Depending on where you’re from, your experience as a teenage mother can be vastly different. Even within each state, the general opinion on pregnant adolescents can be completely different, which makes it difficult sometimes to provide a comprehensive guide however we have collected some of the most common struggles teen moms have to face and some advice on how to handle them. In this article we are going to focus on women who decide to mother their babies.
If you are considering abortion or adoption we recommend you to get in touch with your nearest Planned Parenthood as soon as possible and always ask for professional help before making any decisions.
Adjusting to change
Despite the many challenges that come hand in hand with pregnancy, teen moms will likely have an advantage in one thing: Young people, in general, are much better at adjusting to change and operating on less sleep. The older you get the harder it becomes to change your daily routine and having a newborn in the house has a tendency to turn things upside down.
There will be a lot of new things you will have to get used to if you decide to keep the baby but many things will become manageable over time with some patience and practice. Start implementing changes in your daily life before your baby’s arrival if possible and start practicing. If you are a late sleeper, start getting up earlier, if you are not so keen on housework it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the household machinery you will need in order to adequately care for your child.
One of the greatest challenges of teen parenthood is finishing school. This does not always sound simple but it’s incredibly important to give it a shot. Unfortunately this day and age a paper proving that you have graduated can mean all the difference later on in your life.
Balancing your pregnancy, or child care, and attending school at the same time will need a lot of planning ahead. First and foremost talk to your school representatives or counselor as many schools have programs set in place already.
Keep in mind that your school and teachers might not know your needs instinctively so make sure you communicate them in detail. Try to discuss everything from bathroom breaks to doctor’s visits. If your school is not supportive you might want to look into different schools in your area that might be more ready to help teen moms. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or your school is unsupportive you can always look into homeschooling or studying straight for your GED. This will give you a chance to apply for college later on. Most colleges have options and plans available for students with children thankfully.
Family and Friends
Pregnancy will always have an effect on your social life no matter how old you are. The difference is that when you are young you are still developing a lot of new bonds and friendships can still be a bit more hectic and fragile.
Like in most cases communication is key and so is managing expectations. Remember that many of your friends or your partner might have never been around pregnant women before and they aren’t sure what to expect.
Pregnancy itself comes with a lot of hormonal changes. This can take most adult women on an emotional roller coaster ride. During your teenage years your body is still going through a lot of changes and now it also has to prepare for hosting your baby. There is a chance that this hormonal cocktail is going to make you feel very emotional and mood swings might become common. You may be fatigued and feel tired all the time at first. Don’t worry though this is completely normal and it’s only temporary. Give your body a chance to catch up and try to be patient. Things will get easier over time as you get used to the new normal both physically and mentally.
If your pregnancy was unplanned, even supporting parents might be upset at first but be patient and give them some time to accept. Remember that in most cases parents are mad because they are worried about you and they want the best for you so give them some time. If your family is religious this might add some more to their inner struggle to the road of acceptance. As long as you are safe in your home be patient and try to show them that you are mature enough to handle what’s yet to come to put their minds at ease.
Unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to have supportive parents which can result in more work falling on your shoulders during your pregnancy and afterward while caring for your newborn. Make sure you judge the situation carefully. If you experience any kind of mental or physical abuse or they ask you to leave the house, ask for professional help straight away. This is incredibly important not just for your physical wellbeing but also for your mental health too. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline or the American Pregnancy Association. They both accept calls or you can contact them through their websites.
Having a supportive partner can be fantastic but keep in mind that if they are first-time parents they might need some time to adjust as well. This is probably a brand new experience for them so you both need to be patient and learn to communicate your thoughts.
There are many questions that will come up during teen pregnancy from potential marriage to parental rights. It’s extremely important to talk about everything very carefully and ask for professional help if needed. It’s important that you both understand the legal aspects of childcare and parenthood as well before making any decisions.
No matter what you decide, maintaining a good relationship with the father can be beneficial in the long run, so if possible try to communicate a lot and come to a solution as a team.
Having a baby is a huge financial commitment. Childcare doesn’t come cheap and you need to be prepared before your baby’s arrival.
This can be quite challenging for teen moms especially if you are still in school but there are some tips that can help you while preparing.
Learning how to budget well will be incredibly helpful not just during the early stages of your pregnancy but throughout your entire parenthood. Being savvy with money doesn’t come naturally to everyone but it’s definitely a skill that can be learned through practice and diligence.
If you have a chance to get a part-time job this is a good time to start looking. Don’t forget that every penny counts no matter how little it is; however make sure the work environment is safe for pregnant women and you consult your healthcare provider beforehand.
Start writing down your income and expenses. Keep an eye on things you are spending money on and make sure you prioritize necessities over things you just impulse buying. It’s also a good idea to find cheaper alternatives to things and brands you usually buy and use. You can also find lots of coupons in magazines and on the store’s websites. It doesn’t seem much at times but every little count.
Don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help if things get overwhelming.
Being a teenager alone can be a bumpy ride and there will be moments when this all feels impossible but remember that there are support systems available. If you have supportive friends or family, accept help from them. You can also ask for professional help as well if the people in your immediate circle are unsupportive. You don’t have to do this on your own and you are most certainly not alone in this situation.
Spending time with loved ones is very important but their presence can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. That’s completely normal. Make sure you communicate your needs clearly towards your loved ones and remember to schedule in some “me” time every once in a while either even if it’s just for a walk in a park. It’s important to have some time for yourself during your pregnancy and after your baby has arrived. Give yourself a chance to clear your mind, organize your thoughts, or just to catch a break.
Being a teenage mother is definitely not an easy ride however it’s not impossible. If you decide to keep the baby however you need to be ready for the challenge and the responsibility. Try to build up a trusty support system be it friends, family, or professional help. Teen moms are required to grow up a bit faster and you might have to give up some things in your life but it doesn’t mean your parenthood will be any less rewarding.
If you have any further advice for teen moms or pregnant youth please let us know down in the comments!