Teen Baby Trend This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Does today’s generation glamorize teenage pregnancy? About four in ten girls become pregnant before age 20. Annually, about 900,000 teenage pregnancies occur nationally – approximately 52 pregnancies per hour. Almost 40 percent of young mothers haven’t reached the age of 18 when they become pregnant.

An epidemic. How could something like teenage pregnancy ever become so popular that it’s considered an epidemic? Of course we all know the obvious reason for pregnancy, but one perplexing question is why aren’t teens being more ­responsible? One would think that young adults would know enough to be careful. However, not using protection isn’t always the cause of teenage pregnancy.

Surprising as it may seem, some teenage girls may choose to get pregnant because they don’t see any life goals within their reach other than motherhood. Some may be seeking the unconditional love of a child. Or maybe a young woman believes that having her boy­friend’s baby will make him want to stay with her. However, nearly 80 percent of these fathers do not marry the mother of their children.

Sadly, an intended pregnancy doesn’t hold the advantages that young people believe it will. I believe another cause is something many desire and thrive on: ­attention. Attention can cause a big (but false) boost in self-esteem. It provides a temporary happiness that is addictive for some.

If you pick up any magazine like People, Star, or Us Weekly, you are pretty much guaranteed to find at least one article about a pregnant celebrity. Millions and millions of people fawn over these stars. When celeb mommies spill the details about their ­little soon-to-be bundles of joy, people seek to emulate their glamorous lives.

One of the most popular confessional pieces in the ­media recently was about a famous teenage mother: Jamie Lynn Spears. She starred in “Zoey 101” – a popular Nickelodeon show among both tweens and little tykes – for only three seasons before she leaked to OK! magazine about her “surprising and shocking” pregnancy with her older boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.

For months, Jamie was on baby watch. Paparazzi followed her around begging for comments and pictures of her and her developing baby-bump. Every tabloid had something to say about Spears’s unborn child, and most of the articles were positive accounts of the support she was ­receiving from her parents and how she and Aldridge were planning to marry.

Another recent, highly public teenage pregnancy was that of Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin. The young lady’s secret was apparently not so secret in the close-knit Alaskan town where the Palin family lives. When the rest of the country found out, even more news coverage focused on the family.

Very public incidents like these impact regular teens. Not all blame should be placed on the media, however. Schools deserve some of the fault. Some have been known to enact “Bring Your Kids to School Day.” If that’s not encouraging young people to get pregnant, I don’t know what is. Think of all the attention a teen mother would receive as classmates ask about the silly behaviors of her little mini-me.

When it comes down to it, most people sympathize with young moms and commend them for toughing it out and taking care of their babies. But teenage pregnancy has been made into something it is not. It has been glamorized like a new, expensive pair of shoes. Teens may think they are ready, that all a baby requires is someone to feed it and change it every once in a while. Teaching sex education at schools isn’t enough anymore. Today’s teens must be taught the responsibilities that go along with raising a kid. Someone needs to stop children from having children of their own.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 137 comments. Post your own now!

kassidy.14 said...
May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I really agree with this article.

I don't believe sex education works in schools. If anything, it encourages sexual activity.

