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As the title says, there was a time long, long ago when I was one of those social pariahs, a teenage Mother, even worse I was a single teenage Mum. Should have been shot, shouldn't I, after all I only got pregnant so that I could live off the state and get a council house? Well if that's what you think then you are wrong and now that my teenage pregnancy is older than I was when I gave birth to him and I'm that equally strange and sometimes derided creature that is an elderly Mother (I'm only 40 really), I'm going to talk a little about my experiences as a teenage Mother, the prejudices I encountered, the realities of life a young parent and give some advice to those who find themselves in the club at a younger than average age and to those who may encounter them.
==A Little Perspective==
If the tabloid newspapers are to be believed, teenage pregnancy is a relatively new phenomenon, which is of course a totally false preconception. If anything it has only been in relatively recent years that any stigma has been attached to teenage pregnancy and it wasn't so long ago that any woman that had not had a child by their twenties would be the one facing derision. Not so long ago is was not unusual for a sixteen year old to be married and well on her way to starting a family, and a few hundred years ago the age was even lower, with fourteen and fifteen year old girls marrying and having children. It's only been over the last century or so that attitudes towards teenage pregnancy have changed, in line with both an increase in life expectancy and a longer childhood and compulsory education. (Remember it is not so long ago that children as young as five or six were working in the mines and it wasn't until 1971 that the school leaving age was raised to 16).
Although sex education had a far lower priority during my school years than it does now (we were limited to learning about periods and being told not to do it until we were married), my parents taught me the basics, including the fact that babies are the nicest thing you can catch. So I knew all about contraception, and in fact had been on the pill from the age of 14 to regulate and lighten my periods. Misconception number one is that teenage mothers are all promiscuous, I was anything but only having two serious boyfriends before the age of twenty. Misconception number two is that teenage mothers are stupid and don't take precautions, again wrong, when I fell pregnant I was in a grammar school, less than six months from taking my A levels, already having 9 GCSEs, an RSA in data processing (equivalent to an AS level) and an A level I had taken at night school. Not only was I attending school, but I also worked every hour I could, up to 30 hours a week in a supermarket. I was also on the pill and using condoms when I fell pregnant. The only trouble is the condom split and I didn't realise at the time that I was one of the very small percentage that the pill doesn't work for.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, so let's go back a couple of months to when I met my child's father and genuinely believed he was the one. We'd been seeing each other for a few months before we took our relationship to the next level, see I didn't just jump in the sack with the first bloke I met so that I could get pregnant. When we did decide we were ready to take the plunge, we decided to take all precautions, so even though I was on the pill, we also used a condom, but it split. That was the one and only time the condom split, so I knew when I conceived down to the day (26th December 1990, as it happens). About a week later I started to feel a little queasy, but thought I just had a stomach bug, after all I couldn't be pregnant, we'd only had the one condom split and I was on the pill. But it wasn't a stomach bug, I continued to be sick and be sick and be sick again, until it was all day every day and my GP insisted on a pregnancy test that came up positive. Although I was shocked, I didn't have much time to think things through, as I had a condition called hyperemesis that causes almost constant vomiting and required the first of many hospital stays. During that visit admission I was given a scan, which showed I was six weeks pregnant and as soon as I saw that little heart beating, I knew that I was going to keep the baby. It was also during that first hospital admission that I discovered that the baby's father was not only cheating on me but was denying that the baby was his and so I was going to be a single teenage parent.
It has to be said that attitudes towards teen mums were not as extreme twenty years ago as they are today and the average age of the new mother was a lot younger than it is now, but there was still some prejudice. One aspect that has really stuck in my mind is the attitude of some of the midwives, at eighteen I, quite rightly, saw myself as an adult, but there were midwives who felt they needed to treat me as a child. The hyperemesis that I suffered was not widely understood and one midwife got it into her head that it was a psychosomatic response to me not wanting the baby, which led to her telling me (at 20 weeks) that it was not too late for me to have an abortion. Understandably this made me extremely upset and I'm pretty certain that it wouldn't have been said if I were five years older. I also found that rather than talking to me about my care and taking my wishes into account, the medical staff would just proceed with whatever they wanted and talk over my head. I had very strong ideas of how I wanted my labour managed, but there were several points where my wishes were overridden. (I discovered just how I had been patronised when I had my second child three years later, with exactly the same hyperemesis)
It wasn't just medical staff that treated me differently because of my age, yes even twenty plus years ago I did still get comments from the public at large. From people assuming I had drunk too much when I was vomiting in bin due to the hyperemesis to others refusing to get up and let me sit on the bus at eight months pregnant, because "these young girls getting pregnant, tut, tut, tut". I think part of the problem is that I am quite short and have always looked younger than I am, even being asked for ID at 25. People saw young and assumed that I was irresponsible, yet I truly believe that I couldn't have been more responsible while pregnant if I tried. Before becoming pregnant I had smoked, but I stopped the day I found out, I had also been a relatively heavy drinker who enjoyed clubbing and not a drop of alcohol passed my lips after the positive pregnancy test. I ate as healthily as I could, considering that I could hardly keep any food down, took vitamin supplements and rested as much as possible. The only thing I did not do is work, but that was not through choice. I had to give up my job for the simple reason that I was too unwell. But this didn't stop me looking for a new job once I could go a few hours without vomiting, even going for job interviews at eight months pregnant. I hated being on benefit and benefits then were less than generous at a measly £28 a week, of which I gave my parents £25 for bed and board. The maternity grant was also ridiculously pitiful at only £25 and I had to get everything for the baby out of that tiny amount of money, which taught my the lesson of looking for a bargain and buying second hand.
My labour was not particularly difficult, and the end result was a tiny little person, who was now totally dependant on me for everything. I will admit now that even though I had an over-whelming love for my baby, nothing prepared me for how difficult it is to look after a baby, no matter how old you are, or how suddenly your own needs come last. From day one I did everything for my son, with no help from his father, there were no support services for younger mothers at that time, we got exactly the same support and visits as any other mother. I was not offered any parenting groups, nothing, I had to learn everything myself and hope that any mistakes I made were not too drastic. I also had to learn to make a pitifully small amount of money go a lot further, buying clothes and nappies for the baby and make do and mend for myself. Let's put it this way, it was a very steep learning curve.
So let's bust a few more myths and misconceptions about teenage mothers, starting with the idea that was doing the rounds even then that we have a baby to get a council house. I was lucky in that I was allowed to stay at my parent's house while pregnant and for the first few weeks, but when my baby was three months old they gave me a month to find somewhere to live. Although I went on the council waiting list, I wasn't willing to risk being put into a hostel, so I went all out and found myself somewhere to live. The fact that it was a grotty one bed flat, was neither here nor there, I found it myself and cashed in a savings plan to pay the deposit myself. Yes I did get housing benefit, but everything else had to be paid for out of my very meagre income support payment (£60), including gas, electric, poll tax, water, food and clothing. To say I struggled is an understatement, there were days when I didn't eat so that my son could, I only bought myself new clothes when I could no longer repair the old and there is no way I could afford any luxuries. I couldn't even afford a colour television and had a 10 inch black and white portable (much to the disbelief of the licence inspector). So much for the idea that I got pregnant to get a council house and for the dole money, I don't believe anyone would choose to have so little money.
