Unlike a few decades ago, the concept of pregnant teenagers doesn't cause a major shock to society today. The reactions gained by those who become pregnant in their teenage years are most certainly more positive and accepting.
Particularly in the early teenage years, the concept of becoming pregnant can be hugely disruptive to those involved, particularly the teen parents and those close to them. Unplanned pregnancies at any age can be an incredible shock as the birth of a new child brings with it responsibility not experienced at any other time of life.
For those who become pregnant toward the end of their teens, the pregnancy may not pose such a disruption to education, but may cause a greater disruption to friendships and social lives, which can lead to social isolation in some cases.
Fortunately, services for pregnant teenagers are better than they have ever been. Although the pregnancy journey is no different from a physical perspective, emotionally there is likely to be a greater upheaval due to issues with acceptance, life changes and the responsibility that parenthood brings with it. It is always comforting to know that even with unwanted pregnancies, there are choices and appropriate teenage support services available.
Life Changes for Pregnant Teenagers
Becoming a parent at any age brings along a totally different way of life. For those in stable relationships and at an age where a pregnancy will pose no disruption or issues, lifestyles can be easily adapted. As a couple, it is possible to adjust to the impending birth of a new life.
For teenagers who become pregnant, not only is the pregnancy itself a profound shock, but also the inevitability that life will never be the same again can be difficult for many to accept. It is true that from conception life does change and the following things need to be taken into consideration:
- Education - most schools are able to accommodate teenagers who are pregnant and the issues that relate to teens getting behind with schoolwork or abandoning their education entirely.
- Social networking - despite its greater acceptance, teenage pregnancy can pose problems within peer groups. Some face isolation from friends, whereas others discover a greater support when going through such a life-changing event. Whatever the reaction, teenage moms and dads naturally have to take a step back from the 'normal' level of socializing and this can take years to regain.
- Physical change - there is no avoiding the physical changes that come with a growing pregnancy. Although fully educated and prepared for this, many teenage moms struggle to cope with the physical changes that come about both during and after the pregnancy. When embarking on a pregnancy, a girl effectively becomes a woman and is therefore required to accept all that comes with that.
- Relationships - not all teenage moms remain with the father, in fact only a small percentage of teen couples remain together after the birth of the child. Teen moms may experience issues in forming relationships with the opposite sex due to the perceived burden that males may see when they embark on a relationship with a single mom.
- Emotional stress - not all pregnant teens gain the support of their friends and families and the emotional stress of a pregnancy can be difficult to cope with. For some, the journey of pregnancy and being a new parent can be turbulent due to emotional and intellectual immaturity. Their coping mechanisms may not be developed.
Accept All the Help You Can
No matter if the pregnancy is planned or unplanned, it is crucial that teenage moms and dads access and accept all the help that is offered. At an age when everything in life appears to be a challenge, there is little benefit from being stubborn or indeed shy about requesting help.It can take a great deal of time to accept a pregnancy, particularly when it happens at a young age. The worst thing that can happen is that the issue is kept quiet and not dealt with in an open and honest way. Many teenagers get over the shock of pregnancy well and go on to make perfectly good parents. Those who do so tend to achieve this when they have received a good level of support. Sex education is also an essential requirement following the birth to ensure that mistakes are not repeated.
Life can get back to normal in terms of resuming education or career aspirations, developing solid social networks, and regaining a good physical form. The more help and support that is accessed, the more likely this is to be achieved.