Many young women want to have children someday. But they want to have children when they are ready and are able to be the best parents they can be. Being a parent and raising a baby is a huge commitment, emotionally and financially. Figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life is tough enough. Having a baby can majorly complicate things; like finishing school, saving up money, relationships, and more. Yet, millions of young people face unplanned pregnancies every year. In fact, half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.
Having a baby often leads to a lot of problems in a relationship—it usually won’t strengthen a relationship and doesn’t necessarily lead to marriage. In fact, 8 out of 10 fathers never marry the teen mothers of their babies. Raising a child is hard. Raising a child alone is even harder. Being a teenager is a great time for growing up, getting an education, meeting new people, and having fun–not pregnancy and parenthood. Most teen moms say they love their children but wish they’d waited 10 years to have them. Babies are wonderful, but they need and deserve adult parents who are willing and able to do the demanding and lifelong work of raising a child. Babies require unconditional love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They give a lot of love back, but they depend on you for everything.
• Parenthood is the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school; after all, it’s really difficult to juggle homework and a baby. Less than half of teen mothers ever graduate from high school and fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30.
• Children of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents—they are 50% more likely to repeat a grade, are less likely to complete high school than the children of older mothers, and have lower performance on standardized tests.
• About one-fourth of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of the first birth—which can further delay their ability to finish school or keep a job.
For more information and resources for pregnant and parenting students, please visit the National Women’s Law Center.
• You may think having a baby will make your relationship even stronger, but the fact is 8 out of 10 fathers don’t marry the mother of their child. It’s also true that these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support, often because they are poor themselves and can’t afford legitimate support payments.
• More than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager. In fact, two-thirds of families begun by a young, unmarried mother are poor.
• Children who live apart from their fathers are 5 times more likely to be poor than children with both parents at home.
• The daughters of young teen mothers are 3 times more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
• The sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison.
If you are a teen parent or facing a pregnancy, there are many resources and organizations that can offer you guidance and assistance.
Need more info? Hotlines, organizations and resources here: www.itsyoursexlife.com/resources