Retro-Rant: Pregnant Youth

[One of things that SharpMT has helped me do is stockpile Rants – that way when I’m busy, I can dip into the pile and pull one out… over the last few months I’ve been keeping a pretty steady stream of posts, but over the past week I’ve been swamped so I thought I’d dip into the pile. Of course, that’s when I realize that some of those posts don’t age all that well so I went ahead and deleted those, but this one seems to have aged OK. In fact, it was first written in July of ’04, but it still looks pretty damned applicable.]

Simple question: when did it become socially acceptable to get pregnant as a single girl? Like a kid that’s still in high school? I want to know when it happened so that I can do two things: first I need to stop it from becoming acceptable and then I need to beat the person responsible with a fish billy.

We had a couple of girls get pregnant in high school. One of them got an abortion in Freshman year, and I can’t fault in her decision. I know that sounds wrong, and some people might have just changed the “Republican” label of this site to “Liberal Pinko Bastard”, but I know the girl and I know that it would have been a disaster. I know how the kid would have been raised. She did the right thing given the situation. True, I would have rather have seen her not get knocked up in the first place, but in a fucked up situation (no pun intended) she made a responsible choice. It’s a primal rule of life: a situation that starts out fucked up will only get more fucked up over time.

She kept it all secret. She knew that if she talked about it she would be ostracized, shunned, beaten, quartered, and expelled from school. Catholic high schools don’t dick around with teen pregnancy – they simply just remove it from their school grounds and call it a new day. OK, maybe she wouldn’t have been quartered, but it’s hard to say. It’s safe to say that she realized that she was in a bad way, was terrified and had to deal with the situation.

Another girl from my class landed in the same situation – heavy with child – in my Senior year, but she carried it to term. Adding insult to injury, she was made pregnant by a rival school’s quarterback. Was a tasty little scandal, actually, given the mindset of the people involved… she was allowed to go to the prom, I think, but that was only under legal pressure. I don’t remember seeing her in classes after November – probably when she started showing. I don’t know what happened with her and the kid, but she was pretty ashamed that she had to make such hard choices and was forced to leave school. She was terrified of the situation she landed in, and while she opted to take a different path (banishment), she too had to deal with an unpleasant situation.

And another girl that I knew in college, four years later, came to my school for her Freshman year, already four months pregnant. She came from a Midwest state and was carrying a Prom Night Baby. I don’t know why I was surprised that a snappy little name had been pinned on a situation that came from “after prom night sex”, but shows what I know. She also carried her son until he was born; I know that because I was in the delivery room when he was born [she’s the only one that’s allowed to call me “Coach”]. He’ll be 12 this December, on the 15th, I think. It was a long time ago, and I haven’t seen them after that year ended, since they both moved out of state.

Her original plan was to give the kid up for adoption, so she didn’t have much worry from what society would say – she was about 1500 miles from her home, so no one had to know. Once she decided to keep him, I had the honor of introducing her grandparents to their great-grandson, when they showed up at the hospital [the same one I was born in – small world] since they did live somewhat locally. There wasn’t much anger – only a slight bit of banter on responsibility and that was it…

Somewhere between the kids I knew in high school and what I witnessed in college, something had changed. The girls that were in this situation were under 18 when they got pregnant, so it wasn’t an age thing. They were all still girls. Granted, the girl I knew in college… she was strong. Really strong. If she’s the type of person that can go to college 1500 miles away (where she knew no one), get her schoolwork done, work in a band, hold a part time job, pledge a sorority, and keep a pregnancy hidden for three months… she can raise a child. She’s a strong person, aged beyond her years, but that’s just a consolation for a fucked up situation that shouldn’t have happened.

It doesn’t change that it should be socially acceptable to get pregnant before you’re eighteen.

And that’s exactly what we have here folks. Haven’t you noticed lately? Babies are having babies in high school and junior high. It’s the norm now. Girls are taught that if they get pregnant, they will still be accepted in society, and should expect help from multiple sources. They are told that they don’t have to worry about it. What the shit is that? I mean, what the shit is that?! Should they get a red A pinned to their shit and ordered to walk around town, never allowed to look a fellow citizen in the eye? No. Don’t be a dick. But they have to be aware of some kinda consequence to this course of action.

They have to know that if they get impregnated that there will be repercussions. They are too young to “get” that they’re bringing a new human into the world and will be responsible for the human for eighteen years. How can a pre-eighteen year old to comprehend the length of eighteen years? They can’t. It can’t be done! I’m thirty-one and it still scares the shit out of me! So there’s got to be some type of consequence that they understand. And what girl under eighteen doesn’t understand social status? That’s where you pin the scarlet letter, so to speak.

