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Your Thoughts on Teen Pregnancy

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Earlier this week I posted on a girl I knew who has just become pregnant--and it doesn't look entirely like an accident.

Some of the comments I had were really interesting, so I thought I'd repost them here.

First, from Facebook:

Sherry noted that the reason many teens get pregnant is because they have sex--not necessarily because they try. Good point.

Mollie said "Don't even get me started". Mollie's pretty funny when she gets started, so I wish she could have revved the engine a little! But we'll let that one go.

and from this blog:

One Anonymous reader said:

Excellent post, Sheila. I have to say that my experience as the daughter of teenage parents was totally affected by the reality that they were children raising a child. Did they love me? Absolutely! Did they do their best? Certainly! Am I a productive member of society? Sure. But, the truth is, I didn't have a firm foundation and, while my choices are all my very own responsibility, I can see how their own insecurities and immaturity had a profound impact on every aspect of my life.

My parents celebrated their 39th anniversary in April, I'll be 39 in October. It's a beautiful testimony of God's grace ... but there are many, many moments of heartache, hurt, and pain ... which could have been avoided by a decision NOT to have sex.

I love my parents and I am thankful that they have worked so hard to make their marriage work ... they did the best they could, I believe that wholeheartedly. But, it wasn't easy ... and it still isn't sometimes.

The question we need to be asking isn't, "Can I parent this child?" It is, "Should I?" I often tell the young women I counsel at our local crisis pregnancy center that the decision what to do after you're pregnant MUST be based on what is in the child's best interest. The time of doing what feels good to you or makes you happy has passed ... parenting is about putting the best interest of our children ahead of our own wishes, dreams, insecurities, desires, longings, and hopes.

Good points. We can make the best of a situation, and actually do quite well at it, but it doesn't mean that situation was good to begin with.

Chele said:

Oh wow Sheila. That hits home to me. I could write a book on it. I must say that I've been there. 14 yrs ago I found out I was pregnant a month before I graduated high school. I married that man and a lot happened since then. I should share it all with you but I've already shared some of this on my own blog. I can say though, I NEVER thought I would be without their father. He promised me the world and he failed... to the point he gave up rights for his own children. Okay I feel so strongly about this and must stop or you'll have a whole other post (or series) in your comments. So hits home... I will pray for this young girl and her unborn baby.

I'm so sorry that your child's dad left! I will never understand how so many parents walk out on their children, but it's very common, and I'm afraid it will happen to my little friend.

Homegrown Mom gave a different perspective:

I'd just like to point out that sure, she may be "over the top happy" about it, but you never know what she has gone through personally to get to that point.

I discovered I was pregnant at 18 and instantly decided I would do what was right for the baby and love her from the get-go. I never would have wanted to walk around with my head hung in shame and act like it was a big disappointment, even if it would have made my church family feel better about "the situation."

I decided to celebrate this new life and if someone figured I'd planned it all because I was so happy, then they would have been wrong.

As for having a fever, puking all over, and getting up to care for my baby, yep I sure did. I know it's hard to imagine but what we all need to remember is GOD does NOT make mistakes!

Girls in other cultures have babies at a far younger age and are quite good moms. Not that I am recommending that teenagers go out and get pregnant! I'm just saying that you never know the whole story and unless you're her mama, you should probably just focus on loving her and thank God she is showing a sense of enthusiasm about bringing a new life into the world.

I understand what you're saying about girls who TRY to get pregnant, but please don't assume that just because someone has come to terms with it and chooses to look at the bright side has indeed planned it.

But I'm going to give the last word to Melissa, who made a really good point:

I became pregnant with my (almost) 14 year old when I was 16 and by the time I was 18 I had two little boys 15 months apart. While I understand everything you said, working with teen moms on an almost daily basis and knowing the struggles they face from personal experience, what teen moms need from their church family and friends is unconditional love and support.
I was saved, found Jesus with clothes on, through a teen mom support group, which is why I am so devoted to sharing the love of Christ with girls that have made mistakes.
Sin is sin. Thankfully we serve a Romans 8:28 God and He has a plan to turn that girl's mistake into a success story for His glory.

What's done is done. And now I shall focus on how to help this girl find Christ in the midst of this, since only He can see her through, anyway! If anyone has any ideas of what we can do to better integrate teen moms into our churches, and to help those girls who already have self-esteem/rejection issues NOT get pregnant in the first place, let me know!


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At 8:16 AM , Blogger Chele said…

Sheila, thank you for sharing my comment. I do have a lot to say with it. I have to agree with all because in my situation I was talked about and rejected from many. All I needed was unconditional love and support. I was one of those who chose to be happy about it. What will it do for my child if I'm negative about it. I have so much more that I can't share on my own blog because of family reading. One day maybe. However, I just suggest not to look down on her, be there for her. Hug her! Ask her if she needs anything! She may be willing to say exactly what she needs from all! :) Okay, I'll stop cause like I said, I could write a book! BTW, my church was not happy with me at that time. I was never really accepted at that church (my families church)to this day. But I have found one that I don't feel they look down on me for my past. Praise God!


