots of older parents who are not that great at parenting either.  I think the stigma is unnecessary and really should be called out and assessed to discuss the real issues.  I've known lots of poor people who make great parents.  I've known people who can live on so much less money than some upper middle class people can even imagine and manage to provide for their children, be happy and healthy themselves and be attentive parents.  There are so many different possibilities in these circumstances it is of no benefit to anyone for society to lump things together into generalizations and labels like "teen moms".  And by the way, what about the teen dads? 

08-25-2011 10:04 AM
Adaline'sMama I've known several teen moms and am a product of a teen mom. Some are great moms who are responsible, some have lots of help from their parents, and some never got the chance to grow up or develop emotions to deal with their situation. My biggest problem with the propaganda is the automatic assumption that your life is over because you had a baby.

If there was one thing that kept me from being a teen mom, it was a conversation with my own mother about going to a party when I was 17. She didnt want me to go, and she said that she had no need to go to parties when she was a teenager, and I looked at her and said "You cant understand who I am or what I need and want because when you were my age you were married, out of school, and taking care of a baby all day." And she had nothing to argue with, because I was right. I knew right then that there were going to be years of my life that my mother could never identify with because she was never available to go to parties, travel, and do all the things I wanted to do.

I disagree that its the parents pushing the idea that a baby ends your life. Ive seen some pretty offensive posters about why not to get pregnant. One of them was at planned parenthood that they FINALLY took down after a lot of bitching.It was a flow chart with two different sides. One side was all about going to college, meeting someone you love, getting married, getting a job,buying a house, and having a family. The other side was a girl living in an apartment herself, dropping her kid off at daycare, making bottles, changing diapers, and not sleeping. I found it extremely offensive, and hate that its the message that even a place like planned parenthood is willing to send to teens. Of all the things that could happen because of teens having sex, pregnancy is the least of my concerns.
08-25-2011 02:54 AM
meemee

Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemombian View Post

I am so offended by this and your other statement about partying. I an not just a good enough parent because I was a teen mom.

woah woah woah mama. hold on. PJ was talking about the majority of mamas. she wasnt talking about you. you have to admit your case is an exception. to have the father involved AND working and support you guys without govt. assistance is so not the norm. 

 

and the article and general view in the media is that poor parenting and lack of role models are creating children with problems that is becoming a huge social problem. 

 

In addition, in the most recent year for which good data are available, there were about 567,000 births from pregnancies that women themselves say they did not want at the time of conception or ever in the future. These children are particularly vulnerable. For example, even when taking into account various social and economic factors, women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy are less likely to obtain prenatal care, and their babies are at increased risk of both low birthweight and of being born prematurely. They are also less likely to be breastfed.

http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/why-it-matters/default.aspx

 

here is the data http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/dcr/

08-24-2011 11:49 PM
hippiemombian



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

Interesting topic. It's certainly one that is not just black and white.

 

I have a couple friends who had babies young (not even as teens, we're talking 21 here), and they managed okay. Yes it was hard, but they pulled through. They are now late 30s and having their freedom again. I am an "old" mom, having had my first baby at 36, and I look to them and see how nice that could be ~sort of getting your intense parenting years over with early and then starting a new life post-kid at midlife, ya know?

 

OTOH, I would certainly NOT have been ready even at 25. If I had had a baby at 16, I can tell you I most likely would've been an abusive mom. I think one of the major, major advantages of waiting until you are more mature is that you are better able to handle the intense emotions and challenges that arise in being a parent. There have been times I felt ready to throw DS out a window. I am sorry to say that at 16 or 17 I may very well have done something like that. Whereas now, I have had enough time to learn to contain and manage my anger and frustration that I don't take it out on him. Not to mention, I am pretty sure I would've fallen into the mainstream parenting ways (CIO, etc) as I just wouldn't have had the forethought or resources (this was before the internet, which is where I was able to find out what AP was before I got pregnant) to realize I wanted to do AP.

 

I think for many girls / women, it is really not the end of the world to become a mom in their teens. Many can be good moms. But I think for many, and perhaps most, more maturity is needed to really be a truly good mother. Maybe I'm just projecting here, but I just don't think the majority of 16-19 year olds out there are mature enough and emotionally ready to be a really good mom. Maybe a good enough mom, but a truly good parent? IDK. But of course the grandparent thing plays a role and with really good support of the grandparents then that makes a HUGE huge difference.



