” I got pregnant in February of ’98 so when summer arrived and all of my friends were at the beach in bikinis I was shopping for maternity clothes.”
An alarming number of children are having children of their own. Did you know:
“Each year, almost one million teenage women – 11% of all women aged 15 – 19 and 20% of those who have had sexual intercourse – become pregnant.
• 78% of teen pregnancies are unplanned, accounting for about 1/4 of all accidental pregnancies annually.
• 6 in 10 teen pregnancies occur among 18-19 year-olds.
• Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countriestwice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and nine times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.
• Among sexually experienced teens, about 8% of 14-year-olds, 18% of 1517-year-olds and 22% of 1819-year-olds become pregnant each year.”
Source: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.
“I thought getting pregnant and having a kid would be so easy but it’s not, even if you do have help. I love my daughter with all of my heart but I wish I would have known it was going to be this hard!”
Lisa’s words are those of a young woman who has missed her childhood. The Family Corner spoke with Lisa and asked her about her experience. She was kind enough to share with us.
Q: Was your pregnancy planned?
A: This is kind of hard to answer, yes and no. What I mean is the baby’s father and I talked about me getting pregnant and made plans but nothing ever happened so we thought maybe one of us couldn’t have kids. So we just never really thought about it again until I found out I was pregnant.
Q: Did the father stick around?
A: Yes he did. I got really lucky and he stuck around and we got married.
Q: How did your parents react?
A: Well, my mother came in my room one morning and started questioning me about why I was always feeling sick and lying down. She brought up the idea that I might be pregnant. So I took a pregnancy test and it came up positive. I called my mom at work and told her. Then I went to a clinic and got tested and told my mom I was pregnant. She wasn’t really mad; I think she already knew. When she told my dad he didn’t talk to me for about a week.
Q: How did the pregnancy effect your education and other current plans?
A: I got pregnant in the middle of my freshman year. I finished school that year, which was tough because I always felt sick, hungry and moody and none of the teachers seemed to understand. When the next year rolled around I was still pregnant. I didn’t go back to school, I kept finding different reasons for putting off going to school. Then when I had my daughter I could no longer go to school because did not have a baby sitter. I don’t live close to a school with a daycare so I am now going to go for my G.E.D.
Q: What frustrations did you encounter after birth?
A: It was hard for me to all of a sudden adjust to waking up at night to a screaming baby and devoting all of my time to her. Instead of having time for myself. It was also hard knowing that I was young and I should be going out with my friends. That no longer was an option.
Q: How did your friends react?
A: Everyone had told me that I would know who my true friends were when I had a baby. I kept saying “No, I will still have all of my friends.” But they were right. When I got pregnant it wasn’t too bad. I still had all of my friends, I just didn’t see them as much because they went partying or whatever and I couldn’t go. Then when my daughter was born all of my friends seemed to disappear. Even my best friend doesn’t seem to call me or even want to visit anymore.
Q: Do you have any regrets?
A: I don’t regret having my daughter, but I wish I would have considered things more beforehand. I was so careless. I had no idea what I was getting into, even though I thought I did.
Q: Was abortion or adoption ever an option/issue?
A: No, I don’t believe in abortion and I felt my baby was my responsibility, not for me to carry it and then pawn it off on someone else.
Lisa was 16 years old when she found out she was pregnant. Her daughter was born after Lisa turned 17. She wanted to let other teens know “just how it is” when a baby comes into your life.
“My day is pretty much taken up. If you think that once you have a baby, that your life will be great and all fun and games, you should think again. I’m here to tell you from first hand experience that it’s not going to be anything like what you think.
The pregnancy was a very hard thing to go through. I was just a kid, my body was not finished growing yet. Once I gave birth to my daughter things really changed. You really must be prepared to get less sleep, have less time alone and even if you get lucky to get the father to stick around (like I did) it will still be a full time job. Once she starts crying, the first thing everyone will say is go to mama.
“When they are newborn they cry all night. Then comes the fun part…they start teething! Then nothing makes them happy and they cry all the time. Think twice…”
About the Author: Amanda Formaro is the mother of four children. She and her husband live in Wisconsin. Amanda recently said about The Family Corner “This site started as a small personal website and has grown way beyond what I had ever imagined! It is such a passion for me. I love it when someone writes to me and tells me how much they enjoyed their visit.”