Babies Having Babies: Preventing teen pregnancy for Girls Like Me

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Doing our part, we are featuring a guest blogger to spread awareness and prevent more Girls Like Me from entering motherhood too soon.
Teen Pregnancy: Decisions, decisions and your support system
Becoming a parent, exploring adoption, or thinking about abortion are all issues of complexity for adults. Imagine having to make one of these decisions as a teen; it becomes even more frightening and complex. That was and is my reality still today. Growing up in Gary, Ind., girls like me didn’t get stimulated by schoolwork. As a matter of fact, I was an ‘A’ student. So in the midst of “kickin’ it” and doing what I viewed as no big deal, I found myself in a tight situation. Pregnant at 16.

While teen pregnancy has decreased in the past decade, the numbers haven’t dropped enough. Recent research shows that 39.1 of every 1,000 births are to that of teen mothers. Additionally, three out of 10 young women become parents before the age of 20. I became a part of that statistic several years ago when I found myself a teen mother twice by the age of 18. At that age, one should be focused on furthering their education, finding employment and gaining the tools necessary in order to function in the real world. National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month focuses on the need to continue to increase the awareness of both teens and adults during the month of May.

One of the most vital parts to increasing awareness is to offer teens real-life examples and experiences such as mine to nurture the thought process of understanding that SEX HAS CONSEQUENCES! While pregnancy is not the only risk associated with having sex, it is one that I have learned has one of the greatest impacts. Becoming a parent at 16 left me with an array of decisions to make. For starters, how would I be able to provide for myself and a child at such a young age? As a teen parent I had to learn through trial and error. One of the most important elements in being able to have a chance at successful parenting is your support system. A strong support system can better equip you in making the right decisions. At the time, I had a weak support system. My parents did very little to help me. However that lack of strength in my support system motivated me to do more to help myself and my child.

Times change the same as societal views. It’s no longer taboo to be openly sexually active. Teens are usually misinformed by friends, television, music and so on about sex or just don’t take time to acknowledge the repercussions that exist. Dealing with the decisions that arise if one becomes pregnant requires a level of maturity, so does the choice to have sex. But why create such a burden for yourself when there are so many alternatives? It is unrealistic to believe that teens aren’t having sex, hence the need to continue to promote and strengthen awareness among our teens. I lacked the maturity level, the education, and resources to effectively handle the situation. With that being said however, once it’s done, it’s done. You have little time to think of what to do and explore options. The bottom line is that the choice to engage in sex is a decision that has to be made with a level of maturity. As a teen you usually are not equipped to make the right decision. My advice to all teens is to educate, educate and, educate some more. Educate yourself and your peers. Be your own person. Never do things because your friends are doing it or out of fear of being rejected by your peers. Succumbing to peer pressure is for lames. Remember, only you will be left with the consequences. Familiarize yourself with healthy alternatives to sex. If you decide that you are ready to have sex, make sure that you educate yourself on ways to protect yourself. And in the event that you are faced with becoming a young parent, use that as tool to motivate yourself to succeed and build a better future for your child. That’s what I did. I love being a parent; it is one of the primary motivators for me becoming a better person every day. Life’s challenges and experiences help shape the individuals we become.

Don’t just increase teen pregnancy prevention in the month of May, increase awareness every day.
PhatPhat writes on her blog, phatphatmemoirs.blogspot.com, regularly and continues to learn and live each day while sharing her experiences to help us all become better people. The PhatPhat Memoirs book series will be published Fall 2012.
You can do your part to help in the cycle of teen pregnancy.

2 responses

  1. One of my children had a baby while in high school. It was quite an ordeal when I had to explain to my youngest child that her older sister was pregnant, especially when I brought them up knowing that sex was after marriage. We helped her with this baby, and now my grandchild is sixteen yrs old and so beautiful. We are vey close, but I would still advise that sex should come after marriage. It is hard today with all the advertisments showing sex on first dates. I am a mother, grandmother, and a paramedic. But I also write books and I wrote a book on that subject. It is sort of about my daughter, but I changed some things making it fiction, but with the real facts of how hard it is to be pregnant in school, the decisions that one has to make, like keeping the baby or giving up for adoption, and how to take care of the child while finishing school. My book is called The Silver Locket by Marie Fostino if you are interested. I would like to encourage everyone to visit StayTeen.org: a website dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy.

  2. Check out Teenage Pregancy Novel -The Fat Girl Bus by Byron Taylor, Sr. (Released in December, 2012)

    From The Author:
    The Fat Girl Bus is an interwoven fictional story with many
    twists and turns and is about the trials, triumphs and life altering events experienced by several pregnant young women.
    We all know that teen pregnancy is a global issue that has no ethnic, racial or economic boundaries. It can be
    an extremely traumatic experience and a very difficult situation to cope with. I know from personal experience.

    I feel certain that teens facing unplanned pregnancies can relate to one or more characters in The Fat Girl Bus. They are enrolled in an Alternative School for Educational Advancement (ASFEA) program which is facing closure because the school administrators must make budget cuts and think the program is no longer
    worth funding. Although their backgrounds; academic achievements and other accomplishments vary, being pregnant is their common bond. It is my deepest hope that The Fat Girl Bus will warm hearts, inspire and help persons dealing with teen pregnancy, whether current or past concerns, to resolve any pending or suppressed feelings.

    You may preview the book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/147970217X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_FpkXqb0PCR338

    I’ve also attached the link to PR release http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/1/prweb10314280.htm.

    For more info, contact me: byrontaylorsr@ymail.com You may also befriend me on Facebook and like The Fat Girl Bus Page as well as follow me on Twitter.

    I welcome your comments. Thank you for your consideration.

    Byron Taylor, Sr.

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