Recently, a young fifteen year old mother called Act of Love. She also sent a text of her beautiful 3 1/2 month old baby girl. As we talked, she recalled her excitement over becoming pregnant, despite the rumors and gossip she encountered at school. As the pregnancy progressed, the father of the baby became less and less involved until, she says, “He wanted nothing to do with me or the baby.”
This young birthmother went on to say that she and her parents are very stressed. She says she just can’t take care of her baby anymore and just wants to have a normal fifteen year olds life. As bonded as they all are, the birthmother realizes she is much too young to be parenting her child. Her mother has health problems and is just too tired to be watching the infant all day long. Her father is worried about her mother.
Looking back on all the excitement, the baby shower that was given on her behalf and the precious time in the hospital, the birthmother realizes that she was not thinking clearly. Before the birth and during the hospital time, it was exciting and fun! It seemed like being a mother and having a beautiful baby was going to be pretty easy. Nearly four months later, she describes herself as depressed to the point of having to be hospitalized for a short time to stabilize her emotions. It has been a heavy load to bear and unfortunately, both baby and mom seem to be suffering.
Although teen birth rates have been dropping over the past 20 years, more than 365,000 girls between 15 to 19 gave birth in 2010. What is even more alarming is that 183 repeat teen births occur each day! Of those 183, 86 percent are a second birth and 13 percent are a third. This is a very alarming percentage of teens who are becoming pregnant for a first, second and third time.
Many teens are using birth control, but only one in five are using the most effective means of birth control. For others, admitting to themselves, let alone the adults they may be living with, that they need birth control is admitting that they are sexually active.
Once a pregnancy occurs in women at such young ages, opportunities greatly diminish. One of the first opportunities to get put aside is education. Many fail to graduate from high school, leaving the weight of getting a diploma or GED heavy on their shoulders. Without a high school degree, the opportunities in the job market become narrow. The money is poor and the chance for advancement is slim. Young women soon find themselves in a vicious circle with not enough income, education or means to support themselves and a child.
Adoption is the answer! Act of Love Adoptions has been successfully placing children for adoption for over 20 years. The agency receives updates from birthmothers who are so grateful for the adoption plan they made and followed through with. Many have gone on to get college degrees, CNA certifications, and management positions at work. Others have gotten married and started families. Still others are pursuing their interests and dreams. The common theme among all their comments is: “I couldn’t have done this if I wouldn’t have chosen adoption.” These women and so many like them chose a better life for their baby and in doing so, move forward and make a better life for themselves. As we continue to celebrate adoption at Act of Love, we encourage young teenagers to consider adoption as your first and best option in what is right for your baby! Placing a baby for adoption is an act of love!