Teen parents dos' and don'ts'

Hello everyone.

So, I’ve been writing a story that contains quite a lot of mental and physical feelings/struggles that people go through. I’ve picked up a book on all the topics that I’ve covered in the story so that I wouldn’t trigger anyone with false information. However, due to quarantine, I am unable to go to a library and find a reliable source for a particular topic. This topic is about teen pregnancy.

Please note that I am aware that teen pregnancies and pregnancies in general, are a huge peeve for many people on the forums, but I want to discuss every struggle that people go through that I can think of. One of my side characters is a victim of forced child marriage and lives in the rural side of India, where it happens quite often in real life without consequences. This side character plays a very tiny role in the story, and only has half an episode dedicated to her life.

She first gave birth when she was 15, and once again at 17.
Now, I haven’t come across teen parents in real life, as it’s quite uncommon where I live. I’ve never felt what it feels like to be a parent firsthand either, let alone while being a teen. I do consider myself an empath and can understand to an extent what someone else is feeling even when I haven’t been through those circumstances myself. However, I can make mistakes. Something that might not seem like a big deal to me, could be a big deal to someone else. Keeping that in mind, I want to know the do’s and don’ts’ to involve such a topic in a story by someone who has been through it themselves/ seen someone close go through it.

Of course, even if you haven’t been through it or experienced it secondhand, please feel free to share your thoughts/opinions.

~ Nuha :blob_hearts:

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I would say just be careful how u portray it as the child could be a blessing but the reason behind how the child came into the world may not the the parents fav story to tell
If u understand what I mean

Hope this helps x

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I understand what you mean, and thank you for your input, but you just told me what I already knew. No worries though :two_hearts:

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Well, I was a teen mum, but I don’t know if my “guides” would help you, because I wanted that child with my partner and now we are happy marriage for 13 years… Also I don’t live in India.

Maybe you would like to change a little topic? It seems really heavy.

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I see. Do you by any chance remember sentences/instances that triggered you whilst being a teen mum?

I’m starting to consider that, honestly.

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I will PM you later, ok :slightly_smiling_face:?

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of course, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

I can’t really offer any “do’s” and “don’ts” and nor do I live in India but I have gone through a teen pregnancy.

My experience

I got pregnant to my best friend at the time, when I was 18 (gave birth when I was 19). He had been my best friend and boyfriend since I was 13-14.
I had just moved to Sydney, a big city on my own, I didn’t live with any friends, I wasn’t rich, I was boarding with some girls who couldn’t really speak English and it was quite obvious that one of them didn’t like me and would blame me for anything bad that happened. I wasn’t allowed to have family over nor friends, I wasn’t allowed to answer the door, I wasn’t allowed to let the manager of the building know when I was going out, I wasn’t allowed to lock my own bedroom door. The setting I was in made me hugely depressed and I felt like I was in a prison, but I had nowhere to go.

I was feeling a strange sort of sick. I wasn’t eating, and I was worried that I might’ve been pregnant because it was a feeling I had never experienced before. I took a pregnancy test which was positive and soon after, I went to a doctor and they confirmed it. I was 9 weeks pregnant and I was just beginning my university course. My best friend didn’t want the baby, he was adamant that I should get an abortion and he wasn’t there to support me. One of my female friends was with me for a short time with some of my clinical visits before she chose to leave me because of her beliefs, implying that I’d be a murderer if I ever got an abortion. I didn’t tell my parents at that point about the pregnancy, my mom was abroad, my dad was 4 hours away at home, my brother was also hours away and my nan was very old-school and would have been so ashamed of me.

For awhile, I tried to hold out but I wasn’t having any success. I stopped attending classes, I stopped going out, I was always crying and apologizing to the baby because I didn’t know what to do. At some point, I had another visit to the doctor and I regrettably answered “Yes.” when she asked me if I had had any suicidal thoughts, from there I was put into the care of the Acute Care Team but because I’m a loner by nature, I was incredibly annoyed by the amount of times they would call me per day, so I set off to visit my mom abroad and tell her, hoping that she could help me emotionally and support me.
When I got there, my mom was cold, she didn’t even hug me when I told her, she didn’t want to look at me. She wanted me to go to the doctor and get an abortion and so did my sister who was with her, so I quickly left and came back utterly disappointed and devastated.

