In today’s society, it is not unusual to correlate teenage pregnancy with a form of moral taboo. Though humanity does not embrace this issue, amongst 15 to 17-year-olds, the pregnancy rate is 38.7 per 1,000 girls as of 2017. Within the United States alone, the same age group contributes 11% of births total. When teenagers become sexually active, the risk of unwanted pregnancy becomes increasingly present. An individual who conceives a child before adulthood will ultimately be burdened with tasks and stresses most adults struggle with before escaping childhood themselves. By creating emotional and bodily pain, damaging relationships, and altered educational and or occupational agendas, teenage pregnancy proves to disrupt the life and health of a young adult.
A study made by Barbara Wolfe and Maria Perozek shows that teens bearing children remarkably affected, and modified, the ratio of children who were said to be in excellent health and the proportions with acute or persistent conditions. However, mother and baby alike are going to experience medical difficulties during pregnancy and the birthing process. While not all teenage mothers are affected by mental or emotional health changes, many and close to most are. Adolescent parenthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes for young mothers, including mental health problems such as depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Hodgkinson et al.)
During the pregnancy and often times after, young moms are faced with stress and this disrupts the stability of one’s mental state. Though the care of an infant may exacerbate psychological anguish, mental and emotional health can be challenged by the environments that contain your life. Beyond the pain found in the mind, there is also pain present in the body. Pregnant teenagers are more likely to develop preeclampsia, anemia, excessive internal and external bleeding during labor; premature delivery also occurs regularly. Becoming a teen parent also puts a strain on relationships and social standings. According to Kristin Luker, author of Dubious Concepts: The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy, The idea that a pregnant unmarried woman would show herself not only in public but in schools, where the minds of innocent children could be corrupted was more unthinkable still. (Luker 2).
For fear of humiliation, scrutiny, and or social ridicule, finding pregnant teens in public let alone the classroom becomes increasingly difficult. Though nearly 80% of teenage parents have a partner who was five years within their own age (Luker 2)., teen dads are seemingly invisible to the public eye. Where families and friends are concerned, there are definite changes in these bonds and relationships. Reactions to the pregnancy of a teen may vary depending on the structure and stability of a family or friendship. Having a child in teenage years is socially frowned upon and considered morally wrong, and as a result, it is not uncommon for relatives or friends to experience a falling out. Even after delivery, parenthood is a struggle and dictates most of the decisions made from that moment on. Therefore, whether it was intentional or not, becoming a teen parent takes focus from a social life to focus on a child. Arthur Campbell once famously wrote, the girl who has an illegitimate child at the age of 16 suddenly has 90% of her life script written for her. (Hoffman 1.)
Though this is true, even if the mother is 14, 16 or 18, there will be many hardships. Once there is a child present the equation for life plans changes completely. Plans for an educational and or occupational future are morphed into plans for keeping the child safe and well cared for. Director of HEW, Joseph Califano is quoted saying, Teenage pregnancy-the entry into parenthood of individuals who barely are beyond childhood themselves- is one of the most serious and complex problems facing the nation today?The birth of a child can usher in a dismissal future of unemployment, poverty, family breakdown, emotional stress, dependency on public agencies and health problems of mother and child. (Luker 73). Teenage pregnancy is indeed a serious yet complex issue that leaves many unestablished children, in a sense, with several difficulties that go beyond wellness and health.
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