Our society claims to be modern and following the western culture. But, are we able to change our thought process accordingly or are we still facing doubts on whether to accept certain issues or not. One such issue that I am going to talk about today is Teenage Pregnancy. A topic which is certainly not acceptable in the society and I don’t think will ever be. But can teenage pregnancy be termed as a “Social Evil”. Shouldn’t we as citizens understand the issue and help curb it rather than calling it an ill culture.
Let us have a look at the aspects of this problem and the main problems faced by a teenager in such a situation and the solutions to them. And, our main question would be that “Should such an instance be socially acceptable or not?”
Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy attained between puberty and the age of 19. There are various reasons and causes for teenage pregnancy, such as:
1. Child marriage: No matter how modern our country becomes, there are social evils like child marriage which need to be curbed in order to curb teenage pregnancy and the ruining of the lives of millions of adolescent girls.
2. Exposure to domestic violence especially of a sexual nature and minors’ being raped often leads to pregnancy.
3. High risk behavior such as smoking, alcohol and substance abuse can be one of the main reasons.
4. Stress and depression often leads to a situation in which a child might fall into the pit of unprotected sex and can be pregnant.
5. Financial constraints in poor families often lead to adolescents taking steps which are bound to affect their lives in a negative manner.
6. OUT OF ALL THE ABOVE, ONE REASON WHICH IS MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR TEEN PREGNANCY IS UNPROTECTED SEX.
Nowadays, instances of teenagers indulging in sexual activities are quite normal. In the absence of adequate contraceptive the female can become pregnant. This is quite common in teenagers as they do not use contraceptive measures. 90% of teenage girls who do not use contraceptives have chances of getting pregnant.
A study on about 400 girl students proved that most of the sexually active girls worry about contraceptive only after 6 months of sexual activity.
It is not wrong to say that sexually active teenagers often end up in situations in which they forget to use contraceptives. The important thing for any teenager is to have proper knowledge and understanding of their body and its functions before they become sexually active.
SOCIAL EFFECTS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY
The teenager who gets pregnant finds it difficult to be accepted socially.
They experience isolation, guilt accompanied by stress and depression, low self esteem, lack of interest in studies, limited job prospects, and lack of support group or friends, mental and emotional trauma. In such a situation even the parents and friends find it hard to help the female. Friends often want to help, but due to the social stigma, do not come forward.
In such a situation the teenager is left in isolation and the post effects of this can be prolonged and depressing.
PREVENTION AND CARE:
There are various methods by which teenage pregnancy can be prevented.
Let us have a look at a few of them:
1. Delaying sexual intercourse. A teenager should as far as possible delay sexual intercourse and not put himself/herself in an awkward position.
2. Parents and schools should have open talks with teenagers regarding sex and related issues. Sex education forms an important part of the above process.
3. Providing advice on how to prevent teenage pregnancy.
4. Proper contraceptive counseling should be done and the teenagers should have full information about contraceptive options such as birth control pills, condoms, etc. They should be taught about emergency contraception in case of spontaneous sex.
5. Having safe sex.
6. Display responsible sexual behavior and abstain from sex as far as possible.
Finally, the teenage girls should take it upon themselves to make their choice of contraception because it is they who suffer from the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
WHAT THE YOUTH HAVE TO SAY:
When I personally asked people most said though it is not, it should be acceptable as sex between peers is spontaneous. When asked, would they help a friend in such a situation, most of them said, not publicly but may be privately. Some even said that they would not feel shy to provide help publicly.
Most of them were OK with sex before 19 but all had a view that teenage is not the age to raise a child.
Whatever be the case, it’s easy to say and hard to be in a situation and cope with it.
The question still remains that will teenage pregnancy ever be socially acceptable? As in, will people ever come forward to help a child in such a situation or will they disregard the poor girl and let her live a life of hell without any help.
[This is a reprint of the article published at Youth Ki Awaaz earlier, here]