If you find out you or your partner is pregnant, you have options!
Becoming a parent, especially as a teen, can be very difficult. Even with help from the people around you, it may be hard to balance your parenting responsibilities along with school, planning for your future, money, and even a social life. However, you have rights to help support you such as your right to stay in school, have a safe and private space to pump and store breast milk at school, take maternity leave from work, and place your baby up for adoption.
If you choose to parent, remember you’re not alone! There are great programs and resources available to both teen moms and teen dads that can help. California offers a wide range of state programs and are offered regardless of someone’s immigration status. The programs cover issues like medical coverage, child support, food resources and educational support for children from birth to age five. Also, the CA Department of Public Health provides support through the Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP) which focuses on helping expectant and parenting teens overcome many of the challenges they may face.
If you choose adoption, be sure to find an adoption agency that listens to you and treats you with dignity and respect! There are two types of adoption, open and closed. An open adoption allows the birth parents to visit and have a relationship with the child. Closed adoption means that the birth parent does not visit the child and is kept confidential.
In California there is also the safely surrender baby law that allows anyone to who is unable to care for their baby to surrender it within three days of giving birth. It is a confidential option and it is not required to provide any information.
If you or someone you know are pregnant but not sure what to do, visit a clinic near you to talk about the options available and what might be best for you!