Fort Lauderdale resident Kielda Louis’ life was rocked when she was 17 and found out that she was pregnant. Now she’s 18-years-old with a 10 month old daughter, a junior in high school and working.
“Having a baby changed my life completely,” said Louis. “Not only did it change my schedule, but I have to think about her needs before I think about my-self.”
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention state that the rate of teen pregnancies in the U.S. has declined to a record low in the past decade. Birthrates fell 12 percent for women aged 18-19 years.
Although the rates of teen pregnancy have dropped over-all, pregnancy rates among Black and Latina teens still re-main much higher than the national rate. While the reasons for the decline aren’t clear, it seems that teenagers seem to be less sexually active and those who are sexually active appear to be using contraception than in previous years. Statistics also show that teen pregnancy rates are lowest in places that tend to have comprehensive sexual education programs and classes.
“In school we had people to come in and talk to us about certain things,” replied Louis. “We never had classes or actual programs and they never were in depth or every day.”
Before she was pregnant Louis participated in extra-curricular activities such as track and field and basketball. After finding out that she was expecting, she quickly changed her habits and started to concentrate on her school work.
“My thought process changed as soon as I knew that I was having a child,” said Louis. “ I wanted to be a good role-model for my daughter.”
Louis lives with her mother and younger sister and attends Charles Drew family resource center. Just recently the teen landed a job with life insurance company Primerica.
“I’m working on getting my license with Primerica so I can go door to door and sell life insurance,” said Louis. “I’ve only been working there for 2 months but the job is interesting and I like working there.”
Although her schedule is busier than ever and her life has changed dramatically she still intends to go on with the plans she had before she got pregnant.
“My goal is to finish high school and move on to college,” said Louis. “I want to be a lawyer or a therapist because I’m really good at communicating with people.”
Despite being a teen mom Louis is still able to be a normal teenager with help from her mother and Anasia’s father.
“I don’t get to hangout with my friends like I used to, said Louis. “ Being a mother and juggling life is a learning process and I have no regrets.”