By Amy Kramer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
As a parent, Mackenzie always has to put her child’s needs over her own wants, and on Monday's episode of "Teen Mom 3," she borrowed a prom dress from a friend because buying one would cost as much as a month's worth of diapers. Her decision really drove home the many types of sacrifices young moms have to make. The dress she borrowed was still beautiful, and it being secondhand didn’t seem to make her experience any less special, but the high school cheerleader had probably pictured her prom going much differently before she had Gannon.
Aside from luxuries like prom night, Mackenzie has it pretty easy financially. Even though Josh isn't working right now and probably can't contribute much in the way of money, it doesn't seem like they worry too much about paying for the basics. She lives with her parents, which means she doesn't have to stress about making the rent. Living at home also means Gannon is surrounded by adults who love and care for him, and child care costs don't seem like a dire concern. Many young parents aren't as lucky.
A government study released last month found that the average cost to raise a child from birth to age 18 is more than $240,000. That includes housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, child care, toys and electronics. However, it doesn't factor in the cost of sending a child to college, which can be so expensive, it's not uncommon for parents of any age to struggle with it. But for someone who is still in high school, sending a child to college can be nearly impossible -- especially if parenthood means postponing or forgoing your own education and consequently future job prospects.
Parenthood is hard, relationships can be hard and making ends meet is hard, too. Preventing a pregnancy in the first place isn't always easy, but it's easier than becoming a parent too soon. Need information to help you prevent pregnancy until you’re ready? Check out the It's Your Sex Life website.
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