Because I wanted more for my son than a breadline existence, I started a training course when he was five months old, to try and continue with my qualifications and when that finished I got whatever job I could, which happened to be as a nursery assistant. This was not my first choice of career and I can't say I was ever happy, but at least I was working. The trouble is, that we didn't have the minimum wage then, so I was working 40+ hours a week, for under £140 a week. Then I was paying for my son's nursery place out of that which cost me £35 a week, and after that I had to pay my rent, bus fare and all the other necessaries. We were better off by my working, but not by much, maybe £5 a week. This wouldn't happen today, there are in work benefits to top up wages and make working a much more attractive proposal, but of course it is even harder to find a job today (not that much harder though).
Being a teenage mum was hard, much harder than you would ever think if you hadn't experienced it. There were prejudices and stereotypes to over-come (including one nasty store detective that assumed that because I was a young mum I was shoplifting), learning to budget and make a little money go a long way and giving up my own dreams and ambitions. But it is also a far more rewarding experience than I would ever have believed, watching and helping that tiny baby develop into a toddler, start school and then grow into an independent young man. I will also say that having had my youngest as a nearly 40 year old, both pregnancy and child-rearing are a lot easier energy-wise as a teen, what I lacked in experience I more than made up for in energy, finding the night times feeds far less draining.
If I could turn back time, would I have waited to have my son? Well yes as long as I had exactly the same child, as I do feel that we would all be better off then we are now if I had finished school and gone to university. But I do not regret having been a teen mum for one minute, and I do not feel I could have done any better in bringing him up no matter what age I had been when he was born.
==Some Advice For Teens==
Having a baby at any age is not easy, it is a life-changing experience that involves putting another person before yourself for the rest of your life, think hard before you decide to have a baby no matter what age you are.
If you do suspect you are pregnant, then the first thing to do is take a test, I know from experience how easy it is to hope it will "go away", but the longer you leave it, the harder ans scarier it becomes.
If you have a positive test try to find someone you trust to talk to, whether that be a parent, older sibling, friend, teacher or doctor, to work out your options. If the father is around then speak to him, and then speak to your parents. Yes telling your parents is scary, but again the longer you leave it the harder it gets. They may be angry and disappointed, but the vast majority of parents will be supportive, but if yours aren't then again find someone you trust to talk about the pregnancy.
Look into the choices available to you, if you decide you don't want to keep the baby then you have the choice to either have an abortion or have the baby adopted. But remember this is your choice and one you will have to live with, so don't let yourself be pressured into something you do not want.
Get medical care as soon as possible, being younger your body is still growing and you may need extra supplements and care, so it's important to start this as soon as possible.
Information is power, research your choices throughout pregnancy and labour, so you will not only know what to expect, but will also be able to make informed choices as to such things as pain relief.
Believe in yourself, don't allow other people's prejudice get you down, being under twenty doesn't make your wishes any less valid than someone over that age. If you want a particular type of labour then tell the midwives what you want and get them to listen to you. Choose a birth partner who will help you convey your wishes.
==The Myths Busted==
Not all teenager parents become pregnant to milk the system, indeed these are in the vast minority and to tar all teenage parents with the same brush is nothing less than disgusting. The vast majority of teenage parents are loving mums and dads, who will go without to ensure their children have the best, just the same as any age group. Yes there are selfish teenage parents, who "sponge" off the system and neglect there children, but again there are just as many of these selfish people over the age of twenty.
The idea perpetuated by the tabloids and current government that teenage girls get pregnant simply to get a council house is completely wrong and I must say laughable. There is a severe shortage of council housing and it is very unlikely that a young mother would be able to move into a council house in under a year (up to ten years in some areas) and then they are likely to end up on a sink estate. It is far more likely that they will end up in a bed&breakfast, hostel or mother and baby unit, and believe me these are not places where anyone would aspire to live.
As for the sponging off the state, again I think people have vastly over-rated ideas of the benefits a young mother will receive. Although the amount they receive has increased somewhat since I was a teen, it is still a pitiful amount to try and bring a child up on (£56.45 IS+£20.30CB+£62.21TC=£138.96 a week), I challenge anyone to try and live on such a small amount of money. Many teenage parents are exactly like I was, working for a pittance to try and improve their child's life and would go without a meal so that their child can have the best.
Teenage parents deserve just as much respect as any other parent and certainly do not deserve to be judged in the way that some people, including politicians, do. They are amongst those bringing up the next generation, and can you imagine how demoralising it is to continually be put-down and expected to fail. And what about their children, who are constantly hearing how terrible their parents are just because they are young, how does hearing the constant degradation of their parents help them to respect their parents. Why should these children do as their parents tell them if they are having the propaganda that those same parents are sponging wastes of space rammed down their throat every five minutes.
Yes I was a teen Mum, and a darned good one at that. While I won't say that I was any better a Mum than someone older than me, I did more challenges than those older. As far as I'm concerned age is just a number, it is not your age that determines how good a parent you are, but how well you look after your child and how willing you are to put your child before yourself. So before you tut and that young Mum, consider what a wonderful job they are doing and remember they can be just as good a parent as someone twice their age
I'm not a teenage parent but saw this category and thought I'd voice my opinions.
When I was young, teenage pregnancy was much less common than these days. My parents were in their 30's when they had me, and I was 28 when I had my daughter. Times change though, and these days all I seem to see on the tele and read about are young people having babies.
When they brought out the £500 grant for new mums, I was quite angry. There wasn't any help like that when I had my children. I was also angry because a lot of the young girls getting these were wasting them on clothes and stuff for themselves when it was meant for their child. I have heard that they have now stopped giving out the grant.
When I read about these 15 year olds getting themselves pregnant I cringe. I really do. They're young people who should be out enjoying their youth and living their own lives, not starting someone elses! How can they support a child when they're not even old enough to get a proper job? I think if you're old enough and responsible enough to have sex, then you should be responsible enough to use contraception, especially these days when there are so many different types that are free.
I can't say that all teenage mothers and father's are bad parent's as that would be completely unfair. I haven't met every single one out there, so I can't rate their parenting skills. I'm sure some are good parents and have put their lives on hold, quite rightly, to raise their child. I do feel angry though, when I see these young girls pushing buggies down the street when they're hanging out with their friends. I saw a girl last year, no older than 16 with a little baby in a pram, middle of winter hanging outside a shop with her friends. I was froze, so I didn't want to think how cold her baby must have been, and I wanted to shake her (the mother, not the baby!). I felt like saying "Take your baby home, and be a parent!"
Jeremy Kyle obviously gives us a bad impression of these teenage parents. I often watch the show, with these young girls saying they want a baby, but they don't work, aren't at school or college and I think great, I'm going to be amongst the other tax payers helping to raise it for you! I don't think teenagers realise how hard it actually is to have a baby, they often just see it as a doll or accessory when really, it's bloody hard work!
