Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 6:00:37 AM
In my family, about eight years ago, we discovered a teenage pregnancy. My cousin, Nikki, had gotten pregnant before she even turned sixteen. While I was too young to initially understand the repercussions of what had happened, I knew that something bad was going on. At nine years old, I was impressionable to the influences of my older cousins. That was when my parents decided that we needed to have “The Talk”. Other members of our family swept this incident under the rug because they didn’t want their children to know or have this negative influence in their lives. However, my parents felt that it was important for me to see the impact that teenage pregnancy can have on a young girl’s life, as well as on those surrounding her.
I then watched my cousin’s relationship with Abraham, the father, fluctuate like teenage relationships tend to. Our family saw him make promises to her that he was incapable of keeping, until, one day, he was out of the picture for good. I remember how hard it was on my aunt and uncle to care for this new baby when they already had four kids of their own to worry about. While I didn’t hear of their sacrifices specifically, I watched the dynamic of their family change. Nikki’s three younger brothers went from boys, to uncles. I have never seen any of them so responsible as when they are with their nephew, or their two newer nieces.
Nikki struggled to finish high school, and then took a few classes at Palomar after graduation. In this day and age, there is a good deal of emphasis and pressure laid on getting stellar grades to get into a four-year university and getting started in a stable career. There is no room for a baby in that agenda. Because of her child, she did not have the opportunities that many girls, as well as myself, have now and will have in the future. I have personally witnessed the after effects of a child in a teenager’s life, and am smart enough to know that I do not want to take on that extra life challenge.
Most people at this point in time can say that they personally know someone who has gotten pregnant too young, or even just had a pregnancy scare at a young age. And even those who have not probably have seen one of the many reality shows that showcase the drama of teen pregnancy. The drop in teen pregnancy rates is most likely due to girls realizing that becoming a teen mom will not take them where they want to go in life. Harsh reality checks, whether they are brought on by TV shows or witnessing the scandal first hand, can have a dramatic effect on a teen’s behavior. Sometimes, scaring a person can be the best thing for them.