How are we supposed to feel about teenage pregnancy?
When teenagers get pregnant
Become a mother now - can I do it? The decision for or against motherhood is not easy to make, especially at a young age. For a young girl or young parents, a child brings about a complete change in their life situation. In any case, it is important to deal thoroughly with the situation.
There are several options for an unwanted pregnancy:
- have the child and take care of the upbringing yourself,
- carry the child to term, but transfer the custody to a foster family for a certain period of time,
- put the child up for adoption,
- abort; this is generally possible up to the third month of pregnancy, and longer for expectant mothers under 14 years of age.
As difficult as the situation may seem, the decision on which path to take should ultimately always lie with the parents-to-be.
Termination of pregnancy
Sometimes an abortion seems like the only possible solution. The pregnant woman decides for herself whether an abortion should be carried out. From the age of 14, a girl can have an abortion carried out without the consent of her legal guardian. More on the topic: Abortion.
If parents-to-be see no possibility of keeping their child, but also do not want to have an abortion, the release for adoption can be an alternative. Underage mothers also have the right to give up their child for adoption. The child and youth welfare agency looks for suitable adoptive parents for the child who are well prepared for their future tasks through appropriate training. There are different types of adoption:
- Open adoption: The birth parents find out where their child lives and direct contact with the child and the adoptive parents is possible.
- Semi-open adoption: The biological parents do not find out where their child lives, but can contact the adoptive parents via the child and youth welfare agency and exchange letters or photos, for example.
- Incognito adoption: No contact is planned. However, the wishes of the mother or parents are taken into account when looking for adoptive parents.
Anyone who is toying with the idea of giving up their child for adoption should go to an appropriate counseling center during pregnancy. You can find more information about adoption at oesterreich.gv.at.
In addition to adoption, there is also the option of giving a child to a foster family for a definite or indefinite period of time. In contrast to adoption, the biological parents largely retain their rights and only cede the care and upbringing of the child to the child and youth welfare agency, who then assigns the foster parents to do this (short-term care for one to two years). The biological mother or biological parents can always stay in contact with their child during the care leave (right of contact). There are so-called visiting times that can be agreed with the foster parents (care agreement). You can find more information about foster parents at oesterreich.gv.at.
Baby hatch and anonymous birth
For women who are unable to raise their own child, anonymous birth is another option. The child can be born in a hospital under normal medical care and psychological supervision, but the woman must give her name and not disclose other personal data. The newborn is then placed with foster or adoptive parents.
The baby flap also offers a way out in difficult situations: If the mother has given birth to the child, but cannot or does not want to look after it herself, she can put it anonymously and unobserved in a baby flap. The newborn is then cared for and given to a foster family.
Both after an anonymous birth and after placing a child in a baby hatch, the mother has six months to reverse her decision. More on the topic: Anonymous birth and baby hatch
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