I am so offended by this and your other statement about partying. I an not just a good enough parent because I was a teen mom. I am an amazing parent and have been since day one. I have never felt like I was going to throw my baby out the window. I have always been more AP style in my parenting, I've made the best possible decisions in regards to my child. Just because YOU weren't ready and YOU wouldn't have made a good teen parent doesn't mean that ALL teen parents feel the way you do. I have NEVER once regretted not going out and partying or was resentful that I had to stay home with a baby. It's not my personality or style. I would much rather stay home with a nice meal and a movie then to be a drunken sl*t at a club. That's with or without a child. And no, my mom didn't parent my kid at all. She actually moved to another state when I was 17 with a 6 week old. So yes, at 17 my husband at the time, myself and our daughter lived on our own in our own apartment doing it ourselves. It's not impossible to do. Not a cake walk, but it is do-able. And just for the record we had ZERO state assistance, no medicaid, WIC, food stamps, nothing. We did it 110% on. our. own. I now have the brightest, most well behaved, loved child I could ever ask for. The definition of perfection and I think some of her good behavior skills and manners comes from my more than good enough parenting.

08-24-2011 11:22 PM
hippiemombian



I can say from my personal experience I was a good mom. I had my daughter at 17 and not even for one single night did my mom take over the responsibility for me. I took my daughter everywhere, I was up changing poopie diapers, I was the one taking care of a sick baby. My daughter was 7 months old before I even let her grandmother watch her for me to go to the store for 10 minutes. It's a shame that a few bad eggs ruin the bunch. My (ex)dh got a full time job the day he turned 18 and supported us. I stayed home and took care of that baby 100% by myself. Was it easy? No. But I did it because she was MY baby, not my mothers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

but are teenagers good moms or are grandmas good moms?



 

08-22-2011 08:00 PM
AbbieB

It seems to me that teen pregnancy is not the real issue, it's just a visible symptom. The real problem is poverty.

 

My views on teen pregnancy have changed quite a bit from when I was a teen being told over and over that pregnancy would ruin my life. I know think of it as something that could be quite positive. Yes, it might mean a life that looks different than the one our culture sells us on TV and in movies, but babies and family bring a great amount of joy and growth to parents, no matter what their age.

 

I just don't understand how being biological able to reproduce, and then doing so can been seen as something that is happening before a young body is physically ready, the brain is developed enough, etc... Don't first time moms in their 20's, 30's and 40's still go through some growth and brain development (learning!) just like a teen. The only real difference is life experience and having a baby is just that, experience.

 

I read the book Radical Homemakers recently and I was struck by the idea that in the past, young couples would start their families in their late teens and grow up together, becoming stronger as they matured. The very act of becoming parents was essential to maturity. I know I did not fully mature until after I gave birth to my first. It was weird how I felt that kind of thing happen in my mid 30's, when I thought I was all grown up already. 

 

Sometimes, I think our culture has really perverted our thinking on some very basic and natural processes that are the essence of being human. I feel a little cheated by the feminist movement, as it was presented to me (your a modern women, so don't screw yourself by starting a family, get out there and work), and the whole idea that having kids in your late teens and 20's is some kind of death sentence, dooming you to a life of financial ruin and misery.

 

I think this kind of thinking has repercussions for all of us mothers, no matter what our age.

 

It's sad that that message "it will ruin your life" is so deeply ingrained that even as a married women in my 30's with a house and a job and a DH with a job, that both of my planned pregnancies and now my surprise pregnancy are met with such crappy, "oh no, what have you done?", attitudes from my parents.

08-22-2011 09:51 AM
Storm Bride

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I think this might be why teenage pregnancy is more common in some circumstances - because they do not have hope that there is anything else to do once they reach adulthood.

 



I could see myself having done that in high school. Until I was 18, I didn't really want kids...but I might have had them as a way to avoid further schooling or a job. It wasn't that I had no hope of continuing my education or getting a job, though. It was that I didn't want to. Honestly...I think the only reason I did use birth control at that age was because I was suicidal and it didn't seem fair to saddle a baby with a dead mom.

