Teen Parenthood


Serena Paulson, Managing Editor

We live in a society that likes to hide from our problems. We isolate the things we don’t want to talk about. We pretend they don’t exist. This is very relevant when it comes to teen parenthood and pregnancy.

According to StayTeen.org, current teenage pregnancy rates are at 3 in every 10 girls under the age of twenty. We like to think that this isn’t real for students at Ames High. It seems babies only exist when we are all grown up and proper and ready to have a family. This is not always the case. Sometimes things don’t necessarily go as planned, and there are then teen parents who not only deal with normal teenage problems but the unique struggles of parenthood.

“Being a teen parent is actually not that hard to me,” said freshman dad Aubrey Branch. “The only hard thing was the judgment. I was afraid to tell people. But I have a lot of support from family, friends, teachers, God, and my church family. On top of all of this my mom has been in this situation before. She had her first child at the age of 14, in 8th grade.”

Teen parents tend to have to face more difficulties when it comes to their education as well. More than half of teen moms drop out of high school, as reported from StayTeen.org, and fathers are less likely to receive a full education.

“The reason it’s not hard to me is because I really think about my priorities, and I think about what benefits my daughter, not just me. In the beginning it was hard because I didn’t get any sleep whatsoever but I still kept a smile on my face, still came to school, and I still got up to feed her or change her diaper,” Branch recalled.

It’s doubtful you can imagine having a child. It is common knowledge that babies are absolutely adorable, but actually being in charge of one would be a nightmare for most high schoolers.

When asked about how she would react to being a teen mom, junior Alissa Waters said, “I’m not sure, I haven’t really thought about it before. I would feel judged, that’s for sure. I would definitely think long and hard about what was happening and reconsider the choices I made. I’m definitely not ready for a baby.”

Junior Ashlyn Neppl has a similar response when stating, “I would reconsider my life choices up to that point. Having a baby when I’m not emotionally and financially ready scares me.”

From an economic standpoint, it is more difficult for teenage parents to find and keep well paying jobs later in life due to the insufficient amounts of schooling. And, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, depression is not uncommon among teen parents. This medical condition can add even more hardships on these caretakers.

Branch reflected, “For me to say I wouldn’t change anything, I would be lying. I would change everything but then again I’m glad this happened because it made me a whole new person, stronger in my faith, caring and wiser. So I try to thank God everyday for Azaria because she is a blessing to me. It’s weird to say that little babies can do so much to a person. It can either make you or break you, and I really think that this has made me.”