Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sounded Like a Good Idea...Or Maybe Not

Derek sent me this article the other day. You can also get a bit longer version of the same story here. The gist of the stories is that some 17 girls at a high school in Massachusetts made a pact last summer to all get pregnant. Not a single one of them is over age 16. Upon finding out that they were pregnant, "reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives and plans for baby showers." Appropriate behavior for a happily married female adult, not for a freshman in high school.

Why did they do it? Well, these girls who were so proud of themselves for this amazing sexual accomplishment all declined to be interviewed. I wonder why...maybe because nothing they could possibly say would sound like an intelligent response? Maybe because they are grounded due to the size of their growing mid-sections? One of the fathers is a 24 year old homeless man.

Now, I realize that teen pregnancy is no new problem in our country, but 17 girls getting together and deciding that it would be a great group accomplishment? I just don't understand that at all. The article talks about the idea that perhaps movies like Juno and Knocked Up might have glorified teenage pregnancy and made the girls think it would be a neat idea to have a baby of their own. Maybe. The high school they attend offers free on-site daycare for students, that seems like it may have played into it too in my mind.

Isn't it sad that there are so many couples who have prayed and pleaded to have a healthy baby and here are some 17 irresponsible girls who can do just that without any regard for the consequences. I don't feel sorry for them--I feel sorry for these babies that are coming. What kind of a life can they expect? What rights do we owe to a child who we bring into this world?
Just a few months ago Americans reacted with disgust at the idea of teen brides bearing children in the polygamist sect and yet, these Massachusetts girls will provide no fathers for their babies. These girls don't even have a basic high school job...I don't see this case getting nearly the national outrage it deserves. Not that I agree with polygamy in any way, but at least I don't think those girls in El Dorado really had much choice or they were raised to believe that young marriage was the expectation...these other girls can offer no such defense.

What do you do now? What's the right thing to do? You can't undo what these girls have done, so how do we make it better?


Tina said...

I read this article today too and was similarly shocked. Since when is having a baby in high school cool? Apparently when "strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways".
I agree with you that there is not nearly enough outrage attached to this story as there was with the FLDS community.
I think the notion of blaming recent movies for glamorizing pregnancy is ridiculous. I've never seen Knocked Up, but I have seen Juno (which I love) many times. That movie doesn't glamorize it at all, I think it accurately shows how difficult a journey it is- especially for a teenager. I think that if teenagers get it into their heads that something is cool and enough people agree- there's no talking them out of it.
The questions you pose are good ones- what is to be done now that they've made this crazy choice? And what's to become of these poor children?

Minharos said...

Ok, I've been thinking about this all afternoon, and now that I've worked through some of my shock I think I'm ready to comment. I'll try to be concise.

How rediculous! Teenagers are inherently incapable of understanding the full consequences of their actions. This is why they need parents and teachers!

I think the key is education, and the main things that should be taught are:
Self esteem
Dhild development

Better self esteem may have entirely prevented the situation.

For anyone who thinkds we should teach protection instead of abstinence just look at this school. They have a pregnancy clinic, free childcare and over 17 pregnant teens. The numbers speak for themselves.

Child development classes might help kids have a better grasp on reality and what it takes to raise a child- the money, the life long commitment, the ups and downs, and what the child needs. It might help kids to see babies for what they really are rather than a fun toy to help you feel good.

Yikes, I sincerely hope this is not a growing trend. This is the clearest possible indicator that the current social ideas regarding morals/sex-ed/parenting are not working.

I should have just posted this on my blog because I have so much more to say!!!

JM said...

Don't know if you read my opinion on teen pregnancy on my political blog, but I am simply outraged by this. ALL the babies need to be up for adoption. The school childcare programs should be cancelled; after all, those are my tax dollars. And the bottom line on ALL of this is, no matter what anyone thinks of movies and teachers and social standards, where the HECK are their PARENTS? You're right...people were outraged that the parents of young teen girls were marrying them off in polygamous relationships. Why aren't they outraged that the parents of THESE young teen girls have not taught their daughters better? I don't think it's that you can't talk a teen out of doing what they want to do...I think it's that you can't talk a teen out of doing something you claim is wrong but support by your actions. I'm livid. Adoption for all of them. These babies aren't at fault. Give them a chance to be raised by competent and mature ADULTS.

JenW said...

i cannot even put into words the sadness i feel for those babies. when i think of the fit couples that would love to have children and can't, it makes me so sad and livid and annoyed all at the same time! those girls are going to find out how much "fun" it is to squeeze a whole other person out of your nevermind and then have to get up at all hours etc. wth a baby if they keep it. what a world...definitely NOT the best use of free time huh? crazy teenagers...i just can't even think of what would compel someone to think that would be a good idea. do they understand that everyone starts as a baby and that babies are not toys or playthings or just something you can have and forget about? that baby is a part of you, of the mother and to have a piece of your heart walking around outside of you is hard enough when there are two parents and conditions are good. giving a baby up is hard, but it would definitely be infinitely better than that situation (generally speaking). not all teenage mothers are bad, i understand that, i am forever thankful to one teenage mom who had a lot of courage and goodness and is a wonderful mother today, but seriously, to do it on purpose for whatever reason is a little irresponsible. good luck to those girls...good luck to those babies. i hope they all make it.

kjirsti said...

