Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pregnancy Pact?

I'm sure you've heard about it in the news: a group of teenagers in Glouchester, Mass. decided to all get pregnant at the same time and raise their children together. Or did they?

"There was definitely no pact," 17-year-old Lindsey Oliver told "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "There was a group of girls already pregnant that decided they were going to help each other to finish school and raise their kids together. I think it was just a coincidence."

The story started on Wednesday, June 18th when Time Magazine posted an article about the students as well as the increased amount of pregnancy tests handed out and the subsequent offering of contraceptives (even though this was frowned upon by the mayor). Apparently, 17 girls are now expecting children. The article goes on to say that a prospective reason for the pregnancy boom could be that the girls want somebody to unconditionally love them. 

But now, they are investigating this and saying that there may not have been a pact to get pregnant but rather, a pact to help each other finish school. I have a few things to say about this: not necessarily about whether or not a pact was formed, because in the larger scheme of things that is not the issue at hand. What we should be focusing on is the fact that there are 17 girls at a high school in Massachusetts that are pregnant and all the news media can focus on is whether or not it was planned. 

Pregnancy is a huge decision. When you decide to have a child or to continue with an unplanned pregnancy, you are not only playing with your life but your child's life as well. You have to be able to not only support yourself but your child. As I've said in an earlier post, it's a HUGE responsibility, something that doesn't even BEGIN to compare with the exercises you do with the egg or the bag of flour or even the little baby dolls in school. Those are just projects that you'll be done with in, at most, a few weeks. A real baby is yours for 18 years (and if it's anything like some of the people around me, even longer). A real baby grows. It needs new clothes, it needs food. It needs to be petted. You won't sleep for some months. 

A child deserves to be raised in a stable environment. But you can't go into a pregnancy thinking that it's all fun and games because it isn't. Sure, (most) babies are adorable, and you look at them and go "Awww, look at the gorgeous baby", and you want one just like it that you can hug and show off to adoring strangers. But there is so much more work involved...and unlike someone else's baby, you can't play with it and then leave it. 

I want so badly to say shame on these teenagers, but you can't completely blame them...they don't know any better. And nowadays, teenage pregnancy is being glorified everywhere, on TV and in movies. And I'm sure there are some teenage mothers who did a very good job with their children. But that's if you can only do well if you're truly ready for children, which I don't really think these teens are, not based on their reasons for wanting a child.

If you want unconditional love from something, buy a dog. They require responsibility but they won't wake you in the middle of the night crying (though they might bark), their food is relatively inexpensive compared to feeding a baby, you don't have to go through 9 months of pregnancy, and (though I'm rather attached to my dog and I won't say this would be easy) if you find you can't take care of the dog, it's a lot easier to find new owners than if you put a child up for adoption or in foster care. And not much feels as good as walking in the door and seeing your dog run to greet you with enthusiastic licks and offering of toys, even if he's been left alone in the house all day. It doesn't get much more unconditional than that.

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