Perils of Intended Teen Pregnancy
The documentary Gloucester-18 gives us the real story of the rumored pregnancy pact of 18 teens in Gloucester, Massachusetts. While you’ll have to see it to find out if the rumor was indeed true, producer, Kristen Grieco Elworthy tells some truths about intended teen pregnancy today.
Some of the girls she interviewed for the film said they wanted to get pregnant because they didn’t feel they are “good” at anything, and can see motherhood as a way to be good at something--something big that is revered in our society.
This lack of self-esteem, and how they try to solve it changes their lives forever. If girls could be given more help to increase their self-confidence and vision for themselves and their lives, more would make a different choice than to become a mother too early in life. Where does the self-esteem work begin? With her parents and effective parenting. What might get in the way of this? Esteem issues the parents have themselves. To help instill confidence in girls, it starts with the parents who have that confidence themselves.
If they don’t, it can lead their daughter to find a way to make her feel good about herself in a way that ultimately affects her entire life, and not for the better. A teen mom has to make the baby first, which will affect her educational and future employment opportunities. Will she set herself up to live her best life? Odds are not. And studies show that her kids will not have the best life either—they show that teen parents don't do as well in school, aren't as healthy, and are more likely to face teen pregnancy themselves.
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Grieco Elworthy says 20% of teen pregnancies are intentional. More teens need to learn why pregnancy and motherhood will not be the answer to their problems; instead they will create more for her and her child in the long run. More need to be encouraged to think about what they want for themselves and their lives. More need to be exposed to the reality that parenthood is not a default choice in life, that waiting to have children until you are ready is so criticial, and that it is fine if you don't have them at all, and choose the childfree life.