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Teenage pregnancy: a cause of concern

In a country where child marriages are rampant and talking about sex is taboo, young girls are caught in the cobweb of culture and misinformation

As per a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report released in 2013, about 7.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth to children. In the period between 2000 and 2013, India topped the chart of 10 countries with the largest numbers of women aged between 20 and 24 who gave birth before the age of 18. This extract taken from an article written by Tripti Sharan, a practicing gynaecologist in New Delhi points to an alarming issue that is not openly discussed.

Sharan further elaborates that teenage pregnancy, whether forced or unprecedented can not only cause damage to the young girl’s body, it can leave a lasting impact on her developing psyche as well.

Lawfully pregnant

After 20 weeks of gestation period, doctors cannot terminate a pregnancy. In such scenarios, teenage or young girls have no option but to give birth and begin the journey of motherhood. There are many reasons that lead to teenager pregnancy. One of the primary reasons is the unwillingness to discuss sex. On top of that there is lack of sex education in schools and colleges. Add to that the patriarchal set up of the country where women’s sexuality is controlled. In most cases, teenage girls who get pregnant after having unprotected sex use contraceptives available in the market. It should be noted that they will prove ineffective after 72 hours have passed. Unfortunately, if you are pregnant, confiding in a trusted adult who will understand you is the first step to go about it. Furthermore, getting yourself checked from the gynaecologist is the second. Lastly, choices have to be made regarding keeping the baby or letting it go based on gestation period, marital status and societal norms. 

What you can do to avoid it

However, teenage pregnancy can be avoided. Here are some useful tips:

  • Know what you are getting into: Ask yourself questions such as “am I ready for sex,” or “am I doing this out of pressure from my boyfriend/girlfriend.”
  • Use a condom: Like they say, prevention is better than cure. Isn’t it better to avoid getting into the pregnancy trap when you’re not ready for it? Also, using one can be your shield against STIs and infections.
  • Contraceptives: If you are sexually active, you can consult your gynaecologist and take monthly pills. Again, there are side effects that can cause varying symptoms from headaches to nausea.

Hope these tips helped. You can learn more about STIs here: http://www.teentalkindia.com/explore/sexuality-lgbtq . If you feel you need to consult a counsellor about an issue, you can email at expert@teentalkindia.com.

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Celebrating the pride of coming out…

What does it mean when someone comes out of the closet?
Ritika SrivastavaTeentalkindia Counsellor

The rainbow wave has brought with it a stream of pride parades/ marches, movies and literature in support of equality for all genders. As the movement breaks out across the globe and more people march in favor of the LGBT community, we also stand to celebrate our brethren of all genders and sexual orientations.  

In the spirit of keeping humanity intact, the Human Rights Campaign of 1988 announced October 11th as National Coming Out Day and as supporters of the initiative we at TeenTalk are celebrating people who have managed to survive the intolerance and come out with much pride.

A 23 year old Liberal Arts Bachelor, Shiv Kabra shares his coming out story –

So how and when did he realize the difference in his sexuality? “I started to realise a difference in my sexuality and that of those around me sometime around 11th grade. I am not sure it dawned on me in a big way, just slowly realised what I suppose had been there all along. I had dated girls up till then, and realised I wanted to date guys too” he says.

The most difficult step that any queer/gay child has ever had to take is to come out to his/her parents. Parental rejection or acceptance plays a great role in how life hereon turns out. On taking the plunge and coming out, Kabra tells us how he broke the news to his parents; “I came out to my father over Skype and framed it as having to do with being in a relationship. He took it alright. My brother had already come out to them, so I rode on the coattails of that. My mum and I spoke the next day and we didn’t really talk about it too much. She was mainly worried about how hard things might be for me in the future. So my parents did their best to be supportive. The first person whom I confided in however was probably a friend.” 

Fear of discrimination and being judged is a huge determinant factor to anyone embracing one’s sexuality, publically and socially. Ask Kabra if he has ever faced discrimination, been judged or treated differently for his sexual orientation?  “Yes. But I think that also has to do with my gender presentation which is non-conforming” he quips confidently. One common denominator in most (not all) gay and queer people is history of sexual violence or assault. Did Shiv face anything such? We ask. “I wouldn't call it sexual assault. But a complicated relationship” he keeps it short.

That said, one of the most crucial and difficult aspects of coming out is to deal with discrimination, overcoming it and survive with or without acceptance. We ask Shiv how he managed it and the answer is as simple as it is meaningful; “Plunge into academia, activism, and support from friends” he states. True that, there is no better survival tactic than to educate, empower oneself and stand for what one believes is right. 

And finally, is there any word of advice that he has for the LGBT community and the gay/ queer teenagers who are intimidated by the sheer thought of coming out? He gives his two cents and keeps it precise, “There might never be a point where you ‘realize’ your sexuality. I’m still trying to figure mine out. It’s important to explore and give yourself space, and be mindful of consent.”

Well, we say that is good advice. Whether to come out or not is a personal choice but the freedom to be able to embrace who one is, that’s everyone’s basic right and we must be able to claim it!   

If you have a story to share,Click Here

If you have a query,Click Here.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.


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