And now, University of Canterbury researcher Jennifer Hindin-Miller has confirmed that teenage parenthood can be a turning point for some women if they receive enough support.
“If there’s good education and holistic support for the various needs young families have, teenage parenthood can really be an opportunity for a young woman to really transform her life”.
However, support structures shouldn’t just be vital for teen mums – but for other new mums in their 20s and 30s as well. After all, women aged 20-24 years have the highest abortion rate in New Zealand (33 abortions per 1,000 women)
Would the stats change if these women felt that more support was available all around them?
Research in 2006 found that pregnant women with low support reported increased depressive symptoms and reduced quality of life.
Crisis pregnancy centres around the world also emphasize the importance of support structures from family, friends & the community in continuing with a crisis pregnancy. People to help explore options, back up your choices and provide emotional support when things get touch.
As 0800 U Choose states on their website, they’re available to –
“support you – to help you make the right decisions for both yourself and your baby. We can help you through your pregnancy, birth and beyond – you have so much more choice than you think right now.”
Interestingly, one of Hindin-Miller’s key findings is that teen mums aren’t delaying their lives or becoming disadvantages by becoming parents earlier. Instead:
“My findings showed that the young teen mothers I interviewed who had attended a teen parent school were mostly successful educationally and in other aspects of their lives which are valued in our society, such as careers and home ownership.”
While this shouldn’t be viewed as advocating for teen pregnancy, it does show the importance of these support structures.
New Zealand has the second highest rate of teen births in the developed country, with an average of more than 4,000 babies born each year to teen mums. This is at a time where New Zealand’s pregnancy rates have not increased since the 1980.