Impact Of Social And Cultural Factors On Teen Pregnancy In Kenya
Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-18, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant.
A child having a baby as a teenager is more likely to face critical social issues like poverty, poor education, risky behaviors that lead to poor health issues, and child welfare
Poverty has a negative effect on the entire household, community, our nation, and the global economy. Children coming from an environment of poverty may be affected by a multitude of social factors. These social factors do not include teen pregnancy alone, but also community violence, gang membership involvement, alcohol and substance abuse, and a high incidence of illiteracy.
The more people who are educated in a community, the less likely the number of poor people will exist without the knowledge and skills necessary to be productive in the workforce. Preventing teen pregnancy is just one way to positively impact critical social issues, but preventing or breaking the cycle of poverty makes a tremendous impact on our nation.
This raises questions about the relationship between factors like ethnicity and race, cultural and social variables, and teenage pregnancy.
Issues emerge between the culture of racial groups, their customs, economic background, and their influence on teenage pregnancies. The society in which they were growing was not condemning teenage motherhood.
In spite of disappointment, shock and disapproval expressed by some of their mothers, the general intonation amongst some interviewees were, “they were just following the footsteps of their mothers.” Some were milder in this opinion while others openly stated this view in their interviews. As remarked, “my mom is 36, well I follow her footsteps she got pregnant at the age of 17….”
Another interviewee who was 16 and had a nine-month son says, “My mom is 32 years old and a single mom..” when asked about her mother’s reaction to her pregnancy. Their mothers except for a few had asked them to terminate the pregnancy. But the girls decided to imitate their mothers’ decisions, “My mother did not get rid of me so I did not as well….” Others cited religion as a major reason to go ahead with such a life-altering event in their teenage years.
Some reactions at school and amongst the parents included acceptance, which could mean early motherhood was not uncommon. Anne, one of the interviewees states that she had chosen early motherhood to satisfy her boyfriend and sustain their relationships, “Every young teen wants to get pregnant I guess they think it would make their boyfriend stay. All the girls had tried sex without any protection to make their boyfriends happy… I did not know anything about it. To be honest I did not want to do it. My boyfriend pressurized me into it”.
In conclusion, teenagers need to make a mental effort and motivation to achieve their career goals and stop them from giving up and falling back into the vicious cycle of generational poverty. As mentioned earlier, some had already slipped and had had repeat pregnancies.
Appropriate interventions are needed to minimize repeat pregnancies amongst teenagers. There is a need for role models and mentors at middle and high schools for these girls who can take the form of teachers, agencies, and if possible family members themselves.
Mentors need to be supportive adults who are willing to serve as role models and help the students avoid high-risk activities, making more successful transitions to adulthood.