Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Teen Pregnancy (A Personal Story)

Personally, I have never experienced any of the stressors mentioned in week four but I do have a friend who has experienced a teen pregnancy at age 16 and she willingly wrote her story to share with me and I wanted to share it with all of you. In her story she speaks about how she copes with the stressors of her situation and the things that helped her to survive through it.  Here is her personal story:

Teen Pregnancy on the Rise:
A Personal Look at How Teens Deal With Stress
©2012 Ann M. Hampton

            What do you do when you think that you might be pregnant? Now what do you do when you might be pregnant as a teenager? How do you deal with everyone finding out? How do you deal with your parents finding out? How do you tell them? And where do you go from there once they find out? How will her boyfriend, who’s the father of the baby, react, and how will that affect your relationship with him? Those are just some of the thoughts going through the minds of a teenager when she suspects she might be pregnant. 

Ignoring the situation (hoping it would go away)
            I was only 16 when I found out I was pregnant. In my mind, I did not want to believe it even though I knew that I had taken the actions that could have lead to the possibility of me getting pregnant. Still, I did not want to believe it. I let months go by. I started gaining weight. Without knowing I was pregnant, my parents just bought me bigger clothes for the next school year when it began, as they did not know I was pregnant; the bigger clothes allowed me to hide my pregnancy even longer. 

            See, as a teenager in small town America, it was easy for me to hide. I was not in the popular group at school; however, everyone knew who I was, being from a small town. Because I was not popular, I didn’t have all the attention drawn to me, so I could float through my days and months undetected. I would never recommend anyone to do this; however, that is part of how I coped and how I managed to make it so long without anyone really knowing I was pregnant. While rumors began to fly, various students would haggle me in the hallways. I used humor to let the stress roll off my shoulders and down my back. When asked if I was pregnant, I would respond, “If I am, that is news to me.” That was usually enough to shut them all up. 

Confronted & facing reality
            The day came when everyone found out! How did that happen? I was being so careful. I had hidden it so well. I managed to hide my pregnancy for 7 months. Apparently, the baby’s paternal grandmother got wind of some rumors flying around town. She called my mother and told her what she heard and said that we all needed to meet. We were pulled into a room at the baby’s paternal grandmother’s house by both of our mothers, and I was asked if I was pregnant. Once our mothers learned the truth, I was then forced to tell my dad. Then, my mother made me confront my dad and tell him the unknown—I was pregnant! Mom was in tears; dad was speechless except to tell my boyfriend and father of the baby, “Don’t you know better?” And one would think he should since he was several years older than me. I wanted to say to my parents, “Don’t you know better? What were you thinking letting me date him in the first place? Isn’t it your job as my parent to protect me from myself, others, and the world?

            It was at that point that I had to face reality, the doctor’s appointments began. I had to get a pregnancy test to confirm what we already knew to be true. Once the test confirmed the fact, I not only had to deal with the embarrassment of pelvic exams (which I had not ever had one at that point), but I also had to deal with answering very personal questions. I had to deal with adult issues and with adult situations before I was truly ready. I had to grow up fast whether I wanted to or not. I had to start attending not only doctor’s appointments, WIC appointments, but I also started having to use my study halls at school to meet with the County Nurse who showed me films, and talked to me to prepare me for labor and beyond. The information she provided during the times I met with her was on what to expect during labor and delivery, how to breathe during labor, what would happen after labor and delivery, what was my post-pregnancy plan, what were my options, as well, what were my decisions to those options? 

