Teenage pregnancy statistics can be daunting.
Over 75% of teen pregnancies are unplanned (per the US Department of Health) and 60% of those end in a live birth. DoSomething.Org reports that three in ten teenage girls will be pregnant before they are 20 years old,and the majority of the fathers don’t marry the mothers; many are not involved long-term with their child.
Fully half of teen moms will not graduate from high school, and less than two percent will earn a college degree by age 30. These moms are at a disadvantage in the job market, due to lower skill levels and less life experience; many require government assistance, especially in the early years of motherhood.
Children of teenage mothers have unique challenges, too. Studies across the board show these kids are at risk educationally and behaviorally. Many face increased health and disability issues, and these children are more likely than their peers to struggle with drug addiction or incarceration.
Bringing home a baby and raising a preschooler is challenging for any mom, let alone a teenager overwhelmed by changes in her educational, social and family life. But there is hope, and a lot of it, for a teen mom hoping to tackle the challenges – and rewards – of parenting. And I think the first step is offering these moms what they need, something everyone needs – support.
A teen mom needs someone to come alongside her to share in her experience, someone who can offer understanding of what she is going through and ideas for how to forge ahead. She needs someone to paint a hopeful future for her and her child and help in making concrete steps toward that bright future.
There’s a popular word for this kind of relationship: mentoring. And at Life’s Choices, we offer mentoring to young moms! Our “Earn While You Learn” program offers practical, discussion-based parenting classes with the opportunity to earn credits for diapers, clothes and other things a baby needs. Classes can start in early pregnancy and continue through the early childhood years.
We also offer ongoing financial mentoring as well as classes on healthy nutrition, relationships and parenting.
And we’re excited to announce a brand new option: MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). This group will allow young moms to gather with seasoned moms and other moms like them. It’s a great chance for a new mother to gain support, share ideas and work toward being the best mom possible for her baby. Stay tuned for details on our Teen MOPS group, which is slated to begin this year!
In the meantime, we remain committed to offering mentoring and other support for teen moms, along with men, women and families in our community. Feel free to stop in during our regular hours, check out our Facebook page or call us anytime at Life’s Choices Hamburg (484.772.6883).
Kolleen Long Hamburg Client Services Life’s Choices