In 2014, a total of 249,078 babies were born in the US to women aged 15-19 years.
I know of and am close friends with former and current teenage mothers. I've noticed how common it is for 7th-12th grade girls to have pregnancy scares or even actually getting pregnant. I've been beside my friends nervously waiting for their tests, one too many times. Growing up watching "The Secret Life of an American Teenager" and "Teen Mom" I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought of becoming a young mother myself. Babies are so cute!! But of course that was all crazy talk. From a young age, my mother has always emphasized the importance of waiting until I get my degree and finding the man whom I'll marry. While I have one of those two things checked off, I still have a decade or so ahead of me until I start popping out some chubbsters. But for some high school girls, a precious little angel came into their lives a lot sooner than they expected.
I interviewed Keionna Nash, a student from Evergreen, who recently gave birth to her beautiful daughter Brylee just 3 weeks ago.
How old were you when you had your first child?
K: I conceived at 15 and had her at 16.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced being a parent at a young age?
K: Being able to support myself and my child. I've had issue’s with friends, and some have left. Keeping up with my school work is the hardest.
What were your goals and future plans before becoming a mother? How does having a child hinder these?
K: My goals included being in the medical field, go to college and also go into cosmetology. I wanted to be someone, I wanted to be successful. Having a child didn't hinder me from that, having a child motivated me 10x more to push myself to give not only her but myself a life we deserve.
What would you tell a teenage girl who is considering becoming a young teen mom?
K: WAIT!!! It's not at all easy, I'll tell you I'm struggling. Taking care of a baby, going to school, being able to keep my grades up, my social life, everything is so much harder and some gets taken away from you. The moment you get pregnant, it's not about you anymore, a baby depends on you. You'll have a child at the right time but for now live it up, be a teenager and have fun! You can always have a baby, but you can't get back time nor your teenage years!
What would you tell teenage girls who are already pregnant?
K: It's gonna be hard. I won't lie. But you can do it. Don't let a child set you back, let that child be the reason you fight harder. It doesn't matter how you got here, you are here. Now it's time to do everything you can to make sure your baby has a good start in life. Your baby doesn't deserve any less simply because you are a teen mom.
Since I'm currently doing a project for my epidemiology class about informing the public about prenatal care, I was curious how educated teenage mothers are of taking care of their body while being pregnant. It seems the younger the girls are of conciving, the less likely they would know about proper prenatal care. I called Keionna and quizzed her on the spot.
Q: Which of the following types of health care providers can provide prenatal care and deliver your baby:
• Family physician
• Certified Nurse Midwife
• All of the above
Correct answer: All of the above.
Keionna's Answer: "Wouldn't it be Obstetrician?"
Q: What toxic substances should pregnant women avoid?
Correct Answer (might include): Fish high in mercury, caffinee, plastics containg BPA, cat feces, lunch meats, and ibuprofen.
Keionna's Answer: Sushi, Parasites, and Caffinee
Q: What prenatal vitamin should a pregnant women take to prevent miscarrage and some birth defects of the brain & spine?
Correct Answer: Folic Acid (Synthetic form of Vitamin B9)
Keionna's Answer: "Oh, I do not know"
Should schools start introducing more prenatal care lessons in their health and medical science classes? Or is that the responsiblity of the teenagers to learn it themselves?
Rianne Del Carmen
My biggest goal in life is to just live it. To enjoy every moment and find the beauty in all things. So I write to inspire others. Not to just enjoy life but to better themselves. To become a better student, a happier person, and a more loving human. With tips and stories, I hope to help you through all the rough edges.