Later, I ended up temporarily staying with one of my friends who’d also gotten pregnant, except she had a partner who was supportive and hoping to marry her. I didn’t feel any better being with her, it just reminded me of the things that I was missing and how much harder my pregnancy seemed. My brother called me out of the blue, and he figured out that I was pregnant. He was the first family member to be supportive but he told my dad about my pregnancy and then my Nan found out.
Dad contacted me and told me that he was extremely disappointed in me, but he wanted me to come home. My Nan told my dad that I should be thrown out onto the street. From there, my friend drove me the 4 hours home starting from 2AM in the morning.

Being home was hard, but it was better than staying in Sydney, where I had no one close by, and those that were close were no longer a safe haven for me. My best friend didn’t want the baby and he turned into a gigantic asshole. My other friend left because of her beliefs. Where I was staying was constricting, my finances were going backwards, university became nothing of importance to me.

Fast forward a bit, my daughter’s father didn’t want to be on her birth certificate, he didn’t want to pay child support. He started dating someone else when she was due, even to this day, he’s reluctant to be responsible. He doesn’t want to pay for her childcare and he’s nothing short of a disgusting human being and poor excuse of a father.
To give some perspective of that, he was my first kiss, first sexual encounter, first real boyfriend, first really close best friend. We liked so many of the same things, he was cute and romantic. He was intelligent, he was funny, he was different. He never ceased to surprise me in the steps he took to maintain our relationship — transferring to my school. Staying back at home time with me until his bus came, showing up at school with rose chocolates, cards and teddy bears on Valentine’s Day. He was my everything. We always naturally chose most of the same classes, sat together in classes, we always ate lunch together, we always did group projects together. We’d help each other out with exams. We went to the deb ball together, the formal together. It was always just a natural “we’ll be together” there was never any question about it. My world revolved around him, I grew up alongside him and I always felt that he would be in my life longer (positively) than how it actually turned out. Even to this day, I’ve never been so disappointed in someone as much as I am with him.
My social anxiety was and still is so bad, that he was literally 1/2 friends I had throughout high school. Literally. And I feel ashamed that I left myself have such a large presence in my life.
He was everything to me, and then suddenly he wasn’t. I will never ever forgive him and I wish I could completely cut him out of my life, but I cannot make that decision because I have to consider my daughter — I feel it’s my responsibility to give her the choice, rather than give myself the choice.
But the pregnancy really showed me people’s true colors and how quick they can change whether it’s for better or worse, in my case, it was mostly worse.

Sorry this is long, but I felt like I had to say it because soooooo many stories portray teen pregnancy positively and that they always end up with a fairytale ending. I know I’m not Indian, I don’t live in India and I wasn’t forced into pregnancy, but perhaps some parts of my story might help you with your writing or something?

I can offer a few “don’ts” when it comes to pregnancy specifically though, well based on my experience (obv it may not apply to everyone):

  • don’t lift anything heavy, especially when heavily pregnant because it HURTS. I felt shooting pains up my abdomen whenever I tried to lift things that I’d normally be able to lift with ease.
  • don’t smoke.
  • don’t drink.
  • make sure to wear pregnancy pants towards the later stage because… ya know zippers aren’t gonna work, so your undies will be exposed. It’s worse if you haven’t shaved… :full_moon_with_face:
  • don’t stand for too long, your feet will really hurt and sometimes you’ll get shooting pains down your legs.
  • don’t wear really constricting clothing.

“Do’s”:

  • rub cream on your back because your skin stretches and hurts a lot more if your skin isn’t moisturized.
  • eat plenty of good food, it’s good for the baby.
  • be active.

Also wanted to add that I didn’t experience morning sickness or vomiting during my pregnancy. I also didn’t give birth until 17 hours after my water broke, I’m aware that some women experience morning sickness and others give birth soon after their water breaks, but I’ve found that almost all stories with pregnancies give no variety or have no research implemented into them.