I wondered if there was a similar pact in my high school. I was told once that 40 girls in my graduating class had had children in highschool. (Though I can't prove that statistic) I knew a handful and those were the ones who stayed in school. One of these girls was in my junior english class. We had to give two speeches throughout the semester and she chose her topic as childbirth. At first she praised it, how wonderful it was to be pregnant, and to have this wonderful opportunity. She was looking forward to being a mother. By the second speech she had had her baby. Her demeanor was changed. She talked about the difficulty of motherhood. How she hardly even had time to see her baby because she went to school, then to work and finally home. She talked about how the father, was less supportive than she had hoped. She talked about how she had just now realized that having a child would prevent her from doing some of the other things her friends would be doing after high school- like college.

It was so sad to hear because her response wasn't what I expected. It was the tale of a girl who was simply uninformed. She had no idea what motherhood would be like, and she certainly didn't know the sacrifices that would come with it. I did feel bad for her, and I certainly felt bad for her child.

DKAZ said...

Isn't it sickening. There is something to be said for educating kids on prevention versus abstinence Abstinence ends with no babies, no STD's, no self-respect and hopefully a high school education if nothing else. Prevention is just the beginning of a big ugly cycle that basically comes down to teen mothers and childless fathers forever and ever.
I blame the parents, the school (all of them), Hollywood-No not the movies...I am disgusted with all of these silly single women who are giving it up for free and then having babies with no shame at all. I think I will boycott anymore of their movies.

Lastly, I have attended a few teen pregnancy/adoption support groups. It was always interesting to have a single mom come in and say how much she loves her child but how much harder it has been than she thought. Or how much guilt she feels when the child talks about not having a Dad.

Heather said...

I saw a newsclip on this last night. The school is now denying any such pact existed. Interesting....

bloggingchristy said...

I think it's so true, what you said about feeling sorry for the babies! I think if it was my girl, I would really push adoption. I think it would be a very hard thing to give up a baby, but a very unselfish thing, and a good consequence for bad behavior. It would give the baby a chance to come into the world with a family.

SHERI said...

That is a crazy and sad story. What is happening!

Melissa said...

Check out my cousin's post about this same thing. She's pregnant with her first right now and her post made me laugh!

steve said...

"I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex."
- Jack Handey, "Deep Thoughts"

You're going to be sorry, you told me to post more. . . hehe

amelia said...

Hey Audrey, thanks for the comment! You bring up a good point - why decline to be interviewed if they're apparently so thrilled about parenthood? I have read a couple studies that national adoption rates are down because more mothers are keeping their babies. And I wonder why? Like you, I doubt it's because of "Juno" or "Knocked Up." The media can't be blamed for everything. You bring up some good points! Will be interesting to see if any of these girls do an interview eventually...

peachytiffers said...

I have seen this all over news and I cannot believe it!!! I just think that kids now a days have no clue how hard it is and they don't have any clue about responsibility. They think they know, but have they honestly thought about how they are going to provide, or are they just going to make their parents deal with it. Have they thought about their dreams and their own future? Once you have a child, you can still accomplish things, but it is a million times harder. Have they thought about what is best for the child? These children are going to have to learn one day why they came into this world and who their fathers were, and go through life suffering for the choices that their mother's made. Teenage girls can love babies and think that they want to have one, but to think that they should have one when are young is just stupid and selfish. The whole story is very emotional for me, because I know what it is like to have a child at a young age, and I was older than most of them, and I had a lot of support and the gospel. I do feel a little bad for these girls because obviously they were not taught enough to know what a huge responsiblity it is. They should know, but how are they supposed to learn. The lessons should come from their parents and there is never a guarantee that you will get good parents...look at these soon to be mothers.

Anonymous said...

Just a note for those people saying that abstinence education is the answer to teen pregnancy problems: in a recent study (citation listed below), students were randomly assigned to receive either abstinence-only education programs (the treatment group) or the normal health curriculum available at their school, if any was available (the control group). At the end of a six-year follow up period, the students in both the treatment and control groups had the same likelihood of having had sex, the same number of sexual partners, STDs, pregnancies, and births. Until a similarly rigorous study has been conducted on sex-ed classes, we can't conclude that sex-ed classes are effective, but as a result of this study, we *can* conclude that abstinence-only education courses are not effective in reducing teen sexual behavior and its unfortunate consequences (unintended or otherwise).