nlagymnast replied...
Jul. 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm
You're so right! It's basically telling you, Here's how everything works, and you can do this, this, this, this, and this to avoid pregnancy and STDS.  Oh, but remember kids, abstinence is the only 100% way.   Ugh i'm in a health class right now and this bothers me. 
Lizz17 replied...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm
y parents actually made me learn about all that. I begged weeks in advance to be aloud to skip it but they said they wanted me to know about how it all works. I mean, really?! i think i could've gone my whole life not knowing all that and still be safe.
RedFeather replied...
Oct. 28, 2011 at 7:40 am
I have to take that later on in the school year, and I am not looking forwards to it. I already know enough about "how it works" from the w h o r e s talking about it in the hallways so loud that you can hear them in the classrooms! (And the teachers do absolutly nothing about it!) I am not looking forwards to it at all. I know more than I think I need, and I'm not planning on doing it any time soon. I've never even kissed a boy before, I don't need to know about going all the way!
Apr. 26, 2010 at 11:11 am
this is very good. and i agree with you 100%. i go to a very big highschool here in texas and i see too many girls walking around with huge bumbs under their shirts and it makes me sad to see that. safe sex education isn't enough anymore, that's for sure. but the parents need to pay more attention.
SomethingAwesome replied...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm
Very true, the parents are guidelines that don't guide. In fact, many children look toward a parent as a stop sign.
SemiVeggie said...
Apr. 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm
Thank you so much for including in your essay that teen pregnancies are not always an accident. Adults often overlook the fact that some young women just want to be mothers. In addition to all the reasons you listed, sometimes your body sends you signs: for instance, having your period allows you to get pregnant (you're ovulating) and that is a pretty big natural sign that maybe you should. And natural, bodily signs are sometimes hard to ignore.
nathanairhart said...
Apr. 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm
This a great essay! You are a very talented writer. The essay is filled with some excellent points. My only criticism is the last line. You wrote "Someone needs to stop children from having children of their own." Now, even though this is true, it is a phrase that has been used quite frequently. I would suggest maybe changing it to something more... I don't know... I don't want to say original, but something just different. I don't really know what, though, and maybe I'm totally wrong with that,... (more »)
SLC96 said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm
this is a VERY well written and detailed essay. i LOVE it. i agree with everything you said. i have seen SO many shows like 16 & pregangt and Pregancy Pact and i think some of those shows (no mattter how much we love them) may be glamozrizng teen prgamgcy also. i really love your article. please keep up the good work. ;)
toxic.monkey said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 10:15 am
this is a pretty good article... but it seems like the main point of it is that celebrities are glamourizing teen pregnancy . my opinion is why should we be like celebrities if they are making wrong decisions? get a mind of your own, people, grow up, go to planned parenthood and get on the pill or buy freaking condoms until you know you're ready!
alayapoetgirl said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 9:16 am
This article is extremely well-written! Wow, it is great! When you get the chance check out my opinion essay on animal rights/vegetarianism
Peace420 said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 8:34 am
Over christmas break, there was a car crash involving a teen mother who just had her baby three months ago died because she didn't wear a seat belt and the driver was also a teen and she lost control of the car and she died too, but it just makes me mad that the baby is not going to know her mother. RIP M.C. and T.O.
cybelle14 said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm
This is completly insane. I've been reading all the posts, and I've seen so many posts on girls 12 and 13 being pregnant . Why the hell would you have sex at 13? You're still a kid... I understand if its like rape or something but by choice it is just crazy. Btw, this is a good article, wheat_wheat:)
little-miss-sunshine said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm
I completely agree. Teenagers think they are ready but know nothing! Great Article!
LonWlofzHowl said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm
When did the trend start that girls count cherries poped instead of how many cherrie cokes they've had that week?
Outoforder2014 said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Wheat_wheat I understand where ur coming from but that's back when a 14 yr old could merry a 20 year old no questions asked.
MJBlack replied...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm
Yes well my Grandmother was 13 when she had her first child and was 14 when she was married; your point isn't coming out. I have yet to even see what your trying to convince others of. I'm just saying if someone is 14 & wishes to have a child then let them be. Like I said we have NO place to judge others personaly choices; no place what so ever!
Outoforder2014 replied...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm
It was never okay EVER for a 14 year old to marry a 20 year old. You're missing the point. If someone is getting pregs & it's happening to your friends & your family then yes go and judge; have a problem with itI'm simply saying that yes teens have no idea how much trouble a child is & they shouldn't have a kid young unles they are ready ( Which 99% are not) I'm simply saying that we have no place to make judements on these girls, if you think they're h... (more »)
Wheat_Wheat said...
Dec. 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm
First of all I would like to respect the point of view you are coming from. But what happened to those days when it was okay to be 16 and  pregnant . When this country was first founded it was 100% okay for a girl to be a teenager and having children. Now who are we to judge someone choice? If a young girl wants to have a child who are we to stand in her way? It's all personal decisions, and personaly i do not mind. I do think that this world is becoming over populated but not from tee... (more »)
MJBlack replied...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 9:17 am
that may be so but in the days when it was ok to be haveing children at 14 these women were already married. My great grand mother lived in a time that on her first date she kissed the boy and they were forced to get married. My mother was married when she was 16 and she had 3 kids by the time she was 20. You see the difference is that in those days the girls who were haveing kids at a young age were already married 95% of the time.
LonWlofzHowl replied...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm
I agree with mj. My sister was pregnant at like 16 i was about 9 when she had her baby. I seen a horribly ugl side of this and back when it was ok They were MARRIED. She almost died because she used tohave an eating disorder. Im sorry but this is an epidmic. And why do teen girls think that having a sex life out of marrige is OKay? I have seen how stessfull it truelly is. SOMEONE DO SOMETHING FAST!!!!!!!
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