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Firstly, it’s against episodes rules to have a character b sexually active under the us legal age: 16, so u might wanna change that to 16, also, on the topic on arranged marriage n possibly contact episode w a support ticket to ask them if what u want to include is ok, bc ur story may well b flagged due to this plot line.

secondly, pregnancy obviously comes w extreme challenges. Both mentally & physically. usually mothers experience acne, extreme cramps, morning sickness, strange cravings to foods they may have despised before pregnancy, things they used to love the scent of smelling gross, feeling guilty for not enjoying pregnancy, fear and doubt towards motherhood. So ofc, it’s worse as a teen. they face the fear that they won’t have the money & knowledge to support a small baby. Most teens still feel like babies themselves (Ik I do) so I recommend adding the character considering other options, such as abortion and adoption. Also, the pregnant girl in highschool will obviously b bullied & sl*t shamed (ngl, to high schoolers it’s the equivalent of having an std) show the mc fighting all this bc it’s not right, and also not her fault. Show her expressing negative emotions towards the partner for not being careful & also bc she’s going thru loads n he isn’t. Most mothers describe pregnancy as absolutely horrible, however most of them forget quite how terrible it is so present that n make it realistic in that way :relaxed:

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Thank you for your input.
I think I should point out that the character doesn’t go to high school. When child marriages occur, they get removed from school. That’s the whole point of it. The mentality of these people and the reason for the child marriage is to get rid of the “burden”. So it’s very unlikely that they’re going to pay for school. Trust me, I would know.

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Vic, I’ve pmed you as I think that felt right rather than replying here.

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Me:

My child’s father was originally my best friend, then my boyfriend.
We protected ourselves, but at one point we started talking about engagement, wedding, kids.
And then we had the brilliant idea “how about putting the condoms aside for a month and seeing what happens …”
Well, it Happened :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::woman_facepalming:(but we were having s*x like 6x week, so it wasn’t like in movies - one time and boom)
When I got pregnant I was 18 years old, so in my country 100% have grown up.
The worst thing was with my parents, they do everything for show, they consider themselves the presidential couple, etc. When they found out, they demanded that I terminate the pregnancies (even though they are 100% Catholic and participate in the marches for life). When I disagreed and I moved to my boyfriend’s house for a while, they stopped talking.
It was my boyfriend’s parents who talked to them. Then there was a civil marriage, pregnancy, childbirth at the age of 19, leaving school and having a daughter.
Then I studied with my child, so when my friends were sleepy during classes, because they were at a party, I was sleepy, because my daughter, for example, was teething :wink:

The worst were the reactions of the environment, treating me as if I was disabled. Assuming that since I am a teenage mom I will definitely not be responsible enough to care for my baby, provide him with food, clothes, vaccinations, home, warmth and love.
Assuming that I can’t decide about myself, like my parents chose the gynecologist, the hospital for me, or they forbade me from living with my child’s father.

My do and don’t are the same as @schittwriter, because for me when you’re deciding that you want to give a birth and have this child it doesn’t matter if you are teen or 30s (I have a comparison). You’re doing everything to have healfty baby and to provide for it the best future as you can.

Unfortunately, I agree with this 100%. I am still the black sheep in the family.
Before pregnancy, I was the life of the party, most of my friends turned away at the news of my pregnancy, even my childhood best friend.

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Y’all are so strong, these stories keep touching my heart. I understand how it feels to be the black sheep, I came out as pansexual and no one in my family/friends accepted it apart from my sister. But obviously, it’s a completely different thing, and it’s truly inspiring how you guys pushed through it.

Thank you so much, both you and @schittwriter, for sharing your stories.

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Just remember, that pregnancy isn’t always sunny, no matter if you are teen or adult.

FE

I had a miscarriage twice.
In first pregnancy I vomit like 10-20 times a day (even at night).
In second pregnancy my childbirth started in 30weeks and I heard in hospital, that if child will bear today that they don’t have required equipment to provide baby’s breathing, so they left me in room and waited if I give birth or not.
I also had gestational diabetes or aneurysms in the uterus.
Therefore, being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have a baby.
Or that after taking a pregnancy test you will be happy and carefree for 8 months, then give birth in 2 minutes with one push.

Also in my country you have cs if you’re under 16.

I’m sorry for how you’re treated. It’s really sad, that some parents can’t love their children for whom they are.

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Ah, I see…

where I am, pregnant women r allowed to enroll in school lol :sweat_smile:

do you have to pay for school where this is set? :white_heart:

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I am aware of all of those. It’s incredible how strong you mothers are, and I have an immense amount of respect for all you’ve gone through to bring a life to this world. My mother had multiple miscarriages, and it was heartbreaking to sit by her as a 6 year old having no clue how to make it better while watching her cry. She had an entire ovary and the half of the other one removed after one of them swelled up to the size of an apricot. She gave birth to two kids [me and my sister] with the remaining of what she had and multiple other issues during birth. She had more than 6 miscarriages, and it’s unbelievable that she’s still going. She survived another major health disease, that I don’t really want to get into. But the point is, so many mothers go through similar/other problems and I respect them all so much for it. Y’all are true heroes, no matter which age you gave birth at.

