As we look thoroughly into teenage pregnancy another view that needs to be addressed is support systems for teenage girls. Most pregnant teenage girls are unstable individuals in society. These girls are living in poverty, in a single parent house; they have sexually active peers, poor-quality schooling and low motivation (Shearer et al, 2002). The support systems around these girls are minimal. They have many deterrents and barriers in their lives to fight through. When a pregnancy comes around these teenage girls are in the most need of support, yet they are the ones who get the least. These girls are in need of financial support, educational support, mental and emotional support and now medical support. �Adolescence is a time of major transitions, physically, cognitively, and socially, parenthood is not one of the normal transitions� (Bensussen-Walls & Saewyc, 2001, p. 426). Where are these girls going to get their support from, because they are living in poverty, with no education and no employment. We could look to the government or the public to help support these girls in their struggle to support themselves and their baby. However research shows that these women are recognized to have significant social and economic ramifications, as young, poor, single mothers are viewed as a massive drain on society (Rutman, Strega, Callahan & Dominelli, 2002). The stigma of these girls taking all the resources from society is upsetting and very untrue. To not provide them with resources could cause these girls to have more teenage pregnancies, and most importantly could cause future problems for the children which will then cost more to society in the long term. These girls are in need of support, most do not have family or friends they can turn to for financial or emotional support. The girls are alone. �Currently, in British Columbia, supportive services can be accessed only if the situation is deemed �at risk� by the child protection arm of the Ministry� (Rutmen et al, 2002, p.157). The image that services and supports are readily accessible for these teenage age girls is a farce.

One study done by De Jonge (2001) interviewed many women years after they had teenage pregnancies to assess their knowledge on being pregnant. One girl stated because of poor home situations pregnancy is sometimes the answer to problems �you either go to work or you have kids, there is no work so you have kids� (De Jonge, 2001, p. 51). The issue of self-esteem becomes a major role in teenage pregnancy. Teenage girls with low self-esteem look to motherhood as a way to fulfill their need for love and absence in their life. �Lack of connectedness with parents and family dysfunction have been identified as risk factors for adolescent pregnancy� (Davies, Diclemente, Wingood, Harrington, Crosby, Sionean, 2003, p.60) When addressing the desire for teenage girls to become pregnant, there is a correlation between low self-esteem and desire to become pregnant (Davies et al, 2003). Teenage girls with low self-esteem lack connectedness and look to childbearing as a means to feel attached. A teenage girl talked about her role models of family and friends around her and how it was normal to be pregnant, �there was one friend who was very close to me that I hung out with, she had a baby just before me, three of my other friends at school had babies and then after me there was quite a few more as well, my mother had me when she was 17� (De Jonge, 2001, p. 53) This is an issue addressing why women chose to keep their pregnancies and why women are not concerned with being pregnant at a young age. Another issue when working with teenage pregnancies is participation of the girls. Many programs have been developed and failed because of the lack of participation from the girls. It is important to find ways to engage attract and sustain the attention and participation of the teenage girls in the programs (Alpers, 1998). This becomes a role for health care providers to step in and be proactive making changes and getting support and services to these girls in need.

REFERENCES:

Alpers, R.R. (1998) The Importance of the Health Education Program Environment for Pregnant and Parenting Teens. Public Health Nursing. 15(2) 91-103
Bensussen-Walls, W., & Saewyc, E. (2001). Teen-focused care versus adult-focused care for the high-risk pregnant adolescent: An outcome evaluation. Public Health Nursing. 18(6), 424-435.
Davies, S., DiClemente, R., Wingood, G., Harrington, K., Crosby, R., & Sionean, C. (2003) Pregnancy Desire Among Disadvantaged African American Adolescent Females. American Journal Health Behavior. 27(1) 55-62
De Jonge, A. (2001) Support for Teenage Mothers: a qualitative study into the views of women about the support they received as teenage mothers. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 36(1) 49-57
Rutman, D., Strega, S., Callahan, M., & Dominelli, L. (2002) �Undeserving� mothers? Practitioners� experiences working with young mothers in/from care. Child and Family Social Work. 7 149-159
Shearer, D.L., Mulvihill, B.A., Klerman, L.V., Wallander, J.L., Hovinga, M.E., & Redden, D.T. (2002) Association of Early Childbearing and Low Cognitive Ability. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 34(5) 236-243
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