Monday, June 23, 2008

Pregnancy, a high school fad

So many thoughts fill my head I wonder where to begin.

I read on a mother's blog (will remain anonymous) her response to this article and the response of her readers. Take a moment to read and then come back.

My own heart was saddened, grieved that bringing a life into this world could be the result of peer pressure or a current fad, doing whatever it took to become pregnant (including letting a homeless, 24 year old father a child) to be in the "in" group. The serious responsibility of parenting taken on so lightly.

It causes me to wonder, what is the concept of family and motherhood that these girls hold in their mind that would cause them to make these sort of choices?

But the response of other parents has surprised me. As I read comments on that mother's blog, I felt even more sad for those that left the comments than the teenage girls.

The repeated response is "Sad" "Disturbing" and "They don't even know how they've ruined their life" Really? Ruined their life? Their whole life has now been rendered useless? That's pretty harsh, especially considering the comments come from people who are parenting their own children. I'd sort of want to ask them "Did you ruin your life by having children?"

Is that the message we want to send to girls who are now going to so desperately need love and support? They're just starting to enter the world of adulthood and are becoming parents themselves. Is the message we want them to remember, when up with an 8 month old who has been screaming for hours on end from an ear infection, "You've ruined your life"? Or do we want them to remember it when they're trying to deal with a two year old screaming and throwing himself on the floor of the grocery store, "You've ruined your life"? When they're trying to balance graduating, parenting, and living with their own parents, and all the stresses that combination brings is that when we want them to remember "You've ruined your life"

Or how about when their child is 5, 6, or 7 and talks back at his mom... is that the moment when she remembers and then shares with the child "YOU RUINED MY LIFE!"


How about making sure that their needs are met. There's an obvious emotional void, perhaps getting them hooked up with a good, solid Christian mentor. How about we get them into some childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting classes - so they're not totally overwhelmed.

As a Christian my take on this is - there's no going back. There are new lives entering the world. Instead of crying out about how sad and awful this is, making sure we pass the news on to others to tell them how sad and awful it is, let's actually be constructive.

Let's tell these teenagers the honest truth - parenting is hard, but the reward is worth it. Let's tell them - educate yourself, surround yourself with parents of all ages for support, and remember that when it seems harder than you can bear and you feel all alone that God has known all your needs since the beginning of time and His love and provision is faithful.

If you know a pregnant teenager, try not to feel like you're better than she is. Don't shake your head in pity and say to others "How sad. My mother's heart is hurting for her.. she's ruined her life."

If you feel some compassion for her, why not let it show? Why not help her?

This may come across a little harsh and judgmental on well intentioned, "compassionate" people. And for those who have known me for years you already know why.

I was pregnant with my first son at 18. Granted, I had graduated already and I didn't become pregnant on purpose, so my experience is not the same. But I was at a point in my life where in becoming pregnant God took my life that had careened out of control an uprighted it again. My son was the biggest blessing for me. My life has had quite the "happy ending" to a tale where most people shook there head and said "She's ruined her life."

Many of my friends left for college horrified. Some people stopped talking to me, while most people continued to talk about me. It was a defining moment in my life in which at night, lying in the dark in my room, I prayed to tearfully "God, why am I so alone? How is it that no one is there for me?"

My mom was incredibly supportive for me, which was important as she helped me prepare to become a mother myself. And there was one woman (did you catch that number? It was SINGULAR) at my church that asked me if I'd like to come over once a week. I didn't really want to, I was afraid I was going to get some sort of "have you repented?" lecture. Instead, one week blended into another as she shared with me things about life, favorite past times, good books, pregnancy & motherhood, Christianity, and so on. I started looking forward to meeting with her so much as a friendship developed. She felt concern for me and so she did something about it. She didn't talk about me behind my back, she didn't think she was better than me, she helped me. She didn't do anything extravagant, she loved me.

If children are the greatest blessings of our lives, why would we look at someone who is young and say they've ruined theirs? Do they have many hard obstacles ahead of them? Oh for sure! But isn't that what The Body is for? Let's love them.


Erin said...

I have to admit, watching this story on the news made me very sad... being that we are struggling to have children ourselves.

Now that we are on a waiting list for adoption- our little miracle will most likely come from a young girl. She will be the BIGGEST blessing on our lives.

Blessings come in all different ways specifically for each of us. It is our responsibility is to love others and not judge.

Erin said...

Goodness, sorry about my typos- I must be typing too fast!


Kristin said...

Children, no matter the circumstances, are blessings!

Jenn said...

I agree with you completely! Christians can be so judgemental. We are not to judge, that is solely God's job. Our job is to love. How easily we can forget that.

Amy said...

Well put! I agree completely. I can only imagine how grateful you are now to have had such an amazing mentor in your life.

abigaildaniels said...

Wonderful thoughts. Thanks for sharing from your heart!

Andrea said...

Beautifully said.