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Depends on the school, but mostly yeah.

Oh also, keep in mind that this story takes place on the rural side. So women going to school itself was considered a big deal a couple of years back over there. It’s become more normalized now, thankfully.

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This made me giggle more than it probably should.

things to portray with teen pregnancies:

Unwanted and unsolicited looks and advice. Idk why but when older people see a young pregnant woman they have to give the ":unamused: " and advice about your kid and your pregnancy. I am a woman who looks much younger than my years-
I had 1 semester left in high school when I found out I was pregnant with my first (I transfered schools, there was a “credits” issue and I had to go an extra semester after my graduation to complete the credits they took because they didn’t offer the same classes my old (better) school did.) so I had to deal with trying to hide it from anyone who didn’t need to know because I didn’t want people rubbing on me and bugging me and giving me the “she won’t amount to much” looks. Teachers gave me looks, one teacher even outed my pregnancy—well I did, but I still blame him.
I took a test, and needed to go to the bathroom- again (6mo preg) and he told me no. I whispered my situation as the room was quiet and he still said no. So I left the room for the bathroom and came back to the Vice Principal standing in the class and was ready to give me a suspension until a snatched my ultrasound out and slammed it on his desk. He took one look, looked at me and said "YOU’RE PREGNANT ?! " at the top of his voice. Cut to everyone in the room touching my stomach. :unamused:

My second pregnancy, I was eating dinner with my husband ( I was in my 20s) and overheard a woman saying "These damn teenages popping out babies " along with a few more less polite opinions about my financial status and being a “Welfare” baby…

And I, in all my hormonal glory (and much to my husbands amusement. He knows who he married, lol) yelled " I’m 28 you obnoxious dried up twat"-- not my finest moment, but certainly a funny one. I have a mouth that gets away from me- and yes, she was talking about me- I caught the looks and was the only pregnant person in the restaurant.)

So dos: Show the effects you want, but don’t just assume that every woman has morning sickness, swollen feet and cravings for pickles dipped in cookie dough ice cream with flamin’ hot cheetos. It’s simply not true. I was the first of several friends who had children after me and they had much different experiences both physically and emotionally.

Show that the MC has to find a way to work it out and provide for her child with or without the help of others because that’s what being a mother is. Protecting and providing for your child- no matter what you have to sacrifice- friendships, money, time, relationships- a child comes first no matter who or what is happening.

DONT:
Don’t show everyone as supportive. As I mentioned earlier, I do not look my age - and that means that for both of my pregnancies I got the “teen mom” look and treatment from strangers. Even my cousin’s husband (with my first child) told me that I and my unborn child would burn in hell— to which I told him I’d save him the hottest seat.) Strangers judged me as a ‘welfare’ mom- to which I am not, nor have I ever been because even as a freshly graduated high schooler and having my parents give me one of their properties, I had a job, paid for my child and all his things. Not everyone is lucky to have family help and shouldn’t be portrayed as a completely easy process.

Also, for young teens, there is a risk for serious complications in child birth, the younger the girl, the greater the risk – especially in rural, underfunded or remote places.

DO: Show the emotional struggle. Even if it’s not chosen, abortion is something most consider out of fear or need-- whether they go through with it, or from the beginning know that they are going to have their child. Abortion and adoption are things that most (not all) girls consider.

DONT: Show your character as "she knows everything about everything " even if she had a child before-- my pregnancies were 100000000% different from each other. While with my first I had what people called an “easy” pregnancy, I had a very hard, no-medications delivery and with my second, I was the size of a small whale, had all the symptoms and in the last month would have gladly cut my kid out before my back broke. :joy:

Also, with my first, I gained about 20lbs, and didn’t know I was pregnant until I was 3 months along because I still had a period (common in a small percentage of women and stopped a few weeks after I found out)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of that and for sharing your experiences. It really helps and I’m extremely grateful. You’re an angel, and your replies to those snarly people made me laugh.

Everything you said in that paragraph was really helpful, so I appreciate it. Please remember that you’re very strong, and I respect you with all my heart.

Once again, thank you :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Actually it varies by state for the age of consent. For some it’s 16, some it’s 17 and others it’s 18. But nationally I’m pretty sure it’s 18.

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