We somehow went from “you should be ashamed of yourself, for being irresponsible”, and we skipped over “having compassion for someone in a screwed up situation”, to land on “it’s a fucked up world, so go get fucked and have kids before you can register to vote and we’ll understand, because it’s OK”. I agree that these girls shouldn’t be beaten – the boys that did the damage should be repeatedly kicked in the dick, though, that I’m OK with – but there’s got to be something that tells girls “Hey, ya know? Look what happened to Random-Expecting-Mother-Girl… she got kicked outta school and her parents won’t let her see the light of day, and like oh my god, she can’t even hang out at the mall now!” Why is it important?

Simple: It’s. Not. Right. I’ll say it right here. I’d even include a sound bite, if I felt I had to. And I’m not citing religion to define Right. I could but I don’t have to. It’s social. Economical. Physical. Ecological. Moral-itical. Shit man, it’s even illegal in almost every state! It’s a very secular problem that needs to be dealt with, and right now.


Parents, do yourself a favor… tell your daughters about what happens to girls that are still in school and get pregnant… and please, don’t tell them it’s “nothing” or “we’ll understand”.


15 thoughts on “Retro-Rant: Pregnant Youth”

  1. There is nothing wrong with having sex at that age, just for the sake of everything, take freakin’ birthcontrol or use condoms. There is no excuse for getting pregnant. I recommend girls to just take birthcontrol, so they don’t have to worry.

  2. You seem to think that this is something new and that times have changed. They haven’t. What has happened is the encompassing agenda of the religous right getting in the way of allowing these girls to have abortions. THe pregnancy rate has gone down every year for the last ten years, not up as you seem to think.

    The difference is it’s harder to find solutions when schools now are forced to teach “abstinence only” sex education instead of realistic education. As a result of non-realistic education teenagers have no idea what to expect will happen. God will take care of them, right?

    It isn’t the norm now though, and the numbers reflect this. The difference is society has seen fit to stop being dicks about shunning pregnant girls. It’s fair, too like you said, the guys should suffer consequences too… Perhaps this is parity.

    It’s unrealistic to call this a secular problem when it’s the religious right that has gotten in the way in the first place.

  3. @Hermann – that’s the problem, tho isn’t it? If being pregnant as a kid is so passe, if the BC is ignored or forgotten, then what’s the harm? THere’s no SHAME in being knocked up as a teen anymore…

    @Mike – Schools aren’t forced to teach abstinence only. There was just a blurb on the news yesterday about a school board that’s up in arms about a sex program – their gripes? That abstinences isn’t mentioned enough, that some of the pictures being used are a little to racy for them, and 6th graders are being asked “are you sure you’re not gay?”. Not the condom demo with the cucumber. Not the “how to buy BC without being embarassed”.

    Besides, kids are educated in how to get pregnant as early as 6. “Where babies come from?” is the basis of that – are you trying to tell me that anyone old enough to have sex doesn’t know that a pregnancy is the end result of it? No amount of ANY education can help people that haven’t figured that out by the time they can cross the street on their own.

    As for the religion aspect of it, that’s bunk. Not part of this conversation. In fact, that people think that schools are being forced to shun BC is a shame – comes from the media telling you to believe everything they tell you. Case in point – I went to Catholic HS and they had at least one week per RELIGION class for sex crap and it was “Yes, we think you should abstain from sex, morally and logically, but since most of you won’t do that, we have to have a talk”. And yes, all aspects of sex and BC were brought into play – most educators have given up hope that kids can keep their pants on and are taking the path of least resistance: keeping condoms in their pockets.

    And YES times have changed, by yer own words: the shame of the problem is gone and now glossed over, and there in lies some of the problem, IMHO.

  4. Yes, there *is* something wrong with having sex at that age. Because, yes, even with the best BC in the world, pregnancies happen.

    That said, I’ll go down to the store and pick up the rubbers myself for my daughter to carry with her, if she makes that decision despite all that I’ll try to teach her on the subject.

    As to what schools are teaching — obviously neither they nor homes are teaching *enough* about how to avoid pregnancy and (as importantly) *why* you should avoid it.

  5. I think it boils down to one thing.


    The responsibility manifests itself in two different forms.

    1) The media deluges kids with the fact that you don’t have to be responsible for what you do. You engage in the act of making babies, there’s always the chance that it will happen. (plus, lots of times, parents let the TV teach there kids, but that’s another story)

    2) Even when the girls have the kids, her parents will take over the parenting of the child, allowing her to continue on her life as it was before she had the baby.

  6. Well yeah – responsibility (and the lack there of) is an on going theme on my blog, it seems… and it’s not just kids that the media deluges kids with – it’s anyone that has a hand big enough to operate a remote control – case in point, the “I’ma put hot coffee between my legs at a drive thru and the sue McDonalds” – not because I burned myself but because McD’s cups didn’t have a warning the THE HOT COFFEE I ORDERED WOULD BE HOT!

