Knocking up teens

Knocking up teens DEFAULT

17 Girls (17 Filles), set in the small, depressed, French seaside town of Lorient, makes a big deal about having been inspired by a true story that took place in the small, depressed, American seaside town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 2008: Eighteen high school girls all turned up pregnant at the same time in a supposed “pregnancy pact.” One of the girls even appeared on Good Morning America, and the story not surprisingly served as fodder for a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode and a Lifetime movie. So what does 17 Girls, the debut feature film from sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin, add to the “pregnancy pact” canon? A lot of style, but not much substance.

Camille (Louise Grinberg), the ringleader of her friendship group, accidentally gets pregnant and suggests that her friends join in the fun. She reasons that there will now be someone who will love each of them forever, that the girls can all live and raise the babies together, that at least they will have done something with their lives, and because . . . you know . . . friendship.

For them, “friendship” means lots of hugs and pillow fights and bottles of vodka and tense ultrasounds and sing-alongs in cars while not wearing seat belts. This glimpse of the carefree, peer-pressure-susceptible teen, with a layer of French “everyone smokes so even if you’re pregnant it’s OK to have a few” reasoning, is the most authentic and well-acted aspect of the film. Also well played are their frustrated parents, who exhibit the range of reaction from disappointment to violence, rounded out by a funny town meeting that reveals most adults to be dithering idiots.

But if grown-ups are stupid, then teenagers know everything. And these girls, while nice to look at, seem to know very little, not even why they are doing all of this in the first place.

At times reminiscent of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, 17 Girls relies on the well-worn use of stylized pubescent bodies and pouty pink lips to titillate in lieu of providing character motivation. While 17 Girls never achieves the subtlety or aesthetic consistency of Coppola’s work, it does have its impressive moments and imagery. Scenes that play upon the endless beauty and potential of the ocean are smartly juxtaposed with those of each girl staring at her constricting bedroom walls post-pregnancy test. But the depth ends there. We never learn what these girls are thinking or how the vague concept of “friendship” turns into the hypnotic and life-altering yoke of peer pressure that these girls suffer beneath.

Camille’s story evolves to a rather unsatisfying, if not thought-provoking, ending that leaves one asking, “Why?” and concluding, “Whatever.” 17 Girls does not completely tell the tale of “young female friendship and naïveté” that it promises, and instead presents one of nihilism and, as we learned in France, n’importe quoi.


Teen Pregnancy

Growing up, with a bump or so along the way.

A stock plot. An adolescent girl who hasn't finished her education, her maturation of body and mind, and isn't in a stable relationship gets pregnant. (Don't expect the father to stick around if he's similarly underage.) The actual age at which the pregnancy isn't an issue anymore varies according to these factors.

This trope is usually the result of adolescents fooling around without protection or not fully understanding the biology and mechanics at work, though in particularly dark works it may result from rape. Another possibility is that the girl gets pregnant from the very first time she has sex, driving home the message that even a single night of indiscretion can have far-reaching consequences.

The typical fictional teenager generally tries to hide the pregnancy from their parents for as long as possible, which never actually equates to when they start looking visibly pregnant. This may ultimately result in a Prom Baby. For situations in which the kid in question is hiding it from others besides the parents, see also Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism.

Since Status Quo Is God, the majority of earlier television series and other American media usually have the young mother suffer a Convenient Miscarriage or else put the baby up for adoption. If this is a soap opera, you can count on the child returning to find their real parents as soon as they reach adulthood, which usually takes about ten years. This can even affect shows that aren't so long-running as to portray the teenage mother growing up since an adult character can be revealed to have given up a child for adoption as a teenager as a plot point.

Another option to avoid scandal is for the girl's parents to raise their grandchild as their own, such that the baby grows up particularly close with their "big sister." This usually leads to no shortage of angst all around when the truth inevitably comes out. More recently, such underage mothers in Darker and Edgier shows may simply abort the baby, although this is still extremely rare. Even more recently, there's been a trend toward keeping and raising the baby with all the attendant comedy and drama this may bring, although this is hardly exclusive to the most recent works.

This is a very common reason for a character to be a Tragic Dropout.

Truth in Television, to the existence of no small number of children.


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  • In a campaign to reduce the incidence of this trope in real life, the city of Chicago ran an awareness campaign featuring pregnant teenage boys to draw attention to the problem.
  • Played for Laughs in a Burger King commercial for chicken fries: a teenage hen gets pregnant by a pack of French fries.
  • Deconstructed in this PSA that poses as a commercial for a fashion doll called "Teen Mommy Darci." The teen mom doll is unemployed, lives in a trailer with no child support, and can't get in contact with her "Teen Daddy Darren." An alternate ad advertises the equally-hapless "Action Teen Father." The message of both PSAs is that teen pregnancy isn't fun.


  • In Robin, Stephanie Brown (then the Spoiler and later the third Batgirl) realized she was pregnant during the BatmanCataclysm storyline, and was temporarily Put on a Bus until she gave birth. She decided to give the baby up for adoption and even refused to learn the gender so she wouldn't get attached. Batman later revealed to her that she'd had a daughter during Batman: War Games.
  • Raquel from Icon found out she was pregnant right around the time her superhero career began. Unlike Steph, she decided to keep her son, whom she named Amistad.
  • Trouble infamously tried to do this, focusing on the relationships of Spider-Man's parents, Uncle Ben, and Aunt May as teens and retconning that Peter himself was the product of an affair his father Richard and May had. Needless to say, it was hated and declared to not be in canon with the Marvel Universe.

    Fairy Tales 

  • Rapunzel gets pregnant by her visiting lover, the local Prince. In the original version, she even reveals her lover's existence to her "mother" by asking her "Why is my dress getting so tight around my belly?" This line was apparently considered too blunt by the Grimms since in their second version of the tale they Bowdlerised/Disneyfied it to "Mother you are much heavier to lift than my lover." In any case, the Prince got her pregnant (sometimes with twins, sometimes with only one kid); she lived alone and raised her kid/kids on her own until she was reunited with him years later. Of course, the Disney animated version left out pregnancy completely, as do most adaptations (save for the anime, although it was careful to explain that the Prince and Rapunzel had secretly married).

    Fan Works 

  • Khaos Omega has only truly used it twice; 'Samurai Angel' was the event sequence in which both cases appeared. Anise's luck problems forced her to have her first pair of twins at 17 (her plan was to wait until after turning 18 before even conceiving) while her younger teammate Natsume conceived at 12; both girls are high-ranking Rainbow Angels, Natsume getting her dream pregnancy thanks to a Soul Bond trigger change.

    Film — Animation 

  • It has been confirmed via Word of God that Mama Imelda from Coco got married to Hector when she was 18 and he was 17. She had their daughter, the titular Coco, the following year. Granted this was the 1910s so this is definitely Deliberate Values Dissonance as it wasn’t uncommon back then.
  • Implied in Treasure Planet. According to the art book, Sarah married at seventeen and became pregnant with Jim "sooner than expected". Her nineteen-year-old husband couldn't handle a wife and son, so he ran off when Jim was eight.

