By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
While wedding bells may be ringing for some of the teen moms, marriage is not the norm for their peers. Eighty-eight percent of teen mothers are unmarried when their child is born and only about one-third gets married by the time their child turns five. In fact, new research finds that by age 25, women in the U.S. are more likely to have a child than a husband.
Of those teen parents that are either married or living together at the time of their child's birth, more than a third split up within five years. The effect that has on the children is a big deal. Studies show that a high-quality relationship between father and child can help reduce bad behavior among children, and children who grow up without an involved father are more likely to drop out of school, abuse substances and end up in jail.
The decision to have a baby is one of the most important ones you'll ever make and it's crucial that you do it with someone who takes it as seriously as you do. You'll be connected for a long time, in good times and bad, and if you can't co-parent productively, it's your child who bears the brunt. It's okay if you're not ready for that kind of commitment yet -- just make sure you're protecting yourself from an unplanned pregnancy! Visit Bedsider.org for all kinds of tips and facts on every kind of contraception out there, and check out a snippet from Leah's wedding below.
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