[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”.