    Film — Live Action 

  • Gertrude Baniszewski told her ward Sylvia Likens in An American Crime (based on the true crime) that she had her oldest daughter Paula at a young age. Paula herself gets pregnant by her cheating boyfriend (though somehow doesn't show after months have passed). Gertrude is unable to deal with the thought that Paula made the same mistake she did, leading her to blame poor Sylvia and ultimately torture her to death.
  • In Beyond the Lights, Macy was just 17 when she had Noni (after getting knocked up by a guy who "didn't give a shit" about her).
  • The Britney Spears film Crossroads (2002) features Mimi pregnant as she graduates from high school. She later confesses that it was conceived via date rape and it's then revealed that Kit's fiancee was said rapist. When this is revealed, Mimi falls down the stairs and loses the baby.
  • Coach Carter has a subplot where one of the basketball players got his girlfriend pregnant. She ends up getting an abortion after she realises she won't be able to be a good mother to it.
  • Parodied in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, where the father of Ashtray (played by Shawn Wayans) is played by Lahmard Tate, who is about a year younger than Wayans. This is a Running Gag through the entire movie, with things like Ashtray reminiscing about changing his father's diapers, and going to a party his dad is too young to attend. This was poking fun at the fact that Lawrence Fishburne, who played the father of Cuba Gooding Jr's character in Boyz n the Hood, is only about seven years older than Gooding.
  • Eight Legged Freaks: Kari Wührer was 35 at the time of filming, but her character Sheriff Samantha Parker, a divorced mother with two teenagers, doesn't really look the part. It gets some explanation when her daughter Ashley (played by then-18-years-old Scarlett Johansson) reveals during an argument between them that Sam got pregnant with her at age 16.
  • This is the primary drama of For Keeps where Darcy and Stan, high school seniors, are forced to grow up rapidly when Darcy gets pregnant after a weekend encounter.
  • In Gimme Shelter (2014), Agnes "Apple" Bailey gets pregnant from the one time she had sex with some random guy and seeks to find a safe place for herself and her baby away from her abusive mother.
  • The premise of several Lifetime Movies of the Week : "Fifteen and Pregnant", "Too Young To Be A Dad", and "Mom at Sixteen". Too Young to be a Dad features a similar inversion to Juno with the girl being experienced and the boy knocking her up during his first time.
  • Cynthia from Secrets & Lies was 15 when she had Hortense.
  • In SHAZAM! (2019), it's revealed that Marilyn Batson was only 17-years-old when Billy was born. After a combination of this, her parents disowning her and her partner getting arrested, Marilyn decided to abandon Billy at the local fair after seeing him with a couple of police officers.
  • In Sugar & Spice, Diane Weston (Marley Shelton) is a popular high school cheerleader whose life revolves around her boyfriend Jack (James Marsden) and cheerleading, as she is the captain of her school's "A-Squad". However, when Diane becomes pregnant by Jack, her life falls apart as her parents disown her. She moves in with Jack, and the two quickly get jobs, but Diane quickly realizes that Jack lacks the financial skills to provide for her and their child. Diane confides to her fellow cheerleaders about her problems and the group come up with a way for Diane to make the money she needs: robbing banks.
  • In the classic horror film Poltergeist, the father gives a rundown of the ages of his family to the paranormal investigators he needs to hire. The ages match up where his wife had his oldest daughter, when she was sixteen while he was already a grown man past 21. This is treated as normal.
  • In 2:37, Melody is pregnant with her brother Marcus' child.
  • Vox Lux: Celeste got pregnant with Albertine while still a teenager.
  • The opening scene of Jack the Reaper has Shawn's girlfriend telling him that she is pregnant, and that she plans to keep the baby. Later in the film, Shawn resolves that if he makes it out of this alive, he is going to stand by her and be the best husband and father he can. He doesn't make it.
  • Where the Heart Is (2000) has a pregnant 17-year-old name Novalee being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Walmart, where she lives in secret and she eventually gives birth.
  • In Diablo Cody's Juno, 16-year-old Juno McGuff discovers she's pregnant and plans to give her baby up for adoption.
  • In Manny And Lo, two runaway sisters (Scarlett Johansson, Aleksa Palladino) kidnap a bizarre shop clerk after one sister discovers she is pregnant and hole up in an isolated model home.
  • In Tyler Perry's Precious, 16-year-old Precious discovers she is pregnant again from her sexually abusive father and seeks an alternative school as well as escape from her equally abusive mother.
  • In Saved!, a religious teenager discovers her boyfriend is gay and attempts to "cure" him of his homosexuality. She winds up pregnant because of it.


  • "Annie Got A Baby" by Hank Ballard actually caused controversy in 1954 for being about this topic.
  • Vaporwave artist Blank Banshee literally has a song called "Teen Pregnancy", which samples Spike from Degrassi Junior High saying "I'm just a was just a little mistake."
  • French song "Aurélie", by Colonel Reyel, has a very dark take on the situation: even though Aurélie is actually okay with being pregnant, her boyfriend ditches her and her family kicks her out, resulting in a pregnant 16-year-old on the street, desperate for a job, a roof, and someone to guide her. The song advocates more support for girls in her situation.
  • "Slide" by Goo Goo Dolls. According to Word of God, the song tells a story about May, a teenage girl in a Catholic environment, who ends up getting pregnant (by her teen boyfriend, no less) and gets her family upset; she and said boyfriend are both discussing on whether they can get married or get an abortion.
  • Implied in the song "Run Joey Run".
  • "National Haiku Contest" by The Fugs, from It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest:

    "Do not tell me I am the source of your knock-up"

  • John Hiatt's "Good as She Could Be" is about a woman who had a baby at eighteen.
  • Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life" follows a teenage father as he deals with his child growing up.
  • "Runaway Love" by Ludacris has a preteen example. An eleven-year-old ends up pregnant by her sixteen-year-old boyfriend. He dumps her and her family can't afford an abortion so she runs away.
  • Most of the Cher song "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" centers around how the singer ended up an unwed teenage mother.
  • "Rock'n'roll Lullaby", written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, recorded by B. J. Thomas. The lyrics say:

    "She was just 16 and all alone when I came to be"

  • In Smash Mouth's "Nervous in the Alley," a 15-year-old runs away from home because she's pregnant.
  • Madonna's song "Papa Don't Preach" from True Blue is about a teenage girl who wants to keep her baby (and her boyfriend has offered to marry her, while her friends tell her "Give Him a Normal Life instead!") and confronts her father about it.
  • "Brenda's Got a Baby" by Tupac Shakur (Tear Jerker alert!) has a preteen example. A twelve-year-old girl gets pregnant by her much older cousin, who leaves her after she reveals her pregnancy. Brenda's parents don't care about their pregnant daughter so, having no support, she gives birth in a public bathroom and dumps the baby. She saves the baby and runs away from home. To support herself, Brenda tries to deal drugs but ends up robbed, so she turns to prostitution. At the end, Brenda is killed.

    Mythology and Religion 

  • Deirdre from Deirdre of the Sorrows is has just about reached marriageable age in Gaelic Iron-Age Ireland (15 years for women, 18 years for men) when she falls in love with Naoise and they flee Ulster to Scotland with Naoise's brothers to escape the wrath of King Conchobhar of Ulster, who wants Deirdre all to himself; in some versions of the tale, Deirdre and Naoise have a son, Gaiar, and a daughter, Aebgreine, during their self-imposed exile.
  • The Virgin Mary (mother of Jesus) seems to be considered a teenage mom, both in the Catholic faith and in popular interpretation. Justified because Jesus is her first born, and because she is "untouched" at the moment of conceiving. The gospel of Jacob (one of the apocryphals), states that Mary was down to thirteen when Gabriel called on her. Although to be fair, the canonical texts do not specifically state how old Mary actually was when she conceived Jesus. Given that people in that time and place tended to marry young, it can be inferred that she was likely somewhere in her teens when it happened.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • Lisa in Funky Winkerbean got pregnant and gave the baby, a son, up for adoption way back when, back before the first time skip. Before she died, Lisa was able to reunite with her son, revealed to be Darin Fairgood.
  • A story arc in Zits had Jeromy, Hector and Pierce portrayed as heavily pregnant while in their high school. After three days of contextless agony, it's revealed that the boys were forced to wear empathy bellies after laughing at teen pregnancy in a sex-ed class.
  • Arlo And Janis: Mary Lou got pregnant and had Meg when she was fourteen. She later married Gene, who is two years younger than she is.


  • Albert Herring begins with Loxford's town brass in a state of high moral panic regarding the rising birthrate among unwed girls (no ages are stated):

    Superintendent: Her Ladyship was very distressed when she heard about Curtis's daughter.
    Vicar: They tell me that's her third!
    Miss Wordsworth(simultaneously): Appalling!
    Superintendent: She won't confess the father, silly girl!
    Mayor: It's happening far too often!
    Miss Wordsworth: Lily Jarvis is another problem!
    Superintendent: Twins, if you please!
    Vicar: Drunken father, mother a slattern—these things breed immorality in the young!
    Miss Wordsworth(simultaneously): Their poor children!...
    Mayor: Something must be done!

