If you’re a teen who has a child, likely you’ve had to grow up quickly. You’ve had to put aside some of your own desires for your life to tend to the life of your child. However, as you know, the demands of being a teen as well as being a parent can be challenging. Furthermore, if you’ve decided to continue with high school or another way of getting your education, then the academic stress can also play a role in your life.
It’s important to take time for yourself and to get all the support your need! This is essential! Having a network of support can be critical at this time. Furthermore, Dr. Simone Vigod, psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital said, “research tells us that young girls are at high risk of pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth, poor fetal growth, and postpartum depression. Add to this pre-existing mental illness, and these young women are forced to manage significant additional challenges.
Research indicates that one in every seven female teens will have a child before the age of 20. In general, the birth rate for girls between the ages of 15-19 is 29 per every 1000. Certainly, most teen parents are typically not properly equipped to handle the large task of parenting. They lack the financial, psychological, and emotional stability. Furthermore, characteristic of adolescence is the developing brain. Teens are still growing emotionally, psychologically, physically, and socially. The brain’s underdevelopment might explain a teen’s tendency to make poor decisions and an inability to discern whether a situation is safe. Teens tend to experiment with risky behavior and don’t fully recognize the consequences of their choices. A female teen might have the odds against her, particularly if she has already experienced some form of abuse, sexual or physical.
For all these reasons, it’s necessary that you create a network of support for yourself. It’s common for teens who are pregnant, both before and after giving birth, to turn to drugs as a means for coping. In fact, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than half of pregnant teens admitted using drugs or alcohol in the month prior to entering treatment for substance abuse. Medical research shows that females who use drugs while pregnant contribute to their unborn child developing an addiction as well as having physical and psychological concerns throughout their development. Health problems both before and after birth are compounded for both the mother and child when a female teen uses substances.
A supportive network can include an adult you trust, close friends that you can rely on and have shown that they care about you, your doctor, a therapist, and a teacher. Of course, you can have as many people in your circle of support as you wish. The point is that you feel supported. If you feel alone or if you feel too weighed down by your circumstances, then your support network isn’t functioning as it should.
If you’re pregnant or if you just gave birth, you may also want to have many people who can tend to your physical and emotional needs. For instance, you may need someone (or more than one person) to care for the child so that you can have some reprieve. You may need someone help financially. Or at the very least, you might want someone to help you seek the financial support you need. In fact, it may be necessary to create a plan for your future. You may want to make a list of the needs you (and your child) have and then begin to create a plan for how you’re going to get those needs met.
Because of the tender life stage of adolescence, your life and the life of the child will depend upon how resourceful you can be. However, you don’t need to do this alone – seek the assistance of those who care about you!