“Mom, I’m pregnant.” This sentence cost 17-year-old Lisa a lot to overcome. When the condom broke during sex with a good friend, she didn’t think too much of it. But then her period stopped…For days she couldn’t believe that the pregnancy test was positive. Above all, she did not dare to talk about it with anyone, let alone with the father. After all, she was still a child herself. Pregnant under 20? Usually this only happened to people who had no idea about contraception. Her life seemed like a bad movie to her.
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Pregnant Under 20? You Are Not Alone
Many other girls feel the same way as Lisa. In Germany, the age of the mother in nine out of 1,000 births is between 15 and 19. Every day, 20,000 minors worldwide give birth to a child. So being pregnant under 20 is not uncommon. It could happen to anyone. So the next time you see a young girl with a pregnant belly or a baby carriage, remember that even the pill can’t guarantee 100 percent protection. Of course, as in Lisa’s case, a broken condom or lack of education can also be the cause of a teenage pregnancy.
Treating Young Mothers With Respect
However, young mothers need understanding and support, regardless of the reason for their pregnancy. Reproaches, admonishments or anger are out of place here. From one day to the next, the young girl’s world has been turned upside down. Most girls are completely overwhelmed by this, but do not dare to talk to anyone about it. So if you want to be a good listener, you should definitely not judge the pregnant woman, but listen to her and offer support.
Positive Test: Panic Is Quite Normal
Are you feeling like Lisa? You still don’t know if you’re not dreaming after all, and your nerves are on edge. A thousand questions are buzzing through your head and you don’t know what to do now? Maybe you are just about to finish your school or your education and actually you already had big plans for your future. But how can you do that with a baby? Does that mean you have to abort it? Most underage pregnant women are perplexed and shocked. It’s normal to fluctuate between panic attacks, depression, and excitement after hearing the baby news.
Even if it seems impossible at first: the best help is to talk to someone about it. This way you can sort out your thoughts and get support in making a decision. However, in the end you are the one who can and should decide about the baby’s future. This decision involves a lot of responsibility and seems impossible at first. That’s why it’s good to talk to someone about it and express what you feel and think.
With Whom Can I Talk About It And How?
But who should it be? The conservative parents? The good friend who is now a father because of a slip? If you have problems turning to family members, the father or the best friends, you will find a sympathetic ear at counseling. Even if you are not sure how to start a conversation with acquaintances, it can be a start. The people there are trained to help and support you. They have been through many similar situations and know what you are going through. So dare! There you can also find out about your options for the future, where you can get financial support and how the pregnancy itself is going.
Important to know: You have the right to free, professional counseling. The discussions are subject to confidentiality. Data may not be passed on to third parties. So you can talk about anything here without anyone having to know.
Even if you are advised and supported during the conversation, the help centers make you ultimately make an independent decision.
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but the courage to face your decision. If you are still unsure at the beginning, there is also the possibility to seek help in internet forums or with an anonymous telephone counseling. Often you will talk or write to women who have been through the same situation as you. In personal counseling, too, you do not have to give your name and can remain anonymous.
Where Can I Find Counseling Centers?
Here are some counseling centers that you can contact and that will also support you during your pregnancy.
The Youth Welfare Office
You have probably heard of this before. The Youth Welfare Office helps with problems of young people and families of all kinds. If you are pregnant under 20, you should definitely turn to the Youth Welfare Office. This offers you, your parents and the father of your child free consultations. Here you can come with all your questions and fears. Above all, the Youth Welfare Office informs you about all legal matters and offers you financial assistance.
If you are still a minor, you do not get full custody of your child. The Youth Welfare Office will inform you about what exactly you can decide yourself, what role the father plays in this and what you need to look for a guardian for. Custody arrangements are often very complicated, so it’s good to have someone to help you keep track of them.
