Teenage mothers face plenty of challenges, from dealing with the shame and stigma of an unplanned pregnancy to finishing school and finding employment. But many must also deal with the challenges of mental illness.
Researchers have found that twice as many teen moms are at risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD) as their older counterparts. And nearly three times as many teens with mental illness get pregnant as adolescents without a disorder.
“While it is important to recognise the many challenges faced by young mothers and their children, it is essential that the benefits of being a young parent are recognised and enhanced through providing appropriate services.
For example, young mothers reported feeling stronger after becoming a mother; having a baby marked positive life changes, such as re-engagement with education, training and employment”.
Teenage mothers are so often given a bad press by the negative stories we read online and in magazines but not nearly enough credit is given to these young mothers who are often bringing up their child[ren] alone with up to 60% being lone parents.
Adjusting to motherhood is a massive task but especially for these younger mothers and there must be better support out there for them to access to help them adjust to this life change and the challenges it presents.
It is an isolating time suffering with PND for any mother and often Teen mothers are isolated from their peers because of pregnancy and a new baby so it is of even more importance to create a new support network for these mothers to access to help alleviate the loneliness that can often be a big factor in PND.
There are not many groups and services out there across the Uganda that cater specifically for young mothers, there is a need to increase these and create many more different avenues through which young mothers can access help right from the time they realize they a pregnant till after and during post natal care period.
Young mums often feel forgotten or not as important as older mothers, we must help them to see that they matter and that their health and wellbeing are important to society.
In short we must do all we can to help reduce the stigma surrounding young mothers and provide them with the specialist perinatal mental health support they need to help give both them and their child[ren] the best possible start, it is the very least they deserve and if we as a society can’t give these young mothers the help they need to create a bright future for themselves – then we have failed them and no mother should ever feel failed no matter what her age.