ask lena: he really wants a baby and we’re 20

'member this mmmbopper? taylor hanson's a daddy of four, two of which he had before he was 20.

On shows like Teen Mom and 16&Pregnant, on our own Shout Out Boards and in letters to Heather, gURLs confess at young ages how much they want babies. But in this case, it’s a gURL’s boyfriend who wants to be fruitful and multiply. Taylor Hanson had two children before he was 20, the same age as this reader. Find out whether this gURL should or shouldn’t get preggers:

Dear Lena,
I’m 20 years old and I go to college. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year and 4 months. He’s also 20 years old. Ever since we were dating we knew that we were meant to be together. We always talk about having a future, getting married, and having a family, but the thing is that he wants to have a baby now. I love kids and I’m studying to become a teacher but what I’m so worried about is having a baby because he doesn’t live in NJ he goes to study in MD. We have also talked about what happens if we really have a baby which we discussed that he will stop going to school to get a job while I go to school until I finished, then he will finish his. I’m really worried about what our families are going to say, especially since I don’t have a good relationship with his mom anymore, but his dad says that as long as we are ready he will not have any problems. Please I really need your advice because I’m always thinking of doing the right thing and like I want to have a baby but at the same time I don’t because I’m afraid. Please help me.
Thank you,

Hey gURL!

I answered a similar question recently that was submitted by a 15-year old girl and much of the advice I gave her also applies to you.  But allow me to reiterate the essentials:

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Your years in school and as a young adult are precious precisely because you don’t have to be responsible to or for anyone except yourself. That gives you much more opportunity to explore your interests than if you were a parent. The fact that you can get an education is a privilege; not everyone can afford the time or money to do that! While your boyfriend could find a job to support you as you finish school and raise the child, his job options might not be as good as they could be if he waited until after he finishes college.

Now, let’s talk about your particular case. You also need to take into account the fact that many couples break up, even if they get married. If you don’t feel like you possess the emotional, physical, or financial ability to be a parent on your own, then you might want to wait until you are old enough to do so. On the bright side, it sounds like your chosen career will give you a lot of opportunity to be around and enjoy children. Maybe spending a few years as a teacher will give you a better perspective on when and how you want to raise your own kids.

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What I hear from you is a lot of worry; about the “what if’s.” There are a lot, and I think it’s really responsible of you to be thinking it through. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready, and I would advocate that you wait until both of you are. It’s not fair to you, him or the potential child to make the decision out of fear or obligation. You need to have an honest conversation with your boyfriend. If he’s the right guy for you, we will understand and appreciate your honesty.

Have more pressing questions I can answer? E-mail me at


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