If you do not live with the father of your child and will take care of the child alone, the father is obligated to pay you child support. But what if the father himself is still a student and cannot afford the money? The Youth Welfare Office also takes care of such problems. One possibility is, for example, that the office pays you an advance on child support.
Is He Really The Father?
The Youth Welfare Office helps unmarried parents to clarify the question of the father. In case of discrepancies, the office makes sure that a paternity test is carried out and that the man acknowledges it. If the father of your child refuses to contribute to the child support, the Youth Welfare Office will try to find a solution in a clarifying discussion with you. If this does not help, it can also initiate legal proceedings.
Where Does The New Family Live?
Another thing the Jugendamt can help you with is finding a place to live. In addition to your own apartment, this can be an assisted living project or a mother/father-child facility. Of course, you can decide for yourself what is best for you.
In addition, the Youth Welfare Office can ensure that your child has a place in childcare.
Help On Site
You can meet like-minded people, attend workshops on pregnancy and parenting, and get couples counseling at the groups and agencies listed. If there is no place near you, check the internet. Most cities have services for young (expectant) parents.
- Augsburg: Mama mia – for teenage pregnant women, mothers and fathers.
- Bad Kreuznach: ZuspruchBaby – 5 afternoons for you and your baby in the group.
- Berlin: Netzwerk Jung und Schwanger – exchange and counseling for young women.
- Braunschweig: Teens plus babies – open meeting for pregnant women and mothers up to 21 years of age.
- Bremen: Young and pregnant – and then?
- Duisburg: Meeting for young pregnant women and mothers in the “Haus im Hof”.
- Düren: Kangaroo meeting for young pregnant women and mothers up to 20 years with their babies.
- Frankfurt-Riederwald: Pregnant? Baby? Under 24? Riederwald MuKi meeting place.
- Freiburg: Chaos in the belly.
- Heidelberg: Birth preparation course for young expectant mothers.
- Kiel: Midwife consultation for young pregnant women.
- Cologne: Jusch – young and pregnant.
- Krefeld: Meeting place for pregnant teens and young mothers-to-be with children.
- Landau: Young and pregnant.
- Leverkusen-Opladen: Young and pregnant – birth preparation for young pregnant women.
- Lübeck: Kugelcafé.
- Mülheim: Young and pregnant!?
- Munich: Amanda – Project for girls and young women.
- Nordhorn: Meeting for young mothers up to 25 years of age.
- Offenbach: “Goldmarie” – Help for young (expectant) mothers.
- Salzgitter: Open meeting for young pregnant women.
- Stuttgart: Tuesday meeting for young pregnant women and young mothers with their babies.
TIP: You can search for counseling centers near you at www.profamilia.de.
General Contact Points
- School psychologist/psychologist
- Social pedagogues
- Other doctors or physicians you trust
- Help hotline”Schwangere in Not”, hotline of the Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth: 0800 40 40 020 (free of charge and available at any time)
- the children’s and young people ‘s hotline: 0800 – 11 103 33 (free of charge, available Monday to Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
- www.geburt-vertraulich.de: Pregnant women under 18 can get advice here via e-mail and chat
- www.profamilia.de: Here you can ask questions to the online counseling service. You can also get information from their counseling service “Sextra” by mail.
- Caritas Schwangerschaftsberatung: Here you can get advice by mail and chat.
“You’re Going To Be A Father Soon.”
Preferably, you would never have to say this sentence? Understandably, telling the father of your child the surprising message is often not easy. Especially when it’s not the boyfriend, but the cute neighbor next door or the curt party acquaintance. Nevertheless, there’s no way around it: the father has a right to know about the pregnancy.
Even if you are considering terminating the pregnancy, you should inform him about it. After all, it is his child. This way you can listen to his opinion and it may be easier for you to take responsibility for your decision. In the end, it is entirely up to you whether you carry your child to term or have an abortion.
Understand if your friend reacts angrily or dismissively at first. Often this is just a sign of insecurity or panic that you have done something wrong.
