Teen moms are moms between the ages of 15 and 19. It is a “babies raising babies” process. Teens can barely take care of themselves, but make risky decisions like having unprotected sex. The CDC reports, however, that the teen pregnancy rate has been declining since 1991. Yet about 16 in every 1,000 births in the United States are to teenage girls giving birth.
The term “Teen Mom” has been popularized over the past decade on the television show aired on MTV. Watching a show and living as a teenage mother, however, are two very different things. A TV show only shows you what it wants you to see; they leave a little aside.
Teen moms need to bond with their baby
Teenage mothers, like adult mothers, need to bond with their babies. The years from birth to infancy are extremely important, as they form the basis of their relationship and the development of the child. It’s also important to spend more time with their baby, so teens can learn more about babies’ signals, wants, and needs.
Ways to bond for a teenage girl and her baby may be just cuddling or just playing, but it helps them understand their child better. This kind of quality time is important for all mothers and their children, but especially important for teenage mothers. They have a lot to learn and a lot of big changes are happening sooner than they probably expected.
Going to high school while raising a child
Caring for a baby takes time. Not to mention that throughout the first year of life, babies may be awake at night. Trying to go to school and concentrate when they are completely overwhelmed and exhausted is difficult for a teenage mother.
Homework and studying for exams mingle with bath time and diaper changes. Not every teenager can handle the pressure. In fact, the ACLU reports that pregnancy is the number one reason girls drop out of school. Approximately 70% of teenage girls who give birth leave school.
Working teenage mothers
Whether teenage mothers stay in school and work after school, or work all day, child care is expensive. Care.com Claims child care costs at least $700/month. This, of course, could be higher depending on where someone lives.
Having the support of their parents is very beneficial for teenage mothers. Childcare is not the only cost. Babies are expensive. Bottles, clothes, diapers, formula, etc., nothing is cheap. Many teenage mothers will try to earn money to support their babies financially. These costs can create a heavy financial burden for teenage mothers who lack the support of a partner or family members.
A social life of teenage moms
So, in addition to possibly dropping out of school and/or working, do teenage mothers also have a social life? More than likely, no, they don’t. The time it takes to raise a child is a lot at any age. A teenager who is used to hanging out with friends and participating in high school activities will find a great disconnect here.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine noted that many teens they spoke with revealed aspects of their lives before they got pregnant and gave birth. Being accepted by their peers and having a good time were the main goals during social activities. Most of them agreed that they don’t think about the consequences of their actions.
Today, teenage mothers must not only meet the needs of their infants, but also look for ways to meet their own needs as teenagers. Conclusion: The social life of a teenage mother will change dramatically once she becomes a parent.
What does all this add up to
Being a teenage mom is tough. Most of them hold up, though. They change their whole life and grow up too fast. They sort of finish school, even if it’s not on time, and work too. They live very busy and chaotic lives, juggling backpacks and diaper bags. It can affect them mentally.
When focusing on caring for their baby, teenage mothers can lose track of things, including taking care of themselves. It’s important to make sure they take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally, as this will help their child grow and thrive.
Sources: CDC, ACLU, Care.com, National Library of Medicine