 

 

ETA: With respect to the overall issue. My situation is a bit unusual. If I could do it all over again, I'd probably ditch my ex, and try to find a good guy...but I'd definitely start having babies sooner than I did. I ended up having most of mine (ds1 was born when I was 24) in my mid 30s to early 40s, and it frankly sucks. I hate that I'm going to be almost 60 before dd2 graduates. I hate that I probably won't be able to babysit most of my own grandchildren, because I'll be getting to be too old and frail. I hate the added toll pregnancy took on me as an older mom. My financial situation was effed up, anyway, because I made a financially disastrous first marriage, so having had a baby as a teen wouldn't have been all that much worse. If I could do it over, I'd start at about 17. (Mind you, I'm really just talking, because if my life had been different, I wouldn't have met dh, and I wouldn't trade him for an easier reproductive ride.)

 

Oh - and two of ds1's classmates have a one year old. She's a beautiful, healthy, happy baby, and is obviously very well cared for. His mom helps out (and not to excess, the way some moms of teen parents do), but they're both very actively involved. The mom switched schools for her grad year, because another local school has a childcare facility, and they both graduated in June. They're better parents than a fair number of much older ones I've met, yk? I don't know what I think of "teen pregnancy" as a social issue. But, I do hate the way it's treated as a catastrophe. DS1's friends have had to do a lot of growing up in a short time, but they're doing well, and so is their baby, and I'm really impressed with their level of responsibility. (They're both making educational plans, as well.) They know they have a lot of work ahead of them....but they wouldn't trade their little girl for the world.

08-22-2011 09:24 AM
DreamsInDigital

I'm a little late to the discussion but I mostly agree with the idea that teen pregnancy isn't *that* bad. I had my first at 17 and we're still surviving. Life has been a struggle but who's to say it wouldn't have been anyway? But then I had to added bonus of my wonderful son who motivated me to keep striving for better, for his sake. Being a mother made me grow up really fast. It taught me how to really care about someone other than myself and how to really emotionally connect with someone, which I'd been lacking most of my life.

 

For my own daughters, I do sincerely hope they finish high school and college and are married or at least partnered in some significant way before they have children, but if not I fully intend to help them figure it all out.

08-22-2011 09:17 AM
cappuccinosmom

I don't think it's so much the ages as the other issue that *tend* to be attached to teenage motherhood in this culture and in this era.

 

In any demographic you'll have responsible, loving mothers, and not-so-much responsible and loving mothers.  For teen moms it's much more likely that the baby is an "accident", and there are emotional consequences to that (no matter what your age).  Motherhood also does throw a huge wrench in finishing highschool, if she's in her early teens, and not finishing highschool can throw a huge wrench in the rest of her life.  There's also the issue of teen dads, and whether they're willing and able to form a stable home life for the baby and support the mom.  And also a good possibility that the teen mom doesn't have wholehearted support of her family, since the baby may be the result of choices she made that they really, really did not want her to make.

 

But it's not always hell, and it's not always bad.  Some teen mothers are married and stable and more than ready to start a family (I missed being part of the "teen mom" statistics by just a few months--dh and I are still married 9 years later, very happy with our 3 boys :D).  My youngest sister became a mother by choice at 18.  Even though it made life very hard for her, she is an uber-responsible mother.  Just about killed herself to nurse her baby after a very rough beginning with that, and has managed mommying and going to nursing school for more than a year now.  However, she is extremely fortunate, coming from a financially stable home herself and being invited to live back at home with her baby for as long as she needs to.  My dad especially has really has thrown himself into helping raise the baby, and when my sister was frantic with sleep-loss, he did night and early morning shifts so she wouldn't go insane.  She doesn't regret her baby by any means, but she does see know that her choice of timing, choice of baby-daddy, etc were really not great, and not what she would advise anyone else to do.  She wishes she had a different situation, one where she didn't have to leave her baby at daycare--the first weeks of doing that were devastating to her.  She hadn't realized how much it would hurt, but she had no other choice. 

