I was 16 yrs when I became pregnant with my first child, 17 yrs & a senior in high school when I had my daughter (who is now almost 17 yrs old). I was an honors student, taking some college classes in high school. I'm from a small town of about 4000-5000 people. If you were a female & didn't have a baby by the time you were out of high school, then you were not part of the norm. It was mostly the girls from the African American community who had the babies. I would occassionally hear about some of the Caucasian girls getting pregnant but they would abort them or they would be away for awhile & when you'd see them the next time it would be as if nothing had happened (I assumed they had probably given the babies up for adoption or something). Our school system acted as if there wasn't a problem & looked the other way; they often looked down on us girls when it became apparent that we were pregnant. They took me out of all my college classes that I was taking when they found out I was pregnant. Also, any girl who became pregnant couldn't be a homecoming attendant or anything like that (it wasn't that way for the boys).
Now my mother didn't speak much on sex, only saying that I'd "better not bring no babies home". (Even though she had me when she was 17yrs old too) Nothing was said about STDs etc. I did take full responsibility for becoming pregnant, didn't blame anyone but myself. I knew that having a baby would make life more difficult for me (to say the least), as I had helped take care of my younger brothers, sisters, & cousins since I was eleven while my mother worked 2 jobs. We had our local health dept. that attempted to keep us up on information on how to best take care of ourselves while we were pregnant & after we had our babies. There was the WIC (Woman, Infants, & Children) program that helped provide food & nutritional information for low income families (that is a great program). I remember a program where a local lady would come around to your homes with free books for your babies to encourage them to read @ an early age. We had a local family learning center who would provide daycare for us young mothers during the day while we were @ school. They also provided job skills training & GED training for mothers & fathers who needed it. When I went to LPN school they helped me with nursing supplies/clothing so I didn't have to pay out-of-pocket. There were other state programs (that they don't tell you about) that paid for me to go to LPN school since I was a young single mother. I didn't pay for anything. One program even bought me a car to get back & forth to school.
Now that I have young teenage girls that I am responsible for, their father & I talk to them about sex,STDs, peer pressure,drugs, etc. I am not stupid enough to think that my children won't have sex because of all the good values that we have instilled in them. I am not naive enough to believe that when I am not around that they are going to behave the same way as when I am around. I also don't look the other way & pretend not to notice that I see how beautiful my daughters are, & that my 12 yr old has a body that is more matured & filled out than her 16yr old sister & even mine @ 16yrs. I know that if I notice these things then other people have too. I keep my daughters educated on sex & everything, encourage them to ask questions & let them know I wouldn't get upset when they do (they didn't believe that one till they tried it a couple times). I want them to know they can come to me about anything & everything cause I got their backs. I don't try to hide my past from them because I want them to see that I've been there & speak from experience. I just feel that in many ways, the solution to teen pregnancy can be started & found with the parents. We can't stop everyone from becoming pregnant @ a young age, because they are gonna do what they want to in the end. But we can keep them well educated & informed of all the pros & cons so that when the time comes for them to make a decision, they can make a well-informed one.
Sorry my reply was so long. This is a personal issue with me. :)