An unexpected pregnancy can be challenging especially when you are in school. Not only is it particularly difficult because it’s likely to be your first time, but also due to the fact that most modern societies are still not fully capable of successfully integrating teenage mothers.
Even though, young girls can biologically conceive after they hit puberty, it does not mean that they are prepared otherwise to do so. Younger individuals are not emotionally or financially adept to take on the huge responsibilities of parenthood. There is a difference of about 10 years to when a girl is able to conceive and when she reaches full adult status.
Almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, with 20% of them being teenage pregnancies. About 25% of all pregnancies are terminated by abortions and one third of these are obtained by teenagers. Even though, teenage pregnancies have been at their lowest in the past 40 years due to highly effective sex education programs, the problems that teens face once pregnant are still overwhelming.
An unplanned pregnancy can act as a severe hindrance to the educational goals of teenagers. A pregnant teen or a teen mother can of course still attend school and graduate. No public school can expel or deny any student access to education based on their pregnancy. The fact that only 40 percent of teenagers complete school once they become pregnant, testifies to the difficulty of parenting a child and pursuing personal goals simultaneously.
Deciding the next step can be tough. Think of what is important to you and share your feelings with someone. Discussing it with your parents is good idea, as they most certainly love you and will give the best possible advice.
You may be scared to tell your parents at first but it will really help you to have their support in this difficult and confusing time. There are three options available to you if you are pregnant and in school, Parenting, Adoption and Abortion.
If you decide to give birth to the child and become a parent, it does not mean that your education is over. Under no circumstance can your right to free education be taken away and there are several education options available to you.
For all public schools, the law clearly states that students cannot be discriminated against or excluded from the education program or activity including extracurricular activity, on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy or false pregnancy. And will be treated under the same policy as temporary disability, with regards to the medical and hospital benefits the institution offers.
Some public schools offer special programs to assist students during pregnancy and after childbirth. However, there are certain factors that cannot be controlled by the schools, including the behavior and attitudes of other students with respect to the pregnant teen.
Being stigmatized or isolated may cause the pregnant teen to stop attending school or not carry on with her education. Home schooling is another option for pregnant teens who wish for greater flexibility in their education. It allows them to study and complete work when they feel most comfortable.
Becoming a parent is a rewarding experience; a child can bring tremendous joy into your life. But it requires a major life-style change - especially for teens. Teenage mothers should consider whether or not they will have the emotional and financial support from their partners, families and friends. Raising a child is a very demanding job and you will need all the help you can get. Becoming a parent is a full-time responsibility and you may have to put your personal goals on hold – even if for sometime. Your child will be your first priority and spending time with them will be more important than socializing or engaging in recreational activities. Parenting is a viable option if there is proper support in place to help the teen both during her pregnancy and after birth.
For teenagers who face unwanted pregnancy, adoption is an option that benefits not only them but also the unborn child and those who wish to become parents, but are unable to do so. Adoption is a process where the child is placed into another family. All parental rights are legally transferred to the adoptive couple and this placement is permanent.
It gives pregnant teens a chance to continue their lives without having to parent a child. Adoption is a tremendous act of love and self-sacrifice. Whereas, not recognizing your inability to become a responsible parent can have severe adverse effects on your future as well as the child’s. There are thousands of couples that desire and deserve to have children but are unable to conceive.
Adoption is the only way for them to build a family. As a birth-mother, the hospital and adoption costs will be taken care of, and you will have the option of choosing the adoptive parents. There are two types of adoptions to choose from:
- Open Adoption: where the birth-mother remains in contact with the baby and the adoptive parents.
- Closed Adoption: where the birth-mother’s identity is hidden and there is no contact between the two parties.
For some teens, open adoption allows them to better manage any loss or grievance they may have, while others choose closed adoption to turn a new leaf and move on with their lives. In an adoption, the teenager will be exposed to the same problems during her pregnancy as with parenting. However, once she has given birth, she can return to normal life and pursue her educational and career goals.
Teenagers who experience unwanted pregnancy can end it by obtaining an abortion. Abortion is a medical procedure that terminates the pregnancy by means of medication or by performing a minor surgical procedure. It is legal in the United States with varying laws in different states. Abortions are generally considered to be safe and do not affect your ability to have children in the future. It is recommended to have an abortion early in the pregnancy to avoid any complications.
For teenagers who do not wish to give birth, abortion is the only option. However, this is a difficult decision to make as it requires ending a life. Some teenagers may not consider this option due to social and religious concerns. However, it allows them to end the unwanted pregnancy almost immediately and continue their education without any additional responsibilities.