  • Sylvia in All Shook Up had her daughter Lorraine young, revealed in a passing remark that falling in love as a teenager is what caused Lorraine to be born.
  • Ivy in Bare: A Pop Opera gets pregnant at 17, which is made even more tragic by the fact that the father never even loved her in the first place and was just using her as a rebound and to try and convince himself that he wasn't actually gay after breaking up with his boyfriend.
  • Madame Butterfly is about a fifteen year old Japanese girl who marries an American naval officer. He leaves her for three years and in that timespan it's revealed she's had his child. When he returns, it turns out he's left her for an American woman. Butterfly ends up giving her son to the duo and then killing herself.
  • It's implied in Pokémon Live! that Delia had Ash as a teen. There are implications that Ash's biological father may actually be Giovanni. Delia was a part of Team Rocket as a teenager but left when she met her future husband.
  • In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's mother says she was already a mother at Juliet's current age (nearly 14) in justification of Juliet's Arranged Marriage with Paris. Which was normal... back then, as girls from rich families got married around that age to cement alliances, and also so they'd have as many kids as possible and not be a burden for their parents. Poorer women would marry later (around 23 or older), as they and their possible suitors would take far more time to gather enough money for a decent-sized dowry and household, and legally male and female apprentices could not marry until they completed their indenture.
  • Spring Awakening: Wendla gets pregnant at age 14. Her baby is never born, as she dies of a botched abortion.
  • Mrs. Walker at the beginning of the 1993 musical of Tommy, who is pregnant at age 16 during World War II.

    Video Games 

  • Fallout 4 has a location where you can find the skeleton of a girl who ran away from home to a family cabin after fighting with her parents because she got pregnant. Unfortunately, that was the day the nukes fell; the poor girl seems to have starved to death.
  • Teenager Katarin is pregnant with Duane's child in Final Fantasy VI... an odd rarity in video games. To fully elaborate, during the World of Balance part of the story, they are both sixteen and in love. By the events of the World of Ruin arc, a year later, she's now pregnant at seventeen, and gives birth during the finale.
  • In an even more obtuse example, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII had a young mother whose age is given in an art book as 33. Since we only encounter her in one scene in which Cloud is 16, this means she had him when she was about 17. She's also a single parent, though Cloud claims this is because his father died, and apparently doesn't have the same last name as her son.
  • As a franchise set in a medieval environment, this happens frequently in Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has a few first-generation parents (or potential parents) who are very young, such as Sylvia (14 in the game, 16 in one of the mangas), Raquesis (15), Dew (14) and Deirdre (17 in the manga). It's not incongruous with the medieval setting, though.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, kids no older than 14-17 (Lissa, Ricken, Nowi, or Donnel, and probably Maribelle and Henry) are said to become parents. While in most cases it's due to their children having come from the future, a few potential pairings result in this occurring normally. It can also be the case of the Avatar and his/her child Morgan, should the player style the Avatar according to the younger and cuter Second Build.
    • It takes place again in Fire Emblem Fates, where kids between 14 and 16 (Mozu, Sakura, Elise and Hayato) or just a little older (Leo or Takumi) also become parents, and this time this occurs more or less normally and the kids get aged up in pocket dimensions. Again, the Avatar and his/her kid Kana (and any other potential kids of them) are a case of this, since the Avatar is canonically in his/her mid-to-late teens this time.
  • Jessie from HuniePop had her daughter, Tiffany, at the age of 16.
  • Joel from The Last of Us had his daughter Sarah before he could go to college.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! has Nailmi and Wydoncha Jugg, a mother-and-daughter pair of country/western singers who look almost identical. This being the often self-aware Larry series, the game hangs a lampshade on this, implying that Nailmi gave birth to Wydoncha at an improbably young age. It's also because the characters are parodies of real Naomi and Wynonna Judd who went through a similar thing.
  • Pokémon has this in the games too, though one that you'd have to look for. In the Sinnoh games Professor Oak is 50 years old, making him 47 in the Kanto games. Professor Oak is a grandfather to not only an 11-year-old Blue at that point, but also has Blue's older sister Daisy. At best he'd have to be 37 when Blue was born, which raises some interesting questions about both how old Blue and Daisy's parents are/were, and even how old Professor Oak was.
  • Understable as she was a... *ahem*... working girl in the 1890s but Abigail from Red Dead Redemption was 17 when she got pregnant with her son Jack.
  • Heather from Silent Hill 3 is pregnant... for some reason, carrying an unborn god inside her womb. And she does not look like a pregnant woman at all. It doesn't seem to work as a traditional pregnancy would, though, considering that it's caused by the will of a cultist, and the fact that Heather saves herself by vomiting said unborn god out of her body.
  • Teens cannot Woo-hoo in any The Sims games however one of the most popular mods involves activating it. Teen pregnancy is a popular theme in the Sims community. Many Self Imposed Challenges and stories revolve around it.
  • Can be invoked in Story of Seasons. Several bachelorettes, such as Luna from Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Lumina from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, are of marriage age but are under twenty. You can court them, marry them, and have a child with them.
  • Summertime Saga: MC can impregnate several of his classmates, making them mothers while they're still in high school.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Moira had Gainer when she was about 16.
  • In The Suicide of Rachel Foster, we learn through the beginning of the game that 50-year-old Leonard McGrath (Nicole Wilson's dad) got Rachel pregnant when she was 16. And this occurred before her death.

    Visual Novels 

  • While not mentioned directly, in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, we know from near the beginning that Apollo was abandoned as a baby and we later find out his mother is Thalassa Gramarye. If you work out the ages (Apollo is 22, she is 40), she would have been 18 when she fell.
    • Sanae Furukawa gave birth to Nagisa at a young age. Of course, it doesn't really matter since she seems to be eternally youthful.
    • Seems to be very common in Clannad or just Key's works in general. Tomoya's mother also gave birth to him shortly after marrying her husband. His parents married when his father was still in school.
    • Seems to run in the family. Nagisa gets pregnant shortly after marrying Tomoya, though she avoids this trope (she gives birth shortly after her 21st birthday). It's actually Tomoya who's the teenager having a child (he's around a year or maybe two younger than Nagisa, who was Held Back in School).
  • Grisaia Series: Most of the game's endings which do feature the couple having kids have it happen after they've graduated and grown up. However, in the ending of Eden of Grisaia, Michiru winds up pregnant at 17, mostly because she didn't have a clue about birth control. It's implied that most of the other girls intend on getting pregnant soon afterward to nudge Yuuji into a Marry Them All situation.
  • Eighteen-year-old Hanako from Katawa Shoujo was supposed to end up pregnant in her Good End, however it was changed because the writers didn't want to make light of teen pregnancy. The finalized ending tones it down into a more ambiguous Visual Pun.
  • Sakura's mother in Kare wa kanojo was seduced and impregnated by her then-teacher.
  • It can happen in School Days, and the teen moms-to-be are Hikari, Setsuna,Kotonoha and Sekai (this one's VERY messy, tho.)
    • In the Spin-OffShiny Days, Natsumi gave birth to the game's heroine Inori when she was a teen. And in another Spin-Off known as Cross Days, if you play Ai Yamagata's route, Yuki knocks her up as well.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, if you compare Rihatsu's birth date(March 1975) with that of her first daughter, Reiko(November 1992), you'll see that Rihatsu gave birth when she was seventeen years old.
  • In the bishoujo game Ko-ko-ro... 0, Kasumi Kuonji is revealed to be one in one of the possible endings of the game. Her baby's name? Souji. Yes, Kasumi, originally presented in the original Ko-ko-ro... as being Souji's older sister, is possibly his MOTHER.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Beatrice Ushiromiya, first introduced in EP3 as the Beatrice from 1967, is revealed to have had this. She was, in fact, Kinzo's illegitimate daughter with his secret lover Beatrice Castiglioni, but her mother's Death by Childbirth drove Kinzo into such despair that he eventually deluded himself into believing that she was her mother's reincarnation, and it's all but outright stated that he raped her, making her pregnant with a Child by Rape at a young age.