I don't paticularly have anything against teenage parents. I always think they should have been more responsible, but at the same time, I often think "At least they're dealing with the situation rather than getting rid of it via abortion". I just wish that teenagers really thought it out before trying for a child or getting pregnant unexpectedly, it isn't hard to be sexually active and not get pregnant!
I think the government could do more to help prevent unwanted teenage pregnancies. I know free condoms are available to young people, but I've never seen a place actually giving them away. When my granddaughter started having the Depo jab, she was given about 6 which I thought was a bit pittyful really. I think they should reduce the price of them in shops to make them more easily available to young people who don't have much money because they are really expensive for what they are.
I don't think there's ever a time when you're completely ready for a baby. I was married and 28 years old, but I still found it incredibly difficult, so how do these young girls cope without a husband or a job? I think it's best to sort yourself out, live your life and have the money and stable relationship to support a child before you have one.
This review isn't meant to insult or slag off teenage parents at all, some are probably great parents, and some awful, like at any age. Age doesn't determine whether you're going to be a good parent or not!
At the end of the day, if you're responsible enough for sex, you should be responsible enough for contraception.
Giving birth is by far the best experience that any woman can go through. After my daughter was born, I was filled with love, pride and joy, the feelings experienced my most new mothers. I was so euphoric with my new baby, I could do no more than love her intensely, I spent hours staring at her tiny, perfect features with the biggest feeling of 1 million emotions surging through me. At times I thought that the rush of emotions was actually that strong that it was causing my heart to hurt. I thought it was an unexplained, natural experience. Unfortunately It was not. Looking at my baby one last time, I handed her over never expecting to see her again. After two weeks of comas, medication and the care of amazing doctors and nurses, I was awake, I defied the astronomical odds and I was there, living. You see after I gave birth to my daughter I came down with a rare heart condition called cardiomyopathy which I was very if not extremely lucky to survive. I was told around 12 hours after giving birth that I should say goodbye to my daughter. Throughout my ordeal the doctors told my family to say goodbye to me. The fact that I am here now, living and of course writing this review is a miracle in itself. So if I asked you now what sets me apart from other new mothers, your answers would come in the form of, you had a tragic ordeal, you were separated from your child for two weeks, you missed that chance to bond. My family and other stereotypes would answer, what differs between you and other mothers Is that you are 16 years old. This is my life and my story.
Falling pregnant at 15 was not something I had planned into my life, at that age I was a keen artist and I could see nothing more in life than a pencil and a piece of paper. I had of course planned my future, I would have 3 maybe even 4 children, the first when I was around 30 after I had built up a successful career. Unfortunately nothing in life works the way you plan and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As I was only 15 I had a lot of interference from teenage support workers etc all the way through my pregnancy, they backed of after I was about 20 weeks due however because up until this time they were trying, of course in very professional and subtle way, but they were trying to get me to have an abortion. This was never even a consideration for me. This to me is no better than murder, I know people have different opinions on this however and of course I respect that but I was not going to abort my baby.
I decided very early on in my pregnancy that I was going to do everything I could to stop me from being labelled, to stop people from judging me. I didn't want my daughter being born into a strained and un positive atmosphere, I wanted different for her. I continued with school throughout my pregnancy, I actually stayed there until 2 days before I gave birth. At this time my partner was very supportive, being 2 years older than me he was at college studying to be an electrician. He decided to take a night course in replace of the full time course he was doing and he got a full time job in the day.
Now this teenage pregnancy midwife of mine was very set on giving me a label, I know her job is to make things easer for me but I hated being treated different because of my age, I mean I had everything every other mother had but I was labelled as though I wasn't good enough to have what other mothers were having. Instead of mothers and tots it was teens and tots, instead of a midwife it was a teenage pregnancy midwife. Being a very independent person I was fed up of the labels and categorizing of people. At the end of the day I was a mother like any other. I refused all of the advice given to me, not because I was being vain or difficult but because I wanted to do things my own way, just because I was young did not mean that I needed my decisions made for me by people who thought it was for the best. I was given paper after paper of free this and free that, a list of benefits that I could claim, a list of second hand shops and a list of nursery's dotted around the rough areas of town. I really couldn't help but feel that I was another teenage parent that was being categorized because of a stereotype.
As wrong as it my be, my goal in life at this time was to prove everyone wrong. From the day my daughter was born I was eligible to claim benefits but I never have, I was entitled to a lot of things but I never wanted them. My parents don't have a lot of money so they weren't able to help out, but we made our own way through the tough times which is what everybody has to do regardless of age. When I was pregnant I spent 3 days a week at school and I would spend a considerable amount of time doing home working which was exhausting, packing envelops, I had countless paper cuts and It worked out at about £2 an hour but I didn't care because that is how much I was determined to beat the stereotypical label that had been placed on me. My partner worked ridiculous hours as well and together we managed to buy everything and more that we needed for our new baby. We had moved out of our parents and started renting a house in a nice part of town and we did everything that a normal family would do when pregnant with there first child.
As I have mentioned, I had a difficult birth and it was extremely hard afterwards to bond with my baby, but that would be a natural feeling. It wasn't because of my age like my family had suggested, at the first sign of weakness in my guard that I had built around myself they were straight in with the comments on how I couldn't cope because I was so young, not because I had missed the first 2 weeks of my daughters life. I did find it difficult at first, but only because I was worried that she didn't know me and I felt jealous that other people had spent so much time with her whilst I hadn't. It was difficult dealing with this, but every mother has problems, so I did what everybody does and just got on with things. Eventually it became easer then I found being a parent the most natural and wonderful thing.
Shortly after my daughter was born I started selling Avon. I would do this and take my daughter in her pram whilst my partner was at work and then in the evening when he got back we would pack envelopes and take it in turns doing the night feeds. We were both exhausted all of the time but it was worth it. When my daughter was one, I had finished school and was going to college so I had to stop all the work I was doing as it would have been to much. My partner carried on however and he worked so so hard.
Everyday I would battle with comments and stares and the worst part was that these came mostly from my family. I have my mum and dad for support but with a close nit family of over 24 including aunties and uncles etc I would have expected more. I tried very hard to prove to my family that I could be a good mum, and I would have proved them right, except they haven't been around to see it. Out of three years they have seen my daughter around 10 times at the most. I have, over the three years become used to being a cast out but it is not fair on my daughter. There have been two family events this year, a family holiday, the only family members not to be invited to this holiday was me and my daughter, and then there was also a wedding. I was also not invited to this. I have become used to it now and I have my own family and as much as I would have liked to be a part of theirs it doesn't look set to happen.
The last three years of our life has been a struggle but we have done it. We had managed to raise a beautiful daughter who is so clever and smart for her age. For the last 2 ½ years she has been attending a lovely nursery down the road from ours and she has developed so much into a little character. We are currently in talks with the landlord about buying our house, my partner has just got a great job as an electrician and after finishing college with 3 A levels I have now just finished my first year at university. Art is no longer a passion of mine but my daughter seems to enjoy it as much as I did! Not every parent is perfect but I have tried damn hard to remove a label that everybody just seemed to place on me. I am not bothering to hide who I am anymore, I'm not letting people get the better of me, I know that I am a good mother and that I have a splendid child and the only person that I need to prove myself to is her, because she is the only one who matters.
