Teen Pregnancy Rate Drops Dramatically In Wichita Falls

Teen Pregnancy Rate Drops Dramatically In Wichita Falls

Sara Herrerra struggled with having to live with her parents when she didn't get along with them so she thought she only had one way out.

"I just took a chance and said if I got pregnant maybe I can leave and not have to worry about my parents holding me down, making me stay," said Herrerra.

Herrerra says she got what she wanted when she became pregnant on purpose at 16. She moved out of her parents home and moved in with the parents of her baby's father but at such a young age she quickly realized having a baby wasn't the escape she was hoping for.

"I had to sacrifice all my friends, parties, I had to work and go to school so that was a big struggle and then take care of a newborn on top of that," said the young mom who is now 34 years old.

She says one of the hardest things about being a teen mom was having people look at her like she was an unfit mom.

"It was hard because I know people probably talked about me being pregnant in the hallways," said Herrerra. "Teachers always looked at me and I felt funny after I had her because I knew people looked at me differently."

Herrerra was a teen mom at a time when Wichita Falls was seeing some of its highest teen pregnancy rates. In fact, about 15 years ago the city had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. And while teen pregnancy hasn't gone away, the number of girls facing that challenge is lower than ever before.

"People's attitude have changed in 15 years. It's not the most horrific thing if you hear teens are on birth control," said LouAnne Gossom, a pregnancy and parenting teacher at Harrell Accelerated Learning Center.

Gossom says the number of pregnant teens in the Wichita Falls Independent School District dropped from 99 last year to 52 this year.

"Teens in general are more informed than 15 years ago so they kind of know what happens," said Gossom.

Gossom also says programs like hers that create awareness have also been a major factor in the battle against teen pregnancy.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6