Becoming a mom is hard at any age, but it can be particularly tough for young women who have barely left their own childhoods behind. Fortunately, many resources are available that can provide emotional support and help teen moms learn about the skills they need to be a mother.
Family and Friends
The primary support for many young mothers comes from their own families. Parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends can all provide moral support as well as help with baby-sitting duties. Experienced parents can offer guidance on basics such as feeding, changing and playing with newborns. Friends can provide much-needed companionship for teen mothers.
Religious and Charitable Groups
Teens can also find help and support from religious and charitable groups. Girls can turn to their own religious leaders or seek out churches and temples that offer support groups. Some might also provide financial assistance along the way. Charitable organizations such as Birthright International offer medical and legal referrals, educational assistance, maternity and baby clothes, and friendship and emotional support.
Young women who want to feel connected to other teen moms might benefit from online sites that provide information and offer a place to share experiences with other teens. Young Mommies Homesite is one such site that was started by a teen mother. Teens can use the site to blog about their experiences and join in chat rooms with other teen moms. Sites such as BabyCenter.com are not aimed specifically at teen mothers, but they provide a wealth of information about babies that can benefit any new mom.
State and local governments can provide support to teen mothers. For instance, the Virginia Department of Health sponsors a Resource Mothers Program that pairs community health workers with teens to help mentor them through pregnancy and their transition to parenthood. In Virginia’s Fairfax County, the Department of Family Services offers a Nurturing Parenting Program. The free classes in this program are designed to help parents and children grow in a nurturing environment.
Teens should also tap into resources that might be available at their own schools. Check with a guidance counselor or favorite teacher who can offer pointers about what help is available in the community. School officials can also offer guidance on how teens can balance the demands of new motherhood with the need to finish their educations.