    I swear. That woman single handedly destroyed the legal system in my eyes. She needs to be flogged in the town/village square. Anyway.

    I actually once had an argument with my parents about condoms, as a teenager. Now, my parents were open about a LOT of things – a lot more than most of my friends’ parents were – so the argument caught me completely off guard… they were pissed b/c I had had a couple of condoms in my jacket and they had fallen out in the wash… my own stupidity at work there, sure, but I was sorta surprised that they were mad about my having them in the first place.

    My response of “would you rather have a grandchild within a year?” ended the argument right then and there.

    And if one of them had failed, I wouldn’t have run from the pregnancy, but I also wouldn’t have been PROUD of it or flaunted having to have a baby shower. That’s where there’s been a huge change over the last 5-10 years and not a GOOD change, in my personal opinion.

  7. Randy,

    I can’t argue with you. I think some of it is still the parents though. I think our parents are for the most part, guilt burden. I think ours/the younger generation are spoiled ;)

    I mean, if it really was looked at the fact that you are taking care of another human being for 18 years, that you won’t be able to go the mall all the time, hang out with friends, go to lots of movies, go dancing with the friends. If it was ever shown for the shear amount of *WORK* having a kid should be, would it be that glamourus?

  8. Oh there’s no question that our generation is spoiled – speaking mass numbers; not everyone has it “easy” – but I don’t know that that directly corolates to kids having sex and strutting about having kids… the whole thing kinda sucks. And the bigger problem is that if they KNEW the amount of work a kid was I think they’d figure their parents would take over if it got to be too much :D

  9. What I see as an issue is, that people are willing to support this when it becomes a problem, and skating the issue before hand. Is it really okay for youngins to be doin’ the deed at that age? If a kid can’t smoke or drink at that age, what in the hell gives them the right to toy with makin’ babies? I know you can’t really stop it, but where are the values and parenting that inhibits this when they are kids?? I’ll tell you one thing. We all know deep down sex when you’re 15 is not right. Hell…some of us were still growing in our pubes at that age.

    All the kids having sex before they are responsible enough to deal with the consequences should all be spanked by god with a huge wooden and spiky paddle. *Gets off her soap box*

  10. Think back — do you remember how much your hormones had you in their control during the teen years? I think many adults tend to forget. I met my husband when I was 15 and he was 20. We ended up marrying at 19 and 24 (still married and didn’t have our son until many years later). Let me remind you — its hard to say no or stop when your body is screaming, “YES. GO. MORE!” Dating a legal adult made it alot easier to get BC (and more). He got the condems. As a guy, he was supported by his peers in that (You gettin’ it? Way to go man). As a girl, to buy BC I felt I would been considered a slut. I was terrified of what would happen if I got pregnant (and we had our share of scares) so we tried to be good (but it felt better to be bad).

    As a teen, this body thing is all new — how do you control something you’ve never experienced? Its like learning to drive a car. Theory is fine, but there’s nothing like actually getting in the driver’s seat and making some close calls and mistakes.

    Add to that, as a teen, you don’t have much or any experience in saying no, in buying “grown-up” stuff like birth control, or worse, in arranging an abortion or handling a pregnancy from live birth to an adoption. And how are you gonna get BC anonymously if you don’t have access to a car or don’t have a driver’s license? I wouldn’t have wanted to walk or ride my bike to the local store where everybody knew me. So we do need to cut ’em some slack and help when they make mistakes. The biggest help, obviously, is before they get pregnant.

    My take is that society needs to make access to birth control easy, anonymous and cheap or free for “kids”; actually for everyone. Once that happens, then society can use peer pressure to continue to reduce unwanted pregnancies (boy, were they stupid — didn’t they know how to get/use BC?) I recently heard of a great program: A school system has bathrooms in the health counselor’s office; condoms are left out in a container. The kids can use those bathrooms and grab condoms with no one being the wiser — yea, sure they might get ribbed about using “the special bathroom”.

    Now, you also have the waped minds that figure that having a baby will give them someone who loves them. That’s a whole ‘nother issue.

    Our son is 12 now and one of our employees (in his young 20’s) got his girlfriend pregnant. Now, look at my language … “he got her”. Our son hears us say that is a joint screwup. We talk about how both of them were stupid to not use BC on a regular basis; both were responsible for not taking precautions to reduce the risk of pregnancy. But I’ve heard them say, “it so much better without a condom.” Back to the “it feels so good to be bad.”

    No easy answers — just keep on spreading the message: Get and use BC! And be protected from disease at the same time! You’re stupid if you don’t. And all of us are stupid if we don’t help them get the protection they need.

