Essay, Research Paper
Having a child while still a child
On May 1, 1997, 17 year old Audrey Iacona unexpectedly gave birth to her son in the basement of her parents’ home (Lipowski). Audrey swears that she never knew that she was pregnant. Periods came regularly and morning sickness and weight gain never appeared until Audrey stayed home from school with an “upset stomach.” Feeling better around lunchtime, Audrey decided to raid the freezer for some food in the basement. As she approached the bottom steps, the pain returned like a thousand knives to her stomach. As she stumbled over her brother’s weight bench, a baby started to emerge from between her legs. She caught the baby and stared at it in shock. Because she thought the baby was dead, she wrapped it in bath towels and put it in a trash bag. Panicking, Audrey ran upstairs to take a shower. Soon after she called a friend and told her the repugnant news. Shortly thereafter, a police officer was in her parents’ house and Audrey was arrested for murder. Now almost three years later Audrey is awaiting to hear from an appeals court on whether or not she will be granted a new trial or if she will have to suffer the eight years in prison (”Audrey’s Baby”).
Audrey Iacona’s life seems dramatic and rare, but it is actually becoming very common among teens everywhere. According to the March of Dimes, almost 1 million teenagers become pregnant each year: approximately 512,000 actually give birth (”March of Dimes”). Every minute nearly two teenage girls in the United States become pregnant; therefore, that’s 120 girls in one hour (Laskas)! These statistics of how many pregnancies there is every year may be declining, but other related problems are not. The effects of pregnancy are not the usual post-pardom depression, but it ranges from a poor and unhealthy life to death.
Most teenage girls that become pregnant have a hard time finding a well paid job because they did not complete high school. Although about 70 percent of teenage mothers eventually go on to complete high school, they are most likely to be poor in adulthood compared to women who have children after age 19. Some schools offer free prenatal classes for one half of a graduation credit to encourage the teenagers to stay in school. On average, only 5 percent of teen mothers ever get college degrees (Laskas). An education is not the only thing that a teenager misses out on; consequently, she no longer can attend dances, basketball games, or parties because of a child that makes her grow up. She no has longer the option to act carefree or spontaneous.
“I thought that me and John would have a perfect family, that nothing would go wrong. John promised everything there was to promise, and he delivered on not one (Laskas). In many teenage pregnancies the father often promises the mother that he will be there for her no matter what, but he is not. Many teenage girls are manipulated by the boy and believe that they are going to have a perfect family and an all-American life together. In the long run it isn’t a perfect life at all. The girl often becomes a single uneducated mother with no support from the father what so ever. The mother is left with no money to help pay for childcare, food, and the necessities for raising a healthy child.
Some parents disown their daughter because of disappointment and embarrassment; therefore, leaving the mother with no support, low self-esteem, and no self-respect. “Wendy’s mother had once told her that she would kick her out of the house if she ever got pregnant” (Laskas). This abandonment can leave the mother extremely desperate. By being so desperate the teen may turn to drugs, dirty jobs, or resentment of their own child. Leaving the child in a bad environment and an unhealthy childhood. The relationship between the mother and daughter is usually no longer.
All of these effects are preventable. Many teenagers realize that abstinence is the only way to reassure one that they are not going to get
pregnant. The effects of teen pregnancy are wide ranging and disrupt many aspects to a teenager’s life, just like Audrey Iacona.
“Audrey’s Baby.” 20/20. ABC. WSIL, Marion. 13 Oct. 1999
Laskas, Jeanne Marie. “Someone to Love.” Good Housekeeping Aug. 1996: 67.
Lipowski, Melissa. “Audrey Iacona: murderer or frightened teenager” Sun Newspaper 12 February 1998. On-line. Internet. 15 October 1999. Available WWW: http://www.sunnews.com/news/suburbs/medina/1998/iaconatrial.htm
“March of Dimes: Teen Pregnancy” October 1997: On-line. Internet. 21 Oct. 1999 Available WWW: http://www.noah.cuny.edu/pregnancy _dimes/pre_preg.plan/teenfact.html