Choosing life can be daunting, but you don’t have to be another teen pregnancy statistic. I had my first baby when I was seventeen. It was hard, but I can’t imagine how a young mom who’s living in New York City feels these days.
Have you seen the posters plastered all over the subways in the media? One shows a crying baby and reads, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate from high school because you had me as a teen.”
While it’s true that having a baby as a teen is hard, choosing to have the baby IS a good decision. It’s a selfless, caring decision that will give the child a future, planned or not.
Instead of trying to shame a teen mom, what if you, me, we . . . supported her? Would her child still be a sad statistic if there was a group of men and women who educated her, inspired her, and offered her hope?
That’s what happened to me. A group of older women came alongside me. They taught me about being a mom. They made me feel as if I had value. They saw my child as a gift. They painted a bright future. Because of them, my confidence as a mom grew. My confidence as a woman grew. I married, and I birthed two more children. Where are those kids now?
My oldest son is a college graduate with a great job, a wife, and a child. My daughter will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree at age twenty and is moving to Europe for a year to teach English. My eighteen-year-old son is a college freshman (getting straight A’s I might add). Not only that, my husband and I have adopted three little ones! I also mentor teen mothers, just as those women mentored me.
I could have been a statistic, but instead a group of women offered to impart hope into my heart. Now I impart hope into others, not only through mentoring, but through books. I’m forty-one years old, and I have thirty-seven published books from publishers such as Harper Collins and Random House. I impart hope through parenting books and even through my novels.
In fact my new release is an Amish novel, The Promise Box, about a young Amish woman trying to discover herself—and the reason for her life—after she finds out she was conceived by a rape. She learns she is and will never be just a statistic.
Maybe today . . . or tomorrow . . . you might have a young women come to you for advice after she discovers she’s pregnant. Don’t point her to a NYC subway sign. Instead, here’s a few ways you can help:
Remain calm and loving. Your young friend most likely feels alone, frightened, and extremely sensitive about her pregnancy. The most important thing you can offer is your continued friendship.
Show God’s love and forgiveness. Your young friend was looking for love by giving herself intimately to a guy. Now she might feel ashamed and unworthy of love at all. Point her to God, who loves her unconditionally.
Celebrate life. She may consider this baby a “mistake”—a barrier between her and “normal” life. Lovingly remind her that no matter how the baby was conceived, he or she is a gift from God.
Be available to share . . . and to listen. Your young friend has many big decisions to make, and although you can’t make those decisions for her, you can be available to help her consider her options. Share information you’ve discovered on fetal development and on the physical and emotional trauma of abortion. Most of all, be willing to listen to your her deepest concerns.
Find help. Your young friend is most likely in need of more answers than you can give. Visit a local crisis pregnancy center with your friend, or call CareNet for help at 1-800-395-HELP. Encourage her to tell her parents and to seek the counsel of a pastor or youth pastor.
Yes, the young woman and her baby in your life will face a hard road ahead. But with your help, encouragement, and gift of hope you can help her to also blow the teen pregnancy statistics out of the water.
Click here to learn more about the gifted author Tricia Goyer