If you’ve read here for any length of time, you know that I promote education to young mothers, believing that most can parent their child. While I don’t believe that all teens are ready and/or capable, I believe that there are great teen parents. But, I’ve got to say, this particular news story caught me off guard.
Seventeen teens are pregnant at a high school in Massachusetts. That’s quadruple their normal pregnancy rate. Quadruple. Four times. And, sadly, no, it wasn’t a case of a bad batch of condoms. No. Instead the group of girls, none of whom is older than sixteen, made a pact to get pregnant and “raise their children together.” It’s like their very own little commune! But stupid.
I’m not sure why this group of girls came up with this idea. I’m not sure why they decided to follow through with it. I’m not sure what to say. I do know that this is creating quite a stir on the blogosphere and in the media. And in that small Massachusetts town. I’m sure that one or more of these girls is missing something in their lives, though I won’t venture to guess what, and thought this would be a great “filler” for that void. Let me tell you, children don’t fill voids.
I’d love to sit these girls down and have a discussion with them. Wouldn’t you? I got pregnant, unintentionally, a good five and a half years older than these girls are right now. And the criticism I received was mind-blowing. And I didn’t do it on purpose. Even though my life-experience was limited, I was smart enough to know that parenting a child is not a game, a joke or a quick route to adulthood. I’m now married and an everyday mother of two amazing boys and, let me tell you, it’s really hard work. I was up this morning with the sun and, as I work at home so that I can be with my boys, I won’t go to bed until near midnight. I’m tired. I’m overworked. And I have a partner doing his fair share of the parenting and housework. And, you know, money.
As stupid as these girls’ decisions were, my heart is kind of worried as well. Is someone going to turn this into a “these babies need adopted” argument? I mean, one can make the argument that these girls don’t have the intelligence necessary to properly raise a child. Their decision to purposefully get pregnant just because all their friends were going to is argument enough. But is this reason enough to separate the child from their mother? Their families? I’m sure more than one parent of these young teen girls is thinking, “I can’t raise another one! I can’t do this again! I mean, look at this one! What the heck did I do wrong?” (Oh, you wouldn’t ask yourself that? I would.)
My guess is that adoption is being discussed in more than one home at this point. As these children were purposefully conceived, my guess is that the ones broaching the subject are the parents, not these teen girls. And while I still think this whole story is the pinnacle of stupidity, I’m hoping that these parents get into counseling with their child-mothers and really investigate what the option of adoption means for all of them.
Either way, adoption or parenting, my heart breaks for these seventeen still unborn babies. Broken. (Oh, and slightly amused because, HI? CHILDBIRTH IS PAINFUL.)
For more on unplanned pregnancy (which doesn’t actually fit, now does it? oh well), read these posts.