Teenage pregnancy has been around since at least the colonial times. Yet, during the earlier part of history it was okay for adolescent girls to become pregnant; as long as they were married before the baby was born. Up until after World War II, young girls would marry by the time they were 14 or 15, and since there was no real form of contraception they would be pregnant shortly after. By the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s birth control was more reliable and more young people decided to delay marriage or not to get married at all. Which then brought all the focus to the incidence of unwed mothers; by the 1990s almost 25 percent of all babies were born to unmarried women, teens gave birth to one-third of these infants.
When a teen becomes a parent, most times they don’t realize all of the challenges and problems that they will potentially face. Most young mothers are not developed enough to handle the emotional and physical stresses of parenting, especially when they are doing it alone. Depression is common among young mothers due to the overwhelming nature and high demand of care that an infant needs. Children born to teenage mothers are more at risk to be neglected or abused, and potentially become teenage parents themselves. Teen mothers are at a higher risk to have a miscarriage, premature birth, and having a baby of low birth weight or with birth defects. For children of teen mothers they run the risk of having under developed organ systems and difficulty controlling body temperature and blood sugar levels.
Being a young parent and trying to keep with all of the new found financial obligations becomes a new stress in life. Teen mothers have to figure out how they are going to finish high school, pay for child care, and all the baby essentials. If a girl does not finish high school she will have a difficult time in finding a good-paying job. The cost of baby accessories adds up quickly and when you add food, clothes, and diapers the number pretty much sky rockets. There are programs to help purchase formula, baby food, and juices but not everyone qualifies for them. Child care costs can average of a $100 to $700 a month and that all depends on what kind o child care provider you use.
Then there are the social issues that a young mother will find herself struggling to deal with. Young women will struggle with their own relationship with their parents, while the parents struggle with the concept of their own child becoming a parent. Teens will face the challenge of trying to regain the trust back of their parents and family. Also, they will have to try and find time to do the extra-curricular activities they use to enjoy before they became pregnant. Finding the time to go out, socialize, and act like a teenager becomes quite a bit more difficult when there is a child involved. Most single teen mothers have to give up their life as a teenager and focus on being a mother and a responsible adult. Dating becomes a whole new challenge that teen mothers never realized. Trying to find someone that is the same age as themselves and okay with them having a child is rare.
Furthermore, only 30 percent of teen mothers will graduate high school and half that will go on to continue their education. Most teen mothers will live in poverty, obtain welfare, and are more likely to have a second child within 24 months. Majority of teen parents do not stay together, and the mother usually ends up raising the child alone. However, there are some teenage parents that do stay together, get married, and enjoy a happy life together.
Even though most of society’s opinions could be correct, the majority of the problems the teenage parents face change with each circumstance. Teenage pregnancy has been declining in recent statistics, but it still is a recurrent problem regardless of the teen’s upbringing.