Essay, Pages 10 (2260 words)
At the same time, adolescent mothers are not necessarily the best fit for what would be considered the ideal motherly figure in a child’s life. It is what many call “a baby raising a baby”. There are mothers who have been impregnated at the age of as young as just five years old. Though, the average age of adolescent pregnancy is typically during the mid to late teen years; 81% of which are unintended.
While the standard timeline of a person’s life is presented in the order of school, marriage, then children. In the circumstances of adolescent mothers, their timelines are altered. During this time, the adolescent mothers may find difficulty in trying to support and balance the three fundamental roles: parenthood, partnerhood, and work and/or school. As said, “first time parenthood is a turning point, a “normal crisis” involving opportunities as well as challenges” (Musick 146). Due to the young age of adolescent mothers, there are certain limitations to the type of parent that can be present.
The mother will continue to have struggles as time passes on.
One of these difficulties consist of affording the cost of a baby. According to The Phi Delta Kappan, “The National Research Council suggest that it costs $18,130 a year to support a 15-year old and her baby” (789). At this specific time period of the adolescent’s life, the typical focus should be school. Instead, these adolescent mothers are scattering to try and manage a sustainable lifestyle that is well enough to raise her baby.
Seeking a job itself is already hard, but seeking a job for a minor is even harder. Although numerous amounts of companies hire teenagers starting from the average age of 16, the average amount of hours and wage given is far from the amount needed to raise a baby. For teenagers who are not of age to legally work, it is even harder to maintain a financially stable household for her child. Thus, many relying on their family/the baby’s father and the government for aid. The two most common types of financial aid for pregnant teens are Medicare, which helps cover health care costs, and Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) which helps cover nutritional needs.
There are teenagers who are able to obtain a job, but that also leads to the inability to keep up with the responsibilities of the three fundamental roles, usually forcing a decision between work or school. Even when found pregnant, the “adolescent must be allowed to attend a public school and participate in extracurricular activities and be treating with the same qualities as any other student” (US Department of Education). It is illegal for any student to be kicked out of school or forced to go to another school just based of the fact that they are pregnant. Also, during the pregnancy, any time that is missed due to the pregnancy can be later excused with the assistance of a doctor’s note. However, there are many situations where adolescent mothers are bashed and discriminated against at school, provoking the want to drop out of school. An alternative school is the most ideal option that many adolescent mothers tend to lean towards. An alternative school has the same qualities as a traditional public school, but the offer schedule and learning flexibility, support and variety; most beneficial for its flexible schedule. Even with these options, it is difficult for adolescent mothers to continue and pursue their schooling, resulting in adolescent mothers who wind up as dropouts, unenrolled from any school. As many as “40% of girls who drop out of school do so because of pregnancy or marriage”, typically never going back to school in the future (Teen Pregnancy 789). Along with the fact that “only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school” (About Teen Pregnancy). Pregnancy is a significant contributor to high school dropout rates among teenagers, causing adolescent mothers to have to give up their education to support and care for their child. As a result, the lost of learning time also delays the time of the adolescent mother getting a successful job or even getting one if possible in the future. Thus, causing the adolescent mothers to lose their focus and time to find their own goals and aspirations in life, steering off of the standard timeline.
After an unprotected intercourse, and the appearance of the two lines, there is only three options possible: To keep the baby, have an abortion, or put the baby up for adoption. Especially, for adolescent mothers that have unintended pregnancies, the choice of keeping the baby is hard. Particularly if their parents have yet to have an acknowledgement of the pregnancy. The decision is made based on the feelings of the teen, the baby’s father, and the teens parents. Usually the choice of abortion is a result of pressuring from parents and/or their sexual partner. About half of all unintended pregnancy population are ended with abortion.
Many teens know well in advance that their parents or boyfriends will support only one choice: abortion. But teens who conceal their pregnancies are never truly safe from the pressure to abort. Since abortion is legal during all nine months of pregnancy, it’s never too late for parents or others to begin pressuring a girl into an abortion once her pregnancy is discovered or revealed.
In many of these types of cases, the parents truly believe that they are helping their daughter’s future. They have no idea that they are subjecting her to a physical and psychological trauma that will scar her life. Also, the cost of an abortion is awfully high Although teenagers under the age of 18 are required to have parental consent to have an abortion, teenagers can still find a way to have it done illegally. For instance, “16-year-old Erica Richardson of Maryland and 13-year-old Dawn Ravanell of New York died from complications after they had abortions without telling their parents”, the teenage girls were in fear of the responsibilities and consequences (Brown).
Based on that reasoning, the young teenager can potentially acquire psychological risks. Research studies show that “teenage abortion has been linked to physical and psychological problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation, and other self-destructive behaviors” (Amaro). The abortion procedure appears to be stressful to the adolescent mother resulting in the feelings of guilt, depression, and a sense of isolation. There can also be signs of greater levels of fear and anxiety for the severe pain prior and during the abortion process.
