Originally created 07/06/99

Adviceline: Pregnancy big issue for any teen-ager



THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM

"My boyfriend moved away about a month ago to go to college in Michigan, and I just found out I'm pregnant. He knows, but he says he can't be there. He still calls me and says he loves me, but I don't know what I should do. Should I keep the baby? I don't want it to grow up with no father like I did. Please help."

-- South Carolina girl

YOUR ADVICE

Of course you should keep the baby. If he says he loves you then he does; just because he went off to go to school doesn't mean he'll never be there for you; maybe he just means he can't be there right now. If you love him like you say you do, keep the baby.

-- I think you should keep your baby; he won't be there, but at least the baby will know who his daddy is. I wouldn't get an abortion.

-- If he says he loves you, he'll marry you and you will raise the child together.

-- You should keep the baby because it's your baby. If you feel like you don't want it to grow up without a father, give it up for adoption. But maybe sooner or later he can come down here and you can live happily ever after.

-- Keep the baby.

-- You shouldn't give up the baby because later in life it's going to hurt. The boy needs to help you out in some kind of way, even if he can't be there.

-- If he cares anything for you, he would come back.

-- I think you should have the baby. I also think you shouldn't worry about that boy who moved to Michigan. He'll come back.

-- Keep the baby, and when the baby is born give it up for adoption. Plenty of agencies in the area can help you do that; giving your baby life will be the best thing to do. I'm sure there are plenty of loving couples that can give your baby a great life with a mother and father and even other brothers and sisters. Just remember that God always loves you, no matter what.

-- If he really loves you, he will come and take care of the baby with you. If he doesn't come, ask family and friends to help you with the baby.

-- I grew up without a father. It's hard, but you'll have to live with it. Maybe later in life he'll come to the aid of you and the baby. Just be strong, and hopefully things will work out.

-- Go ahead and have the baby, even though you might think he won't be there. There's no reason for you to get an abortion. Maybe things will work out later.

-- Children are a gift from God. You shouldn't give your baby up because even if a father is not around your child can grow up to be a very successful person being raised by one parent. Also there are several pregnancy centers that can help you through your pregnancy and help you raise and love your child.

-- Talk it over with your parents and maybe take some time and pray about it. Things will work out.

Xtreme reporter Emily Sollie's advice: This is a pretty serious problem, so I went to the experts to find out more about your options. Here's what they have to say:

Susan Swanson, director of Augusta Care Pregnancy Center: "There are a lot of support services for young ladies in that situation," Ms. Swanson said. "We offer one-on-one counseling, and she has the option of keeping her baby or the option of adoption. We can counsel her on what would be best for her. We also offer parenting classes two times a week and other ways to help her have an easier time. If she needs housing, we can provide that -- there are local families she can live with and maternity homes she can live in."

The Care Pregnancy Center has a 24-hour hot line you can call, 724-3733, or you can drop in between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, between 6 and 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursdays or 10 a.m. and noon on Saturdays. The center is at 1298 1/2 Broad St. Ms. Swanson recommends that parents be involved in the counseling and decision process, but that is not a legal requirement, she said.

Karen Bonnet, clinic manager at Planned Parenthood: "It sounds like the baby won't grow up with a father if the boyfriend says `I'm sorry I can't be there, but I still love you,"' Ms. Bonnet said. "It sounds to me like she should have a baby.

"If she's worried about the baby growing up without a father, there are lots of people out there who would love to adopt. That's always a really good option, and it's unfortunate that there aren't more people who give up their babies for adoption. There's the option that she could have the baby and raise it herself, or the option of abortion."

Planned Parenthood counsels women on options when they come in for pregnancy tests. Pregnancy tests and counseling are confidential, and there are no age restrictions. But parental notification is required if someone under 18 decides to have an abortion. You can reach Planned Parenthood at 724-5557. It is at 1289 Broad St.

NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM

"This boy that I like is pressuring me for sex. I like him a lot, but I don't know what I should do. I'm scared if I do it he'll leave me, but I'm scared if I don't he won't like me anymore."

Do you have any advice for this 14-year-old Augusta girl? Call the Advice Line at 442-4444 and press 8614. You'll have one minute to answer. Got a problem? Call 442-4444 and press 8613. You'll have one minute to give us your situation. Please state your age and the town you live in.