Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy

Discovering you're pregnant should be a joyous and momentous occasion, however, four out of every ten young women aren't quite so pleased. An unplanned pregnancy is one of life's most difficult experiences. Thoughts and feelings are confusing and it's hard to know what to do and where to turn for help and support.

* Lisa was 15 when she discovered she was pregnant "I'd been feeling sick for a few weeks, was gaining weight and then I noticed I hadn't had a period for a while. I bought a pregnancy test from the chemist, really to assure myself I wasn't pregnant. I was really shocked when the test was positive, I'd only had sex a couple of times".

Lisa found herself faced with some very hard decisions to make. "It took days to work up the courage to tell my parents and my boyfriend. At first they were shocked and angry, but once they were over the initial shock, they were supportive and concerned for me".

One of the most stressful aspects of an unplanned pregnancy is the demand to face so many decisions and choices. To ensure the decision you make is well informed, you should examine long-term implications, prioritise desires and consider the consequences of each choice, choosing among the alternatives and committing to a plan of action.

Lisa opted to speak with a counsellor to discuss her options. "Mum took me to a clinic so I could get counselling which really helped. I was informed of the choices I could make and we listed the pros and cons for each option. I felt that I just couldn't have an abortion, or adopt my baby out, and that with Mum's help, I could finish school and be a great parent".

Remember, your decision is a personal one. Do not be pressured into a choice that does not feel right to you. Whatever choice you make, it is very important to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible (preferably in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy).

Does Lisa have any regrets today? "Sometimes I wish I could be as carefree as my friends - their biggest concern is what to wear to the next party, but I would not swap my beautiful little girl for anything in the world. She is two now, and I am only 17 - being a single parent is not a decision to be taken lightly, it's really hard and I'm very lucky to have a great boyfriend who has stood by me and such a supportive caring family".

There are counsellors trained to help inform you of your choices without pressuring you to do one thing or another. If you would like further information or advice on pregnancy, please refer to the Family Planning Australia for contact details of a Family Planning clinic in your state. Please remember to always practise safe sex, not only to protect yourself against an unplanned pregnancy, but to protect yourself from STD's as well.

* Name has been changed to protect identity

- Rachael