Living Life’s Consequence       
            Hiding a teen pregnancy as well, hiding it so long, I missed so much of the enjoyment of being pregnant; however, the pregnancy seemed to go really quickly as it was only the last couple months that I really was pregnant in everyone’s eyes. Life’s consequences were painful. I had to face the pain of embarrassment, the pain of labor, the pain of the loss of my innocence and childhood. However, while I could have lost my education along the way, I did not. I was able to complete my education and further it beyond high school. The Public School system where I lived managed to work with me so that I was able to complete my high school education and graduate with my class. This, back at that time, was rarely heard of in my high school. It’s nothing like the public school systems now where there are many girls in school that are running around and getting pregnant, thinking it is cool. While there had been a few girls before me to get pregnant, most of them dropped out of school and got married. To my knowledge, there was only one other girl from my high school who got pregnant before me and she too went on to graduate high school with her class; I was the second. In the end, I had to face a failing relationship. However, I kept pushing forward when most people probably would have given up. How? By God’s grace He shielded me and carried me along the path before I could even really comprehend what happened to me. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I understood this. See, I was raised around the church; however, back then I was unsaved. I just went through the motions. But God still loved me. God still cared for me. God still took care of me. And he still takes care of me.  I know now that regardless of what happens to me, I am a child of God and that doesn’t mean that I won’t face bad things happening to me, but I do know that I will never be alone. I know that God will give me the strength to do what needs to be done as long as I stay focused on Him. While I may have known it back then, my past mistakes have lead me to embrace Him more and more with each challenge I face. 

Beyond the Consequences
            Our actions speak volumes to other people. If you think it is hard to be a teen mom, try facing teen pregnancy from your parent’s standpoint! How will you deal when your child comes to you as a pregnant teen? For many times, the process repeats itself and until we learn the cause of this, it will continue to repeat. One of the ways to cope is through faith. Another is through family and community support. As Nancy Reagan once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” However, from my observation, many of these villages are leaving God out of the picture and then wondering why they are failing miserably and having the teen pregnancy rates skyrocket. God must come first. We must put our faith and families back together if we want to have any chance of changing the world. We need to get out of our comfort zones and out social bubbles and reach out to others in need in our own communities. There is enough abundance in the world as long as we believe there is. The problem lies in that we buy into the lies that there is no abundance. Therefore, we continue to seek competition and disconnect ourselves from our families, our neighbors, and God only to find ourselves doomed to failure. Why? Because we have disconnected ourselves from the Source that makes the world spin. Education is another way to cope. We need to education not only the parents but the pregnant teens that it can happen to them, for many teens have the mindset that “It can’t happen to me.” I usually respond to them this way: Don’t you think that every teen mother has said that at one time or another—It can’t happen to me!” I’m here to tell them, “It can happen to me if I take the actions to make it happen to me. If I am taking the action and nothing happens, that is just a matter of time until it does. The statistics are in your favor the more you take the actions toward a certain behavior, you are creating the habit that will eventually become.” And while I’m directing this towards teen pregnancy, it can apply to any area of one’s life. For this reason, I want to propose the following challenge:

The Challenge
            I would like to challenge folks to step out of their comfort zones, to get involved, to make a difference, and to be the example to those seeking guidance. This guidance, or roadmap as I call it, can only come from God. God has to power to give, to take away, to build up, or bring you to your knees. It is only at your knees that you can truly make a difference.  I once heard this saying, “Never be taller than you are when you are standing on your knees.” This is so true. Moreover, “Be the difference you wish to see in the world. Lead by example.” Let God shine through you and live your lives as if you were the hands and feet of God. Live with integrity, meaning no closed door activities. Integrity is doing the same thing you are doing when people are watching, as well as when they are not watching. And to repeat the same thing, expecting different results is insanity. Without God, you will only find insanity. Get on your knees today and stand taller than you could on any man’s shoulders, for God will carry you in bad times and walk beside you in good times. Ask God for the Serenity Prayer to come true in your life:

“God, grant me the SERENITY
To accept the things I cannot Change,
The COURAGE to change the things I can,
And the WISDOM to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
                                                     Enjoying one moment at a time;                           
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking as God did, the sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that You will make all things right
If I surrender to Your will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

(To be continued.... not finished!) 