  • In Bad Moon Rising, women attached to the van Kolyma family seem prone to this in large part due to Chloe's father taking advantage of his position as a teacher to sleep with his teenage students.
  • In Bridgette's Belly, Bridgette gives birth to two children while she is still in high school.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Elliot's mother meets his female duplicate Ellen, she immediately accepts her as part of the family. She admits to herself that she always wanted a daughter, and that this time, she doesn't have to drop out. Later confirmed when Sarah does the math and figures out that Elliot's mother couldn't have been older than 21 when she had him - and taking in other context, was probably even younger.
  • Neve makes an offhand comment in Ignition Zero that they and Martin have been friends since infancy because their teenage mothers met in class prior to their births.
  • In The Overture Vanessa Olsen was married at twelve and had a son eight months later. Her son is now seventeen and she is barely thirty.
  • In Shadowgirls, Charon had Becka at 15, and Chrissy had her daughter Missy at around 17.
  • Sleepless Domain: Heartful Punch reveals in chapter ten that she is the result of such a pregnancy. Specifically, she points out that her bright blue Technicolor Eyes, which neither match nor complement her otherwise pink coloring as is common among magical girls, are the result of her mother being an active magical girl when she was born. Between the facts that magical girls' powers fade by the time they start college and that the City Defense Department doesn't like to talk about such a scenario, the implication is clear. Soon after, HP confirms her mother was seventeen.
  • To Prevent World Peace: From Page 416: Tiffany's Beginning: Commentary. Anything after this quote is a spoiler:

    "Tiffany's mother got pregnant in high school,"

    Web Original 

  • The filmAaron deals with the aftermath of a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. The story is the would-be father giving the news to his brother, who was intentionally kept in the dark by their parents.
  • Cake Wrecks: The former page image, a cake with "Congrats on your teen pregnancy" written on it.
  • Equestria Chronicles has Kettle Cornflakes, who it is very clearly stated was raped and birthed her daughter at the age of 15. Magical talking ponies.
  • The Irish short film Heartbreak deals with a teenage mother's struggles after getting pregnant from a one night stand. It's revealed that the man reciting the poem is her now grown up son.
  • Whateley Universe: It's discussed in Whilst Any Speaks (Chapter 4):
    • As Mega-girl says when her father asks when they're talking about her boyfriend:

      "He knock you up?

    Western Animation 

  • Referenced in the Batman Beyond episode "The Eggbaby" — Terry can't find anyone to watch the electronic "baby" he's been assigned for his Family Studies class, so he brings it on patrol with him. When Bruce hears it cry over the comm link:

    Bruce: You brought a baby with you?
    Terry: It's not what you think, really.
    Bruce: Terry, is there something you need to tell me?

  • In The Crumpets episode "Lil Wrinkly One", the consumption of cigarette-like chocolates by most characters gave them a Balloon Belly side effect. Thinking that they're pregnant, Caprice is the first teenager seen with a bloated belly, just before the other females (including her teenage friend Cassandra) and then the males (including Caprice's teenage brother Pfff) sprout bloated bellies.
  • Daria has Jane Lane's older sister Summer. Word of God puts Summer in her early thirties or so and she has four kids, and two of her kids seem to be preteens.
  • Drawn Together:
    • Toot is such a deplorable and incompetent mother, Toot's adopted Nicaraguan baby gets pregnant herself.
    • Foxxy Love is implied to have something like this trope with her kids. At one point a member of Foxxy's family shows up and looks to be about 14 or 15. He introduces himself as being Foxxy's grandson. So unless Foxxy is just way older than she looks, both she and her own kids must have their kids at very young ages.
  • Family Guy:
    • Meg has a pregnancy scare in the episode "Peter's Daughter".
    • And then there's the song "Prom Night Dumpster Baby".
    • When Brian checks into a rehab clinic for cocaine addiction in "The Thin White Line", Peter fakes an addiction to check in with him and treats the whole thing like a summer camp. He proceeds to drag Brian into stock summer camp movie shenanigans such as pranking the nearby rival camp, which in this case is a teen pregnancy center. Peter and Brian sneak in while the girls are asleep and put their hands in bowls of warm water. As they sneak back out, the sounds of many crying babies are heard.
    • Taken to horrifying extremes in "Stewie is Enciente": Stewie knocks himself up with Brian's offspring. He's at mosta toddler. He ends up disguising himself as a teen just so Dr. Hartman doesn't realize he's a pregnant toddler.
  • This is offhandedly brought up in Golan the Insatiable when everyone is forced to admit their personal shames. Alexis then blurts out proudly that she's ashamed to admit she's Dylan's biological mother. This detail is never mentioned before or after this moment, and it makes their hate-hate relationship with each other (especially since Dylan calls her her dumb big sister and not "mom") really confusing and fairly dark. We get mentioned several times that Dylan doesn't have a father, so if this holds true, then Alexis is not only her mom but responsible for taking every male role-model in her life and the reason Dylan refers to Carole by name.
  • Judy from The Jetsons is sixteen and her mother is thirty-three. That would mean Jane had Judy at roughly seventeen. This is, however, likely to be a case of Writers Cannot Do Math.
  • Doughy Latchkey's parents Karl and Kim on Moral Orel both look and act like teenagers. They were shown to be in high school with Stephanie 12 years ago, (and Doughy is in the same grade as Orel, who starts the series at age 11) so they probably had Doughy not too long after that.
    • In a more disturbing example, the episode "Dumb" implies that Nurse Bendy was only 13 years old when Joe's father (who, in the present day, is an elderly man in the throes of Alzheimer's) impregnated her. Due to his disease, Joe's father doesn't even remember Nurse Bendy and tells Joe she died in childbirth; needless to say, Joe is nothappy when he learns his mom is still alive.
  • Beth from Rick and Morty became pregnant with Summer at age 17.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode, "Little Big Girl", Bart dates a girl named Darcy who shortly reveals that she is one of these. The father is apparently a Norwegian exchange student, who went back to "Norwegia". Once her parents discover the truth, the mother reveals that she is also pregnant and they say they'll pretend the babies are twins.
    • This is implied with the episode "Papa Don't Leech," with Lurleen being 34 and her deadbeat father apparently being 49.
  • In the BoJack Horseman episode "The Amelia Earhart Story", Princess Carolyn meets a pregnant teenage girl from her hometown named Sadie who's considering giving up her baby for adoption. Flashbacks reveal that Princess Carolyn herself got pregnant as a teenager, though she ended up miscarrying.
  • This is implied in South Park, if you subtract Kevin, Kenny, and Karen's ages (13, 10, and 6-7ish) from their mother, Carol's, who is said to be in her 20s-30s (according to the official site). The site also references a common belief that she gave birth to Kenny as sixteen (which means she would have had Kevin at 12-13) but specifies that this particular detail was never confirmed.
  • Referenced in Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Fifteen year old Marco and Star were gone for one year. Marco's friends see his baby sister and think that she is his daughter, even when he claims otherwise. Marco's friends think that pregnancy was the reason he and Star left for a year.

    Real Life 

  • Anna Nicole Smith's mother, Virgie, was married and had her first child at fourteen, and gave birth to Smith at sixteen. Smith had her first child a few months after her eighteenth birthday, making her mother a grandmother at 34.
  • As detailed on Family Relationship Switcheroo, actress Merle Oberon was only 26 years younger than her grandmother — a double-dose of Absurdly Youthful Mother — and was the result of a preteen pregnancy.
  • Maurice White's mother was only 17 when she had him. Realizing there were few opportunities for a black woman in Memphis in the 1940s, she gave him up to a woman from her church and relocated to Chicago. She later married a black doctor, and had four other children. Her two sons from this marriage, Verdine and Freddie, would join their half-brother in Earth, Wind & Fire.
  • Famous country singer Loretta Lynn married at 15, had her first at 16, was a mother of three by 19, and a grandmother by 34. To put this into perspective, Loretta's own younger sister Crystal Gayle was an aunt of two at birth.
  • Jamie Lynn Spears got pregnant with her first daughter, Maddie, at 16 a few months after filming on Zoey 101 wrapped up. She gave birth a few months after turning 17.
  • Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII of England, gave birth to him at age 13. Her underdeveloped physique made for a physically traumatic birth that rendered her unable to have any more children.
    • Her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth of York, just barely made this. She was 19 when she married Henry, got pregnant almost immediately (they were married in January and their first child was born in September), but turned 20 during the first few weeks of the pregnancy.
    • Elizabeth's eldest daughter, Margaret, played the trope straight. As Queen of Scotland, she gave birth to her first three children before turning 20, although none of them lived very long.
  • Naomi Judd gave birth to Wynonna when she was 18.
  • Political scandals involving this trope crop up from time to time, such as Sarah Palin's eldest daughter, Bristol, having a baby at 17 while her mother was the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008.
  • Maria Reynolds, mistress of founding father Alexander Hamilton, was 17 when she gave birth to her first and only child, Susan Reynolds
  • The world's youngest grandmother, Rifca Stanescu, was 23 years old upon earning the title. She became pregnant at twelve, and despite warning her daughter not to make the same mistake...she got pregnant at eleven.
  • Georgia Moffett had her first child at 17 following a brief relationship with a university student.
  • Actress Katie Jarvis had two children before turning twenty (she had her first at 18 and her second at 19).
  • Porn star Devinn Lane got pregnant at 16. She supported her child by being a Single Mom Stripper at 18.
  • Whoopi Goldberg had her daughter Alexandra Martin at 18. In the book The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion, she mentions having six or seven abortions by the age of 25, even performing one herself with a coat hanger at fourteen.
    • Said daughter had her first child at sixteen.
  • Charlotte Lee, one of Charles II's many children, was married to Sir Edward Lee at twelve, and gave birth to her first child at 13.

