Momma Hunt

So today I am going to get up on my soapbox a bit. I teach high school in a upper middle class suburb in Connecticut. Yet somehow my school is experiencing a baby boom, and I don't mean with the staff. Perhaps I am more senstive because I am pregnant myself and do not want to share preggo war stories with my students. Right now there are at least seven girls who are pregnant or who have given birth in the last month. One of my current student's who I have had for two years now and is a senior has a son the same age as my son. So anyone trying to do the math this girl was 15 when she had her baby. Several of the girls who are pregnant are not even 16 years old. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN. We live in a town that has health education programs, that has sex ed, yet clearly not enough. As a parent you know how much work goes into being a parent. There are some days that I still find being a mom overwhelming, and I have a husband, we both have decent jobs, and own our home. How can a 15 year old child be parent?

Sadly I know the answer to that question, they can't!!! Yet these girls never consider abortion (not that it is for everyone) and they don't consider adoption. How does it happen?

Where did we go wrong as a society that teenage girls think having a baby is "cool"? Where did we go wrong that we stopped empowering our young women to realize that they have enough value to say no (to sex or at least unprotected sex). I really think that if our girls, not just in my school but everywhere, were made to feel good about who they were they wouldn't need to seek out love from someone who doesn't respect them or thier body or from a baby.

What are your thoughts on this? What woudl prevent teen pregnancy in this situation? Or is this just the inevitable cycle?

9 Responses
  1. Kimi Says:

    I'm with you...girls and women in general do not feel valued. We put ourselves down and we let other people put us down as well. I think there needs to be a revolution in Self Esteem.

  2. 2Wired2Tired Says:

    Wow, 7?! That's crazy. They've been saying all over the media lately that teen sex has increased. I thought it was just the same old stuff and now that I'm older and have kids, I'm hearing it differently. But unfortunately it seems to be true. I like Kimi's remark about self-esteem, great point.

  3. I'm not surprised by those statistics too much. Unfortunately, it's becoming more commonplace. I am an adolescent/family therapist, so maybe that's why I am not totally shocked by it.

    In an upper class society, it's often that the parents are too busy working or with their responsibilities to really engage with the kids/know their kids' lives. So these kids have less boundaries and more freedom. Of course, that's not always the case, but I see that often these days. Parents need to stay connected with their kids!

    Thanks for stopping by today!

  4. Wow, I am thankful I have not had to deal with this situation at all- maybe because we are a smaller school. We have had one girl who moved into the district with a baby and left not that long after. The only thing I hear about are people who have a baby a few months after graduation (we have had quite a few of those). Wish I had answers!

  5. Jessie Says:

    Hi, visiting from SITS. I remember back when I was in HS that there were a lot of girls getting pregnant that last year or two I was in school. I was pretty shocked (mostly I couldn't believe that there were so many girls doing the stuff that leads to babies...I was pretty "sheltered"). I'm a mom of 3 girls now, and it's tough at 30, much less at 15. As a Christian who loves God, I cannot condone abortion as an option, but I would gladly take one of these girls and/or their babies into my home to care for them and love them and make sure they know God loves them and their baby and to know that they are worth more than any teenage guy who just wants to sleep around with them could know. My heart goes out for you and the students at your school, and I will be praying for you!

  6. Masala Chica Says:

    Hi - dropped in from SITS. 7 is a lot - it seems like a lot more than when I was growing up in my middle class town in NJ. I am not the most devout person - but I do think there is something that has kind of fallen by the wayside in terms of the sanctity of marriage. Girls look at Nicole Richie, Kourtney Kardashian and every other supermodel/star out there who is carrying their baby around like a prada bag. I don't know. I sound like my mother. But i kind of think its true.

  7. Beth Says:

    My comment will not make you feel any better. I'm a middle school counselor, and I just had two girls come in today and tell me their friend (13 years old, 8th grade) is pregnant and panicking. Wish I could say that's incredibly rare, but it's not. These girls are so desperate for love and affection and connection that they'll buy any B.S. a cute boy throws out, and then they think having the baby will be a guarantee of unconditional love when the boy disappears. Also, they have that teenage invincibility thing, where they think they can handle anything that comes along, without any real idea of what having a child and being a mother is all about. I do the best I can to educate these kids when I'm in their classes, and to empower these young women to say "NO" and to keep a future-focus, but it's amazing how many still go down this road. Wanna hear something really scary? Blow job parties with 6th and 7th graders. I'm not kidding. Where are the parents???

    On that happy to celebrate the holidays, hug the ones we love close, and be thankful we didn't become Mommies at that age. And, congratulations on your own pregnancy. We already know you're a great Momma! Cheers!

  8. Jen Says:

    Just reading through and saw this... I love the passion of this post, Erica. I think what is missing is a lack of outrage. We talk a lot about rigorous standards, 21st century ideas and don't really ever talk about or address the true problems that our students face. As long as it looks like things are in order, they are. We all know this isn't the truth, but a lack of outrage (at behavior, language, apathy, lack of creativity, lack of empathy, violence, anger) and a failure to tow the lines with those kids as a community create these problems. Kids do need to be held to standards, they need the consistency and comfort of rules and the knowledge that even if it is "tough love" someone does love them enough to want them to do the right thing, to value themselves and value the decisions they make in life.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    It's not always a matter of self esteem, I knew plenty of girls in the same kind of town when I was in high school not too long ago, that wanted to get pregnant, whether the boy did or not. I've heard countless girls talking about how they say they are on the pill, when they aren't. Also there are the girls that get pregnant by accident, even though I know the number dwindles when it comes to something like that. [Sometimes when the accidental situation occurs, abortion is not an option, whether it be the girl's choice or their families.] It's not the best answer to your post, but history repeats itself, and soon this will dwindle down.

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