What people do not realize is that there are many bad results of an abortion. “Every year, millions of women around the world decide to end a pregnancy through abortion . . . 16.5 per 1000 women aged 15-44 years”, up to twice as likely to experience cervical lacerations during abortion compared to older women (BMJ). Teenage girls are at risk of potentially having a infection of the womb, some of the pregnancy remaining in the womb, excessive bleeding, scar tissue on the uterine wall, and etc. When finding out of teen pregnancies, mainly the unexpected ones, the teenager will abort the baby. An abortion would eliminate the responsibilities of being a mother at such a young age, and the freedom of being a teenager again would remain.
There are also families who know the negative aspects of having an abortion and allow the adolescent mother to give birth and keep the baby to raise, but are ashamed of it. Families think that their pregnant adolescent daughters are a disgrace. Becoming pregnant at a younger age than what people expect is what makes others look down upon adolescent mothers. As in the book Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson, there is a known place that teenage girls are sent by their parents when they find out of their pregnancy. Everyone in the Brooklyn city knew that “Down South. Everyone had one [baby] . . . the threat of a place we could end back up in to be raised by a crusted-over single auntie or strict grandma”, it was full of teenagers with bellies out in front of them (126). At the time of the story, it was such a common thing to become an adolescent mother, especially in that area of New York. Still, it was true, it was shocking and a disgrace. Teenage girls were afraid to go to down south, to Puerto Rico, Jamaica, or Dominican Republic because they knew that once you go, there is no coming back. The crusted-over single auntie or strict grandma is there to teach and help the adolescent mother from making other bad choices, restricting their freedom. They make it hard on the mothers to ensure that they learn from their mistakes and hope to make the best out of it, and to become a good mother.
The last option is to carry the baby until it is full term and to put it up for adoption. If the mother is unable to provide for the child, the termination of the pregnancy while the baby is a fetus is not mandatory. While the option of carrying the baby full term is preferred rather than having an abortion, there are negative side effects that can occur. Children who are born to adolescent mothers tend to experience a wider range of problems compared to babies of older women. They are more likely to have a “higher risk for low birth weight, infant mortality, behavioral problems and chronic medical conditions, lower levels of emotional support, and are found to be less prepared and have fewer skills when they enter kindergarten” (Adverse Effects). These conditions can be continuous throughout the baby’s life, becoming a burden, requiring additional care and possibly additional costs in the future.
Sex education may not be a generally comfortable talk among children and parents, but it is still very important. “Overall, in 2011-2013, 43% of adolescent females and 57% of adolescent males did not receive information about birth control before they had sex for the first time” (Planned Parenthood). Consequently, is why pregnancy preventions are important and are required to be reinforced to high schoolers in the United States. Schools are requiring students to take the Sex Education course that typically covers the 16 topics recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Topics of which range from basic information on how “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are transmitted – and how to prevent infection – to critical communication and decision-making skills” (Planned Parenthood).
There are many different type of ways to prevent pregnancies, 18 birth control methods to be exact. Some more effective than others. For the time being, the most common pregnancy prevention method used is birth control pills, which is 91% effective and must be taken daily. The birth control pill is a way to control and regulate periods. General benefits of the pill is the reducement of menstrual cramps, a lighter period, and the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Birth control pills also help prevent and reduce iron deficiency, bone thinning, endometrial and ovarian cancers, and etc. Most importantly pill works because the hormones in the pill will stop ovulation. WIthout ovulation, that means that there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize.
The most accessible form of birth control to people of all ages is a condom. In addition to the cost of the boxes being inexpensive, they are sold in lots of different stores, like gas stations and corner stores, and can also be found free from many health centers. A condom is a thin, stretchy pouch made of later, plastic, or lambskin that can be worn to cover the penis during sex. Condoms collect semen, which prevents it from getting into the vagina, preventing fertilization. The coverage of the penis prevents “contact with semen and vaginal fluids, and limits skin-to-skin contact” (Planned Parenthood). Not to mention, a condom is the only type of birth control that can help prevent against STDs.
“Whether this campaign for women under the age of 20 not to have children is expressed in the form of abstinence from sex or in terms of public duty to use birth control, such women have clearly been targeting for pressure to have no children” (Burdell 163). This is a sign of acknowledgment that unplanned pregnancies are realistic problems in society today. These types of campaigns are used to bring notice and knowledge to people to show that there are many different effective ways of preventing pregnancy.
The answer to adolescent pregnancy is not to humiliate teenagers for their situation that they created, but to give them information to prevent pregnancy. The main reason that the adolescent pregnancy percentage has dropped is not because there are fewer teens that are having sex, but instead, because of the higher percentage of contraceptive use and the added knowledge of sexual education. People often tell adolescent mothers that they are ruining their own lives, and that they will never create a successful live for themselves and their kids. Unlike older mothers, not only are adolescent mothers met with shame when announcing that she is pregnant, they are met with little to no help. Adolescent mothers should be treated the same as any older mother. Yes, becoming pregnant might not have been the best decision, but they are owning up to what they have done. They are taking responsibility and making what they think is the best decision.
Cite this essay
Adolescent pregnancy and responsibility. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/adolescent-pregnancy-and-responsibility-essay