At 8:21 AM , Anonymous Debbie said…

I'm sorry I missed your first post, but will comment here.

Just like every pregnancy is different, every teen pregnancy is, too. I grew up in a Christian home and had a relationship of my own with Jesus Christ.

I was 17 when I got pregnant for the 2nd time - it was a really difficult season for my family (not just my pregnancy) - and because I didn't have the support of the father - or even my own family - I had NO ONE but God. My first pregnancy ended in abortion - and I suffered for it for the next 15 years. My 2nd pregnancy was really a miracle from God - and I don't say that to diminish my sin - but because God reached down and grabbed ahold of my life in a way that literally saved me.

I was radiant - not because I was proud of my sin - but because when I repented, I felt the full forgiveness of God. Despite the consequences which became obvious to everyone I knew - God blessed my life with a beautiful woman who not only adopted my son, but embraced me with her heart, as well. While I did not have the opportunity to raise my son as my own - his mother has been a friend to me for more than 20 years - and has shared his life with me.

Teen Pregnancy is never easy. There may be many factors leading up to the pregnancy, that aren't resolved simply by the birth of the child - and while her sinful behavior may be obvious - only the redemption of Jesus Christ will fulfill her soul. Luke 7 talks about "The Sinner Woman" and verse 47 is my LIFE verse.

Pregnant teens - whatever their demeanor or appearance - need Jesus' love more than anything else. Practically and tangibly, they need help - but Jesus is the only one who can fill the holes in their soul, and bring them to wholeness as a woman - whether or not she chooses to be a mother...


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Amy said…

I missed the discussion the other day but, having been in similar shoes, the girl will definitely need unconditional love and support. I think that people tend to think that love and support equals condoning what was done. They do not.

I lost friends - current and future - because I became pregnant as a teenager, having a child during what would have been my second semester of college. Some of those friends were people I had known for years and who said they would be there for me.

They weren't. And while many in my church were genuinely caring and supportive, others talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. Less judgment and more love is what's needed. My child is 10 years old and the way people treated me - us, really - still affects me to a degree.


At 9:58 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

Teen pregnancy just plain stinks.

Been there, done that. I got pregnant at 17, chose to carry-to-term and chose adoption for my birthson. This was an incredibly difficult season in my life, and a truly difficult decision.

I wish I had gotten more support for my decision for adoption. Most people in my life were against it, and told me I'd regret it for the rest of my life.

The reality couldn't be further than the truth. 19 years later, I'm happily married and raising my 3 boys...and so thankful I chose life for my birthson. I praise God for his life.

It was during that teen pregnancy that I found Christ, through a CPC, and looking back, I can see how the Lord carried me through that time and gave me strength I couldn't have mustered up on my own.

God is a redeemer. I would never talk anyone into adoption, but I'd never talk anyone out of it either. In my situation, it was the best thing for both of us.

My heart goes out to the young woman in your life. Whatever face you put on it at the time, it's not easy.


At 11:21 AM , OpenID mom2giqm said…

I blogged about my own teenage pregnancy on my blog.

Speaking to the issue of teens getting pregnant on purpose, I think it is summed up in one word: loneliness.

And loneliness can happen in every family. I grew up in a churched, two-parent home, but my siblings and I never felt genuinely loved. It just resounds as we love on our children that our parents didn't show us love as we now do, which seems like the natural thing to your children.

How do you respond to a teen who gets pregnant on purpose? Well, you talk to them. Ask them why they wanted to get pregnant? Ask them what they envision life to be like now? You let them speak without interrupting or chastising them. If they open up to you about pains that led them to do this...if they are looking for unconditional love...empathize and pray with or at the very least for them. And introduce them to the one who loves unconditionally.

God used my 1st pregnancy to save me from a bad relationship. I looked forward to being a mom. But God had other plans. Which is a very long story (or blog post).


At 3:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I enjoyed your post (and went back and read the first post). I just wanted to comment on the 'cause'. It seems like sex before marriage is not properly addressed in our churches. It is deemed as sin and yet no one ever wants to talk about it or how to overcome it, or teach young people how to deal with their sexuality (as it is a natural, good and God intended feeling - to be exercised in the right form, marriage). Pregnancy is a consequence of sex (good or bad), how many other teens are out there that may not get pregnant but are still having pre-marital sex and dealing with other (emotional, etc) consequences? Sex in the wrong context seems to be one of the 'worst' or 'most looked down upon' sins - but not in God's eyes, to Him all sin is equal. God can take our worst circumstances and create something beautiful, only if we let Him!


At 7:10 AM , Anonymous Muriel said…

While reading the posts and the comments the thing that really stood out for me is; It is a sin to have pre-marital sex. The pregnancy that might follow makes it visual for every one around you that you sinned!
I don't think I can put in words how great full I am that my sins so much more hidden from every one.
But I think it comes down to the fact that God sees all sin! The ones that are there for every one to see and the ones that no one knows about. And He sent His only Son to take all those sins on Himself and died for all of us, so that we could be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.
I just hope I remember this, next time I see the sins of some one else so clearly, to take a good look at my own life and be humbled.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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