Teenage mothers’ reflections of their unintended, repeat pregnancies
Globally, teenage pregnancy remains a disturbing phenomenon which impacts on the lives of teenagers, their families and society as a whole. Numerous attempts at addressing the problem have seen a decline in fertility rates but agreement still exists that the incidence of young girls bearing children is unacceptably high. Studies conducted over the years have emphasised both the causes and consequences of teenage births. Many studies too have explored the benefits of preventative strategies. Yet, despite all this, teenage pregnancy remains a cause for concern with many teenage girls remaining sexually active after a first pregnancy, and exposing themselves to subsequent pregnancies and births. This study was focused on teenage girls who had experienced unintended repeat pregnancies. Through the research a deeper understanding of the meanings that female teenagers ascribe to repeat pregnancies, were sought. A sample group of teenage mothers were allowed to take a step back from their experience of the repeat pregnancy; to think deeply about the experience, and to reflect on what they had learnt and how it has impacted on their current lives. The researcher employed a qualitative approach with a descriptive, explorative design in order to obtain a rich description of the experiences of teenage mothers who have been through a repeat pregnancy. The goal of the study was to explore and describe the reflections of these teenage mothers who had experienced unintended, repeat pregnancies. Data was obtained through semi-structured individual interviews where an interview guide was used. The data was analysed according to the steps outlined by Creswell (2009). Findings were noted and recommendations made. These recommendations are designed for role-players involved with teenagers and youth in general. Emphasis was placed on recommendations to professionals, like educators, healthcare workers and social workers who are at the coalface of dealing with teenagers who engage in sexual activity. Finally, recommendations for further research were made.