Alternative Title(s):Teenage Pregnancy

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PHOTOS: Why The Philippines Has So Many Teen Moms

Joan Garcia became pregnant at 14 and gave birth at 15. She and her child travel by raft between the two shacks where they live in Navotas fish port on Manila Bay. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Joan Garcia became pregnant at 14 and gave birth at 15. She and her child travel by raft between the two shacks where they live in Navotas fish port on Manila Bay.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Editor's note: Hannah Reyes Morales has been photographing teen moms since 2017. Aurora Almendral began reporting this story in October 2019.

At 12 years old, Joan Garcia liked leaping into the sea and racing the boys to the nearest pylon. She liked playing tag. When she started having sex at 13, she thought it was just another game. Joan was skipping across the pavement, playing a game with friends, when an older neighbor noticed her rounding belly.

Her daughter, Angela, is now a year old. Joan crouched on the floor, folding up her lanky teenage limbs and fed Angela fingers-full of steamed rice, crimped strands of instant noodles and fermented anchovies from the family's small communal bowl.

Sisters Joan (center) and Jossa Garcia (left), both teen mothers, hang out in a boat with their children and their younger sister. Each year, 1.2 million Filipina girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have a child. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Sisters Joan (center) and Jossa Garcia (left), both teen mothers, hang out in a boat with their children and their younger sister. Each year, 1.2 million Filipina girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have a child.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Joan, now 16 years old, said that since she became a mother, she's embarrassed to play kids' games, then paused for a moment. "Sometimes I still play tag in the water with my brothers," she admitted.

Over a 10-year period, 1.2 million Filipina girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have had a child. That's a rate of 24 babies per hour.

And the rate of teenage pregnancy is rising. According to the most recent data, collected every 10 years, in 2002, 6.3 percent of teenagers were pregnant; by 2013 it had gone up to 13.6 percent.

Last August, the Philippines' economic development agency declared the number of teenage pregnancies a "national social emergency."

Joan Garcia (right) and her baby take a boat ride home. Garcia says she's embarrassed to play kids' games now that she's a mother — but admits "sometimes I still play tag in the water with my brothers." Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

The pandemic has made the situation worse. With Manila under a strict lockdown — including limited access to medical facilities, no public transportation and harshly enforced rules on not going out — access to birth control has been severely curtailed, particularly for teenagers, said Hope Basiao-Abella, adolescent reproductive health project coordinator for Likhaan, a nongovernmental organization that works on women's health and access to contraception.

The University of the Philippines Population Institute is predicting a baby boom in 2021 — an estimated 751,000 additional unplanned pregnancies because of the conditions created by the pandemic.

Access to birth control

The main reasons for the high rate of teenage pregnancies are inadequate sex education (some girls do not know that having sex can result in pregnancy or fully consider the responsibility of having children) and a lack of access to birth control.

Contraceptive access has long been a complicated, divisive issue in the Philippines. Despite a constitutional separation of church and state, Catholic morals dominate Philippine law. For more than a decade, reproductive health activists and legislators fought a bitter battle with the Catholic Church and conservative politicians to pass a law that would allow the government to distribute contraceptives to those who could not afford them and require comprehensive sex education in public schools.

Outside the Quiapo Church in Manila, some vendors sell herbs, roots and bottled pills used to induce abortion — which is illegal in all circumstances in the majority-Catholic country. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

The Philippine Catholic church has long opposed birth control in the country where about 80% of people are Catholics. In the past, the Catholic Bishops Council of the Philippines preached — in public statements, on the pulpit and through allied lawmakers — against a bill to widen access to birth control on moral grounds, calling it "anti-life" and "a major attack on authentic human values and on Filipino cultural values."

The Philippines passed a reproductive health bill into law in 2012. But years of Supreme Court challenges and delays in implementation continue to this day. Among the concessions to conservatives was a provision requiring parental consent for minors to buy contraceptives or receive them for free.

The Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital serves low-income communities in Manila, where the rates of teen pregnancy are high. Locals call it the "baby factory" — and the maternity ward is typically very busy. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

The Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital serves low-income communities in Manila, where the rates of teen pregnancy are high. Locals call it the "baby factory" — and the maternity ward is typically very busy.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

"It was one step back [for] adolescent health," said Dr. Juan Perez III, executive director for the Philippine Commission on Population and Development. The law improved access to birth control for women, but it became harder for teenagers to get birth control.

To address the resulting uptick in adolescent pregnancies, lawmakers have introduced bills improving access to contraception, supporting sex education and making it illegal to expel girls from school should they become pregnant. None have become law so far.

Perez said a teenage pregnancy has a significant impact on perpetuating poverty. "They cannot recover from being a child mother," he said.

That was the finding of a 2016 study by the United Nations Population Fund. By age 20, a teenage girl in the Philippines who gets pregnant and drops out of school earns 87 percent of the average 20-year-old woman's pay. Perez said the lower income continues further into adulthood.

Life on a raft

Joan lives with 16 relatives on a small raft of bamboo poles and scavenged wood, tied to a broken cement pylon, bobbing behind a row of steel shipping vessels docked in Manila's fish port — a patchwork of spaces no larger than two king-size mattresses. Two of her sisters' babies and a kitten nap on a pile of rumpled sheets against a particle board barrier to keep them from falling into the murky, gray water.

Sisters Joan (left) and Jossa Garcia (right), both teen mothers, are seen in their home in the Navotas fish port with their children, Angela and JM, respectively. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Sisters Joan (left) and Jossa Garcia (right), both teen mothers, are seen in their home in the Navotas fish port with their children, Angela and JM, respectively.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Like Joan, her older sisters had babies when they were young and left school before they graduated. No woman close to her has ever had a good job. Her mother occasionally finds a day of work cleaning mussels on the concrete floor of the fish port. Her father brings in some money doing odd jobs at the port. The family is often hungry and thirsty, and survives by begging sailors for food and water.

Joan can't imagine a different kind of life.

Yet the current government wants to see changes. "We made a decision in this country that population is a problem," said Perez. The government now believes that the country's birthrate of 2.92 births per woman — among the highest in Asia — is holding back economic development. So after decades of policies that limited access to contraception informed by a Catholic ethos to procreate, government agencies are now acting with a new urgency to bring the birthrate down.

If households have fewer children, Perez said, it will improve the family members' chances of getting out of the mire of poverty.

Yet the reproductive health laws in the Philippines — aimed at stemming population growth — are yet to have that impact. And the people who suffer are the urban poor. Sen. Risa Hontiveros knows the limits of the laws, the complexity of the issue and the danger of losing hope.

The work of improving access to birth control, Hontiveros said, "were passed on to us by those who came before us, they struggled, and they fought. They won some, and they lost probably more, but they passed on to us better situations that they started out with."

"So the least we can do — the least I can do — is to keep fighting."

Joy: 'He really wanted a baby'

Joy Villanueva dropped out of high school when she got pregnant at 14, in seventh grade. Her boyfriend, four years older, wooed her with afternoons out, buying her fried quail eggs on a stick and paying for rounds on the karaoke machine at a local hangout.

Joy Villanueva, 15, holds her baby. The slums where her family lived had burned down; they hope to build a new shack to replace the home they lost. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Joy Villanueva, 15, holds her baby. The slums where her family lived had burned down; they hope to build a new shack to replace the home they lost.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

He was tall and handsome, and she liked that he did chores around the house and washed the dishes for his mother. Soon she was living with him. "He really wanted a baby," Joy said, "so no one else would court me."

For her boyfriend, getting Joy pregnant was a mark of ownership. Joy resisted, but he persuaded her to have sex. By the time she gave birth, he was in jail for theft, and she was raising the baby with help from his mother. The day we met, the three of them were living together in a makeshift home of little more than a tarp supported by planks of wood — they had set it up after their slum had burned down a week before.

At 15, Joy dreamed of finishing high school, going to college and becoming a police officer. That was what her late father wanted for her when she was a little girl. She said that any day now, she'll move in with her mother, who will take care of the baby while she goes to class.