I know that not all teenage mothers make the choices in life that I have and that really is a shame, also some other teenage parents might need the support and guidance that is available to them, this is not a bad thing, these services are in place to help and I am sure that with most people they really do but being such a strong and determined character I vowed to do it without this help. I would like to think that this review could help teenage parents who have unsupportive families to realise that they don't need to prove anything, life is too short to waste it trying to be accepted. We are who we are and we pave our own way in life, I would just pledge for those who read this that do label and stereotype to get to know a person first before judging them because you could really help people feel accepted without them having to worry about what people are thinking and what labels are placed on them. I know that not all teenage parents are deserving of this acceptance because I have met my fair share of mothers young and old that are perhaps not even deserving of children but just think before you judge, get to know a person first. One of my worst experiences has come from a stranger, at the tills in asda I got asked for ID to buy some scissors, I happily handed it over and she looked from my ID to me and then to my daughter, pulling a discussed face she said 18 hey? Obviously she's not your child then? I didn't say anything but I cried as soon as I got into the car. It is the un-acceptance that young people receive that make them feel like outcasts, it's the worst feeling to have.
Thank you for reading my review, I have wrote this, mainly to prove to myself that I am no longer scared of being judged, I am who I am. Thank you.
Teenage pregnancy is a topic that I am extremely interested in and focused on a lot in assignments during my time at university. Sex education in general is something that I feel is an extremely important and very much neglected area of education provided in schools.
I haven't personally experienced teenage pregnancy myself, I am 22 and can honstly say I have never been pregnant. However, two of my cousins both became mums at the age of 17 and I have several friends who became parents at a young age and I cannot fault their parenting ability or the way they care for their children in any way.
I feel that the stereotypical image of teenage parents that has been wrongly portrayed by the media is inexcusable and extremely judgemental; but sadly, newspapers don't sell if they are filled with boring, yet good news, if they can't critise someone then it is most definitely seen as a bad day in the media world.
Unfortunately, these stereotypes have to come from somewhere and from time to time you do unfortunately see, hear and read about young parents who appear to have very little interest in their children and spend their income on cigarettes and alcohol and generally on anything other than their children. Thankfully, I am pleased to say that this isn't something that I come across often and the teenage parents that I know are just as able to care and provide for their children as older parents could. Some of my close friends became parents at a young age and yet they carried on with their education and following this got a job so that they could give their child the best start in life and be a good role model for them.
I'm not fully convinced that schools can't be blamed in some part, for the high rates of teenage pregnancy in this country. Secondary schools inparticular. When i was at secondary school we had one session where we had to put a condom on a banana and that was our sex education pretty much in a nutshell. I very much believe that young people need to have all the information to enable them to make educated, informed decisions when it comes to deciding whether or not to enter into a sexual relationship. Sex education should provide both the health risks of having sex and also the benefits, they should understand that it is not all doom and gloom, but that you have to be sensible and responsible to be able to enjoy sex safely. Above all a huge part of sex education should be myth busting: Yes, you can get pregnant when you have sex for the first time. Yes, you can get pregnant if you are on your period. Yes, you can get pregnant if your boyfriend pulls out before he ejaculates and so on.
Schools are also a breeding ground for peer pressure and when you think that everyone is having sex, it only puts pressure on those that haven't done it to go out and do it so that they can fit in and be like everyone else, even though it is highly unlikely that that everyone has done it.
I also believe that if the unthinkable happens, and a teenager does find themselves pregnant, that the school and also the family health team (midwife, health visitor, school nurse etc) should be on hand to offer support when needed. I know that during my teens I was very much still learning how to look after myself, being faced with the prospect of having to care for someone else, especially a baby whose whole existance depends on my ability to care for him/her and meet their needs would have resulted in me having a bit of a break down I think, so I greatly admire anyone who has been able to do this. I think that services such as sure start are fantastic at being able to provide not just young parents, but parents of any age with support and they also offer teaching sessions on parenting skills and meeting the basic needs of your baby aswell as providing breastfeeding support. Places like sure start are also great places to meet other parents in the same situation, and I really do think that health visitors should recommend the use of this service to every new mum, young or old and best of all, it's FREE!
By providing young people with the appropriate education, there is no reason for them not to be able to care for their children effectively.
Obvious downsides to becoming a teenage parent however, in my opinion must be that continuing with education is more difficult as you have so much more to think about than just essay deadlines and exams and it must be easy to miss out on some of the experiences enjoyed by young, care free individuals such as girly (or boys) holidays, nights out and spontaneous plans with friends.
I just wanted to share my opinon that the stereotype isn't always true and that there are young parents out there doing just as good a job, if not better at raising their children than older parents. I don't necessarily agree with teenage pregnancy as I think it is important to experience life to the full before taking on such a huge responsibility. Having said this however, I'm sure that most teenage parents do not plan to become parents so young (my friends didn't anyway). I am extremely proud of my cousins and friends that became parents at a young age, they have coped amazingly with such a huge change in their life and are all raising beautiful, polite and clever children that any parent would be proud of. However, they have all had a great support sysem in place and have had family and friends available to help, which I think is essential for any new parents!
I'm not a teenage parent myself, however my partner is. He's 18 and has a 3 year old son (nearly 4) to an ex girlfriend. My boyfriend has always stood by the mother of his child (who's 21) financially and is always there to take Taylor to any appointments if need be. Although Taylor, his son, lives with his mum, my boyfriend Jack is always having him over at his house for the weekend or whenever he has a few days off work. Taylor has his own bedroom in my boyfriends house with his own little bed and wardrobe etc and it's beautifully decorated to cator for a 3 year old's fashion sense; mickey mouse wallpaper. He also has a hamster, fish and rabbit at my boyfriends house which my boyfriend is responsible for, and only bought them for Taylor.
People have the idea that teenage fathers simply sling it about and if a girl happens to fall pregnant, then the father will want nothing to do with the child. In some cases this is true. I myself fell pregnant very young (13 and a half) to the type that couldn't care less. No, i wasn't sleeping around. Yes, we used a condom. It split. I lost the baby early in into the pregnancy, and if i'm honest in a way i'm glad, as at the time i was a total mess. Don't get me wrong though, i'm forever thinking "what if my baby had been born? what would he/she of looked like?" etc. The baby would of been nearly 6 by now.
My boyfriend though is hugely supportive of both Taylor and his mum. He pays £50 a week child maintenence which is all through his own choice, there are no third parties involved. Obviously if Taylor's mum needs a bit more then he will give her it. He's got a full time job at a refinery and earns good money, so he's lucky in the sense that he can provide for his son as some dad's can't and get bad reputations even though they try there best to provide. Some dads on the other hand decide to piss the money up the wall rather than spend it on there kid(s). My dad's one of those people, so i have lots of views on that subject matter!
Overall my boyfriend is a teenage father but loves his son and so do i. We are both mature and look after him to the best of our abilities and his mum is amazing and is mature enough to let her son go on days out with us etc. I'm actually really good friends with her and she doesn't mind that Taylor calls me 'daddy's mummy.'