08-22-2011 07:23 AM
purslaine

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post

Because, for one, the majority of teen mothers drop out of high school.

 



The few teen mothers I knew got pregnant (and yes, most did it somewhat on purpose) partly because they were afraid of life after school.  They were afraid of finding work or making decisions.  Getting pregnant meant they could avoid these type of growing up issues for a few years (of course, other growing up issues, such as caring for a child, came into play, but I don't think they realised the difficulty of it).  The decision to get pregnant was somewhat fear based.  Again, I am only speaking of the teens I knew, and this was only  one reason, although I think it was major one.   

 

I think this might be why teenage pregnancy is more common in some circumstances - because they do not have hope that there is anything else to do once they reach adulthood.

 

 

08-22-2011 07:04 AM
ramama

In the interest of full disclosure, my experience in impoverished communities centered around the literacy tutoring I did in college in inner-city Baltimore.  The vast majority of those I tutored were women, the vast majority of them had been teen mothers.  Of course, this does not mean that the women who were teen mothers were more likely to be illiterate, but perhaps just more likely to do something about it.  Perhaps men didn't come in vast numbers to be tutored because of pride issues, or whatever.  So I recognize that my experience was not with a representative sample.  That said, most of these women wanted to get tutored so that they could, in their mid-30s to 40s, get their GED, or even take classes at a community college level.  Why?  So that they can help their own children obtain an education, avoid teen pregnancy, and break the poverty cycle.  That was from their own mouths.

08-22-2011 06:47 AM
ramama

Because, for one, the majority of teen mothers drop out of high school.  Of course it's not good to have generation upon generation upon generation of women who don't graduate high school.  Poverty and teen pregnancy go hand-in-hand.  I have been involved in communities in which teen pregnancy is commonplace, where the community members see education as the only way to break the cycle of poverty.  Teen pregnancy is a significant barrier to education.  I feel a peculiar privilege in being able to talk about individual teen pregnancy in isolation.  As a member of the (lower) middle class, I am fairly confident that should one of my DDs become pregnant as a teen, I would be able to help with childrearing to the extent that she could pursue an education, not only high school, but college as well (but that's another privilege, since DH is a veteran DDs college will be free so DD wouldn't have to struggle with caring for a child while also trying to pay for college).  But that's privilege speaking.  There are communities where these "luxuries" don't exist.  

08-22-2011 06:33 AM
meemee

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post

 Is teen pregnancy "that bad" when we're talking about communities with multiple generations of teen parents?  I kind of think so.  

why?

 

this is the part i am trying to understand. 
 

 

08-22-2011 06:25 AM
ramama

I'm not sure that when people talk about how bad teen pregnancy is, they are talking about an individual teen mother and her individual circumstances.  Is teen pregnancy "that bad" for any given individual?  Probably not.  It depends on the individual, her community, her family, her personal drive.  Is teen pregnancy "that bad" when we're talking about communities with multiple generations of teen parents?  I kind of think so.  

08-22-2011 06:22 AM
meemee

the key reason why this came up for me 'coz one of my school friends who is an unmarried 28 year old is pregnant.

 

she is v. mainstream and is part of a v. mainstream culture.

 

she is being hounded for being pregnant. except for two of us who are excited about her preg., knowing her personal life feel this is the absolute right time to have her baby - everyone is harping on how its going to ruin her life. 

 

omg. she has no support. she asked a question about epidural on fb and she got 30 replies of gosh get the epi - why not? or everyone does it so its ok. i was the only one who told her she doesnt have to use it if she doesnt...

 

even though she is a v. stable committed relationship - ppl are telling her how her life is ruined, etc. she is starting to stay away from friends because their negative vibe is so hurting her. 

 

THAT is what bugs me. its not the first time i have come across this attitude.

 

for many children are an inconvenience. its one thing to not have children, or not have the desire to have children. i support their decision. but its a whole nother deal to say they are not worth it coz they are so much trouble. 

 

lets take the generation poverty group. is there that much of a difference btw 15 and 26? isnt single moms on the rise? in both cases possibly no father figure or hardly present father figure since the basis of the argument is male role model is poor or missing. 

 

i feel society is telling us - one makes a better parent at an older age than 15.