Joy Villanueva said she hopes to fulfill her father's dream for her and becoming a police officer — but later admitted that's an impossible dream for a poor teenage mom. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Joy Villanueva said she hopes to fulfill her father's dream for her and becoming a police officer — but later admitted that's an impossible dream for a poor teenage mom.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

If Joy is able to complete her schooling, she said she wants to own a big house made of concrete with air conditioning and glass windows. She wants to have a nanny to take care of her kids so she can wake up every morning, check her uniform in the mirror and go to work.

For 20 minutes, she told me about her plans for the future. But when I said a word of encouragement, Joy went silent, looked away and shook her head. Hindi na, she said. I can't anymore. It was a game of pretend. She shifted Ashley in her arms. At age 15, no more than 4 1/2-feet-tall, she is just old enough to know what can no longer be real for her.

Joy confessed that her mother has disowned her. So she can't go to live with her. Her husband's mother earns just enough to feed her and the baby. There's no money for notebooks or uniforms or college. They're trying to gather enough materials to build a shack so they don't have to continue living under a tarp.

Girls like Joy are classified among the poor, a vast category that encompasses 20 percent of Filipinos. Among teenage mothers of all income brackets, the poorest girls are the least likely to be able to finish their high school education after having their first child.

"It's only difficult," Joy said about motherhood. "There's no happiness." Maybe next month, she said, she'll get birth control implants.

Sisters In Motherhood

  • Sisters Rose Ann, age 15, (right) and Ros Jane, age 17, hold their babies in the neighborhood where they live in Manila.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • The girls are very close and rely on each other for support, raising their children as if they're siblings. Ros Jane is protective of her younger sister and worries she is not mature enough to take on the responsibilities of parenthood.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • Sisters and teen moms Rose Ann (center) and Ros Jane (left) are seen in the canteen where their mother works as a cook in Manila. Ros Jane had just asked her mother for money to buy medicine for her son.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • Ros Jane and her son in the room she shares with her sister and her child. While their situation is bleak, the sisters support each other, creating an ad-hoc safety net to face the challenges of teen motherhood.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • Rose Ann in her mother's home with her baby. She gave birth a few days after turning 15.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • Rose Ann, who has a young son, hangs out outside her home.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

  • Ros Jane walks with her child by the railway near her home in Manila. She became pregnant at age 16.

    Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Laughter in sex ed

Likhaan's clinic is a mile and a half down the road from where Joy lives. The organization advocates for reproductive health and fills the gap in services the government does not provide, like formal sex education, ready access to free contraception like IUDs and birth control implants.

Diane Vere, a community coordinator, leads workshops for teenagers from the surrounding slums. The topic is sex.

Inevitably, when Vere turns to the page in the photo workbook that shows an array of penis sizes and shapes, the teenagers break into peals of laughter. They cover their eyes and hide behind one another. Vere fields their questions: Why are some bigger than others? Why is that one crooked?

She shows them an uncircumcised penis and tries to dispel the myth that a boy in this condition is dirty or incapable of impregnating women.

Before the reproductive health law, there was no formal sex education in the Philippines, and to this day, the rollout remains patchy, fraught and very limited. Teenagers cobble together information based on what their parents ventured to tell them, sermons from priests and whispers from one another, often gleaned from the Internet or old wives' tales.

Was it true, the girls at the clinic class asked, that if you wash your face with a girl's first menstruation, it prevents pimples? If a girl jumps from the third step of a ladder, would her period only last three days? Does masturbating make boys taller? Can you get pregnant if you have sex only once?

While the teenagers were fascinated with the practicalities and hygiene of sex and puberty, they struggled to discuss the process of conception. Bring up the difficulties and cost of raising a child, Vere said, and the teenagers would shut down or quickly change the subject.

Teachers often did not fare better. Some teachers had to be excused from a recent training because they couldn't control their laughter when frank discussions about sexual organs came up. Every acceptable word in Tagalog to describe sex or private parts is a euphemism: peanut, flower, junior, eggplant. Teachers complain that every proper noun in this category is too vulgar to say out loud. With this combination of discomfort and lack of formal training on teaching sex, it is not surprising that 59 percent of Philippine educators said they had difficulty naming body parts, according to a 2018 survey by the United Nations Population Fund.

"We can't even discuss it," said Hope Basiao-Abella of Likhaan.

In previous years, sex educators in schools preached abstinence, and anything beyond abstinence was limited to what the teachers knew. Often it didn't extend beyond basic science and was heavily inflected with religious and personal beliefs. Basiao-Abella said one teacher told her students that condoms were murderers because they killed sperm.

She said a pastor told congregants that condoms spread AIDS, a mistaken belief reiterated by a sitting senator as recently as 2017. "For their information, the HIV virus is smaller than the pores of condoms which can only prevent pregnancy. Scientifically proven," Sen. Vicente Sotto III erroneously stated during a public argument with another politician.

To address gaps in knowledge and uneven information, the Philippine education department is developing a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, which it had begun to roll out in the public school system before schools were closed by the pandemic lockdown.

Much like 2012's reproductive health law, the process of developing the curriculum has been embattled.

"There was a big fight about whether [the curriculum] could use the word 'condom'," Basiao-Abella said. "We have to change centuries of religion and culture."

Sen. Risa Hontiveros believes progress is coming, even if it's in fits and starts. Hontiveros, who sponsored one of the bills to prevent adolescent pregnancy and was at the forefront of the decadelong battle for the law, said the Catholic hierarchy continues to oppose legislation counter to its teaching but with "less of the stridency and less of the hostility than previously demonstrated."

The midwife who breaks the abortion law

In one of Manila's poor neighborhoods, a midwife prays to her saint, Ina ng Awa, the mother of pity or compassion. The carved wood statue hanging on the wall of her home is oily and chipped from age. A string of dried-out jasmine flowers hang from one outstretched hand, and on the other, the saint cradles a baby. The midwife believes Ina ng Awa is the patron saint for the women who come to her asking for abortions.

In the Philippines, abortions are illegal in all cases. Perhaps more powerfully, abortion is considered a sin. The midwife understands all this yet will offer abortions. She asked that her name not be used for fear of arrest or reprisal.

The women who come to her are too poor to raise another child or unwed and ashamed or so young, she said. "They still think like children." The midwife, who has delivered more babies than she can count, believes abortions are wrong, but she pities the women.

For an abortion, she charges her clients on a sliding scale, usually 100 pesos, or about $2. If the woman has a bit more money, the midwife might charge $10, but more often, women in her neighborhood are poor so she'll accept a cigarette or a 10-cent cup of instant coffee as payment.

She demonstrates her technique for massaging a woman's womb: a scooping motion to lift the uterus, then she grinds down with her fingers to crush the fetus, pressing into a woman's belly until her hands start to cramp. She gathers bitter melon leaves from her garden, which she steeps into an acrid tea and tells the woman to drink. She says these methods usually will end a pregnancy.

A Filipino abortionist holds up the flowers of the bitter gourd. Abortions are against the law in the Philippines, but some midwives and others will use bitter gourd — believed to cause a miscarriage when ingested — and other methods to terminate a pregnancy. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

If the woman was a few months pregnant, they bury the blood from the aborted fetus in the dirt. If she was five or six months along, they put the fetus in a box and bury it like a child.

And before the midwife goes to bed, she asks Ina ng Awa for forgiveness.

One 16-year-old girl, who asked not to be named because of the stigma of abortion, took a handful of pills her mother bought from one of the illicit nighttime markets under the bridges and in the backlots of Manila. Her mother was told it was Cytotec, the abortion pill. When the girl started bleeding in clots, her mother rushed her to the hospital. She spent a week in the recovery ward, where she mostly slept and imagined herself "flying in the sky," unable to think about what she had done.

But three months later, she was grateful. Her boyfriend was her first love, until he started beating her. He locked her in his house to keep her from running away and yanked her back in when she tried to escape. Her mother had to rescue her. "He's a demon," the 16-year-old said. If she had the baby, she would never be rid of him.

Walking through her crowded slum, she passes small children playing on mounds of torn plastic stained with leachate, the black sludge that seeps from the neighborhood's cottage industry of sorting through the city's trash. She points out to one girl and says she's one of many people who have had an abortion.But it's the pregnant girls, thin and tilting back against the weight of their growing bellies, that brings her voice to a whisper. Their lives will be painful, she said.

She herself doesn't want a family: "I just want to work hard."

Blaming herself

Ralyn Ramirez, 19, had her daughter when she was 16 years old. She and her boyfriend, John Michael Torre, 19, looked at other girls holding babies and longed for their own. "I was jealous, and I thought I was ready," Ralyn said. "But it turns out I wasn't."

