Girl Talk: It Takes a Village for Teen Moms to Succeed

Posted: March 25, 2013 by ERCPCP Blogger in Girl Talk, Youth Programs

A Candid Conversation on Teen Parenting by the First Baptist Church of Glenarden Hagar Ministry

Mother kissing forehead of babyProverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” But what if the child is the one doing the training? In today’s society, teen pregnancy is an all-too common statistic.
How do you raise a child when you are merely a child yourself? I, like many others, had to learn how first hand. Though I was not a teen mother per say, I got pregnant at the age of 19 and gave birth to my daughter at age 20. When I got pregnant, I assumed that I would have my mother’s help and guidance in raising my daughter.  That was not to be. Unfortunately, while six months pregnant, my mother died after suffering complications from a heart transplant a few months prior.

Here I was practically a child myself faced with the task of raising up a child by myself as a single mother. I did not have my own place, my own money and I made many mistakes early on. Looking back, I wish there would have been a program like First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s Hagar Ministry. The Hagar Ministry’s purpose is to reach out to expectant teens and teen parents to disciple and equip them mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. Because I did not have that guidance, my poor planning and lack of knowledge landed me in situations I had never planned on. When my daughter was a year old we lost our home and ended up in a homeless shelter for four months.  Who would have known that those credit card offers they bombard you with in college could have a lasting effect when mishandled? Certainly not I.

All too often, when not properly trained, we make poor choices and if left uncorrected those choices are passed down from generation to generation. After going through the system, I decided that the only way to keep my child from having to experience the hardships I was facing was to make a change for the better. I was ready to train up my child, but that first meant I needed to be trained. For me that started when I submitted my life to God. As I began to understand God’s plan and purpose for my life, I realized that if He could forgive me for getting pregnant then so could I. He began to raise up people who would help me to understand God’s design for parenting and the responsibility that comes with it. I realized that if I wanted my daughter to make better choices, she had to see me doing the same.  The responsibility was ultimately mine and I did that with help.

Though it would appear that teen pregnancy is on the decline in the United States, it is still a major issue that must be addressed. Statistics show that four out of 10 girls in the U.S. become pregnant at least once before age 20. If it takes a village to raise a child, then what can we do to further decrease the number of teen girls that get pregnant each year? Are we as parents educating our children on the importance of sexual purity? Are we teaching them not only with our words, but also through our actions? What is the village doing to help in the process? In an effort to address the pressing needs of pregnant and parenting teen girls ages 13-19 in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (specifically Prince George’s County, Md.), the Hagar Ministry is doing what it can to help make a difference. Under the leadership of Carolyn O’Bryant, Hagar Ministry director, the ministry provides young parents the mentoring, teaching, encouragement, guidance and ongoing physical and spiritual support needed during this precarious time in their lives to ensure the best possible quality of life for them and their children. By helping teen moms make better choices, we believe the effort will ripple outward and impact the lives of their children, family and community.

How do I know this to be true? Well, because of my support system, determination and much prayer, today my daughter is an 18-year-old college freshman. I am living proof that teen moms can overcome the odds stacked against them. You can, too!

 

To find out more about the FBCG Hagar Ministry, contact hagar@fbcglenarden.org.

 

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in this post are those of the guest contributor and not those of ERCPCP.

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