Mental Health Day: What About Teen Parents?

While society and even many pregnant and parenting teen allis continue to ponder why, how, where, and when teenagers become pregnant they often times over look the mental health and well being of the pregnant and or parenting teen. 

Teenage parents and our families have been reduced to controversial public campaign ads, cautionary tales, and political scapegoats all the while suffering from very normal and serious mental health concerns that are not spoken about anywhere.

Sexually based abuses, domestic violence, and depression are all on the rise in American youth. Yet the discussion about how teenage parents face all of these mental health woes and abuses on top of societies continuous and brutal attacks on us and our families goes unspoken about. 

Pregnant and parenting teens are under an insurmountable amount of stress and struggling alone and in silence. In fact, postpartum depression effects teenage mothers more than any other age group of mothers. 

We are told that our entire life, existence, and that of our children is doomed, we are kicked out of school, bullied by peers, adults, and random strangers on a regular basis. While out and about in our neighborhoods whether we are going to a WIC appointment, class, work or taking our children to the bookstore (yes we do all of these things and more) we have to face disrespectful and demoralizing campaign ads everyday. 

In the event that we feel strong enough to speak to someone about our struggles and how we feel broken our confessions are met with hurtful statements like: “That’s what you get. You made your bed now lay in it.” “No one told you to get pregnant.” “Oh you don’t like being an adult? Then you shouldn’t have done adult things” and even more hurtful and abusive comments. 

The most common side effect of all of these things is pregnant and parenting teens not seeking the health they need, suffering in silence, and continuing to silence their emotions into adult hood because we have been showed that no body cares because “it’s all our fault anyways. So stop complaining!”

Isolation caused by bad public policy and societal stereotypes is one of the biggest realities pregnant and parenting teens endure which results in our mental health and wellness being forgotten or deemed “none important.” 

As a former teen mom and pregnant and parenting teen advocate I struggle with depression. I am not alone in my struggle and know several of my peers are struggling in silence. My mental health and that of my peers is paramount. 

If you work with pregnant and parenting teens make yourself available to speak to them about any mental health and wellness challenges they face, ask them how they are doing, create and or bring in mental health and wellness sessions. 

If you are a pregnant teen, parenting teen, or young parent and you feel you are in an abusive relationship, dealing with depression, and or any other mental health and wellness issues please know that you do not have to struggle alone. You should not and do not have to struggle in silence so society can continue their horrible tirade against us. 

If you need to speak to someone right away call one of the following hotlines

Suicide: 1-800-273-8255

Abusive Relationship: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or 1-800-787-3224

Postpartum Depression: 1-800-944-4PPD 

Comments

As far as I have understood, teen pregnancy is often connected to mental health problems. However there are many fantastic stories where such extreme situations have helped the mother to become stronger and fight for their life. All for the love for their baby. However in any case no one should be alone with this issue, that's a fact!

So very true too. I was a depressed teen before motherhood and the birth of my child prompted me to push and fight more than ever. If anything, her life prompted me to think more deeply about how I wanted to improve mine. But like Gloria talks about in her post, even with the desire to seek help, it was hard when I felt judged by gatekeepers. In the end, you're right - no one should have to do it alone. But seeking help as a pregnant teen and constantly feeling stigmatized, we are driven into isolation.

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