Health experts tell us teen pregnancy is a cycle that's repeated generation to generation. In fact, of the teen girls who give birth, only 17 percent will live above the poverty level.
Samuel Prien, Professor and Director of Clinical and Research Laboratories at TTUHSC said, "We know there's a relationship, if a mother gives birth she doesn't finish high school, she is more likely to never finish high school and get beyond the poverty level."
However, one group is stepping forward to help educate teen parents about this reality. It's called Teen Parents of Lubbock.
In the media, it's glamorized. On the front page of OK Magazine, 17-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears smiles with her newborn. It's a Hollywood spin that some Lubbock teen moms are learning is far from reality.
"We are here to give you the resources you need to be the best parents you can," Renee Morales said. The group is Teen Parents of Lubbock. Morales started the non-profit group with five girls in September of 2007. In addition, as the number of minor moms grows in the Hub City so does the group's number, it's now up to 40.
"Our youngest just turned 14 after she had her baby and our oldest is 21," Morales said. At this meeting, nearly a dozen teen moms talk about how to break the cycle of teen pregnancy.
Morales asked, "Where'd you learn about sex?" Teen mom Tierra Evens said. "When you're young about seven or eight they have the talk. However, when you are a teenager it's different. It's a lot different because it's about that time you start having sex,"
NewsChannel 11 asked, "As women why not make sure they're using a condom?" Said Evens "When you have a boyfriend and are in a relationship you don't worry about the condoms and everything,"
Evans got pregnant with her son Ty at just 15-years-old.
Morales asked, "Is it hard being a teen parent?" "You miss your body. You want to wear a two piece but you have to wear a once piece because of stretch marks," Evans said.
"When you get pregnant everybody is like oh she's so cute. But as soon as you have that baby them friends are not going to be there," teen mom Devin Valdez said. Valdez is now 18-years-old. When she was 16-years-old, Devin and her fiancé got pregnant with their son Kane.
"We broke up a week before I had my son so I was not prepared at all. We had a plan, he was going to get up every four hours," Valdez said. "We had it all and it was just all gone," Valdez added. Since then Devin says she and her fiancé are back together.
Out of the nearly dozen teen moms at this meeting, many say their parents were also teen parents. However, many tell us they do not want their children to follow in their footsteps.
Morales asked, "What do you want for your children?" Evens said "That he doesn't need sex to feel love. I'm going to show him enough love, to feel love, because I know that I didn't feel the love,"
However, as for breaking the cycle of teen pregnancy, these girls say parent involvement and the blunt reality of parenthood may help.
"Be involved with your children, because if you're not and you don't know what's going on," Valdez said.
Children raising children, it is a complicated cycle. However, at each meeting Morales attempts to chip away at it, by offering encouragement, support and showing these young moms, they can still reach their dreams.
"Personal growth and development as far as reaching their goal and their future and pursing their education so they can provide the best resource for their kids and not be stuck in poverty forever," Morales said.
Teen Parents of Lubbock is free. At this time, this group is only for teen moms and currently meets bi-weekly in the evening. To learn more email Morales at email@example.com or call (806) 535-5486.
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