A Closer Look at the Problem of Teenage Pregnancy

By Wendy Garcia
July 5, 2013
Commentary

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The belly by koalie, CC-BY-2.0.

LOS ANGELES, Ca. – Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem for our generation. A lot of teens are getting pregnant at an early age — the Los Angeles Times reports that around 400,000 American teens age 15-19 have babies every year — which can interrupt a girl’s plans and school attendance. It can also cause the teen stress and possibly depression, especially when thinking about how to break the news to everyone who cares about her.

Rather than thinking about what she was going to do after school and going out to have fun, the teen instead must worry about taking care of the baby and whether she can make enough money to support her child. Most teenage pregnancy is unplanned, which can cause major problems for the teen and the baby if she is not ready to become a parent.

Some teens do not know how to take care of themselves yet and still need their parents’ help. If a teen is not ready for a child, the mother may not know how to care for the baby, which can result in bad parenting.

At school I see many pregnant teens and think to myself, “Poor girl, she doesn’t know what she just got herself into.” Pregnancy can affect a teen most negatively when her peers make fun of or talk bad about her. This could lead to depression, or she might try to hurt herself or her baby. She might also think that no one will help her.

The teen might be scared, but if she is willing to get help, she can become informed about the baby’s health and how to best take care of the baby.

Teenage pregnancy is a serious issue, but a teen mom who may not seem mature can learn how to take care of and support her child, especially with the guidance of an adult or an organization, such as Project NATEEN at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, designed to help young parents take care of their babies — and themselves.

Editor’s note: This story is one of seven pieces written by students from Santee Education Complex as part of a joint project between the high school and the Daniel Pearl Foundation.