One Orange County teen is the mother of a 14-month-old daughter and is pregnant with her second child.
She and her boyfriend live at home with her mother and stepfather. The boyfriend is a high school dropout looking for a job. The teen-agers say there is a lot of friction at home and the financial picture is bleak.
The boyfriend said he worries about his daughter's future. "I just want to make sure I raise her right," he says, hugging his little girl.
The young mother fits the profile of the typical pregnant teen-ager. The couple began dating when they were 12 and 13. They were rebellious at home, and school seemed unimportant.
Birth control is either not available or not important to many of these girls. The couple said it was too much of a "hassle" to deal with birth control. Besides, they said, they really didn't believe they were mature enough to conceive.
The young father is devoted to the daughter and the baby on the way. "I have no regrets about having (the baby). I like the idea of being a dad. It's great. I like watching her grow. I like the way she wakes me up in the morning . . . with a kiss."
Despite the affection the couple show for their daughter, many experts say young teen-agers lack the necessary emotional maturity, the educational and financial foundation and the parenting skills.
For some of these girls, having a baby gave them an identity and a source of unconditional love, observes psychiatrist Irene Goldenberg. Unfortunately, she adds, the children of these teen-agers may be the one's who suffer.
"It is very scary . . . when you have 15-year-olds having their second baby. I don't think they know what they are doing. They don't seem to understand the difference between having a puppy and a baby."