To fall pregnant is a joyous experienced! It is a blessing and a wonderful thing to happen to any woman. This is unfortunately only true if you are in the right relationship, financially and emotionally able and at the right stage of your life. But to be confronted with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy is always a traumatic experience and for this to happen while you are still a teenager can be devastating. So what is teenage pregnancy and what are the options you have to manage this event?
The answer to this question is very difficult and there is unfortunately no right or wrong answer. You have to make an important decision that has life long implications. So what must you consider?
REMEMBER: You are pregnant because you had unprotected sex! You are not pregnant because God gave you a special gift. That happened to the Mother Mary but the rest of us have sex. God did give you a special gift though but that is the gift of fertility. The gift of fertility is special because it comes with responsibility. You are now pregnant and you have to take responsibility for the situation and decide how you are going to manage it.
You have to make this decision! This is your responsibility. Not your parents’ or your boyfriend’s or his parents! This is your body and your pregnancy and your decision. You can ask for advice but you have to live with this decision and you have to choose the option you feel most comfortable with.
You have three options.
Keep the pregnacy
It is said that the decision to have a baby, is a decision that lasts 2 lifetimes: yours and the baby’s. Teenagers can feel that if they have a baby they have something or somebody that belongs to them and them alone. This can be an important motivator for a teenager in a poor environment as she really has very little that belongs to her. Unfortunately this baby grows and has financail and emotional needs that the teenage mother is not always equiped to provide for. Looking after a baby is expensive and the government allowance does not nearly cover all the cost. This means that you will need financial assistance from somewhere else: your parents, the boyfriend, his parents or you will have to leave the baby and find work. A teenage pregnancy often in the long term spells poverty for the teenager and the baby.
You will need to sacrafice a lot of social activities and interactions with your friends if you have a baby you must look after. You might not be able to finish school, as you have to look after the baby or go to work. This means that you you will not be able to persue your goals, to study further or go to university.
The body of a teenager is not yet fully developed and to have a baby at a young age carries numerous health risks. Many girls or their babies die during the course of a teenage pregnancy.
Some teenagers feel that to terminate the pregnancy is morally wrong or it sounds too scary so they will therefor rather keep the pregnancy. Being scared of a termination is not a good reason to keep the pregnancy!
Terminate the pregnancy
Teenagers often feel that the pregnancy or the baby is not something that they want at this stage of their lives and they want to terminate it as soon as possible. They are unfamiliar and uninformed about termination services, are desperate and often end up having an illegal abortion that can be dangerous and even life threatening. A legal abortion performed in a legal clinic by qualified medical personnel is a low risk, safe procedure.
Having an abortion done in a proper facility means that the procedure is uncomfortable but not more painful than a bad period pain. The discomfort does not stay for a long time and it can be managed with proper medication.
Teenagers or their parents are sometimes scared that the teenager will suffer long-term emotional problems but if it is your choice and you understand why you want to do it, you will not have emotional problems later on in life. Long-term emotional trauma will be prevented by making a well-informed, conscious decision.
Give the baby up for adoption.
Some teenagers feel that they do not have the means or are not in a position to keep the baby but they also do not want to terminate the pregnancy. Giving the baby up for adoption is a good option for them. It also happens that a teenager ignores the possibility that she can be pregnant and will only tell somebody when she is already far along. This will imply that she is too far to qualify for an abortion. Giving the baby up for adoption might be a good option for her. To give your baby away to somebody else can be difficult and the teenager needs emotional support and assistance with this choice. A social worker at school or at church will be able to give you more information on adoption.
To help you decide which of these options will work best for you, you need to do some homework. Find out what it costs to look after a baby: what does nappies, or other baby requirements cost and then decided if you will be able to afford it or not.
Find out more about abortion clinics: where they are and how they will be able to help you. Make sure you know how to distinguish between legal and illegal services.
Go to the social worker at school or at your church and ask her questions about adoption. How does it work and what does the placement of the baby after birth involve.