Ofcourse some teenage parents aren't as mature or lucky enough to earn money to support there offspring. I went to school with a girl, let's call her Sophie* who fell pregnant at 12. She had a the baby, a little boy, and by 14 had another little boy. By 17 she had yet another little boy, and now at 19 she's 8 months pregnant. All of the babies are to different fathers and she's admitted to me that her third's father is unknown, as he was concieved on a holiday full of random blokes and drink. Her mum has 7 kids, so i can't help think that it's just a way of life.
Sophie* is a nice girl to be fair, but her immature attitude and lack of basic parenting skills makes her seem like a worse parent than she is. Although the kids are always happy, i often find myself asking her several times if they've been changed, fed, etc and her oldest is often complaining that he's hungry. She has her own house now (council) and it's a total mess, and if i'm honest i've given up attempting to help her as she's got a new boyfriend who's the type that thinks 'we know best so get lost.' Neither of them work, or attempt to find jobs, and she openly posts pictures of herself smoking and posing with pictures of cannabis which presumably is bought out of her dole money.
She also has pictures of her eldest son (6 years old) posing in gang-like poses, as well as 'the middle finger' and often posts status' that are verbally abusive towards her kids. On one occasion ("Leon has just spilled coke down his new top, going to f*cking kill the little c-*-n-t"), i found myself rushing round there to see if she and the kids were okay.
It does upset me in a number of ways, the fact that she herself needs help and the fact that the kids are obviously not cared for properly. I know she tries her best but it's not good enough. Social services in my opinion don't seem to be aware of the full situtation and are 'happy with her progress' as a young parent.
On the other hand, i know a few other girls who fell pregnant quite young, and alot of my friends are pregnant (most are 17/18). Most of these girls are really mature, most with the babys father and most are working. One of my friends (17) even sold her TV in order to have money for her little girls christmas presents. She has also been with her little girls father since the age of 13.
Every teenage parent varies, you can't judge someone by age. I know parents who are 50 odd and are more immature than 18 year old parents.
Overall my opinion is this:
Any parent who provides for there child (or tries there best to), loves there child and looks after the child is a good parent.
Any parent who neglects there child and doesn't provide basic care is a bad parent, whether they work or not, and age does not even come into it.
Any parent who relys on benefits and expects us to pay for them and have no intention of working are wrong.
The £500 teenage parent grant really pisses me off because it feels almost they're getting a reward for getting pregnant! I know it's not, but it still annoys me, mostly because i know a few girls who spent there cheques on new phones and clothes rather than nappies and baby clothes.
Some may disagree, but this is just my overall experience and opinions of teenage parents.
Being a young mum in this day and age is very hard. While i have no sympathy for the ones who get pregnant over and over again there are some decent young mums out there.
Me and my partner rushed into having a baby very early, we were together for a few months before we decided to try for a baby. I was 17 at the time and my partner was 18. After being together for 7months i found out i was pregnant. I was (and still am) working as a waitress. At the time, finding a job was very hard so my partner signed up for job seekers allowance and truely was trying his hardest to find a job. He is now the assistant manager of a betting shop and doing very well. When i found out i was pregnant i was still living at home with my parents, as was my partner. We found it hard saving up for a place because towards the middle of my pregnancy i suffered fainting at work and for my health, my midwife advised me to drop my hours down to shifts that my body was happy with so i just didnt 4hours a week. This made my income go down to £112. My partner got his job in october which is the month i started my maternity leave. He started bringing in £600 and we put as much a side as we could. We then heard about working and child tax credits. We made a claim and were lucky enough to be entitled. Not all mums are entitled to this, its only for the parents who work. But child tax credit is entitled to you if you have a child even if you dont work.
My daughter came 6 weeks early which really put me and my partner in a tough situation. The idea was to rent a place and have it all set up for the arrival of the baby. But since we had run out of time my partners parents let us stay with them as they had the room. We were with the for 6 months before we moved out. We rent privately and have been here for 6months.
We have set up a very nice home for our daughter. Our rooms are far bigger then my parents and we have made sure that it is safe and a perfect place to bring up a baby.
During my pregnancy i felt like i was being treated very unfairly. I had to see a specilist during my pregnany. She said its because im a young mum and young mums have unhealthy small babies. All my tests came back perfect and even though my daughter was very early she was a very good weight, and the doctors asked if i was sure i got my dates right, they simple couldnt believe how healthy she was.
Also when out and about with my partner, the looks we got made me want to hide in the toilets and cry. People would look at me, look and my bump and look back at me with a disgusted face. It was the most horrible thing ive ever been through and i think the sterotype should be destroyed because its not fair to asume that all young mums are the same! I dont live of benefits, im still with the dad, were engaged, both working and our daughter is the most bonny, healthy, well looked after girl you could ever meet. The only difference between us and elder mums is the age.
We decided to try again and ive just found out im 6 weeks pregnant. Both babies were planned and both will be loved for just as any other mum would. I do have young mum friends who do live of benefits, and even thought they have no money to treat themselves, there heart is ALWAYS in the right place. They make sure that every penny goes on that baby and that there kids have the best life style they possible can, yes it would be much easier for them to go out to work.
Im completely worried to be walking around wit my daughter who will be around 1year 7months and my newborn baby due to the looks i get. When you look at a young mum, just think about how your making her feel, dont just think "ugh young mum theres where my tax goes", maybe take a second and think "maybe shes not like the stereotype, maybe shes just like me". When i was pregnant all i wanted was for people to just accept me and know that i was a good mum, but simple because i had a few less years i was automatically put into the stereotype.
I love that people still go on and on about how it's uneducated 'underclass' people that fall pregnant, you know those that have bad parents and don't care about them?
Well I have a confession to make, I'm a teenage mother (ok I'm not a teenager anymore but I was). I got pregnant at 14 though experimenting sexually because 'everyone else was', which I later found out they defiantly weren't. I was planning on running away and getting an abortion in secret until my mother who realised something was wrong when I stopped eating and became withdrawn (I was so scared and terrified of ruining my life since let's face it that's what people shove down people's throats). When my parents found out though they sat me down and told me I had to really think about the different options (I later found out the reason behind this was my mother had an abortion and has regretted it to this day so they didn't want me to fall into the same mistake without some thought going into it), either way they were willing to support me 100%. Even went as far as to say the only way I could keep my son, living at home was if I continued at school.
Eventually after a lot of thought and his biological father convincing me we would be together forever, I decided to keep him. I've never been too happy with the idea of abortion just thought it was the only way. Going to school and being pregnant was quite a struggle at times with everyone staring, calling me names and being told everyday that the thing growing in your womb is going to ruin your life, but I persisted. Gradually cutting back to half days as I got nearer to my due date and doing work from home that my brothers were kind enough to get for me. So I gave birth to my son at the age of 15 and my parents were true to their word and helped me as much as they could, looking after him every day as I gradually went back to school (started off on half days after the 6 week check up). I did cut back my subjects to the ones I wanted to do and the core ones I would need, but got high GCSE's. I have since gone on to do college (couldn't progress onto university due to having to move city as wouldn't be fair on my son, the only downside I have faced in having him contrary to popular belief), and get a job.
