Nowadays, adolescent pregnancy (from age 13 to 19) is known as a negative thing. Many arguments against this topic usually include instability, unable to support a child financially, and in general not being mentally prepared for the “real” world a child brings, but most importantly, health risks to the child. We’re here to prove that having a child at a young age isn’t necessarily wrong/dangerous.
Truth is, as crazy as it may seem to many, it is okay to have a child when you’re still young. As we all know, around the teenage years, the female body begins to menstruate. During this time period, your body is releasing toxins and hormones allowing your system to re-clean itself as well as prepare the body for a pregnancy. Your eggs are at their healthiest and your uterus, while it’s still growing, is at it’s strongest, allowing you to be able to support a healthy child.
As society develops, the rules on how we should react to certain aspects of life have grown more strict. We went from “it’s okay to get pregnant young” to “no, being pregnant young is wrong, in every possible way”, which are complete opposites of each other, in just the span of sixty years. If we ask ourselves “when is it really okay to get pregnant?” we will notice how our answers are similar yet different.
“I’m on the fence about this idea. It changes your life up so much. But, if a child is what you want at that age you should have a baby. I think the mom should finish school, though.”- Nishi (fellow classmate).
“It compromises your life, you are still maturing. It will affect you negatively because you are still learning how to care for yourself and it wouldn’t be best for your future and the baby. Having to support a baby requires a ton of money and if you are still going through school than many young mothers will drop out to find a job that they are qualified for then. Instead of saving money for college they decide not to go altogether which makes it harder to find a well paying job to support their baby in the long run.”- Sophie (fellow classmate).
If we analyse the point of views, we see that both parties believe education is a main factor as to why being pregnant young is not okay. Yes, education is very important, but the only reason that adolescent pregnancy is seen as an interruption to education is because they are forced to choose. They are given no pregnancy leave, and no way to take care of their child post birth. They can either be there for their child or be at school, there is no in between. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “… there are increasing opportunities for people to continue their education at older ages… it has also been suggested that previous research has been preoccupied with demonstrating that early childbearing creates serious disadvantage and overlooks the fact that young mothers overcome obstacles and even derive psychological benefit from childbearing and rearing.”
Of course, each country views education and child birthing differently. Many females do decide to quit school to devote their full attention to a child, but a mother, despite what age, does have free time and sacrifices must be done. Over 6.7 million people in the United States do online school for various reasons. Though online school may not offer the same traditional structure of public schools, it is an opportunity to be flexible with school hours, allowing a mother to pursue her education. Despite it costing money, depending on the program, the excuse of not finishing school due to a baby is purely financial but either way finishing school is possible, with a child or not.
Another point for us to make is miscarriages. As shown in the graph to the right, as a female gets older, the miscarriage rate increases. According to Hopexchange, one in every three pregnancies end in miscarriages. Now, each miscarriage is caused by different reasons, but for the most part, the older one gets, the lower the possibility of a successful fertility is. “…teen-age mothers have a biological advantage because younger age is associated with better pregnancy outcomes… some women justify delaying pregnancy by looking to the well-publicized celebrity pregnancies and assuming they will have the same success… We need to let younger women know that they can’t wait as long as we thought,” Pelzig says. ‘Even though it’s often not our fault, we have to make relationships and family as least as important as careers.”” states WebMD on an article titled “Older mothers have higher risks of miscarriages”. Losing a loved one, at any age, especially a baby, born or not, is a devastating thing which often leads to depression. This depression can last about a year, and in some cases, forever. After a miscarriage, a mother tends to be negative/scared to retry to have a child. Believe it or not, thoughts, feelings and moods are an important key factor to having a healthy pregnancy. Thankfully, less than 5% of females have a second miscarriage, but one is enough to “ruin” a retry either one due to complications or two, attitude.
After a mother has a first miscarriage, it is common, expected, for her to be nervous during a retry/second pregnancy. A well common factor during pregnancy is stress. It is normal to be under stress during a pregnancy, but too much is bad; “High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. When you’re pregnant, this type of stress can increase the chances of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birth weight baby (weighing less than 5½ pounds). Babies born too soon or too small are at increased risk for health problems.” states March of Dimes. The younger you are the less likely you are to have a miscarriage. Simple as that. But as people are waiting longer and longer to have children the risk is growing higher and higher.
Another of these risks of getting pregnant at an older age is down syndrome. “In particular, growing older greatly raises the possibility of Down’s syndrome, a condition that occurs during the process of cell division, when the fetus is formed… The chance of a young woman having a baby with Down’s syndrome is 1 in 800, but it rises to 1 in 100 when she’s 40, and 1 in 25 when she’s 44,” Dr. Minkin said. Down syndrome brings heart problems, depression, socializing issues, obsessive disorders and so on. Knowing that this is higher risk as you get old, why even bother? If you really want to have a healthier child we need to stop saying that being pregnant young isn’t okay. We need to stop putting false eggs into people and doing other desperate procedures to have a child when we could have just had a child at a younger age with a much higher chance of having a healthier child.
“Women 45 and older rarely get pregnant, even with fertility treatment. Fertility specialists routinely recommend leukocyte donation (IVF with eggs donated by a young egg donor) for these women because pregnancies with their own eggs are so rare.” States Babycenter on an article about the risks of having a baby over 35. Your fertility rate declines as you get older, starting to rapidly decline once you hit 30. Yet more women are having babies later in life. In 1970, the average age for a first-time mom was about 21, in 2008 it rose to 25 and has been rising ever since. Younger people are now donating their eggs so that older women can have babies as if your body telling you that you’re too old isn’t warning enough not to have a child at that age.
Overall, being pregnant at a young age does bring in some negatives, but negatives that can be solved. Knowing that having a child at a younger age is healthier, safer and more likely to be successful, why wait? We have created this image that being pregnant young is wrong. Some females really want to get pregnant but wait for society’s acceptance and end up not being able to have a child. One is never really financially ready or stable. Life is never stable, yet we still wait for that one moment when we do feel that way. A baby should never be viewed as a burden or a mistake, and automatically labeling any young-mother’s child as these is a mistake within itself. We shouldn’t need to wait or feel that socially we’re being forced to. We should, as mothers, future or present, do what’s best for our child. And waiting just isn’t that. Having a child at a young age is as safe, if not safer. This image we have created must go.