Teenage pregnancy: Christine George shares her experience of being a teenage mum

AZ Twinshhh interviewed a girl who got pregnant in her adolescence to raise awareness about teenage pregnancy and support other teenage girls to get through this.

Teenage pregnancy is a really common issue in our days. The study from the Oxford University states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex, and 33 percent of pregnant teens stated that they felt that they were not ready for a sexual relationship, but proceeded anyway because they feared ridicule or rejection.

Christine George is a 26 years old mum and wife. She has 2 kids, Jack 10 and Alice 1 year old. She gave her first birth at 14. Now she lives in the UK and she is happily married mother. She works as a blogger and she has a degree in Criminal Justice.

At 14, most girls are thinking about clothes, school, and parties. But Christine George got pregnant and she had to focused on raising her son. ”When I found out that I was pregnant I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock and scared to talk to my parents. I  had no idea what I was in for. I decided to keep my baby and be a single teenage parent. That means I chose to grow up and put another person’s needs before my own.”

Teen girls are more likely to get pregnant if they have limited or no guidance from their parents. Many parents have busy lives that prevent them from providing the guidance and support that their young teenagers need to make good decisions on issues such as sex, according to the website Parent Dish. When a teen girl does not feel that she can talk to her parents about sex, either because they forbid sex talk or because they are not around, she will more than likely turn to friends for direction on whether or not to have sex, resulting in misinformation and possible teen pregnancy. Christine said:” Children as early as 5th grade need to be educated by their parents and schools about sex. They need to know the dangers of STDs, learn to respect their bodies, and that contraception isn’t always 100% effective. There is just not enough education about sex in rural communities and cities. Also parents aren’t talking with their children about sex.”

According to her, being a mum is really difficult at such young age. The biggest challenge that she had to face was to grow up herself. “It is hard for a child to take care of a child.”, she confessed. Also she  admitted that her parents had been supportive  financially until she was able to get a job. When she told to her parents about her pregnancy they could not believe it. “They were mad at first and wanted me to give the baby up for adoption. They came around during the end of the pregnancy and they were supportive. It was a relief for me because finally, I knew that they will support me.”

Christine describes her life during her pregnancy as lonely. “Being a teen mum means that you need to sacrifice a lot of your desires and change your priorities in your life. I was excluded from school as I was not able to attend. However, I continued my basic education at home.”

“I was judged at the church where my parents attended! It was upsetting. It made me feel like I was not good enough for them. I avoided people and eventually quit going to church.”

She found help to her sister and she was advised by counselling sessions. “I had a sister that was 20 months younger than me. She and I were very close. She was a friend to me during that time. She died in 2006 from epilepsy. Also I went to counselling at an adoption agency and the lady there was very nice. She told me that if I wanted to keep my baby that I could and there were a lot of resources available to help me. She really encouraged me.”

According to Christine, the most difficult thing that she had to face while she was bringing up her child was to balance work, her son and school. Also she was going through a really tough time because she was criticized from external people about being a teen mum. “I lost a lot of friends while I was pregnant because we had different interests. It happens! But I made new ones.”

“I did face racism when I was younger, but not now that I am older. I think it doesn’t matter if your 16 or 36… If you’re for the  first time mum you’re still learning the same new things. A teenage mum can be a good mum just like an older mum. When I was younger strangers would ask if my son was my little brother.”

The gynecologist Vivian Mangiaterra, who works for the campaign Make Pregnancy Safer, inform us about the dangers of a teen pregnancy. “Teenage pregnancy is definitely dangerous for a combination of factors. There are biological factors, the body is not ready as it is a growing body. But social-economical aspects are extremely important as well as the lack of access to services. Children that are born from a teenager mother have 50% higher risk to die than new-borns that are born from older mothers.”

Dr Vivian also added: “Looking at those who succeed to go through that pregnancy, we are also seeing girls after delivery not being able to take care of their children. We are also seeing girls dumping their children because of the social impacts. And looking at their school enrolment and the drop outs, it is also a social problem for ensuring education.”

Teenage pregnancy is a complicated issue and needs the corporation of the father as well.  Christine admits: “The father was absent during my pregnancy and a few years later. I was 14 and he was 17. I was not old enough to have consensual sex. For that reason my parents put a restraining order in place and he was not allowed to contact me. My son’s father has been involved in his life since he was 3.”

In the question if she would go back what she would have changed she answers: “ I wish I could have had more time to spend with my son. I was a single mum so I had to work and go to school and that left little time with him. I remember the first time I saw him. I cried.  I was so happy and filled with emotions. I had also the feeling like I didn’t deserve him.”

Christine also advices teens that want to be mums. “Teens who want to become a teen mum mostly feel like they need love. Buy a dog or a cat. Pregnancy is much easier even in your 20s than it is during your teen years. Teenagers don’t handle emotions as good as adults. That is why a teen that isn’t pregnant should wait until she is older to become a mum.”

“Respect your body. Enjoy your time as a teenager, don’t rush to grow up.”

The message that she wants to pass is that we all can make it. We can face the difficulties and move on in our lives. “ If you have support from friends or family and you want to keep your baby – You can do it! I am proof! There are a lot of adoptions options available if you don’t want to keep your baby. A lot of couples can’t have children and they would be blessed to raise your baby.”