So yes there are the stereotypical teenage mothers out there who just have a child to get a council house and benefits, but there is also a lot of people trying to do the balancing act of providing for themselves and their offspring but also raising their children the best they can (and a lot of the younger mothers I have met do a lot better job of it than some of the older ones you see screaming at their kids in the street). I won't pretend it's easy. But having people constantly staring at you and judging you doesn't make it any easier, you would be surprised at how much of a tough skin it makes you form just to be able to go about your day to day life.
I can still quite safely say that having my son was the best thing that happened to me in my life and wouldn't change him for the world no matter what people think on this matter.
When I was 16 years old, I had a friend named Laura, who was the same age and had fallen pregnant. I remember how devastating it had been for her. She had been too young to decide what to do and her parents had wanted her to talk to someone.
These situations still happen today. The only solution can be to speak to a professional who can help decide on the best outcome. So, Laura went to see a Counselor. They are professional people who have lots of experience in teen pregnancies and can help to towards your decision on what to do next. Linda Roggow and Carolyn Owens writes in their Handbook for Pregnant Teenagers;
"It helps to have an objective person guide you through your decision-making process. Sometimes, when we have difficult choices to make, we'd like to avoid the subject. Many times it takes another person to force us to look at the important issues.
There are people specially trained to assist you in making arrangements for your best possible care and to help you prepare for your future. Local crisis pregnancy centers and agencies are available to help you. The services provided through these centers can be received for little or no charge."
These people are usually trained counselors or social workers that will help you to decide on what you should do. My friend attended a session and after, she felt more at ease and positive about her situation. She knew she was far too young to bring up a baby and her boyfriend was due to go to college. Her parents were nearing their sixties and she didn't want them to be burdened with a baby. She had her whole life in front of her and she did not want to ruin that in regard to her education. So, she decided to make an appointment to have an abortion, because she did not feel comfortable or ready in bringing up a baby at this time in her life. She didn't like the thought of an adoption either, because she knew she would always be wondering what her baby would look like when she or he was older. She knew she would always worry about how or if her child was being looked after properly. She knew she would want to go find her child at some point in the future, so opted for the abortion.
Her parents were, also, in dilemma with the situation. Linda Roggow and Carolyn Owens says;
"It is also advisable that your parents get counseling. There are many excellent reasons why they should talk with an objective professional. A trained counselor can help to resolve negative feelings like guilt, anger,
denial and frustration. She can also help them to be honest with you in terms of what you can and cannot expect from them."
After her talk with the Counselor, Laura realized that she would put up with having an abortion, because it was what she wanted. She didn't want any loose ends. She wanted it to be over with. So, she attended an appointment at a clinic to have this done. It was her decision and everyone around her respected her for that, including her parents. Of course, there were still worries that she may not be doing the right thing, but she knew for certain, that if she hadn't spoken to a counselor she would probably still be feeling upset and confused. Ted Rall writes in the Aspen Daily News Online stating;
"Anyone who went to high school knew a student couple where the girl became pregnant. What the unlucky couple decided to do about it would determine their futures. The girls who had abortions went on with their lives. They graduated from high school, and, if they were headed that way before the dipstick turned pink, continued with college and careers and all the other stuff young people are supposed to go on to do.
Then there were the girls who kept their babies. With few exceptions -- I've never heard of any, but I imagine they exist -- it was the wrong decision. Their lives were ruined. Many never graduated from high school, much less college. Their futures were grim: Low educational attainment doomed them to dead-end jobs in the low-wage service sector. Married too young and under pressure, most wound up divorced. Many never remarried, or married stepfathers who barely tolerated their children. Their kids, raised in poverty in families led by single, stressed-out young moms, were themselves likely to repeat the cycle of downward mobility by getting pregnant in their teens."
So, in the long run, I would think that my friend made the best decision for her future, because now she is a Lawyer and enjoys her job immensely. She is, also, married now and pregnant again. She still thinks about her decision to have an abortion and whether it was the right thing to do or not, but now it is in her past and she now has a wonderful husband, a great job and new baby on the way.
Before reading, please note that this is written mainly from my experience with a close family member. I do NOT believe that all teenage pregnancies are a 'bad' thing or that all teenage mum's can't cope. Although each experience is different, I do however believe there are particular reasons why we, in the UK, and indeed elsewhere, have such high rates of teenage pregnancy.
I have a twenty year old niece who, since the age of 14 has had four pregnancies. Two ended in very early terminations, she has a beautiful 3 year old son, and is now currently pregnant again. Her first child's father was married and wanted nothing to do with his child.
Yes, she is from a broken home. No, she has not had good role models for parents - her biological mum and dad had her when they were around 18 (having already gone through one termination a year earlier). They split when she was a baby and her mother remarried and had two other children but left the family home after having an affair. My niece did go to live with her after falling out with her step-dad only to be thrown out once she discovered her pregnancy.
Our side of the family rallied around her as much as possible. I had her come to live with me during her pregnancy and after the birth until she was found a place to stay through her social worker.
Since then, I have helped her move home, start college, and been as much as a 'mum' to her as possible. I have tried to encourage her to want more for herself than relying on the state to support her as, under her social care, she has been given many opportunities that perhaps others would not have to improve her lot in life. Despite this, and despite saying what she thinks I want to hear, she has squandered these opportunities.
She dropped out of college, met a young chap over the internet, had him stay at her place right away and within weeks was pregnant by him. This time she wants to keep the baby as she cannot bear the thought of having another termination. I don't blame her but equally the thought of her having another when she doesn't even look after herself properly terrifies me. It has since transpired that the young chap is violent and controlling and she has, thankfully chucked him out. He now doesn't believe he is the father and wants nothing to do with the baby but as he is violent, this is probably no bad thing in my opinion although it is very sad that these children grow up in these circumstances without knowing their fathers and the emotional problems this will, no doubt, cause for them in later life.
So here she is, pregnant with he second child, by a man who also wants nothing to do with the life he has created and to be frank, she struggles with looking after the one she has. She is damaged herself - having had an unstable background and having had only poor experiences when it comes to men. She does not expect better, she accepts her fate and this is the crux of the problem. She has absolutely no respect for herself. She allows herself to be used by men because she is lonely and struggling to cope. She has no pride in her appearance or her home and just gets through each day as it comes. She doesn't have the normal support of a mum and dad (my brother hardly saw her growing up as his ex made it difficult for him) but I don't think he tried hard enough to be in her life but that is another issue.
My mum and I help her as much as possible but my mother is getting older and I have a young family of my own to care for, not that I could ever turn my back on her. I am so close to my own mother that I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a mother who will have nothing to do with me - it would break my heart. However, my niece has become somewhat hardened to the way of life she leads. No doubt, if she does not start using some long term contraception, she will have more children as she goes through her twenties with different men, unless she is lucky enough to wake up and smell the coffee but sadly I doubt she will.
