For Many, It’s Simply Reality….
Ok, before I invoke any outrage, let me start by saying that I am in no way promoting or condoning teenage pregnancy. I will go on record stating that we must find a way to lessen the statistics in this area.
However, as the title so aptly states, for many, it’s simply reality. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that:
“In 2011, a total of 329,797 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rate of 31.3 per 1,000 women in this age group. Half of teen mothers do not finish high school (CDC.gov, 2013).” Again, there needs to be better prevention to reduce these numbers. For now, however, let’s focus on sound advice for those that are in the situation.
Being a teen mother is not ideal. However, it is no reason to throw in the towel on life. Although pursuit will remain difficult (as with anything worth having in life), attaining all of your goals and being resilient during adversity is entirely possible.
Let’s use my mother, who had me at 17, as an example. At 16, she found out that she was pregnant. Like so many scared young girls, she hid this from her mother (for 6 months to be exact, but please note that this is not a good idea). She had me and went on to graduate high school, nursing school, and has had a lengthy career as a Registered Nurse.
Again, it is not easy and there will be many rough days and sacrifices. Some of my mother’s sacrifices included undesirable part time jobs, a limited social life, heavy dependence on others for assistance, etc. The point is that it can be done.
Here are some tips in persevering toward your aim:
(1) There are many RESOURCES available to you. Many will only inform you of forms of public assistance programs. However, there are mentorships, grants and scholarships, and area programs that are all there to assist you toward your goals. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with public assistance when long-term dependence is not developed. However, you should use any form of assistance as a catalyst toward your goal and not a crutch for lifetime need. Many available programs go unused yearly, so it is important that you ask around and use the internet to research information in your area. Girl, Amazing will also work to assist you with this. Just let us know what your need is and what you are looking for.
(2) Focus on your motivating factor. We all have something motivating us. It’s the reason we do anything. You will need to rely heavily on this and always keep sight of it, especially during some of the rougher days. My mother’s was me. She says that each time she felt like quitting her dead end job or dropping a class, she remembered me and all of her responsibilities. It didn’t feel like added pressure, but rather something she wanted to succeed for. Her simple statement to herself on the days she felt like staying in the bed instead of getting out and handling business was, “Let Your Feet Hit the Floor!” (FYI…at 32 years old, I still have nightmares and flashbacks of her yelling this to me on days I tried to sleep in and avoid activity).
(3) Talk to someone mature and knowledgeable. Oftentimes, out of embarrassment and shame, young girls will keep emotions bottled up and avoid asking the right questions. Finding a genuinely concerned and helpful individual will only help you thrive. This person may be someone that has gone through what you are experiencing. Her advice will be critical.
(4) No matter what problem comes your way or knocks you down, GET BACK UP AND GO GET IT! We all have our own obstacles to overcome. While none of our struggles are the same, the thing that defines us and helps shape us into WOMEN is how we all respond to trouble. Problems will never cease to exist. It’s a continual part of life. Life will undoubtedly go on whether you choose to fight or not. As young women, we are built to persevere nonetheless, so take the blow, grieve for a moment, then GET BACK UP AND GO GET IT!
Any other words of advice???