“I am pregnant!”These are three words that have become a nightmare for every young man, young lady and any parents today. It is so scary that according to an article in the in the National Mirror in the recent past, young people prefer to get HIV than be pregnant, or find oneself in a situation where you are dealing with pregnancy. Most parents freak out, mothers torn between yelling and caring, fathers clam up and life goes on as if nothing happened, boyfriends deny and walk out on the lady, friends sympathize a little, laugh a little, give you some advice and the confused lady seeks to procure an abortion. Of course there are the great mothers, fathers, boyfriends and friends, who will be very excited for her and promise to support her all the way.
Most parents have a silent hero worship for their children and see them as angels. They never imagine that they could be sexually active before they marry them off. Most fathers actually dream of giving their daughters to a certain man XY in a white gown with all the essence that that signifies. They want their children to study, have graduated college and have a stable job among others before they can think of anything else. So for most pre-married children to be parents is a death of this dream. On the other hand, both the boy and the girl have dreams of their own. They want to go to college, graduate, get great jobs, drive big cars, marry a beautiful husband or wife, have great kids, or become career women are men; in short, enjoy life. Amidst all this, this child comes along, and it is time to make a very important decision; as the lady, the parent or the boyfriend, either to keep the child and bring it up, abort it, or give it up for adoption.
According to Pro-life Talking Points, statistics in America show that most pregnancies, approximately 27%, are terminated due to persons being not ready for a child. This percentage combined with 15% for those who do not want to be single mothers, 12% who believe they are not mature enough to be mothers, 11% who pregnancy would interfere with their education, 2% who do not want their loved ones to know they are sexually active, 2% whose boyfriends want them to abort and 1% whose parents advice them to abort lead to cumulative percentage of 70%. 70% are social reasons! We must be wondering, where is the argument against rape, incest and health complications, physical complications account for 5% of abortions while rape and incest account for only 1%.
Why these social factors that account for so much deaths? They say the psychology behind momentum is fear or greed, or something close to that. My perception to the above statistics is the fear of perceived lack of success once the child comes to this world. The driver to this fear is mothers are less likely to complete high school, or college, less likely to get married, and more likely to go on welfare than their peers. The odds are stacked against the children of such parents from the minute they are born in that their health is poorer, their cognitive development is slower, and their behavioral problems are worse than their peers. Such pregnancy robs the mothers of their childhood and youth and their futures as productive adults. It also robs their children, and their children’s children. But seriously, is pregnancy really a death sentence to anyone’s future, whether social, academic or otherwise?
According to Aphrodite- Womens’ health, an online magazine, the assumption that teenage girls who have babies face a dismal future seems to be incorrect (Professor Lee SmithBattle). Professor Lee SmithBattle has been researching teen mothers for 17 years and found that, contrary to popular belief, early motherhood has not ruined their lives. SmithBattle has followed the lives of the teen mothers and their families starting when their babies were less than a year old. In this new study, appearing in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, she interviewed former teen moms who are now in their 30s to understand how becoming a mom as a teen affected their lives. She found that teen mothers fare better over time than generally assumed. “Earlier studies exaggerated the long-term negative consequences associated with teenage mothering,” said SmithBattle. Some of the women in their early 30s found great meaning in parenting, marriage and their work. Her conclusion was some women “first find their voices in loving and caring for a child. Mothering placed them on a new path and gave new meaning and depth to their lives. In spite of adverse childhood experiences, mothering for some young mothers provides a corrective or turning-point experience.
Further to that, in the abstract to a paper titled “I Wanna Have a Good Future”: Teen Mothers’ Rise in Educational Aspirations, Competing Demands, and Limited School Support, Professor Lee SmithBattle explains that regardless of their school status prior to pregnancy, the anticipation of motherhood led teens to reevaluate their priorities and motivated them to remain in or return to school. The transformed meaning and significance of school in the lives of these teens was apparent in improved grades, in their resolve to graduate, and in their new interest in attending college. Their renewed commitment to school was often thwarted by competing work demands, family responsibilities, and school policies and practices. These findings suggest that professionals are missing a critical opportunity to promote teen mothers’ educational goals and their long-term success. This implies that, to these teens, the pregnancy was not the end of the road. They saw the extra motivation that comes with being a mother. They saw their needs to be a success so that their children will reap the benefits of this success. The child hence becomes their motivation not their hindrance. Neil, one of the successful young fathers who became a parent in his teen, in a story on http://www.thejitty.com/articles/teenage-pregnancy-neils-story, “I wouldn’t change her for anything as a total outcome she has put a positive effect on my life – even though it has been hard we are now a family.” Her, in this case, referring to Sophie, the daughter. It is explained in the blog that being a teenager at the time, Neil was used to going out every weekend but nowadays he rarely goes out.