Teen pregnancy happens for many reasons but I really feel the basic problem is that many of the youth of today has little respect for life - their own or others and they certainly don't seem to grasp the monumental life-changing experience, having and raising a child involves.
It is a very sad state of affairs and I really can't see what more can be done. These kids aren't generally stupid - they know what unprotected sex leads to - unfortunately they just don't seem to care enough to prevent it so I don't think it's down to better sex education necessarily. I think parents do have the ultimate responsibility to guide their kids although, again, this is easier said that done in this day and age where kids get away with much more than we did in our day!
Unless the teenagers this affects can be persuaded to have more faith in themselves and their futures, this problem is likely to increase.
Thanks for reading. x
also on ciao under ryanellaxx
At the age of 17 the last thing I wanted was to fall pregnant. But that's exactly what happened. Being with my partner just under 2 and a half years, this was the last thing we were expecting. I'd always thought I would be married and own my own home before we even thought about having children. Luckily my partner has stuck by me and we both had full time jobs with a very steady income with also both had our own cars. Soon after telling the family we were expecting our first child, he moved into my dad's house and we prepared for the arrival of our little bundle. Buying our own home was out of the question at this point, as the market was so bad luckily my dad agreed to help us and allow us to stay there until we were able to move out. Around 6 months later our beautiful daughter was born and things were hard but as long as my daughter had food in her tummy and a roof over her head everything was perfect. It was a lot of hard work and saving but less than a year later we managed to purchase our own flat. Yes it is only a flat but its home.
I would give up everything for my daughter and wouldn't be without her.
We were lucky to have our jobs and income. A few people I went to school with fell pregnant around the same time as me and they've ended up in council properties in not very nice areas jobless etc. I suppose I was lucky as I never needed to contact the council to help me with property. I got myself into this situation it's something I needed to do myself.
I may of only been 18 when my daughter was born and I think us young mums can be great mums as well and people who choose to have children in later life. There are advantages and disadvantages of having children whatever age you are. I suppose financially it would of been better to have kids when your older. But money doesn't buy love and care. You learn to go without thing so your child can have the best.
Now being 20 years old and expecting my second child I feel I have great responsibilities and have to put my kids first. Most people my age are wasting their money on alcohol and getting drunk every weekend. Damaging there bodies, sleeping around. I dont want to be like this. This is no way to live. Spending the night in front of the tv after bathing and reading a story to my daughter. It very rewarding being a mum. I know I am mature for my age and believe that I did have to grow up fast but I haven't missed out on anything. If anything i have gained from more life experiences for example with money and working life.
Teen pregnancies are very common and working in a leading baby retailer I know that we get just as many younger mums as we do older mums. But there is nothing to say either is a better mother.
I don't agree with terminating a pregnancy, things happen for a reason. Is it better if teenagers step up and take responsibility of their actions and continues the pregnancy? And bring up a happy healthy baby. I believe it is the right thing to do.
Children don't come with instructions. So no one can tell you what to do only you can make the correct choices for you and your children. As long as your hearts in the right place then there's no reason you age should matter.
I wouldn't recommend to any teenager to go out there and get pregnant. Luckily I was and still am in a stable relationship.
I also believe it depends what type of back ground you are from. If your from a family that are in a council house and you know how it all works then i think some girls do it on purpose. But thats no way to bring up your kids. There getting there property payed for while were struggling to make ends meet. But i suppose thats life. Some people do it so they get everything laid on a plate for them. But theres nothing saying this all teenage mums.
Being a mum is the best job in the world. And I wouldn't change it for anything.
I wanted to add my views on this issue. I have a mixed view on teenage pregnancy and think that there are probably different reasons for why there is such a high teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe. In terms of sex education, when I was at school, there was sex education but not anything substantial and i believe there has been more pressure on the government to make sure that more sex education is added into childrens curriculum, however it is the quality of this education that needs to be considered. If young individuals are made aware of the negative things such as STD's and the negative effects that pregnancy can do to a young individuals body then hopefully they would think twice about having careless sex. Also I think because sex is an issue that is not talked about that freely and that teenagers are in a stage of their lives where they want to explore, they have a curiosity about it and often do not think about the consequences. Additionally teenage years are a stage of life where their peers mean a lot to them and young individuals often feel like they have to show off or do certain things to fit in, and sex may be one of these things that teenagers do to fit in and feel more adult, especially if everyone else around them is doing it too.
Saying all of this though i do not necessarily think that teenage pregnancy is a negative thing. In an ideal world i believe that being in a financially stable situation, having the support of your partner and family and being mature is the best situation to be in to be pregnant and have children but we do not live in an ideal world. There are plenty of good teenage mums out there. I think if a 15 year old girl say gets pregnant, they will have to grow up and take responsibility and there is no reason why they cannot be as good a mother as a 25 year old, it may be harder for them but i think it is unfair to say older people will be better parents. But there are a lot of people that believe teenagers are still children themselves so are not mature enough to cope and i think there is always going to be this disagreement between people.
Worst Rates in UK
To start off my rant, this is pretty shocking. But, I do not completely disagree.
In May 2008, my sister fell pregnant at 15. My mum and dad are divorced and of course we gave her as much help as she could. She decided to go ahead and have the baby which was her own choice. Now, more than a year later she has her own house and the baby is well looked after!
I was surprised at the range of services available for Teenage Pregnancies and I think this is a great idea. School can also be helpful at times but, when my sister fell pregnant in year 10, she only ended up going back to do her GCSE examinations in year 11 because it got to complicated with all the risk assessments etc..
The local council provided a one to one worker who would give support, guidance and attendant any meetings that she was required to be there. There is also a scheme at the 'Children's Centre' which is sponsored by Sure Start which helps young mothers and fathers to interact and share their problems with others there. Also, the local council came in very handy with the housing situation and it took no longer than 2 months to get a decent house.
I know teenagers these days need to take more care and be sensible. But, there is a lot of free contraception available at clinics and drop in centres and there should be no excuses unless it was planned. Sometimes, I understand there can be accidents which can be hard to control therefore this is why I have quite a positive opinion on this.
I don't really like how some people are stuck in their beliefs about this because situations have changed and although sex is meant to be something people enjoy, why can't the younger generation enjoy this too. Providing they are over sixteen.
I went to a catholic school so I do realise a lot of Catholics and also Christians are against pre marital sex but they are also against abortion. I don't know what I would do in the situation and I can understand how it would all become a bit overwhelming for the teen.
I do think that there should be a lot more lessons of sex education taught in schools these days, it seems to have been pulled of the curriculum for an unknown reason. I know some people may view this differently than I do, but when you are in the situation or you are close to someone in the situation your views change.
I don't like the fact that if a teenager gets pregnant they are automatically given a name for themselves. I think this is completely wrong and some teens cope better than adults do. Do not get me wrong adults are a lot more mature but I do think we should give a bit of ease to the younger generation especially if they are prepared to take on the commitment for life.
I think we should try to reduce rates, due to the simple fact that the world is going to be overcrowded and teens should be able to live their lives before. To do this I think parents should speak more openly with their children about this subject and also schools should make teens more knowledgeable of certain situations.
