Oh ... Really?

Kids ask the darnedest questions

So ... my 17 year old daughter came home the other day and asked me, "Mom, are you pregnant?" It took me a few moments to recover from this and reply, "Why do you ask?"

She pleaded with me, "Please say no, Mom .... please!" At first, I wondered if she had read this post or had some other reason to think so. But she then explained, "Well, first it was Britney Spears' little sister getting pregnant, and then I found out that Amy* is 4 months pregnant ... and last week Denise had a miscarriage ... and Lori thinks she might be pregnant again! Is there something in the water or what? Please tell me you're not pregnant, Mom!"

(*Names of daughter's friends have been changed)

Pregnancy is an overwhelming concern of many teenagers these days, and with good cause ... the current teen pregnancy rate is about 43 per 1000. Kids go to school and see it every day, their friends have their lives turned upside down and futures forever changed by the presence of a baby. However, the rate is decreasing. In the last 15 years, it has been reduced by about 35%. I would say that this reduction is as much the result of teens seeing others dealing with the consequences of having babies as any sex ed programs the schools have come up with. Certainly, in my daughter's case, being friends with a girl that has a baby has convinced her that she wants no part of being a mother at the tender age of 17. Her reaction to the news that another of her friends is now 4 months along is causing her a great deal of dismay and concern. As a mother, I do not object in the least to her exposure to this bit of reality. I can see that it is serving a powerful lesson, one that she cannot forget or ignore.

However, the hoopla, hype and hysteria over Jamie Lynn Spears girl being pregnant at age 16 is totally uncalled for. Seriously, teen pregnancy happens far too often for this to be headline news or even more than a brief note of its occurrence . In this situation, her celebrity and following will serve to glamorize teen motherhood far more than serve as a warning. It's not a big deal and making it so does no one any good.

As a parent, I can only talk to my kids and hope that they make wise decisions about their lives, including their sexuality. My kids know they can come to me for assistance in getting birth control if they need to, and they are also well aware of my concerns about becoming sexually active too early in their lives. That's all I can do. The rest is up to them.

When I hear about parents like my daughter's friend's mother, who beat her when she became pregnant, I want to go beat the mother myself. That is no way to deal with that kind of situation under any circumstances. Not only is it abuse of the teen parent, it is abuse to the innocent child, who had no say in whether they came into the world or not.

Teen pregnancy happens. Deal with it. The baby is not a tragedy, or a mistake and it certainly did not try to ruin anyone's life. It is not something to be ashamed of or scorned. It was simply born, and deserves to be loved and cared for just like any other baby. The parents of the child, too, deserve love and care and support. Sure, they may have made a mistake, but it really is not the end of the world. It just a change in circumstance that is to be dealt with in the best way possible. Making teen parenthood into a tragedy of epic proportion serves no good purpose and will ultimately only harm the innocent baby.

So, on this whole Spears teen pregnancy thing, let's just STFU and let the Spears family deal with it ... they really don't need our input on the matter.

Posted by LissaKay on 12/23/07 at 03:29 AM in Family
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