Unmarried mothers at a record high - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Unmarried mothers at a record high

Dubuque (KWWL) -- The number of babies born out of wedlock is at a record high. According to Iowa Department of Public Health, just over 14-thousand babies were born to unwed parents in 2007; that's more than one in three babies.

In 2007, 766 of those births were in Black Hawk County, 437 in Dubuque County, and 951 in Linn County.

Teen pregnancy numbers are up, but that's not the only reason unwed mother numbers are up. The majority of unmarried mothers were between the ages of 20 and 34. Some mothers say they're choosing to stay single.

One mother from Bellevue says she made the right decision in not getting married. On the day before classes start at Loras College, Lauren Milam was picking up books, her five year old daughter Isabella in tow.

"I found myself unexpectedly pregnant right around my 21st birthday, it was probably about two days after my 21st birthday," Milam said. Milam says she was "completely unprepared".

"Her father and I were not together, and we decided to continue not to be together," Milam said.

Now, Milam juggles school, occasional work and family, all as a single parent.

"It's a busy, busy life, but it's good," Milam said.

Milam says choosing to stay unwed was definitely the best choice.

"It's working out really the way it should have. You know, just because you have a child with someone doesn't mean they're the one you can spend your life with," Milam said.

Milam's mother also had an unplanned pregnancy, but in 1982, says she didn't have the same options.

"She ended up getting married probably three or four months after she found out she was pregnant, and I had asked her about that myself, why did you get married? You weren't necessarily, you didn't know that was the person you wanted to be with for the rest of your life, and she was like, that's just kind of what you did," Milam said.

Milam says family and community support, especially from other single mothers, has made a big difference.

"There's always different paths you could have taken in the past, but you take the ones that you take, and you deal with today and how are you going to look at today, and you're going to look at it, you know, positively. And it's a blessing," Milam said.

Milam is studying English and Spanish at Loras and plans to graduate in the next year and a half.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

Powered by Frankly