Success has been reported from young moms who have taken care of their babes from their teenage years. In forbes.com, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, both talented teen stars were raised by teen mothers, of 18 [Pattie Lynn Mallette- Justin Bieber’s mom] and 16 [Mandy Teefey- Selena Gomez’s mom] years respectively. In such mothering, as it comes out in such a story, there can be positive results for both mother and child in term of mastering the arts of resilience, initiative and perseverance. One of the commenter’s of this article in the Forbes said, “As I watched the Bieber’s movie, I was taken by his mother and grandparents. How they made the hard choice and have loved and raised this boy and instilled their faith in him. These Moms are heroes! They chose life and gave their babies a chance at becoming talented young artists. I am sure as they look back at all of the sacrifices, they would say it was well worth it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…If they had aborted their babies, there would be no story!” Another story that may be highlighted as a success is that of the current president of the United States, Barrack Obama born in 1961 to an 18 year old anthropologist.
The toughest is the decision making stage. Once the decision is made, it is going for it with all the young prospective mother has. Some convincing may be necessary for those who will be there for her, not only to look at herself but to look at her child as well, to dream not just for her, but for her child as well, to live the moment not just for her, but her child too. To give this child a chance to come to this world and be, touch people’s lives, makes his/her own mistakes, dream his/her own dreams, live his/her life to the full, just like God when designed it for Him/her when He created that child. Each day is a will to survive even for everyone. It is probably twice as hard for a young mother since she has two lives to think about in addition to school, college and a future for both she and her child.
We all need support usually, in everything we say and do and mostly the decisions we make and actions that lead us to achieve our dreams and convincing a pregnant lady that her focus on her baby will lead her to success more that her peer is one such moment. She might not even need that information at that moment. When an unmarried lady tells a friend that she is pregnant, the first need is usually support, not brilliant words. According to netmums.com , the main thing that she needs is strength. Strength comes from those people she really cares about, or rather who really care for her. Parents, friends and baby daddy play a big role on whether she will stay on her feet or crumble at the weight. Knowing that she has the support of her family and friends will see her through the times ahead. The worst thing can be the criticism. She already has enough from herself and the society. She does not need some more especially from those close to her. In as much as the initial reaction is parents they will not support, research has shown that more often than not, parents are usually very supportive. That initial step of informing them is usually the hardest. It is usually advised to try asking a trusted aunt, older sibling, or family friend to be there for the discussion. Pregnant teens have reported often report that their parents were much more supportive than they had anticipated.
I have been through so many experiences in this life. We all have a story to tell, but one thing I know is, every experience was worth the moment in which it occurred. I was being molded and if you subtract any of those, then I wouldn’t be me. These experiences were shaped by the presence of people. People who hurt, people who criticized, and discouraged, and made one feel worthless; on the other hand there were many other people, who encouraged, who made each dawn worth rising to, who made life worth living, who clothed my face with a smile, who by their being, I am. If all those I have interacted with never saw the face of this earth, then I wouldn’t be me. I have learnt the lesson, that, we do not have to do much in this world to make a difference. Just by being is enough. Then it makes me understand whoever wrote that just to be is a blessing. We may be the kind of people who are hurdles on the paths, but we ought to remember that without the jagged edge and steep cliff along the course of a river, a waterfall wouldn’t be so magnificent. Each life in this world has meaning. Just like He who authored that life said, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I consecrated you”, each life is indeed consecrated. This stage in this mothers life, or to be precise, mother-to-be was meant to be for some reason. It is that crucial time to, by being there, demonstrate to the mother that, it is not the end of the road to her success. It is just a twist that adds flavor and meaning, a reason to believe!