In 2017 (left), Ralyn Ramirez, then 17, had just given birth to her first child, a baby girl. She'd tell other teenagers that becoming a teen mom was not wonderful. But in 2019 (right), Ramirez became pregnant a second time. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

In 2017 (left), Ralyn Ramirez, then 17, had just given birth to her first child, a baby girl. She'd tell other teenagers that becoming a teen mom was not wonderful. But in 2019 (right), Ramirez became pregnant a second time.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

She says she blames herself for not finishing high school and for having a baby so young. "Sometimes I cry just thinking about it," Ralyn said. When other girls ask her if it's wonderful to have a baby, she tells them "no."

In 2017 at age 17, Ralyn Ramirez, her partner and their first child rest in a mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery, where several thousand people live. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

In 2017 at age 17, Ralyn Ramirez, her partner and their first child rest in a mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery, where several thousand people live.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

"But they don't listen. Next time I see them, they're already pregnant," Ralyn said.

In November 2019, 18-year-old Ralyn Ramirez curls up with her second child, a boy. In between giving birth, she had warned other teens about having a baby. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

In November 2019, 18-year-old Ralyn Ramirez curls up with her second child, a boy. In between giving birth, she had warned other teens about having a baby.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Sitting at small sundries shop in Manila North Cemetery, where she lives (as thousands of people do) in one of the mausoleums, Ralyn chats with Margie, a 15-year-old who is seven months pregnant. In front of the shop, another young girl sits on a bench, her dress stretched over her belly. Ralyn points out a teenager walking down the path and says she was a child mother, too. Margie says she knows an even younger girl who gave birth when she was just 12 years old.

Ralyn Ramirez spends time with her family, including a daughter and a son. She and her boyfriend thought they were ready to have children after seeing other teen parents. "But it turns out I wasn't," she says. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

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Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

Ralyn Ramirez spends time with her family, including a daughter and a son. She and her boyfriend thought they were ready to have children after seeing other teen parents. "But it turns out I wasn't," she says.

Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR

"Child mothers are everywhere here," Ralyn said. And in the end, she didn't listen to her own advice. We spoke in November. Her son was born later that month.

Let us know what you think of this story. Email [email protected] with your feedback, with the subject line "Teen Moms."

Aurora Almendral is an American journalist based in Southeast Asia with an interest in politics, climate change, migration and economics. Her work has been recognized with multiple awards, including from the Overseas Press Club of America and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.

Hannah Reyes Morales is a Filipino photographer based in Manila. She has been photographing teen moms since 2017.

Hannah Reyes Morales

Knocked Up (5/10) Movie CLIP - Where Do Babies Come From? (2007) HD


When a 15-year-old at Gloucester HS in Massachusetts learned she was pregnant a few months ago, there were no tears.

Shown her positive pregnancy test, the girl said simply, “Sweet!”

And she rushed off to tell her classmates – 17 of whom are also pregnant, none of them older than 16.

The baby boom is the result of what the school principal described last week as a “pregnancy pact.”

“Some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” principal Joseph Sullivan said. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy.”

Local police have opened an investigation to determine the paternity of the babies.

At a 7-Eleven convenience store yesterday, 17-year-old Alexis Palazola, who is due next month, said she did not plan her pregnancy.

“It’s not something that I’m all excited about,” the expectant mom, in braces, told The Post. “It’s just something that just happened. And I’m going through with it.”

Said Joshua Medeiros, 17, as he lounged on a bench near a town beach, “When you live in Gloucester, there’s nothing else to do but have babies.”

The school is familiar with pregnant students. It offers child-care facilities for up to seven mothers. The program is already full for next year.

The spike in pregnancies has brought upheaval to a staunchly Catholic fishing town on Cape Ann in Massachusetts where there have been five times the number of teen pregnancies as last year.

Critics have questioned whether the school invites pregnancies by accommodating young mothers.

Others have cast scorn at the few sex-education classes and the lack of contraceptives distributed to sexually active students.

The school administered 150 pregnancy tests during the school year. Nurse practitioner Kim Daly said that by October, the number of positive results had reached the average for most years, according to reports. But the figure continued to climb.

Some teens immediately started baby-shower preparations.

Until the baby-mama bonanza, Gloucester was most famous for the book and movie “The Perfect Storm,” which chronicled a group of its fishermen on an ill-fated ship.

Now city schools superintendent Christopher Farmer is under siege as the media jumped on the story.

Unlike Farmer, many of the teens in the town seem unfazed by the alarming spike.

They’ve seen unexpected pregnancies glamorized in movies like “Juno” and “Knocked Up” and watched their idols sport a baby bump.

Britney Spears’ baby sister, Jamie Lynn, announced her pregnancy to her boyfriend in December. The “Zoey 101” star gave birth to a girl last week.

After 15 years of declines, national teen-pregnancy rates are spiking. A new study found that the number of teenagers who said they had used a condom the last time they had sex dropped from 63 percent to 61 percent.

For Gloucester HS student Alycia Mazzeo, being a mom at a young age is not what it’s knocked up to be.

“When I first found out, I didn’t know what to do. Mine wasn’t planned,” said Mazzeo, who gave birth to a girl last November.

“For me it was a jaw-opening experience It was really scary. A lot of my friends stopped talking to me.

“Now it’s like, ‘I’m pregnant. Let’s throw a party.’ ”


Up teens knocking

When I was 12 and my sister was 15, we found out she was pregnant. Luckily, she didn't give birth until she was 16, so she got to be 16 and Pregnant before it became popular. She’s always been a bit of a trendsetter.

I remember walking into my dining room and looking at the silent and intense faces of my parents and my sister. I don't remember much else, except that 8 or so months later, my sister gave birth, Denise “The Niece” was born, and I had to switch bedrooms.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and I don’t mean to be contrary, buuuuut…

Here is why everyone should have a kid while they're still a teenager. 

Teens have more energy than adults and need less sleep.

I know this because I was a teen once, and I could stay up until 5 in the morning and then wake up at 6 am for an all-day softball tournament. Now if I’m up ’til 5 am, good luck seeing me out of bed in the next week. Life is hard; you get tired of living it. Teenagers still have that spark. Take advantage of it and pop one out. 

It's good for the grandparents, too. 

They'll still be young enough to play with your kids. Also they can fix any mistakes they made with you while they're still fresh in mind(for example: teen pregnancy).

It honors history and supports biology.

Duuuude, in the olden days (like a couple hundred years ago, at least. But less than that in the south and third world countries) if you weren’t knocked up by 14, you were an old maid. 

Why do you get your period? Not just so 1/4 of your life is a living bloody hell, it’s to produce offspring. It's why you're here. So get it done early, and check it off your biology bucket list. Then by the time you’re 30. your kids’ll be grown and you'll be able to start your second life where you won't need maternity leave so the pay gap will close and women will make as much as men. Huzzah, injustice fixed by teen pregnancy.

It will discourage your siblings from making the same mistake.

I didn't have sex ’til I was well out of high school and the house. Watching your sister be split open by another human is better than abstinence, safe sex and sterilization all rolled into one. 

Your siblings get to be aunts and uncles early.

Which in turn lets you off the hook for birthday and Christmas presents for, basically, ever. They’re your gift to the world. 

You will save your siblings from pressure to "settle down" and "give us a grandchild." 


You will have a cute kid to say really inappropriate things. 

And you’ll still be young enough to appreciate it. There is nothing cuter than a cursing toddler.

You can wear matching clothes with your kid and you won’t look pathetic

You’ll be “Hot Young Mom,” not “Oh-That’s-Embarrassing-Mom.”

If your religion doesn't believe in contraception, it is YOUR DUTY to get pregnant and prove how dumb that is. 

Still not convinced? 

Compare my sister and myself.

The Teen Mom:

  • Graduated from UCLA with a degree
  • Has a beautiful non-pregnant 16 year-old-daughter
  • Married a loving husband
  • Had two more sickeningly adorable kids
  • Is now 33 year old


  • Successfully made it through my teens without becoming preggers
  • Can fit everything I own into one suitcase (mostly pictures & biographies of Dame Judi Dench)
  • Have a drinking problem and a “career” in “comedy”
  • The internet tells me my actual age is 68

So join me as I celebrate UnPrevention every May, which also happens to be when my niece’s birthday is. God, I love irony. And teen pregnancy.  

