Opinion, World

Being Mum Too Young: The Tribulations of Teenage Pregnancy

Sarah, a young girl, age 14, found out one morning that her parents filed for a divorce, and are going to live separately from now on. With no one around, she went out for a stroll in the nearest park. While on her way back, she met a friend from her school, along with two boys.

She started confiding in one of them, Adam. Adam and Sarah grew closer, with every passing day. With no one around Sarah to be her emotional pillar, her backbone, she became fond of Adam every single day, more and more. She started trusting him more than anyone else.

Until one day, she found out she got pregnant with him. Now, unlike other typical stories, Adam did not leave her side, nor did he suggest an abortion to Sarah as the ultimate way out. Instead, they kept the baby, and nine months later, Sarah gave birth to their baby girl Emma. Emma was the apple of their eyes. However, Emma came along with her stigmas and other related issues. In the suburbs of Great Britain, many more Adams and Sarah live together, with their Emmas. Struggling to ensure their life is smooth, and their ‘Emma’ is healthy.

In other households, there are many Sarahs, for whom an ‘Adam’ is not available; but only an Emma. These Sarahs have their struggles, their stigmas to deal with.

How many Adams and Sarahs are there?

  • As per the latest available 2015 data, Romania and Bulgaria are known to have the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the European continent. With approximately 670 girls, aged 10-14, are mothers to their young ones in Romania alone, and 290 in Bulgaria. Percentage-wise, 9.78% girls in Romania, and 9.51% girls in Bulgaria to be young mothers or young Sarahs.
  • Apart from Romania and Bulgaria, the UK is not far behind. In the UK alone, of all women giving birth, approximately 3.5% of births are aged between 10-14. In figures, 114.

One might wonder, why are we talking about these three regions, in the big and extensive European continent? Well, strategically these three areas have been chosen to represent a fact that stigmas and stereotypes are not just limited to areas that are less developed. The United Kingdom, the city that allures many people globally, is far developed, according to statistics, in comparison to other neighboring cities.

We need to talk about teenage pregnancy

While Romania and Bulgaria are countries with their own set of problems, the facts about the United Kingdom left people alarmed. Not many people tend to talk about the western, and the more developed regions when it comes to sensitive issues like these. People tend to pinpoint locations which are less advanced, in this case, Romania and Bulgaria.

These areas and regions are left off to the scrutiny and judgments of the society we live in. Everyone has an opinion about them, but nobody wants to delve deep into the roots of the issues they face, where the real mess is, to clean it and make sure the roots give birth to a “healthier tree.” What is even more surprising is that people are not ready to consider the fact that global cities like the United Kingdom can suffer from similar issues as well. While people remain busy pin-pointing and blaming the southern regions, they forget identical scenarios prevail in the west.

So, what went wrong?

There is something wrong with a society where approximately 670 young girls, who are children themselves, are reproducing their own set of children. But how can we forget to look at the “elite” areas of the same continent, their neighbors practically? The area which ruled the whole world once, bold enough to be the self-proclaimed colonizer of the world, teaching the whole world about etiquette and mannerisms! What could go wrong with the “elites” that it is now among the top countries suffering from the issues of teenage pregnancy?

Various debates have been seen on the issue. The UK seems to be lacking the tactics to deal with teenage pregnancy. Multiple reasons follow this.

  • Parents are not having the “talk” with their pre-teen and teenage children about sex.
  • The schools these teens go to are obliged to just focus on theoretical parts about reproduction. They tend to throw light on the mechanics of the human body, not educate their students about sex, and safety precautions.
  • Sex is often seen to be glamorized in the European countries. People tend to be interested in what the celebrities do, and often forget to be safe while doing the same.
  • Problems of sexual abuse and rapes.
  • Free availability of porn.

The lack of the sex talk, lack of sex education, and lack of guidance all contribute to many young Adams and Sarahs. The overall attitude of people towards sex is mixed, because of the absence of proper role models in their lives. The availability of pornographic content easily makes it even worse, sexual-health experts argue. The act visualized in the films tends to hover over the minds of adolescents, which they try to replicate, ending up damaging their life opportunities.

What is teenage pregnancy reflecting?

Teenage pregnancy can only be combatted when people are guided correctly. Hiding something this serious is just going to make matters worse. Therefore, alterations in the educational policies need to be brought about to ensure, teenagers are getting to know the reality of sex, and not just about ‘birds and bees.’ Efforts need to be taken to ensure that education begins at home. There should be present at least one guiding figure when it comes to sexual awareness.

What people also need to focus their attention on is the lack of sensitivity towards the female gender. Females being raped, or forced into the act is only going to give rise to feudalism and barbarism. This is not how we dreamt of while proceeding in the 21st century. Efforts need to be taken to lead the world to be more and more civilized in these cases.

Is it wrong to pinpoint?

Yes, definitely. When it comes to areas like Romania and Bulgaria, stereotyping these regions in a particular manner would be wrong when similar trends are being seen in better-developed areas.

Sure, Romania and Bulgaria might be wrong in some aspects when it comes to dealing with the female gender. Yes, they have issues in respecting the rights of women, their individuality, and their autonomy. But just because of these issues, we cannot, and must not turn a blind eye to similar problems being prevalent in the developed urban areas.

Simply living in the comforts of your noisy, flashy urban apartments, does not make you the right candidate to delve into the act, without having adequate knowledge about the same. Introspection will act as a key here!

About Saumya Khanduja

A cat lover, a book lover, and a beach lover: Saumya is all shades of being human. A sociology graduate from India, who spends most of her time writing. Outside the realm of the web, she loves cooking, sketching, and listening to the cello. A Game Of Thrones enthusiast, she might be small, but can "slay" you!

All Articles