Breaking Teen Pregnancy: Birth Control, Masturbation and… Jesus!
According to The National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, roughly 4 in 10 non-Hispanic black teen girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20.
I come from a long lineage of woman who experienced the burden of teen pregnancy. My mother had me when she was 17 and her mother delivered her at 16. My great-grandmother had her first child at 16, and her mother had her at 16 as well. All of my maternal foremothers had children out of wedlock as teenagers. None of them graduated high school, and they all struggled with motherhood.
By the time my great-grandmother embarked upon raising me, she had a strategic plan on how I would navigate my adolescence successfully. I would graduate high-school, then college, obtain a good paying job with benefits, get married, and have a family of my own. She called this plan “Breaking The Cycle.” After parenting seven children, six of her own and my mother, she knew what it took to prevent teen pregnancy, high school dropouts, drug addiction, and many of the other plagues so many young people growing up in America face. I am a living witness to the saying, “a wise man learns from the mistakes of others, and a fool from his own.”
I write this post from the comforts of my own bed with a three-week old laying across my chest and a 15-month old preciously sleeping in her crib. Yes, I have two beautiful young black daughters. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home and raise them simultaneously. I can thank God and my college degree for that. I am also fortunate to have a husband with a great job that offers paid family leave benefits for new parents.
My children were born into a wedded home of two college graduates, and none of this would have been possible without birth control, education, masturbation, and Jesus!
Let me be clear, I am no different than any other woman I have ever met. I attended an all-girls high school and I went to a very diverse university with over 10,000 students. I have not met a virgin my age since my senior year in high school.
In 2013, 61% of non-Hispanic black high school students (including 68% of boys and 53% of girls) reported having had sexual intercourse. Not surprisingly, sexual experience varies significantly by grade level, ranging from 43% of students in 9th grade to 77% of students in 12th grade.
So we must be honest. I believe that is the first step to breaking cycles of teen pregnancy. My great-grandmother was very honest with me.
She said, “when you want to have sex let me know. You will get on birth control, because you are going to college.”
According to a survey by The National Campaign To Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy, 68% of teens say that the primary reason they do not use birth control is because they are afraid their parents will find out.