In 2014, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported that teen moms gave birth to almost 250,000 babies and 77% of these weren’t planned. Being pregnant in a woman’s teenage years causes physical and mental changes and responsibility for both her and her baby’s health.
In addition to this, they also experience stress from the following:
- Lack of sleep
- Caring for the baby
- Going to the doctor
- Going to school
While some teen moms are don’t experience significant changes, a lot still do. It’s crucial to ask help from others if you encounter this.
Research On Teen Pregnancy
A study showed how over 6,000 Canadian women from 15 to 19 years old had postpartum depression almost twice as high as those who are 25 years old and older. Another one also showed that teenage moms experience high levels of stress which can lead to experiencing mental health problems like depression. That is because “depression is exhausting to the person suffering from it. Just accomplishing the bare minimum can seem like too much work.” That is according to Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC.
Suicidal ideation rates are also higher. They also have higher chances of experiencing PTSD as compared to other teen women due to the physical and mental abuse they suffer.
Mental Health Issues Of Teen Moms
Teenage mothers can also experience other mental health problems due to childbirth and being a mother. Some of these include:
Baby blues: This is when mothers who just gave birth experience symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, sadness, and difficulty in eating, concentrating, and sleeping.
Depression: If the woman gives birth before 37 weeks or experiences problems with pregnancy, the risk of having this can increase.
Postpartum depression: Though it has symptoms similar to baby blues, the depression symptoms of this one won’t go away after a few weeks, unlike baby blues.
Additional symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Unable to bond with baby
- Extreme fatigue
- Feeling worthless
- Panic attacks
- Harming thoughts to yourself or baby
- Unable to enjoy old interests or activities
“Sadly, only a small percentage of people actively seek professional help for their mental health problems,” says Sal Raichbach, PsyD . Therefore, it’s important to ask for help if you experience these symptoms. Most women experience this, so you’re not alone.
Risk Factors For Those With Mental Health Concerns
The chances of teen moms developing mental illness increases with these risk factors:
- Parents with low education
- Abuse history
- Restricted social networks
- Unstable environment
- Living in poor areas
The risk can also increase the more a woman experience stress, which can be reduced if they have a good support system.
How Can We Help These Teen Moms
It will significantly help these young mothers if their high school has a counseling program for them. One hour of meeting these struggling youngsters who are forced (by their mistakes) to take care of their babies can provide a glimmer of hope in their troubled life.
Also, for parents, if you can submit your teen to youth counseling, it would be tremendous assistance. They need guidance and support as well from us, the parents. We shouldn’t make them feel that their mistake which resulted in a beautiful life, an angel, will hinder them from reaching their dreams. Instead of putting them down, we must lift our teen daughters so that they will achieve their fullest potential amidst being a teen mother. As explained by Marc Romano, PsyD, “Focus on yourself and your own happiness and do not compare yourself to others.”