By Danika, TeenSource Blogger
Growing up, my group of friends and I all assumed our lives would grow in the same direction. As time went on, of course things didn’t turn out exactly like that. Of all my friends, I was the only one to go on to college, and a few of them didn’t even graduate, the reason being that a majority of them ended up getting pregnant when they were still in high school.
Whenever I go on Facebook, almost half of what I see is baby pictures or a new ultrasound picture with another person announcing that they’re pregnant. And while I absolutely love all of my friends’ children, and I didn’t let it ruin any of my friendships with them, it definitely changed the dynamic of our relationships and I watched most of them have to sacrifice a lot of dreams and aspirations.
I never once judged any of my friends for getting pregnant, but it was still a fact that none of their pregnancies were planned and that they definitely could have been prevented. Looking back, I can see simple little things that could have changed my friends’ entire paths. For example, one of my friends got a boyfriend and was asking me about the implant, and I kept telling her how easy it was just to go into the clinic and get it. She was too confused about it so she never went, and then she ended up getting pregnant shortly after! It wasn’t until after she had her baby that she went in to get the IUD (which is still great since about 25% of teen moms have a 2nd child within 2 years of their first baby). And a lot of my friends’ stories went like that.
The sad thing about seeing so many of my friends get pregnant, even though in the end they all still came to be happy and love their children, is that it only happened because they didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know how to access birth control. They didn’t know what different methods there were. They didn’t know you could get Emergency Contraception for free, or what certain time frame you had to take it in. They didn’t know that our local clinic in the small town we lived in gave out as many free condoms as you needed.
Knowing that such simple things like these could have made such a huge difference in their lives taught me a very valuable lesson in high school. For one, life takes very crazy turns and never turns out exactly how you think it will. My friends and I definitely didn’t end up heading down the same paths, but I made an effort to still remain in their lives. And two, that it’s crazy to think how teen pregnancy can be so life changing and yet so easily preventable. Just a few tiny steps can completely alter your life.