 

because i live next to a high school and i take public transportation, i see so many teen parents and i am blown away by them. they are so not ignoring their child. i do see many teenage fathers too. 

 

i do understand how hard it is. gosh i am living it myself. if we look at generational welfare - are kids really ruining opportunities? does it make really that big a difference btw mom at 15 and mom at 25 - the impact on the kids. i see among certain cultural groups (at least the few that i am aware of thru direct personal experience which i admit is limited) = hmong, african american, hispanic (mostly central america), native americans  that there is more of a village to raise a child situation. i mean you are in poverty no matter what age. you have no support to get out of it, unless the individual tries really hard and has to do it alone with very little support. 

08-22-2011 05:18 AM
crunchy_mommy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissamom View Post

I think there's a problem in our society when the first 10-15 years when we are of child-bearing age it's super difficult to raise a child. our age of adulthood seems to keep getting higher and higher, and making things extremely difficult for those who would like to start their family earlier in their reproductive years. I don't think it's teen pregnancy that's the problem, I think it's that we have decided that people who are physically adults are not adults, and we don't treat them as adults, so they don't act like adults. 


I agree with this.... Biology and our current culture really don't match up. And I believe the delays in child-bearing are part of the reason so many women wind up needing fertility treatment, because many are past their most fertile years by the time they TTC.

It's hard for me to say teen pregnancy is a good thing, because I haven't seen a 'good' example of it. The teen moms I know struggle. Most of them go on to have more unplanned babies which stresses them even further. The father is always in & out of the picture, on-again, off-again. They do hand the kids over to the grandparents constantly, so much so the grandparents are basically raising them. I'm certainly not saying EVERY teen mom is like that, just that the ones I've seen (which isn't a ton) happen to be like that. I don't think there's any guarantee that waiting 'til your 20's or older will mean you're a good parent -- just that you're likely to be a little more 'on your feet', more education, more time spent being responsible for yourself before you start being responsible for a baby, etc.

I do think it's sad that there's this 'end of the world' attitude toward a teen getting pregnant. A baby is not the end of the world, and I think most moms feel they are a blessing, albeit one of the most frustrating & difficult blessings ever lol. And I think too that there's this attitude that if you are older, and PLAN to have babies, and are settled down and all, that raising children will be easy -- which we all know is far from the truth!!!
08-21-2011 03:42 PM
UnschoolnMa

I had my first child 2 months after turning 15 yrs old. I had my second child when I was 17. So here's my take:

 

 The reasons teenage parenthood were difficult for me were A) Poverty & the inability/limited access to the tools to correct that and B) The men in my life that created said babies. They were older, addicted, and not ready to be committed partners in parenting. Outside of that, it wasn't a huge crisis. I suppose developmentally it could be said that I was still a child, and if I'm being honest I did feel that here and there socially too.. missed parties, the so called typical teenage milestones. It really wasn't that bad though, and now? I'm 35 and my kids are 20 and almost 18. We are super tight, and I am immensely proud of the people they are. My daughter is nearly 18, and we discuss her having babies. She wants to, not yet, but eventually. I've been very open about the highs and lows of my journey as a very young mom all the way.

08-20-2011 04:30 PM
Marissamom

I think there's a problem in our society when the first 10-15 years when we are of child-bearing age it's super difficult to raise a child. our age of adulthood seems to keep getting higher and higher, and making things extremely difficult for those who would like to start their family earlier in their reproductive years. I don't think it's teen pregnancy that's the problem, I think it's that we have decided that people who are physically adults are not adults, and we don't treat them as adults, so they don't act like adults. 

08-20-2011 02:00 PM
LynnS6

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amylcd View Post

Teenage pregnancy is VERY common in the area in which I live.  I had my first child in my late teens, and yes, it was rough at first but I never found that it held me back.  Most of my friends from that time were also teen parents, and we have all since gone on to get college degrees, own homes, etc.  I can not think of one who has not gotten some form of post-secondary education.


But I would argue that there's a world of difference between 'late teens' and early teens.

