Why are teenage pregnancies still so high – are young women secretely becoming pregnant in an attempt for a good life?
Teenage pregnancies have always been a major issue in England. In 2014 it had the highest rates of under-18s mothers in Western Europe according to the Office For National Statistics.
However it turns out that the usual association of underage pregnancies to social issues, poor backgrounds or low educational levels- as BBC says - is not always the case.
Some girls are secretely becoming pregnant from their partner in an attempt for a carefree future, as some cases show. Over the past several years, the rate of teenage pregnancies have massively decreased –with the reduction of 60 % since 1998, according to the Office for National Statistics. The target that was set by the Labour government at the time, to half teenage pregnancies by 2010, has only been achieved in 2016.
The implemented strategy to tackle the problem had 4 steps ; joined up action by national and local government; better prevention through improved sex and relationships education and young people’s access to effective contraception; a national campaign to reach young people and parents; and coordinated support for young parents. Judging by the lower numbers and rates of conception to underage girls, the strategy was successful. However the figures are still quite high in comparison to other countries.
The question that stands is, why do so many girls get pregnant whilst underage?
This has been up for debate for many years, with people arguing about bad ‘ sex education’ in schools, teenage maximalism, and the fact that young girls are inexperienced and simply follow the lead of their partner.
However today, some girls are willingly getting pregnant to provide themselves with a better future.
Alexander ( his real name has been changed), a 20 – year – old, financially rich, London based student, has recently approached me for an advice about his relationship.
Alex is dating with a 17 – year-old girl – Diana ( her name has also been changed).
Recently he has accidentally read his girlfriends chat with her mum, where Diana and her mother were discussing her future, and that no matter what the cost is, she has to try and marry Alex – as he is quite well of – for her carefree future. Diana has responded to her mum by saying that there is nothing to worry about, that she is taking care of it, as she secretly pierces the condoms, and purposely want to get pregnant.
Probably her assumption was that if she gets pregnant, Alex will not be able to leave her alone with a baby, and would eventually marry her, and cover all the expenses in her life. However he found out, and they are no longer together, as she has lost his trust. Another case with the same approach is Yana’s story. Yana is a 20-year-old single mother of a 3-year-old. A couple of years ago she has been dating with a wealthy man, that was older than her for 5 years. She was 17 at the time.
She says, 'I’m a very jealous type of girl, and I was willing to do whatever it takes for that man to stay with me for the rest of my life – and once I had the idea in my head, there was no going back.” Yana has also secretly pierced the condoms and got pregnant.
“I was so caught up with the idea, and planning our entire future together, that the thought of him leaving me alone, especially pregnant, did not cross my mid even once.”
When she told her boyfriend that he will soon become a father, his reaction was very aggressive and negative. Yana said that after the delivered news, in about a week he stopped answering his phone and has simply disappeared. “ He didn’t even have the decency to break up with me in person, or at least over the phone, he has just disappeared from my life, as if he had never even existed.”
Today Yana is raising her child alone. She wanted a financially stable future with the man she loved, but was left alone in everything. She said that “I have only then realized how much the phrase ‘All actions have consequences’ mean”.
I spoke to Uliana Grinenko, a Psychologist that specializes in deviant behavior to understand what motivates girls to act and think in such way.
“When a girl is codependent on the ‘love of her life’ but her second half, for some reasons, is not giving her enough attention, after trying to dye her hair or change her style and realizing that none of those things work – she becomes so desperate, that starts rushing to the extremes. Such as secretly getting pregnant.”
“For some reasons girls are thinking that the baby will make the man stay with them forever and love them unconditionally, but what they don’t think about, is the fact that even after they ‘surprise’ their man with the news, and even if he stays to help with the child, it does not mean that he is going to love or cherish you.”
She has also said,' It may also be seen as a type of emancipation. When a teenager wants to drive a gap between her and her parents, so then the question stands,‘ Oh, how to get married faster and live a grown up life?’ get pregnant.”
Even though the there has been a massive decrease in teenage pregnancies, the figures still remains quite high. The strategy that was implemented has tackled the issue, however it still needs a closer look and moderate change to be taken, in order to become more effective.
As we need to take into accout the fact that teenage population is constantly changing. As well as the fact that we have to remember that todays teenage population consists of the children that were born and raised by very young parents, thus this may also have a huge mpact on the issue Underage conceptions is a very complex topic that is influenced by a web of inter-connected factors, which therefore makes it difficult to evaluate the contribution of different aspects on its own.
Perhaps maybe more stages should be introduced to the stategy in order to make it more effective, as demographics are rapidly changing. Globalization is at its highest, meaning that the paste of cultural exchange is faster that ever. Due to this, measures that have been taken in 1998, to prevent teenage pregnancies, may not be as effective as they have been before, because initially they have been targeting the British population, whereas today, UK’s population is more than just British people.
Today, with all the influence of social media, we also need to understand that UK teenage population, has an easy access to the content that may not be suitable for their age, therefore might be promoting the careless sexual lifestyle that may influence the rate of teenage pregnancies. Even though internet restrictions have been implemented, it is still very difficult – nearly impossible- to control their online actions. According to the Office for National Statistics In 2017, 90% of households in Great Britain had internet access, an increase from 89% in 2016 and 57% in 2006.
As teenagers spend a lot of their time online, on various social platforms, maybe there should be a way found to enforce sex education via the media. Maybe then the number of teenage pregnancies would decrease even more. It is important that we do not stop on the already achieved goals, and continue to tackle the issue.
Two of the cases mentioned above, Alex’s and Yana’s, portray that teenage pregnancies not only arise from bad sex education or poor backgrounds, but rather a more complex situation, where girls are willingly and purposely getting pregnant in an attempt for their future.
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