You may completely disagree with me but this is just my opinion!
Thanks for reading this, I hope people can see where I am coming from.
Britain has the worst rate of teen pregnancy in western Europe. In fact, while pregnancy rates have dropped in the rest of Europe, they continue to rise in Britain, despite the governments efforts to reduce it.
I think that a lot of people have strong feelings about teenage mothers. There are those who believe that it is wrong to judge, and who believe that a teenage mother will be an excellent mum, and certainly no less able than a woman in their 20s or 30s. And given that a couple of generations ago, women were getting married and having families in their teens as the norm, this could well be true.
Others argue that the more life experience that a woman has, the more equipped they will be for motherhood. Again, a valid argument.
Then of course, there are those who get pregnant in order to escape a bad home situation, or for attention, simply to have someone to love and be loved by or even in order to be granted a council house. Unfortunately, this does happen and I think that most of us would agree that those are the wrong reasons to bring a life into the world.
I do think it is important to be able to recognise the difference between the teenager who gets pregnant in order to get a council house, and those who have wanted a baby for some time, and become pregnant because they feel that the time is genuinely right, even if they are young. There are of course millions of young parents who do have babies in their teens and go on to become excellent parents. And of course, people always say that having a baby makes you grow up fast - I suppose that could be true whether you are in your teens or your 40s.
It is easy for society to judge young mums, at the end of the day, maybe if people were less judgemental in the first place, that small proportion of teens who do it for the wrong reasons may be deterred. And by the time the baby is born, what is the good of judging anyway, we should be offering support (as to any new mother) to help them be the best parents they can be.
I have mixed feelings about teenage pregnancy, does it make more sense to wait until you have experienced life, been a bit selfish and put yourself first before having to make someone else your number one priority? Perhaps. But then again, what if you don't want to do that? What if you have been longing to share your life with a child for years and are sure that you are totally ready to make that commitment for the rest of your life? And while money isn't everything, babies are expensive and financial stability is important.
I guess that I would just urge anyone who has a baby to be 100% sure that it is what they want, and that they fully understand that it is a lifetime commitment which will always have to be put first.
Teenage pregnancies is something which I have strong views about. I hate when teenagers get judged when they are pregnant, especially when the people judging them don't know them.
I was a teenage mum. I was 16 when I became pregnant and 17 when I had my son. I will admit that it was hard. No one tells you about how hard it is to raise a child, especially on your own. Even though I am a young mum, I am not a bad mum who lives off benefits. I attended college and now I have a job. I do not get help from anyone and I do not receive any sort of housing benefits etc. My child is also well spoken, very polite and well dressed.
I do feel sorry for any girls who are young and get themselves pregnant. I just wish they would live their lives and listen to the people who have been in the situation. It is not easy and you have to grow up so fast. I would not change my life now but if I had the choice to go back in time I would have waited until I was older. I do not get the chance to go on holiday with my friends or go out clubbing whenever I want. I am a mother now and I have bills to pay.
I would advise young girls to go out and have a good time. Live your life and have fun. Babies when you are 30 years old will be so much more beneficially. You will hopefully be with someone you love and will take care of you and your baby.
The UK has amongst the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world, and certainly in Europe.
I will say from the onset, that a fair percentage, are pure accidents, a percentage are indeed from a lack of education, a percentage would naturally happen anyway, and anywhere in the world.
Also a fair percentage of parents, probably the majority do a great job at raising their children, and take great pride in teaching them moral values.
That is why despite this shocking statistic, the UK is one of the safest most democratic, and greatest places to live on the planet. Boasting a great welfare system, and a modern FREE public health provision, which is despite our complaining, the envy of the world.
However amongst this greatness, there has developed a chunk of society, an underclass that is spiralling out of control. When I say underclass, it has no reference to the old fashioned class system, of working, middle and upper. That is now defunct. 98% of us are now middle class, the hard working people of the past, who were called working class, have now been absorbed into the middle classes.
Instead we have a detached upper classes making the laws and in the judiciary, a further minority from the 60', with a view of the real world through rose coloured glasses where everything is wonderful, and everyone has a good side, and then the remainder are the minority the moral underclass, which are the Chavs, living lawlessly, and only to benefit themselves, treating their children like tools, to gain more for doing nothing.
Unfortunately they are breeding fast, and they are the remaining percentage in our equation which has helped push the UK to the forefront of teenage pregnancy figures.
Yet in my opinion the aforementioned law makers are continually barking up the wrong tree, and speaking of extra education for all, meanwhile the doo-gooders and liberals are running around like headless chickens thinking and insisting upon new ways of how we can help and support them. A bit like firefighters trying to extinguish flames with petrol.
"We must house them, we must pay them, benefits. It is their rights", they shout. Regardless of circumstances. In fact a lucrative reward scheme is in place for young people who have not been careful, quite wilfully. Laws which are designed to aid the needy, have become the sole domain for the greedy.
Far from a lack of education, the youngsters of today are far more educated and savvy on sex, and life in general. Probably more-so than most of the politicians and do-gooders we have in charge, making the laws.
Most of whom are living in their detached homes down tree lined avenues, completely unaware of the hood wearing, Staffy owning, tracksuit wearing louts roaming the streets up and down the country. Education is not part of, and has never been the solution to any such of the problems, like these.
Are we to believe that Jill got pregnant because she didn't know about safe sex. Yeah right!
Jill got pregnant because she didn't care either way, and like a fair chunk of teenagers, Jill was often allowed to stay out to all hours, Jill may have got caught drinking or taking drugs, but her parents attitude was just to shrug their shoulders and say its part of growing up. Jill got caught shoplifting, but the Police took no action, because they were busy producing statistics showing the fall in crime.
Jill doesn't have a family to speak off, nor any role models, Jill is a ferral child roaming the streets because her family don't care. Jill could easily have been named Chardonnay. The wine drank down the park, on the night of conception, by her then teenage mother.
Jack didn't use a condom because he didn't know about the risks, or wasn't educated enough to make a right decision. Do you think? Yeah right!
Jack like most other teenagers didn't use a condom because he doesn't have to care about consequences, there are no consequence to any actions anymore, not for todays ferral teenagers. It almost a lawless state for the average teenager.
Teenage boys can run around into the early hours of the morning, can drink alochol to excess, bring girlfriends to their homes and sleep with them in the same house as their parents. Ahh its ok, he will only do it somewhere else they argue. He will only drink outside. Oh it's how it is these days.
The sad fact of the matter is, there is undoubtedly a deep rooted moral decline in the UK amongst a section of society, there are scores of parents who don't care what their children are doing and have lost control of a sense of purpose. Many children and in fact teenagers have almost become the ultimate accessory to some, they have them, use them to gain access to the welfare system, then push them away in their teens, to fend for themselves.
To fix this problem, in my opinion. You have to address the cause, and the cause is not the teenagers, but the parents.
There should be more tax breaks for families who are earning money, and taking part in family friendly activities. Married couples should get tax relief, as should people paying Mortgages.
Controversial, but the emphasis should shift towards helping the majority instead of assisting and encouraging, the minority to breed.