Pregnant mom expresses hardships on being bullied
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The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrial world; twice as much as Canada and ten times as much as Switzerland. Statistics show that in the U.S. about four out of 10 women will become pregnant at least once before the age of twenty.
With these facts present, also comes criticism from those who offer their own judgments on teenage mothers. While judgment is inevitable, are those being made about teen moms considered a form of bullying?
“I was treated differently by teachers, who made me feel [stupid.] Students treated me different too by criticizing me. I would see students in the hallways laughing and whispering about my pregnancy,” *Susie Walker said.
Bullying is “an act of repeated aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally.” Bullying is often associated with the common themes seen in the media: fighting boys, shoving students in lockers, and gossip queens who own burn books, but others may not necessarily acknowledge the struggles that teen mothers have.
“I was treated as if I made a big mistake,” *Walker said. “[It] made me feel so sad and even led me to considering an abortion at one point. But of course I couldn’t go through with that.”
Girls who were also born to teen moms are thirty percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves. Although these facts may present a common trend, not all teen mothers go down the same route.
“Being a teen mom is very difficult. it’s a choice that, once made, changes the life of those involved forever,” said marriage and family therapist and also former teen mother Walidah Thrift. “Words of encouragement I would give to anyone in this position is to work hard and get your education in order to not be defined by your circumstances.”
Rates of teen pregnancy have dropped significantly, at about forty percent over the last two decades. Due to safe sex, abstinence and increased availability and acceptability of contraceptives, the rate of teen pregnancies are declining. Although the numbers of pregnant teen mothers are decreasing, more than 400,000 women in the U.S. are still recorded to becoming pregnant between the ages of fifteen to nineteen each year.
With nearly 400,000 teenage girls becoming pregnant, also comes a significant amount of backlash towards their actions. Although negative words may not necessarily leave physical bruises, words present to be just as damaging.
*Name has been changed to protect student’s identity.