Andel Sudik has performed improv at iO, the Playground and the Annoyance and sketch comedy at Second City on a cruise ship, in theatricals, with the National Touring Company and on the e.t.c. stage. She is an alumni of Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, currently teaches sketch and improv in Chicago and occasionally writes things while looking out her window at the lake. Follow her on twitter @AndelSudik or check out her website

Teen Pushes Bear Off Backyard Wall While Defending Family Dogs

17 pregnancies at US school after girls make baby pact

A small fishing town in Massachusetts is coming to terms with the news that 17 teenage girls at the local high school are pregnant, almost half of them having entered a pact to have babies and raise the children collectively.

Officials in Gloucester have discovered that the extraordinarily high number of pregnancies among the school's 15- and 16-year-olds - four or five times the average annual number - is not a coincidence. The revelation of a pact among up to eight of the girls has prompted heated debate locally about the approach to sex education and contraception.

Teachers at the 1,200-student Gloucester high school first noticed something strange last October when several girls began visiting the school health clinic to request pregnancy tests.

By March the number of pregnant girls in the school had risen to 10 and officials were alarmed. By May, the health clinic reported that an unusual number of girls were still asking for pregnancy tests.

The head, Joseph Sullivan, told Time magazine that some of the girls seemed upset when they received negative results. Others reacted to positive test results with high fives, talking about how they would hold a celebration for the baby.

Christopher Farmer, the school superintendent, said inquiries were started when the number reached 10. "They are young white women. We understand that some of them were together talking about being pregnant and that being a positive thing for them," he told Associated Press.

The disclosure of the pact, and reports that one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless man, has sparked a spirited debate in Gloucester about teenage sex. In May the medical director and nurse at the school clinic resigned in protest at the refusal of the local hospital that controls their funds to allow them to distribute contraceptives to pupils without parental consent.

The hospital authorities made it clear they were anxious about the reaction to handing out contraception from the strongly Catholic local community. In the absence of provision by the clinic, students must travel 20 miles to the nearest women's health clinic .

The state of Massachusetts has also been cutting back on sex education in schools as part of its budgetary belt-tightening. A local provider of reproductive health education has slashed its outreach staff from eight to one full-time worker.

Experts in teenage sexual behaviour were baffled by the events in Gloucester, which are unprecedented. "The pact is quite shocking. This is the first time I've heard of anything like it," said David Landry of the Guttmacher Institute, which promotes reproductive health.

Gloucester's conundrum falls at an already anxious time for teenage pregnancies in America. Nationally, records showed a steady decline in teenage birth rates from 1991 to 2005, with most of the fall due to greater use of contraception.

But in 2006 birth rates for girls aged 15 to 17 rose by 3%. It is too early to know whether this is the start of a trend.

Landry said that underlying statistics showed that improvements in reproductive health - particularly the use of condoms - achieved through the 1990s had stagnated since around 2003. Though it is impossible to say why the tailing off has happened, he pointed to the Bush administration's $1bn programme to promote abstinence rather than contraception.

"The problem with the policy is that it says nothing to those teenagers who do have sex," he said.

In Gloucester, a town of 30,000, speculation around the girls' motives has focused on the media. Commentators have pointed to films portraying pregnancy in a humorous and empathetic light such as Juno and Knocked Up.

 This article was amended on 16 November 2011. The original said "teenage pregnancy" is portrayed in films such as Knocked Up. This has been corrected.


Similar news:

“‘My biggest fear is falling into the traps of normalcy,’ he said, stone serious.

‘Oh really? Because my biggest concern is raising a healthy human being.’

I’m sitting on my bed, in my teenage bedroom, at my mother’s house. It’s three days after I found out I got knocked up by the first guy I ever met from Tinder. I told him immediately, and his response was to go to the mountains and eat mushrooms about it. I didn’t mind that so much, but the realization he had, and was now trying to explain to me, made my blood burn in my veins.

‘I want to build us a van to live in. We can show our kid the world.’ I wish I remembered exactly what he said—I was rage-deaf by that point—but it was something like that. Show our kid the world was definitely in there. That was the moment I knew we weren’t going to raise this baby. I wanted an abortion and he agreed to help pay for it. It couldn’t be like it never happened, but this was a way out. We could move on with our lives. It would be fine.

My gyno told me by the time I took the at-home test I was already two months along. I didn’t want to have a baby, but something about that amount of time already having passed changed something in me. I decided against the abortion. It was a few weeks still before I decided on adoption, but the decision came quickly to me once the idea bloomed. I was adopted as an infant, and I learned when I finally met my birth mother at 18 that she was adopted at birth as well. She doesn’t know her birth family still. It feels like it’s in our blood in a weird way, this letting go. This trust. I knew I wasn’t ready to do it on my own. I also knew I could find a family who would love my child the way I was loved, it didn’t matter that we weren’t biological family.

I spent much of my second trimester wanting to die. I lived in a beautiful, two-room apartment in west Philly. It had exposed brick, built-in bookshelves in the bedroom, a bay window with a bench, and best of all, a deep bathtub. Even a pane of stained glass in the tiny window above the radiator. My loneliness was crippling, I didn’t know anyone in the city and I didn’t know how to meet people without drinking. I had struggled with depression before in life, but it was getting dark in a way I wasn’t familiar with. I started having thoughts taking off my seatbelt and driving my car into traffic, or into a tree. The only thing that kept me from it was the same reason I felt hopeless. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I felt petulant, angry. I was terrified of my body, of the small life inside of it. I didn’t want to love it. I didn’t love it. Until the doctor told me it was him. Then he was Wilder, and nothing else mattered.

The final month of my pregnancy is when I truly allowed myself to love him. I moved home from the city to my mother’s house, for comfort and to be around family. It’d been a long winter alone in that apartment, but I’d come through it. I’d pushed through. My son was growing strong and healthy in my belly. I started to feel a sense of worth and pride I’d never known before. I felt strong in some ways and incredibly tender in others. Expansive.

He came a week early, 39 hours of labor, and only 1 pushing. The only thing I remember clearly is opening my eyes to look down when the doctor told me to ease up, and seeing my son half-entered the world, half-still part of me. My head fell back, I bore down, and he was born. He was quiet, and the room was silent. I could feel their worry, the nurses, my mother, my best friend, but I wasn’t worried. I knew he was fine. When he did start to make noises, they weren’t cries, more like a chirping. High and sweet, a little like a song.

I wish I could say I’m steadfast in my decision, that I never have any regrets about it. Sometimes I do. It’s been over a year and a half since he left my body and sometimes I still feel him, fluttering in my center.  There are days when I can’t get out of bed, when missing him is like drowning but not ever truly blacking out. Just pressure and the loudest silence. There are also—more often now—days when I’m reminded constantly why I made the choice I made.

Wilder is going to be two years old in June. A little over a week ago I went to visit with them for the second time in their home with my boyfriend.

‘I’m afraid to see him because I’m afraid I won’t know him.’ I was sobbing into Tim’s shoulder the week before the visit.

His arms were around me, ‘It’s okay baby. It’s going to be okay.’

I think what I didn’t realize until I did see Wilder was that my fear was not at all about not knowing him—it was about him not knowing me. Not knowing how that would feel. Knowing that we will never know each other as mother and child even though I am his mother, and he my son. What I am continually realizing during this process is that that is okay. It’s all going to be okay. He has a mother and father and older sister, and he also has me. ‘Two mothers,’ his sister says with a smile.

I gave them to him and him to them and it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done, ever will do, because in the end it wasn’t about me or my ego. When I need strength on those darker days, I remind myself of that. I’m learning daily that it’s about perspective. Without this ritual I’m afraid I’d lose my mind with want. This is a lesson in feeling all ways at once, but most of all, the depth of power a mother’s love wields, regardless of blood.

He came a week early

long for this world,

longing for this world.

He came through me & I

believe that, but

I don’t know why yet.

He will spend his life

exploring that & I will have

the magic of witnessing it

of knowing I labored for it:

39 hours & also

every single day since.”

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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kaitlyn Buhrman, 27, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Do you have a similar experience? We’d love to hear your journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more beautiful stories of open adoption:

‘One of my NYPD officers comes in. ‘Hey Lieu, you’re a single guy. Why don’t you try TINDER?’ I looked at him and literally laughed out loud.’

‘IT’S A BOY!,’ they said as they held him up over the sheet. She turned and looked at me. ‘That’s your baby.’ It was the most incredible moment of my life.’

‘Eli and his biological brother who went to another family have lived 45 minutes from each other for their entire lives, and have never met. Until now.’

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