By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
We focus so much on the struggles of being a teen parent that you can actually see: financial issues, custody battles, finishing school, etc. But, as the women on "Teen Mom 2" have demonstrated, being a teen parent can affect a person in ways that may not be so obvious.
Chelsea, like the other girls, had to grow up quickly when she found out she was pregnant with Aubree. That meant missing out on prom, walking at graduation, summer vacations and going off to college. Her teenage years were cut short, and while she loves Aubree more than anything, that’s something she’ll always remember. Couple all of that emotion with constantly battling Adam, and it’s not surprising that, on tonight's episode, Chelsea felt like she should speak to someone professionally to deal with everything on her mind.
While depression runs in her family, possibly making her more likely to develop the condition, 13% of teen mothers report feeling depressed at least half the time. Even more, another 25% report feeling depressed at least some of the time. Most people have blue days, but when you’re a parent, you can’t just shut your door and stay in bed all day. For anyone feeling depressed, but especially in Chelsea’s case, having someone to talk to when you feel down or overwhelmed is a great way to learn how to deal with those feelings. It’s even more important to feel better when you have to rebound quickly because you're responsible for a child.
Being a parent is rewarding but it also means a life of making sacrifices and putting your child’s needs ahead of your own. Being a teenager without a child is stressful enough--with school, a social life and thinking about your future. Adding the responsibility of being a parent shouldn't be something you have to deal with until you’re ready.
Check out StayTeen.org for more about waiting, protection and other interesting information about maintaining your teen years, plus take our poll and sound off: Do you think Chelsea's therapy will help her get the closure she needs?
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