You sit there tense, your face is turning cherry red, your eyes are fixed on the little white machine, and you feel like the suspense is killing you, two minutes seem like forever. All of the sudden you see a +. Youre 15 and pregnant. What are you going to do now?
Jessica Inhoff, a junior at Grant, tells us what she did when she found out she was pregnant with her son last year. She said that she was overly surprised and didnt know what to do. She didnt want to have to be there when her parents found out, so she just left a note on the table and went to work.
Luckily for her, her parents were remarkably supportive, and still help her out as much as they can with her son. Her mother watches Kyle every day while she is at school, and will baby-sit one night a week, so Jessica can go out and still be a kid. According to the Oregon Health Division, during 1997 in Multnomah County, 654 girls between the ages of 10 and 17 got pregnant and kept their babies.
Between 1974 and 1998 pregnancy for teens between the ages 15 and 19 increased by 200 percent. Also once the babies are born to teen mothers they are more than twice as likely to have a lower birth weight than those born to older mothers, which can cause major health risks. It makes babies more likely to die within the first 2 days of life. All those unwanted pregnancies among teens cost U.S. taxpayers almost 7 billion each year.
One question you should ask yourself before you decide to have sex is; Am I ready to be a mother or a father? If you can answer yes to all the questions below, you are ready to go out Saturday night and decide by having sex with them, to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend, Hey honey, I want us to have a baby!
- Could I handle a baby and a job at the same time? Would I have enough time and energy for both?
- How would a child interfere with my growth and development? Would I finish school and would I be able to go to college and get the career I want while caring for a child?
- Can I afford to support a child? Do I know how much it takes to raise a child?
- Am I willing to give a great part of my life at least 18 years to being responsible for a child? And spend a large portion of my life concerned with my childs well being?
- Do I like doing things with children? Do I enjoy activities that children can do? Do I like cleaning up childrens messes and do I want to have a child around me 24-7?
- What do I do when I get angry or upset? Would I take things out on my child if I lost my temper?
- Could my partner and I give a child a good home? Is our relationship a happy and strong one? Do we want to have to be connected for the reast of our lives, until death do us part?
As Leslie Clark, an alumnus from Grant, figured out, having a baby and being in high school is a hard job. She had to skip the last couple months of her senior year to have her baby, which put her behind a year and not able to graduate with her class. She had a hard time raising her son Allyn on her own for the first five years, but luckily after that she and Allyns dad started dating again, and ended up getting married. Seventeen years have now passed, and she is a happily married certified public accountant. Jessica Inhoff is now experiencing the responsibilities of being a teen mother, which she says, are endless.
A normal day goes like this for Jessica; she gets up at 6, after being awake half the night (with her sons wake up calls at 12:30 and 3 A.M.), and goes to school. She goes through six rigorous classes and then leaves during seventh period to go home and take care of her son, so her mother can have a break from babysitting.
For the next three hours she changes diapers, cleans up his messes, plays with him, and does her homework all at the same time. At 5P.M, she makes them dinner, and feeds both herself and her son. Then from then until 8:30, they take a bath, play, and she gets him ready for bed. At 9P.M, hes usually finally asleep. Now she has a little time to herself to do her homework and maybe watch TV until she falls asleep, to wake up again at 12:30 and calm a crying baby.
There are many ways that you can try to prevent pregnancy, but the most effective is abstinence. Other methods of birth control include condom use, Depo-Provera, the pill, and a few that other not as popular methods for teens (for example Norplant and a Diaphragm.) For more information on how to prevent pregnancy you can talk to your doctor or pay a visit to Grants School Based Health Clinic, where everything is confidential. Try to be careful, and hopefully you will never have to go through the rigors of being a pregnant teen or parent.
- Clark, Leslie. Personal Interview. 25 March 2000.
- Inhoff, Jessica. Personal Interview. 27 March 2000
- Smith, Verita. Grant School Based Health Clinic. Personal Interview. 30 March 2000.
- State of Oregon. Oregon Health Division. Teen Pregnancy Rates Ages 10 20. Multnomah County. 1997-1998.