Monday, June 23, 2008

What's in the news?

By this point, most of you have probably heard about the seventeen teen pregnancies occurring in Gloucester, MA. If you haven’t, please go read the Time article.

The article sounds like something out of a Jodi Picoult book. Maybe it is?

I chuckle at the idea that Juno or Knocked up were the reason. I am more inclined to believe that Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney Spears, Nicole Ritchie, or Ashlee Simpson – to name just a few. After all, in my humble opinion, in the last few years it has been glamorous to be a mom. And all of these women – and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t – gush over their children. But, the simple fact is that these very young women have money. Therefore, they can afford these children. They can afford nannies to continue school or their careers. They can afford diapers and food.

For the most part, their fans cannot. But, it is not surprising to me that teen pregnancy is starting to rise. This article touches upon a multitude of scary truths.

Teen pregnancy is intriguing to me – maybe because it is the opposite of my situation – I feel fear and compassion for the unborn child. I feel as if the circumstances are a tragedy, but that the child is a blessing. My interest has escalated in the new reality show on NBC entitled Baby Borrowers. It is too late for these 17 girls, but it may help others, after all, as the show states “It may be the best birth control.”

I think it may be very true considering this quote from a teen mother in the Time article:

“But Amanda Ireland, who graduated from Gloucester High on June 8, thinks she knows why these girls wanted to get pregnant. Ireland, 18, gave birth her freshman year and says some of her now pregnant schoolmates regularly approached her in the hall, remarking how lucky she was to have a baby. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Ireland says. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

Maybe teen parents, should be asked to talk to the general school population to deglamourize children? They could tell them a little about their daily struggles and give others the reality of parenting – hard work!

As I get off my soap box, this is the latest:

The School Committee is now disputing that the girls made a pact. Instead, they are saying that the pact happened after the pregnancies. However, several of the girls’s baby daddy is a homeless twenty-four year old.

Because that makes it so much better.


Lollipop Goldstein said...

I do feel for these girls because I don't think they truly understand what they are getting into. If adults can't completely fathom what it means to raise a child prior to doing so--and we've had plenty of life experience in terms of responsibility (and doing things because we must)--I don't know how these girls will survive this. Or how their kids will fare. Or how differently their world could have looked if they had waited.

loribeth said...

I realize I may have postponed pregnancy until it was too late. But there is also such a thing as getting pregnant way, way too early in life. There has to be a happy medium...!

Samantha said...

That's just sick for those girls to be so desperate for love and affection that they slept with a homeless man in the hopes of getting pregnant. It just seems like either they really are completely clueless as to the responsibility of babies and children, or else their lives are so lacking they have nothing better do. Maybe it's a combination of both. Either way, just sad.

Anonymous said...

I was not surprised. Not only is pregnancy "trendy" according to the popular media, but I knew several girls in high school (15 years ago) who thought that having children would give them both independence and unconditional love, which they weren't getting from their own families.

As my dad said, "Young, dumb, and fertile is a dangerous combination."

Anonymous said...

As the economy tanks (particularly in MA), I believe that girls like these, with few prospects for success, are essentially "opting out" of making decisions about their futures.

With this one decision they won't need to think seriously about education or about creating careers for themselves. This is what they will do now. At least some of their parents probably did it, and it must seem less scary than going out in the world and trying to succeed.

And as we all *painfully* aware, teen pregnancy as well as pregnancy in general has been glamorized by the media. Pregnant and new mother celebrities are on every magazine cover, and "bump watching" seems to have become our national pastime.

If you are starved for attention, this is one way to get it that is no longer socially unacceptable.

What I find it amazing is the general expectation that the school staff should have parented these girls in the absence of any guidance from their actual parents. All in roughly thirty hours per week, on top of trying to teach them math, science, writing, driving, social skills, etc. and preparing them for the state testing they will need to pass to earn a HS diploma.

So what if there was a pact? So what if there wasn't? Regardless, these girls were not nurtured or supervised adequately by their families. In my opinion, it is the responsibility of the parent to guide a child's decision-making about sex and when to start a family. Schools can support and inform, but ultimately this is a parenting issue.

Also, while it is easy to believe everything reported in the media, it is important to remember that they are selling a story and advertising space/time, not protecting the best interests of the people involved. The truth is never as scandalous as the media portrays it to be.