If you have trouble talking to your child’s father or if you get into a heated argument, it can be helpful to seek counseling. A third neutral person can defuse the situation and help you to clearly formulate your wishes, fears and hopes. You can also go to any counseling center as a couple.
However, if all talks with your boyfriend or partner meet with closed doors, you should not force anything. Rather, withdraw and focus on what is best for the child and for you. Questions about entertainment and care can then be settled with the help of the youth welfare office.
Are you about to become a father? Here you can find out what’s in store for you.
“My Parents Are Going To Kill Me.”
Sometimes the problem is not with the partner either, but with the parents. Many girls are afraid of meeting rejection, anger and admonishing words. Especially if your parents are very strict and may not even have known about your sexual activity, the conversation can become a horrible challenge. Nevertheless, confrontation cannot be avoided. One way to defuse the situation is to bring along a person you trust to give you strength and support.
It is also advisable to discuss with your counselor beforehand how and when it is best to involve your parents. It may also help if you attend a counseling session together with your parents.
If your parents are sympathetic to your situation, they can be a great support in raising and caring for you and during your pregnancy. Of course, you must also expect reproaches. Just like you and your partner, your parents are overwhelmed by this unexpected situation. Helplessness is often channeled through anger. Therefore, you should have sorted yourself out internally before the conversation. Self-confidence helps you not to let the anger get too close to you.
Financial Support When Pregnant Under 20
While you are weighing up whether you really want to have your child, you will probably also be thinking about the cost factor. However, you should not make your decision based on this. There are many ways to get financial support for you and your child.
Young parents are entitled to parental allowance for a maximum of 14 months after the birth. The prerequisite for this, however, is that they go on parental leave. The amount depends on income and ranges from 300 to 1800 euros.
Mothers under 18 are entitled to 184 euros in child benefit per month for them and their child. For the third child, the amount increases to 190 euros and for the fourth to 215 euros. You can apply for this at the relevant employment agency in the family benefits department.
Women with lower incomes can also apply for a child supplement, which includes 140 euros each month.
In addition, the father of the child is obliged to pay alimony. If this is not possible due to a low income, the mother can apply to the Youth Welfare Office for an advance on child support (see above).
Initially, the young mother receives 133 euros per month; if the child is older than 5 years, she is entitled to 180 euros.
Communities, such as the “ARbeitsGEmeinschaft (ARGE)” or the “Bundesstiftung Mutter und Kind” (Federal Foundation Mother and Child), offer start-up assistance for mothers in financial need. They specialize in helping you make ends meet when you are pregnant under 20. It’s best to get advice by phone or on site. After all, how much money you’re entitled to depends on your job situation, your income and that of the father.
“I Don’t feel able to raise a child.”
If you have decided that you do not want to keep the baby, you have several options. First, of course, there is abortion: here it is important that you make an appointment for a consultation as soon as possible. Abortion can only be performed during the first three months of pregnancy, after which it is considered the killing of human life. Nevertheless, you should of course think about this decision carefully and consider the possible consequences beforehand. You can find out everything you need to know before having an abortion here!
Abortion is not the only option. If you realize that you are not capable of caring for and raising the child, but still want to have it, there is the possibility of giving your child up for adoption. In a foster family your newborn will find a new home. However, you will still be the mommy and will be able to visit and keep in touch with your child. If you are considering this option, it is best to make an appointment with the Youth Welfare Office.
Support From The Family
Of course, your parents can also take over the care of your child for the time being. However, this should only happen if both parties are comfortable with it and agree. Often this can lead to conflicts, jealousy or power games. Your grandparents also have the option to care for your child: if you are pregnant under 20, they now have the option to take grandparent leave.
It’s Your Choice!
No matter what decision you make for you and your baby, you should be aware: there is no one perfect solution. You have to weigh what’s best for you. Of course, there are many people who can advise you, but ultimately you should make the decision alone.