Teen Pregnancy in Africa:

Teen pregnancy is on the rise in Africa and in many other places around the world. Africans are firm believers that the more children you have, the more blessed you are. In Africa, the wealth of a man is determined by the number of wives and children he is. The more children they have, the wealthier they are considered. 

 Sadly, Africans bring children into the world knowing they won't be able to care for them the way they deserve to be, and knowing they won't ever be able to afford to send their children to school- this is cruelty! Children as young as 12 and 13 are having babies in Africa! 

One reason that teen pregnancy is so common in Africa is because not a lot of teen girls even know what a condom is. Young girls in Africa tend to abandon their babies because they are unable to care for them. They also tend to practice what they see and hear on TV and on the radio. A lot of these girls end up dropping out of school and dying before they reach the age of 40. A lot of times girls will result to aborting their babies illegally. Often times they just can't afford to go to a hospital so they do things their way.

Poverty is a major reason along with lack of education that there is a rise in teenage pregnancy in Africa. Most of these young girls and boys don't know the consequences of their actions. 

 Sadly, Africans are dealing with teen pregnancy on the rise, poverty, diseases such as polio,  Malaria, and even yellow fever, chaos, hunger, and many other stressors as well. Not much is being done to eliminate the harm but there is little progress. Many donor nations have helped Africa. For example: Many countries within Africa have improved:
1.) Kenya has free primary education which has brought back 1.2 million children back to school.
2.) Ugandia has reduced HIV from 20% in 1991 to 6.5% in 2001.

Africans are facing some of the most difficult situations and although there may be some progress it really opens up my eyes as an American and makes me realize how thankful I am for what I have.



  1. Wow! Stacy your post's are so enhanced you could write a textbook. I did teenage pregnancy as my whole thesis study in undergrad and post-graduate studies. It is a volume of studies on this topic. I can't image being pregnant at 16. I know that seldom do the dad's participate and stay with the teen mothers. Some women don't want to be pregnant when they are in traditional relationships such as marriage and are at an appropriate age, let's say 21. I got pregnant as an unwed mother at age 21 and had the baby at 22, yet the father was never around. I looked very young, so I didn't get much support. In addition, I was in my last year of college and I never returned until decades later. Pregnancy is high up there when it comes to emotional stress. I also read that this is the time when physical abuse is a stressor as well.

  2. Teen pregnancy is our society has come to accepted and that should not be the case. It is important for parents to have open communication with their children so that they can come talk to them about serious issues. When I was in high school and college I worked for my father, who is a doctor, in a rural clinic. The county we lived in had the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the state of California. When your friend talks about a feeling a loss of innocence and her childhood it made me remember the faces of the young pregnant teens that came in for their prenatal visits. They were scared of what was to come.
    When the babies were born and came in for their first check up I remember how small the babies were compared to some of the other babies I had seem born to older mothers who had taken the steps to a healthy pregnancy. Having a baby is a big responsibility and I was comforted to hear that she found the strength she needed through God. Through him all things are possible.

  3. Girl, that was well written. I love the pictures you included, it really made the reading more interacting. I was like a little kids wondering what was happen next with the picture. But yes teen pregnancy is a probably in the United States and it shoudl be address so it can be known that it can happen. For parents it is importan to have that line of communication.

  4. Your story was very interesting. I have a daughter that is 16 and is having a baby. I was so upset and scared when I found out. I also blamed myself, but I don't anymore. I have been a single parent, of three, for 13 years. I am raising my children with love, peace, understanding, communication, etc. Everybody speaks about we must have communication with our children. Are they saying that is the way for this situation not to happen? I have good communication with my children and it happened. God has truly been with our family. I am not pleased with what has happened, but I am going to be here for my daughter and support her and my grandson. I encourage her to stay in school and let her know that I am here when she needs me. I know what she is going through, because I had my first child at 16, I wasn't able to communicate with my mom. I graduated and now I am on my third degree. I did it and I am going to help my daughter to do it, also. You should never give up, just put your trust and faith in God and he will guide you through.