 

08-19-2011 09:04 PM
Amylcd

Teenage pregnancy is VERY common in the area in which I live.  I had my first child in my late teens, and yes, it was rough at first but I never found that it held me back.  Most of my friends from that time were also teen parents, and we have all since gone on to get college degrees, own homes, etc.  I can not think of one who has not gotten some form of post-secondary education.

08-19-2011 04:56 PM
accountclosed3

i must admit that the girls whom I knew who got pregnant all came from middle - class and upper - middle - class families and did very well, but those from poorer communities and families did not fair as well. truly, the trifecta of young, uneducated, and poor does not make for a great situation. 

 

it doesn't mean that it makes bad moms/parents, but it does make it much harder to parent, to take care of yourself, etc.

 

i'm reminded of the (fictional) film "winters bone" wherein the lead character has to find her father before their house gets taken. she takes care of her younger siblings, and her mother who is apparently disabled (mentally). So, she's going to school, taking care of the house, has no income, etc. Her father has disappeared (was killed), and she goes to great lengths to find him (and ultimately gets his hands to demonstrate that he is dead, and therefore the issue that would cause them to loose the house is no longer an issue).

 

anyway, in the story, she is really concerned for her siblings. she knows she either needs to prove her dad is dead or find money, but has no means. her neighbors provide some food for them, and ultimately accept that they could take the little boy, but not hte girl, and throughout the film she's also trying to teach them how to care for themselves -- at about age 5 and 9 or so -- how to hunt and clean animals for food, how to cook things, and so on. because she knows that she might have to leave, in order to send money home, and then it would be left tot he older CHILD to care for them.

 

I look at that and see, really, how a teen mom has to figure out how to cope. And, it really is *coping* and not having a great experience.

 

I think that a lot of parents want their children to have opportunities -- opportunities that they didn't have, or just in general. When I watched that film, I was like "you know, you see these people -- these strong, smart, interesting people -- b ut their opportunities, their real opportunities are limited (if they want to stay in the community, and i can understand why they would), and if you add to that babies and such, the opportunities become more limited.

 

but then, it might just be like that for a lot of people. I think that very few people have "limitless possibilities." hmm. things to think about.

08-18-2011 01:16 PM
scottishmommy I think teen pregnancy becomes a much bigger issue when we're talking about communities with generations of teen moms and fatherless homes. In these situations, however, it's more of a chicken and the egg thing. Are these girls getting pregnant so young because they have no career ambitions and no chance at a decent education anyway, or is childrearing holding them back?
If a young girl gets pregnant, but comes from a loving family and supportive community, I don't necessarily think it'll ruin her life. Will it be extremely hard? Probably! However with the proper support I think she can eventually have a normal stable life. I have a few friends who got pregnant in their late teens and they all have very happy lives and are great moms. It's not necessarily ideal but it can work!
08-18-2011 10:56 AM
CatsCradle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 


But until very recently, people really couldn't raise a child outside of a traditional family structure. It was just too much work. Take out all the things that run on electricity (starting with the refrig, and the washing machine) and the number of hours per day to just provide food and clothes goes up a TON.  Until recently, if a couple were married and had children, if one of the parents died, it was normal for relatives to take the children, at least the small ones.

 

It wasn't a moral judgment -- just the reality that without two adults, there was no way to care for a small child.

 

No, Linda, I agree (perhaps I didn't explain myself well in my post).  I guess the point of my post was that yesterday's realities are still very much ingrained (or is it engrained?) in our psyches and while some practicalities have changed dramatically in recent times, the mentality has been slower to change.  I do think there is a moral judgment component, though, still alive and well with respect to teen pregnancy.  But I guess that is the subject of another discussion.

 

Personally I'm not trying to advocate teen pregnancy because I agree with posters above that while it does not have to be life-ruining event as some might allege, it will inevitably make a young person's life much harder.  Crappola, I was an older mom when I had DD and had been married for ions, and I found that having DD was a life changing event on so many levels and was so much harder than I had envisioned. 

08-18-2011 10:53 AM
LynnS6

I think there's a pretty big difference between and 18 or 19 year old having a baby and a 15 year old. 15 year olds still have a lot of brain development and emotional growth to do. (Well, so do 18/19 year olds, but they're much further along the path and out of the 'danger zone' of rapid brain development, when the excess connections do actually make kids do riskier things.) They have a harder time thinking long term (again, it's intellectual/brain development.) There is a tendency for kids this age to discipline more harshly because they get more easily frustrated and they know less about development. That doesn't mean that everyone in this age group is a bad parent, but that it's harder to become a good parent.

