Meyveline Escobar, like any other teen, likes to go to parties, listen to music, go to the movies, and other things. But there is something different about her; she is already a mother.
Unfortunately Meyveline is not alone. According to the National Center for Health Statistics nearly four out of ten girls get pregnant at least once by age 20. Among teens 15-17 years old, Hispanics are more than two times more likely to become pregnant than are Whites.
Some people believe that one of the principle reasons for this is lack of communication with parents. Senior Meybeline Escobar, who got pregnant at 17 years old said, "My parents never talked to me about sex. My father did sometimes, but I think that if my mother had talked to me about it, my life would be very different than now."
Often girls have to drop out of school after they get pregnant, but Meyveline decided to continue, "I never thought about dropping school, because I had the support of my family, and [because of] my baby, [it] encouraged me to keep studying.
After a girl gets pregnant, one of the many problems that she has to face is telling her family and partner and trying to get their support. "When my boyfriend and I found out that I was pregnant, we cried because our lives were going to be very difficult for both of us with our baby," Meyveline said. Even though they knew their lives were going to be changed forever, her boyfriend was positive. "At the same time he was happy and he told me that everything was going to be OK. And since that day he has been supporting me with everything I need," said Meyveline.
Telling the news to her mother was much harder. "When my mother found out that I was pregnant, she didn't tell me anything. The only thing she said was not to stop going to school."
When Mayveline got pregnant her life got harder, but she decided that it was not impossible for her to accomplish her goals. "My daughter doesn't put a limit on my life. I think I can make my dreams come true. I have to be more responsible and think about her future," said Mayveline.
The good news is that according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NHCS) teen pregnancy has fallen 22 percent since 1991. And the NCHS says what has helped this decline is that teenagers are being smart and delaying sex or using contraception. Even though the rate has declined, it is still a high number, 49 births per 1000 women aged 15-19.
Meyveline's experience has made a great impact on her life. "I would tell girls to think about their future. They don't know how life is with a baby. When you don't have responsibilities as this you can make things more easily," said Meyveline.
She also wants to give advice to teen girls so they will think before they act. "I would tell them to prepare themselves first and then get married and have babies, so they would be ready to confront a big responsibility as having a baby. They should think about themselves, think before doing something, so one day they won't be sorry for themselves," said Meyveline.
Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2002 (This page was created by Fortune DJenonyombaye.)