Teen mums - Gladstone shatters national average
By NATALIE PEUTnataliep@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE women are three times more likely to have a child by the time they are 18 than the national average.
This is just one of the alarming recent figures from the Bureau of Statistics which show women in Gladstone aged 16 to 22 years are becoming mothers much earlier than women the same age across Australia.
The 2003 results came as no surprise to new teenage mother Jessica Sinclair.
Jessica's pregnancy was a shock for her and her partner. The 19-year-old said she didn't find out she was expecting a child until four months into her pregnancy.
"I phoned Mum that night, unsure of what to say, however she was very supportive and said she would support me with whatever decision I made,'' Jessica said.
"I then spoke to my partner, and not once was abortion brought into the conversation.
"I couldn't bear going through the emotional trauma of having an abortion.
"All I could do was cry, because at that time I wasn't sure how I was going to cope with having a child financially.''
Jessica admitted adjusting to the birth of newborn, Pheonix, at such a young age had its ups and downs.
"You do become very limited, but you still have this beautiful baby which is yours which makes up for a lot of it,'' Ms Sin- clair said.
"My partner certainly was shocked when I had told him I was pregnant.
"However he helps out heaps, and seeing as though he had never wanted kids, he is adjust- ing to it well.