Becoming pregnant as a teenager or young woman, no matter your age, can be overwhelming – especially if you were not planning for it. Maybe you had other plans– to finish high school or to go to college, to get married, to establish a career. What will happen now? Will you have to change your plans or make new ones? How will having a baby, or becoming a parent, affect your life?
As scared or confused as you may feel in this moment, know that an unplanned pregnancy is not an end-all. Having a baby will in fact change your life, but you can always make these changes positive ones. Adoptions With Love can help. If you are not ready to become a parent, and still want to make a positive plan for your baby, you can always call us for unplanned pregnancy or adoption support.
If you are unsure if you would like to parent your baby or make an adoption plan, we can also help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision for you and your child, free of pressure.
Part of the process in evaluating your options is considering how each one will impact your life. If you choose to raise your child, how will it affect your education or your financial situation? If you choose to become a single parent, what effect will that have on your child? If you choose to make an adoption plan, how will a closed or open adoption affect your child? Considering all potential effects of teenage pregnancy and parenthood can help you make the most conscious decision for you and your baby.
As a private adoption agency that has 30 years of experience, Adoptions With Love has helped many young women in situations such as yours. While you may feel like the only teen in the world right now carrying a baby, know that you are not alone. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 young women get pregnant before their 20th birthday.
We also have seen and come to understand that pregnancy affects a young woman in all aspects of life – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and socially. Before you make a decision regarding your baby, we hope you will consider the effects and outcome that your decision may bring. To help, we have outlined some of the main effects of teenage pregnancy below.
Even though you are young, you can have a normal, safe pregnancy if you take the right steps to ensure your baby’s health. This means keeping healthy before you become pregnant, going to the doctor for prenatal visits, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and eating healthy food.
If you have been hiding your pregnancy or delaying finding proper care, however, you may be putting your baby at risk. This is very common among pregnant teens. One-third of expectant teenagers do not receive prenatal care during their first trimester, putting their babies at great risk of low birth weight and health problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, and even death. A lack of prenatal care can also cause complications in labor.
Effects on Education
Most teen mothers drop out of school to raise their children. If you choose to raise your child, you may be left putting your education or career goals on hold. Your plans of going to college may have to wait until your child is grown. Working a full-time job will need to be balanced with being a full-time parent.
Only 40 percent of teen moms who parent their children end up finishing high school. Over 60 percent of young women who have children in college do not complete their degree.
Right now, you may be in a relationship where the father of your baby is supportive of your pregnancy. On the other hand, you may be in a situation where you are not in a relationship with the father. Every situation is different, but in many cases today, teenage parents do not marry after having children. Only 2 in 10 teen fathers eventually marry the mothers of their children. Those that do, often divorce within ten years.
Not only are teen fathers usually absent in their baby’s life, but they also typically pay less than $800.00 annually in child support (if they pay child support at all). This lack of financial support is one more thing to consider when thinking about the effects of teenage pregnancy.
Most teenage parents today are poor. Two-thirds of young, unmarried mothers live below the poverty line. Most receive some sort of public assistance (such as food stamps) during the first year of their child’s life.
The problem is, the cost of raising a child is high. Diapers alone can cost up to $1,000 a year, and food stamps do not cover diapers. A year of full-time daycare can cost over $11,000. If you are going to school or working, who will take care of your child? Some teens get help from their families; some do not. You may have someone you love who is willing to contribute. If so, ask yourself and your loved one how long this support will last.
The most important aspect of all to consider is: how will your decision affect your child? How will being a teen parent affect your child? How will being a single mother affect your child? How will adoption affect your child?
If you are considering parenthood, ask yourself where your child will live and if he or she will be safe and secure in that environment. Ask yourself if you can offer your child a good education. Ask yourself if you are willing to be fully flexible and make sacrifices for your child.
If you truly believe you can love, care for, and fulfill the needs of your child, then you may be ready to become a parent. Remember that parenthood is a permanent choice; it means choosing to raise a child for the next 18+ years of your and your child’s life. If you feel that you are not ready for the challenges or the effects that parenthood can bring, then you may consider alternative options such as adoption, which has shown to have positive effects on children over time.
Only you can make this decision, but we can help you along the way. To learn more about the effects of teenage pregnancy or making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or confidentially text us at 617-777-0072.