The Pregnancy Pact is the name of a T.V. movie based on the true story of a group of teenagers from Gloucester, Massachusetts who made a pact to become pregnant together. Making a pregnancy pact is a trend that has spread across the United States and contributes to the growing number of teen pregnancies.
Much of the media focus in on the teen mothers in this case, though teen fathers are just as much to blame for the rise in teen pregnancies.
The Pregnancy Pact in Memphis, Tennessee
One of the most covered pregnancy pact occurrences is a recurring problem for Frayser High School in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 25% of teen girls in the high school get pregnant before they graduate with a high school diploma. The national average is 10%. The school has a high African-American population and students tend to come from less affluent backgrounds. About 58% of African-American girls conceive while in their teens. Latino girls run a close second at 53% of teen girls conceiving in their teens. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancies of any western country.
What is the Impact of Pregnancy Pact on Education and Future?
Teen girls who conceive in high school are less likely to graduate from high school and go on to a college education. Many are single mothers left working low paying jobs to make ends meet. Educators are striving to stop teen pregnancies with “No Baby” campaigns educating teen girls on the life-long impact of pregnancy and motherhood, but teen pregnancies were not always considered abnormal.
Just 100 years ago, teen girls started having children early. It was not unheard of for 14 or 15-year-old teen girls to be married with one or two children. Total family size was larger and every new baby represented more help on the farm, around the house or in the family business. Education expectations were limited and teen girls strove to find a viable partner more than a viable education.
With a shift in motherhood from teen years to 20s, 30s, and 40s, teen pregnancies have become taboo. Teen girls conceiving in high school are now considered to be throwing away their education and future, but many still have grandmothers or great-grandmothers they look up to who started having children just as young.
Pregnancy Pact and Teen Pregnancies
While pregnancy pact pregnancies are clearly concerning, there may be a deeper problem to consider than teens having children. A pregnancy pact may be a social connection for teen girls. There is a possibility she entered a pregnancy pact in much the same way other teens enter gangs. The pregnancy pact offers teen girls companionship and a “family” of sorts well before the baby is born. If social issues in middle school and high school are forcing young girls into pregnancy pact situations, educators and parents may want to look at the root cause behind why the teen entered into the pregnancy pact and not so much the fact that she is having sex earlier than expected.