She told me where it happened. It was in the car at one of our town’s fast food places after hours. That is where she got pregnant. Funny thing, we repeated this conversation again the next year — she was pregnant again. She was only 16 the second time around.
Back in high school, I knew these girls who became pregnant. Some were good friends of mine. I can remember asking them: “Don’t you know you are going to have this baby the rest of your life?” I never received a regretful response back; instead, they seemed happy to be pregnant at 15 or 16. They were unaware of how much responsibility it takes to raise a child.
One of my friends explained to me that home life wasn’t so great — attention from males seemed to make her feel much better and fill a void that couldn’t be filled at home. Another one of my friends explained that she was in love.
Many of us shake our heads when we hear that a teen has become pregnant or given birth. Sometimes instead of criticizing, making judgments, or demeaning a teen and/or their parents we should take a look at ourselves and what we are doing to solve the problem of teen pregnancy.
I guess when it comes down to it, teens have multiple reasons why they have sex or why they do or don’t use protection, including birth control. Some of us still don’t want to admit it, but teens are having sex. The numbers of teen pregnancies in this county alone are enough of a reason for us to finally realize this. Robeson County now ranks 11th in the state for teen pregnancies.
The Robeson County Health Department’s CHATS (Creating Health Advocates Through Schools) has been addressing the issues and complexities of teen pregnancy and is trying to create solutions to this problem. CHATS was recognized in May by the North Carolina Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition at its annual May meeting for the hard work that it has done so far in our county. The Health Department’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition has a vested interest in this issue since we know teen mothers and their children usually have to rely on public assistance and that their children often end up as teen parents themselves.
There’s not one solution to reducing the number of teen pregnancies but we know it’s time to take a serious look at what we are and aren’t teaching our children. By doing so, we have the potential to reduce the number of teen pregnancies while helping our youths live as youth.
The Health Department will be hosting a fundraiser at Pizza Hut in Lumberton on July 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. to help raise additional funding to support our teen pregnancy prevention programs, specifically the “Baby Think It Over” program. For information on our teen pregnancy interventions, please call Lashona Miller at (910) 737-5007.
— Sarah Gray is the Information and Communications Director for the Robeson County Health Department. You may contact her at email@example.com or at 910-671-3094.