Editor’s note: A fifteen year-old girl attending a Barton County high school is having an unplanned pregnancy. She has agreed to share her journey, anonymously, with the Great Bend Tribune. We plan to check in on this story monthly. She can tell us what it is like to be a teenager in Barton County having a baby. This story contains adult themes and may be unsuitable for young children.
BY KAREN LA PIERRE
BARTON COUNTY — Sarah (not her real name) is a typical teenager. She likes to hang out with her friends and has a part-time job.
In other ways, the 15 year old is not so typical. She is expecting her first baby in seven months.
"The news was really surprising at first," said Sarah. "It’s not difficult now, but I know it will be after the baby is born."
She said she has a lot of support from family and friends.
The teen was not using birth control at the time, but planned to get on it, and there was no alcohol involved. Sarah did not want to get pregnant, however, and wanted to wait until she was older and had a better job.
"I didn’t think I would (get pregnant)," the teen said. This is not the first time she has had sex. She has had two partners.
"I was going to get on birth control," she said.
The good news is that both she and her current partner were both tested for sexually transmitted diseases and were clean.
She reports feeling a little nauseous with the pregnancy and has to watch how much greasy fast food she eats. With the pregnancy, she has been getting headaches and can’t take her allergy medication. She adds, "I didn’t think I’d be tired all of the time."
Sarah said that at least half of the students in her sophomore class are sexually active. The message she would give to other teens: "Be Safe."
"I made the decision to be sexually active and then decided to get birth control," she said.
In addition, the father will be involved with the baby. "I know he will support me," said Sarah. "I want to go to college to be a radiologist." She plans to go to Barton Community College, staying at home to save money. After that, she wants to go to Hays. Sarah had planned that even before she got pregnant.
Her boyfriend is excited, but scared. "Now he is really excited," said Sarah. But, "he’s not ready to have a kid."
She plans to eventually marry her boyfriend.
The student is electronically tied into this baby already through the internet. Online, each week, she can check on the baby’s stage of development. This week, "the baby look a little bit like a dinosaur," said the teen, laughing.
Sarah is thinking ahead about the changes after the baby comes. It will be hard because the baby will take most of her time and she will have to figure out day care.
And, Sarah doesn’t think she will graduate with her class. She thinks she will use the online program, get ahead and graduate early because she knows the baby will take up most of her time.
"It’s hard to get used to it (being pregnant)," Sarah said.