Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy by Richard BalloTeenage pregnancies happen.

You may know a teenage girl who has given birth, or a teen boy who has fathered a child.

I do.

I knew a girl who got pregnant in high school when I was there in the 1970s. My late wife and I were going to adopt a baby from a 15-year-old mother in 1990s. And a friend of ours’ daughter had a baby in 2016 when she was 15.

Pregnancies happen.

Yet, teenage pregnancies have been falling since 2007 to only 22.3 per 1000 women, from 41 per thousand. (CDC.Gov/teenpregnancy) I think the falling teenage birth rate is heading in the right direction. Will it ever be zero? I doubt it.

Then comes the choice of keeping the child or not. Some choose abortion, some give their children up, and others keep their children.

Janice Riddle, the subject of my book Bullets & Babies (tinyurl.com), was a 15-years-old teenager when she became pregnant in 1959.

She decided to keep the child but kept it a secret from her father, who she believed would have killed her for getting pregnant out of wedlock. She convinced her 20-year-old boyfriend, Wayne, to marry her. They married when Janice was 16 and the baby was born months later. Janice had 3 children by the time she was 19 years old. She loved being a wife and mother.

Bullets & Babies by Richard BalloYet, teenage girls in general (americanpregnancy.org), have a higher risk of preterm birth, lack of prenatal vitamins, lack of prenatal and parenting information. The physical effects of pregnancy can lead to a change in a teenager’s social life just because of the hormonal and physical changes the body is going through.  Also, strains in family, friends, and boyfriend’s relationships can happen.

The baby’s father’s reaction to the pregnancy is a whole other topic.

School Support Today

Being a pregnant teenager in school has its challenges too. Janice Riddle dropped out of high school to have her children. Today, there are more support systems in high school and college to help teenage mothers stay in school and receive their education.

Being pregnant at any age involve physical changes, social relationship adjustments, parenting issues, finances, and education. Having a supportive family helps. Yet, the mother is responsible for her child and the mother must face the issues. The issues are not always easy, and having children is a lifelong commitment.