When you are a pregnant teenager, it can be one of the scariest situations you’ve ever faced in your life. An unexpected pregnancy is overwhelming for any woman but, when your goals are to finish high school, have a fun time with your friends and enjoy your teenage years, an unplanned teenage pregnancy can seem to stop everything in its tracks.
First, know that you are not alone. In 2016, more than 200,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19 years old gave birth — and the vast majority of these pregnancies were unplanned. Being a pregnant teenager is more common than you may think and, fortunately, there are options for a pregnant teenage girl in South Carolina like you.
If you are wondering what to do if you are a teenager and pregnant, it’s important that you explore all of the options for teenage pregnancy available to you. Only you can decide which path is best for you.
If you wish to speak to an experienced counselor for free about your unplanned teenage pregnancy, please contact our professionals today. Below, you’ll find important information about all of your teenage pregnancy options.
Choosing Parenting if You are Pregnant as a Teenager
Many pregnant teenagers in South Carolina recognize the difficulties of becoming a parent at their age. Only about 50 percent of teenage mothers get a high school diploma by age 22, and about a quarter of teen mothers have a second baby within two years of the first. For those wishing to reach their personal, educational and career goals, choosing to parent as a pregnant teenager can cause obstacles that are difficult to overcome.
However, all pregnant teenagers have the right to choose to parent. Before you decide to raise your child, ask yourself these questions:
- Can I financially afford to raise a child? Parenting a child to age 18 costs more than $230,000, on average. Teenage mothers are less likely to have a high school and college degree, which makes it more difficult to obtain a well-paying job. While your parents may help you with parenting costs while you are still living with them, there will come a time when you must support your child yourself.
- Do I want to raise a child on my own? If your baby’s father is not interested in a long-term relationship or in raising your child together, you should think about whether you are ready to become a single parent. Consider the financial implications of this, as well as the emotional and physical requirements of raising a child by yourself.
- Will I be able to reach my educational goals? As mentioned, being a pregnant teenager and choosing to raise your child means you will be less likely to obtain a degree. Think about how difficult it will be to raise a child at the same time that you are attending classes, studying and trying to have the high school or college experience that your friends have.
Choosing Abortion if You are a Pregnant Teenager
If you are facing a teen pregnancy, abortion may be an option you consider. Just like your other unplanned pregnancy options, choosing to terminate your pregnancy is a life-changing, emotional decision.
First, know this: In South Carolina, if you are under 17 years old, state laws require that you obtain permission from one of your parents or a grandparent to have an abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement, but this will involve a court appearance.
Abortion is illegal in South Carolina if you are further along than 24 weeks in your pregnancy. It can also be a costly procedure, especially if you do not use your parents’ insurance to cover it.
Before pursuing abortion as a pregnant teenager, make sure to research the procedure and any physical or emotional risks it involves.
Choosing Adoption for Your Teenage Pregnancy
Many young women find themselves choosing between abortion and adoption in teenage pregnancy. Knowing that they are not ready to raise a child, they struggle to determine which path is best for them.
If you are considering choosing a teen adoption in South Carolina, know that you do not need your parents’ consent to place a baby for adoption (unlike with abortion). You will always be in charge of your adoption plan every step of the way, and adoption professionals will discuss with you your rights during your teenage pregnancy and placement process.
Teenagers considering adoption often ask, “What are the pros and cons of teenage adoption?” There are few great advantages of this process:
- You can choose the family you wish to adopt your child.
- You can have an open adoption relationship with your child’s parents and your child as they grow up.
- You can receive adoption counseling, adoption services and legal representation for free.
- You will know you have given your child the chance at a life you can’t provide yourself.
- You can continue your education and achieve the personal goals you have for yourself.
However, keep in mind that adoption is not easy. It is an emotional, selfless choice you make, and you will likely experience difficult feelings of grief and loss after you place your child for adoption. Having professional adoption counselors can better support you through this process.
Moving Forward with Your Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy
Whatever choice you make, you will likely need to inform your parents and your baby’s father about your unplanned teenage pregnancy. They may be upset at your news and try to sway you to one unplanned pregnancy option or another, but remember that this is your choice to make. Talking with an options counselor can help you prepare for these difficult conversations.
For free, confidential counseling from our trained specialists, please contact our law firm today. Our trained social workers will provide you the objective information and resources you need to make the best choice for you, whatever it ends up being.