  11. Bullshit, the think back part. I can think back a lot easier than you can – I’m younger. I was responsible then; I’d like to think I am now. Is it wrong to expect responsibility from the people that are biologoically able to create a new life? I don’t think so.

    Since when is youth an excuse for ANYthing? Except for breast feeding, maybe, but even then I’d question it. As for sex without a condom, it does feel better, but what’s that got to do with anything? Because if feels better yer supposed to ignore all of your responsibilities? Bah.

    Right conclusion, very weak argument.

  12. @Randy – As far as im aware schools are not ‘forced’ to teach abstinence only, but they are forced to teach limited knowledge on the issue (ie “dont have sex” and if for some reason you do “use birth control). I have to agree with Mike that it is the religious organisations that get in the way. If the education system was realistic about its approach it would teach teenagers what the realities would be (both posotive and negative) of getting pregnant as a teenager. Then people would be able to make more informed and logical choices on taking risks with teen pregnance. If they come to the logical conclusion that they are willing to take the risk then it is unlikely that anything (besides a chastity belt) would stop them from having unprotected sex, but at least they would have made an informed decision and it is likely, if they themselves made the decision, that the experience would not be as bad as if they were uninformed to start with. It is essentially the religious organisations that deem this kind of knowledge ‘unsuitable’ for teenagers and hence make the problem much worse.

  13. Okay, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people these days when they think that they can just post all this bullshit and not expect a young mother.. possibly a young teenage mother to come across it and not be seriosuly offended and PISSED OFF! I just recently turned twenty years old. I became pregnant at eighteen. Your argument Randy, regardless of your being in your thirties is heartless and frankly.. annoying, shallow, angering and makes me want to puke. I recently read stories about how young girls were forced to get abortions, in fact my best friend who is the same age I am, was forced to do so when her child would have been born at the same time mine was. My daughter is six months old and perfectly healthy. She is loved and taken care of by two unmarried but engaged twenty year olds who are responsible for her and ourselves. We live in our own apartment and are currently both attending college online and on-campus. We both have GPA’s of 3.5 or higher. So as for your argument that teens cannot handle the pressure or the responsibility.. that’s utter bullshit and you know it. I don’t care if you’re in your thirties, what you are saying and other people are saying is ridiculous. As to the “flaunting the pregnancy with a baby shower” many of us don’t ask for a baby shower the family plans one, often without our knowledge so how can we flaunt something in a situation that we’re unaware of until the last minute. I did NOT flaunt my pregnancy at eighteen and nineteen but I was NOT embarrased by it. I also used two separate forms of birth control but you know what. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN! My family supported me emotionally during my pregnancy and also were all present at the hospital when I gave birth. I had complications with my daughter and was afraid to lose her due to my diabetes. I did not suffer any shortage of worries regarding responsibility but I managed to deal with them and I believe that anyone who becomes pregnant, with the support of her family, friends, and local community (in the form of childbirth and parenting classes) can learn to become a responsible and loving parent even before the age of eighteen. I don’t advocate it, but it happens and people who can’t deal with it, or like yourself who practically condemn the idea should live through it once or maybe twice until they get the fucking picture. I don’t like seeing people like you who have no clue what a woman goes through when she’s pregnant try to tell the internet community that a young girl whose pregnant should get an abortion or give the baby up. I’ll just say one more thing. In the original rant, you used the word reproductions when it should have been REPERCUSSIONS, if you’re going to bitch.. please be grammatically correct. And also, girls don’t get kicked out of school anymore when they’re pregnant. There are state and national laws now that prevent such occurances. By the way, parents don’t tell their daughters that it’s okay to get pregnant or that they’ll understand. Most parents don’t even imagine it ever happening to their daughters, but sometimes it does. And what can parents do in that situation, they can listen to the daughter’s opinion, inform her of her options and help her make the right decision for her and for her baby. By the way, my friends and classmates don’t look down on me or think of me any differently now that I’m a parent. That is all.

  14. You’re entitled to your opinion. You’re just wrong. As I’ve said before, I’m speaking in generalities. If you know someone that goes against the norm, consider them exceptional rather than assuming they’re normal. I’ve known teenagers that think there’s two Pacific Oceans in the world: one on the left and one on the right. If they get pregnant, they probably didn’t know how to use the condom. Same group of people that they’ve put “DO NOT EAT” on Silicate packages for. Also, I dunno what you mean by live thru it once or twice: I can’t get pregnant, so how can I live thru it? And are you also suggesting that teenagers get pregnant just so they can LEARN what it’s like? Wow, what a great idea that would be.

    Oh, and thanks for the spell check – best thing to come out of the comment.

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