1000 Voices Speak For Compassion,  Compassion,  Parenting

Punishing, Not Celebrating, Teen Pregnancy? Huh?

There was a little debate on my Facebook feed yesterday that stopped me in my tracks and, once again, forced me to question people’s compassion. I try to stay out of Facebook drama because, seriously, I have enough in my own life. However, having had a little experience in the area of the subject in question I couldn’t just stand by and not let my voice be heard. The subject was fairly simple, or so I thought, but it turned out to be more complicated than that. The subject was “Should a baby shower be thrown for a teen expecting a baby?” The reason it was complicated is because the woman asking is a teacher (and a friend of mine) in the Dallas Independent School District, and she was asking fellow teachers to consider throwing a pregnant teen in the school a baby shower. It came up because there is/was a baby shower being thrown for a staff member who is having her third child. When my friend expressed her thoughts, her fellow teaching peers apparently berated her for her compassion. So she decided to ask for a consensus on the subject on Facebook. The subject turned controversial in seconds.

Most of the morning I read nothing but how this young girl shouldn’t be given a baby shower and the reasons why her “decision to get pregnant” should not be celebrated. This kind of reasoning really bothers me. Again, I do have some experience, personally, with this subject. Now, I’m not going to open a discussion about my friend’s responsibilities as a teacher. That was also under question yesterday, and different school districts have their own rules concerning interpersonal relationships among teachers and students. (Although, I might save that rant for another day.) What I want to talk about is the need to punish a person because you don’t agree with their choices.

Firstly, I think it’s important to note that getting pregnant is not always a rational (dare I say “conscious”) decision, whether you are a teen or an adult. I say it that way because I’m sure most of us know what it’s like to be so in the moment during sex, so focused on reaching a climax or experiencing heightened sensations and pleasures, that the idea of contraception sort of flies right by us. And let’s face it, you guys, contraception isn’t always the first thought in a man’s, much less a teen boy’s, mind. And no, that doesn’t mean it should be ONLY a woman’s responsibility. But, raise your hand out there those of you who have heard this line or something similar: “I don’t like wearing condoms; they make it harder to feel anything.” Uh huh. Sure. If an adult woman can fall into the trap of not thinking about contraception, then I think it’s only fair that we not judge a teen girl who is MUCH MORE susceptible to a boy’s excuses.

Secondly, it takes two to tango, baby. A woman CANNOT get pregnant by herself unless she’s Christ’s mother, and if THAT story doesn’t teach you to have compassion for unwed pregnant mothers then I doubt you’d believe any angel God sent to teach you otherwise. Two people are involved in conceiving children but only the female takes on the onus of being blamed and shunned and punished for “her decision to get pregnant.” When did she become the only one responsible for THEIR actions? Whatever boy was involved in the conception of their baby, he is just as responsible as she is for her becoming pregnant. It is BOTH a woman’s and a man’s responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancy. I don’t know the girl involved in this particular instance but I do know that she is too young to bear the weight of total responsibility for someone else’s actions along with her own as well as bearing the SOLE punishment as well. Yes, she made an unwise choice (I refuse to think of babies being mistakes), and I can guarantee you she will bear the weight of that choice for the rest of her life. Sometimes she’ll want it, and sometimes she won’t. But she can’t take it back, and she now knows what the actual consequences were. Does the boy who was a part of this choice?

Thirdly, who the hell made us judge, jury, and executioner? What right do we have to say whether or not a young mother DESERVES a baby shower? And what the hell??? When did you have to deserve a baby shower? You mean it’s something to be earned? How? By getting pregnant? I think she accomplished that. I also think she’s young and may not have the support of her family. I know that she’s still in school while pregnant and that should count for something. I know that she’s going to have a rough time ahead of her being so young and having made an adult choice. Not knowing anything about her situation, what right does anyone have to judge her and tell anyone wanting to throw her a baby shower that she shouldn’t be allowed to have one? Who the hell says she shouldn’t celebrate the birth of her first child? When did throwing a baby shower become a reward? This is a young mother who is going to need diapers and clothing and all the baby paraphernalia a new mother needs. She’s not going to be able to afford it on her own, and let’s not get into how she brought that on herself or she should have thought of that before. I’ve heard all those unproductive comments before. The fact is, and I’ve already stated it, she wasn’t thinking rationally at the time, the same as many adult women. Why punish her for something thousands of more “mature” women do on a daily basis?

All of this is why I contacted my friend and offered to make a baby blanket, something handmade and useful, for this young woman I don’t know. I’m also going to be sewing a sock monkey for the little one soon to come into this world (January 1st due date, in fact) because babies need a soft toy friend. And before you think I’m doing this in spite of the negative comments I read yesterday, you should know that thanks to an unwed teen mother I have one of the most beautiful, smart, and talented nieces ever. She’s on her third year in college and she works and is one of the most responsible women I’ve ever met. She inspires me. And, I have a second niece who is an unwed teen mother herself and she is expecting her second child, a little girl, in February. You see, I do know a little something about this subject.

Jesi

 

 

Jesi Scott is an aspiring writer of novels, a poet, and blogger. She has guest-blogged over at The Well-Tempered Bards, and has a post featured at For Love Of…. Jesi has two poems published in Memories of Mist, a literary anthology, and one published story in a newsletter. She is currently working on releasing her first poetry collection as well as writing her first novel. When not writing, Jesi can be found getting lost in bookstores, singing and dancing around the house, experiencing culture with friends, and generally having fun with her four sons when they aren’t driving her weeping into her closet, which she calls her Padded Cell. She loves to rescue stray bookmarks, as well as books, and has opened her heart to any and all stories needing a home. Archery is her current favorite thing ever but you might want to stand back a little as she still has a tendency to drop the bow occasionally.

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