Picture this; you live in a small house, with your absent mom and her cruel husband. You’re struggling to finish school. One day, just after finishing work, your step-father comes into your room, and rapes you. You try as hard as you can to forget about this, but you can’t, you’re stuck. Your mom doesn’t believe you; she thinks that you’re the one that provoked him. To make matter worse, you find out you’re pregnant; being a pregnant fifteen year old, alone in the world terrifies you. Your mom kicks you out because she prefers taking her husband’s side. You have no money, no education, and to make things even worse, you are now responsible for a whole other life.
One can think of this as an overdramatized anecdote; however, sadly enough, this is what many Peruvian teens find themselves enduring. If one visits a teenage pregnancy home, it’s evident that this situation is the most common of all causes; in cases of teenage pregnancies.
Teenage pregnancy can have many ulterior factors that can influence it. If it’s not peer pressure, absent parents, lack of education, or even substance consumption (alcohol, drugs), all cases have motive behind. In Peru, and all around the world, millions of teens endure this tough situation every year, and they have no support. Living in a critical, judgmental society, pregnant teenagers are not helped enough; they are excluded, and ashamed.
Nicole Etolen (Our Family World) wrote an article titled “Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Antiquated Scare Tactics Are Not the Answer”. The article clearly explains how teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns are not suitable to handle this issue, and the controversy that it brings to society. “One ad features a crying baby with a message that he is less likely to graduate high school because he was born to teen parents. What kind of message does that send to children of teen parents? It’s telling them not to try; that their parents doomed them to failure before they were even born.” Campaigns, nowadays, are trying to scare teenagers, and clearly it’s not going to work! The only thing they do, is offend teens who are pregnant, or have already been, and creates a society that criticizes them all the time. Although this example is miles away from home, it expresses the magnitude of the prejudice that people have towards these girls.
When a mother gives birth to a baby, she has gone through psychological and biological changes that enable her to take care of her child. In an ideal situation, family will take care of basic needs, so that the mother can concentrate on her child. Feeling taken care of gives the mother what´s needed for her and her baby, specially the first months after the child is born. In the case of a teenage mother, the need to be taken care for is even greater. In the first months after the birth, it’s highly important for the mother and child to have a strong bond, given that 53% of adults say their mother had more influence than their father had during childhood, according to Psychology Today. This starting bond is the base to all other bonds the child will have throughout his/her life. If the mother feels rejected, not taken care for, and, thrown away from home, the bond between child and mother will definitely be in danger as she will have to work long hours to support them, and will not be as present for the baby’s childhood. Consequently, the baby will generate life-long damages such as feeling insecure, which could possibly be transmitted to the next generation.
Evidently, if the pregnant mother lacks of the necessary support, she herself will be negatively affected. For this reason, it´s fundamental for society to give them the indispensable care they require, and help them have a bright future. As long as society continues acting this way, there will be no change about this important issue. Throughout their lives, the biggest scar that these women carry isn’t from the physical changes their bodies endure during pregnancy, but instead it’s from all the stigmatization they have to endure.