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Strong Urges To Have A Baby, But Not Ready For The Responsibility

Published: November 05, 2012
Dear Strong Urges To Have A Baby, But Not Ready For The Responsibility,

I am 17 and I really want a baby. I am still in High School on tract to graduate in May. Is it wrong for me to want this right now? I have sex regularly with my best guy friend.. we aren't in an official relationship, but we've been together for a few months. The past few weeks I have really been thinking about having a baby.. I want to be a mom so bad! I want to experience pregnancy and having a baby inside of me. I think it's so beautiful. Except, I don't think I am ready to take on that responsibility at this point in my life. I still want to go to college and start a career.. I think part of the reason is because I want someone to love and to love me back. I want it so bad, but I know that is selfish. My parents were never together so I don't really have that happily ever after dream.. I want a baby that I can take care of, and I want to do it on my own.I feel like that is wrong though. I don't know how to get rid of these feelings and desires.. Is it normal to feel this way at my age? What should I do?


Dear Strong Urges To Have A Baby, But Not Ready For The Responsibility,

TeenHealthFX would not use the word “wrong” in terms of your wanting a baby. What we would say is that is sounds like it is not the right time for you given your age and that you want to be able to focus on going to college and starting a career, but we can also understand your longings to be a mother given some of the family dynamics you have dealt with growing up. It sounds like you are craving a special parent-child bond that you did not have. However, it is important to know that having a baby is not going to undo the pain of what was lacking for you. If anything, parenting can often feel difficult and bring on special kinds of problems when we haven’t dealt with certain person issues in our lives before entering in parenthood.  

It sounds like you understand that while you have this powerful longing right now, you know it is not the best thing in the long run for you or for this baby – that becoming a teen mom is not going to bring you the “happily ever after” picture you have in your head. So what FX would recommend is that you meet with a reputable therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, to discuss these issues. FX thinks it would be very helpful for you to have a safe, private place where you can work through some of the pain you have over what was missing for you growing up – someone who can provide guidance and support around all the issues that are contributing to this strong desire to be a parent. By working through these issues, it will allow you to better focus on what you need to be doing for you right now, help you to not feel so empty or pained, and help you get to a better place emotionally so that when the time is right to become a parent, you will be in a better place (emotionally, financially, etc.).

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

FX would also strongly recommend you use a condom every time you have sex and a back-up method of birth control, such as the pill or birth control shot. Right now is not the time for an accidental pregnancy. You need to make sure you are protected from unwanted pregnancies while you work with a therapist on addressing the emotional issues for you around becoming a mom. You can speak to your doctor about what birth control methods are best for you. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

 

Becoming a parent can be hard enough for adults who are more settled in their careers, in their relationships, and with their own personal growth. Teens who become parents have to deal with all the typical challenges of becoming a parent and more. And there are some tough statistics about the negative impacts on children who are born to teen parents to consider as well. That said, FX generally recommends that our readers consider the following questions if they are thinking of having a baby – to think about them, discuss with their significant others, and discuss with a trusted adult who can provide some guidance and support before making such a huge, life-changing decision:

  • Do I have the finances available to raise a child – for example, food, clothing, diapers, and money to put away for my child’s future?
  • Do I have health benefits for a family? A mother needs prenatal care, a baby certainly needs good health care, and a growing child needs healthy parents!
  • Do my job and/or schooling require me to work long hours that will keep me from my baby? If so, what will this be like for me and for my child?
  • Will having a child make it difficult for me to advance in school or in my career at this point in time that may cause career or financial difficulties in the future?
  • Do I have GOOD childcare available for a baby – a safe and loving person to leave my baby with while I work and/or go to school?
  • Am I in an adequate living space that is conducive to raising a child?
  • Are my partner and I equally ready for a child or is either one of us feeling at all pressured into the situation?
  • Am I in a committed and stable relationship? What kind of future do I see for me and my partner – are we planning on staying together? Will we get married? Live together?
  • By having a baby will I be in a similar situation as many of my friends, or will I be in a different phase of my life than my friends? Will I feel isolated from my friends is I have a baby? It can be difficult seeing friends going out and having freedoms that you will no longer have.
  • Are there any medical concerns for the mother in terms of carrying and delivering a child?
  • Do I or my partner smoke, drink a lot or use drugs?
  • Do I function well when there are frequent disruptions to my sleep?
  • Do I and my partner agree on parenting styles?
  • Have I planned on how I will handle the childcare responsibilities?
  • Am I and my partner willing to sacrifice our time, money and independence – put our energies into someone besides ourselves?
  • Do I have a good support system?
  • Do I feel that having a child will fix a problematic relationship with my significant other? If so, this is not the reason to have a baby – if anything having a baby tends to make things worse with time.
  • Do I feel that having a child will make up for a problematic relationship with one or both of my parents? If so, remember that babies will not undo past issues and hurts.
  • Do I feel that having a child will help alleviate any personal feelings of loneliness and sadness? If so, it would be recommended to address these personal issues before having a baby.
  • Am I or my partner prepared to deal with the possibility of our child having any developmental delays or genetic defects?
  • Am I clear about The Cost Of Raising A Baby? (This question was written several years ago, so factor in that the numbers here are now on the low side).

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