 

The problem isn't 'teenage pregnancy' per se, but it's that teenage pregnancy tends to be part of a trifecta that's hard on mom and kids.  If you're young, have a baby, don't complete your education and live in poverty, life is hard. Young teen moms tend not to receive child support (either because the dads have skipped out or more likely because they're young and don't earn anything either). With little education and little money, it's hard to raise a child. It's not impossible. If you have family support, it's more possible. If you're able to keep going to school, it's better. But really, going to high school with a child vs. going to high school without, is there really a contest? But I have a hard time seeing why someone would choose to be 15 or 16 and a single mom. It's a recipe for a very difficult life for the next 10-15 years.

08-18-2011 08:09 AM
Linda on the move


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
  Again, our culture has had a very hard time grasping the idea that people can successfully survive outside of a traditional family structure. 


But until very recently, people really couldn't raise a child outside of a traditional family structure. It was just too much work. Take out all the things that run on electricity (starting with the refrig, and the washing machine) and the number of hours per day to just provide food and clothes goes up a TON.  Until recently, if a couple were married and had children, if one of the parents died, it was normal for relatives to take the children, at least the small ones.

 

It wasn't a moral judgment -- just the reality that without two adults, there was no way to care for a small child.

 

When my paternal grandmother died (back in the 1940's) leaving several children, my grandfather kept most of the kids, but the baby was sent to live with the neighbors, basically adopted. And that was considered normal. The older kids were consider capable of taking care of the smaller ones, except for the baby. If there hadn't been teens living at home, he most likely would have had to have given up the younger children as well (there were 11 children altogether).

 

I think it is many of the things that are usually shunned on mothering.com, including day care, that make it possible for moms to raise children outside of a traditional family structure.

 

I also think that some of the comments on the thread don't show how much the situation has changed and how quickly. My mother got pregnant as a teen (back in the 1960's) and had NO options. Abortion was illegal and she couldn't find out how to get an illegal one, so she was sent to a home for unwed mothers. Her baby was put up for adoption (she had no choice) and she was never allowed to see the baby.

 

The way that teen mothers are treated now isn't right, and it isn't where we should stop as a culture, but we've come a long way in 50 years. At least now we treat teen moms like human beings.

 

 

08-18-2011 06:25 AM
Mulvah

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

Interesting topic. It's certainly one that is not just black and white.

 

I have a couple friends who had babies young (not even as teens, we're talking 21 here), and they managed okay. Yes it was hard, but they pulled through. They are now late 30s and having their freedom again. I am an "old" mom, having had my first baby at 36, and I look to them and see how nice that could be ~sort of getting your intense parenting years over with early and then starting a new life post-kid at midlife, ya know?

 

OTOH, I would certainly NOT have been ready even at 25. If I had had a baby at 16, I can tell you I most likely would've been an abusive mom. I think one of the major, major advantages of waiting until you are more mature is that you are better able to handle the intense emotions and challenges that arise in being a parent. There have been times I felt ready to throw DS out a window. I am sorry to say that at 16 or 17 I may very well have done something like that. Whereas now, I have had enough time to learn to contain and manage my anger and frustration that I don't take it out on him. Not to mention, I am pretty sure I would've fallen into the mainstream parenting ways (CIO, etc) as I just wouldn't have had the forethought or resources (this was before the internet, which is where I was able to find out what AP was before I got pregnant) to realize I wanted to do AP.

 

I think for many girls / women, it is really not the end of the world to become a mom in their teens. Many can be good moms. But I think for many, and perhaps most, more maturity is needed to really be a truly good mother. Maybe I'm just projecting here, but I just don't think the majority of 16-19 year olds out there are mature enough and emotionally ready to be a really good mom. Maybe a good enough mom, but a truly good parent? IDK. But of course the grandparent thing plays a role and with really good support of the grandparents then that makes a HUGE huge difference.


I agree with a lot of this post.

This thread has more than 30 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off