Georgia stable in teen pregnancy rates -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Georgia stable in teen pregnancy rates

June 17, 2003
Albany-Breanna Bolton never expected to be the mom of a toddler at age 19.

"I had so many goals before. I either wanted to be a lawyer or a teacher," Bolton said.

After becoming pregnant at 16, her life changed forever.

"I never said I regret having her. But if I could, I would have waited."

Bolton is among a large group in Georgia. In 2000, one of every 28 Georgia girls ages 15 to 17 had a baby. But statistics show that the problem here is not getting worse.

"We are holding our own and I think that we are holding and maintaining where we are is highly commendable because it is such a fragile process," said Angie Barber, director of Phoebe Putney's Network of Trust that helps teenage mothers finish school and learn parenting skills.

Today, prevention programs are common in schools and churches, and they're helping.

"Because teenagers are going to be teenagers and they have questions and they need answers and we have to be brave enough to help them find those answers," Barber said.

Teaching abstinance, Bolton says, is important, but they need to know the realities of teenage motherhood.

 "And how hard it is. Many kids think babies are cute, but they need to learn how hard it is."

 Breanna has conquered some of the hardships of teenage parenting. Alexia will be two years old soon. Breanna graduated from Lee County High School last month, though a year late, and plans on starting Albany Technical College in the fall.

"I'm going to do it for both of us."

 So that Alexia will know that she didn't hold her mother back from reaching her life goals.

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