Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Bump Along the Way

I was going to make today's post all about my (probably skewed) resoning behind home-schooling, but I've got something else on my mind.

It's bothering me more that just a little.

There's a seventeen-year-old girl, barely more than a child herself, who is pregnant. More than one - if I made a modicum of effort, I imagine I'd find a statistic for how many pregnant teens there are today, this week, this month, this year, at any given time. Still, even without using her name I bet you know who I'm talking about.

It isn't a surprise that she's pregnant - kids that age are more likely to have sex than not, no matter what they're taught in school (abstinence, birth control, chastity belt, cooter trolls...you know, the usual stuff). Even if they aren't having sex, they're learning about fun-with-anatomy one way or another.

I'm all for adults having all the sex they want as long as their partner is able to choose participation. I don't much care if it's gay, straight, bi, vanilla, or kinky, as long as it's safe, sane, and consensual.

So here we are with a seventeen-year-old girl, pregnant. On any other day, this wouldn't matter...but poor kid, her mother was chosen to be the VP running mate in a hotly contested presidential race, and she, her siblings, and the father of the impending babe are all being put under a magnifying glass.

Things are being said. Awful things. Judgmental things. Things about her mother's fitness for the position she hopes to hold. Things about the girl. About her boyfriend. About the infant already challenging the family with Down's Syndrome.

She's seventeen and pregnant, and facing something a lot bigger than any election - she's facing the future. At her age, that can be terrifying. That future, at least the next few years, is bound to be full of censure, full of people who feel free to frown, to judge, and even to try and punish her for her error.

And it will all be so very public. So very wrong.

I do not advocate teen pregnancy - the body may be fertile, but that doesn't mean it's ready to bear young. The mind isn't all the way there, yet - no matter how willing you are to have one, babies are a culture shock all their own - just ask my friend S, who had her first child at sixteen and raised all three of her kids while her husband was in the Navy (thanks for serving, B) - there was no lack of love, no lack of support from both families, and they were going to marry and have kids anyway, but the early start certainly didn't make things easy for them.

I do advocate a community being supportive of anyone who's carrying a sprout in 'em. Pregnancy is no easy thing - if you doubt me, ask a woman who is only a week or so from popping how she's feeling about the experience...especially the swelling, aching, lack of sleep, creaking bones, and odd there's-an-alien-trying-to-escape-my-innards motions that she's feeling every time she eats, drink, sleep, goes potty, breathes, or has a thought. Yes, it's a beautiful thing, and no, I wouldn't have given up the experience, but it isn't all sunshine and roses...and that's with a family and community on board with the pregnancy.

This girl, she has one hellacious ride ahead of her - and it's all going to be investigated, inspected, invaded by the press and the judgmental public.

Y'all, leave the kid out if this. Yes, what she does may reflect her mother's ability to parent...and some may even say that reflects her ability to help run a nation...but why should the child suffer for it? Why should she be punished? Why should she be mocked, trotted out for show, dragged into the political muck? Why should the young man who helped create the baby have to be pulled from his roots to wander around in a hateful, spiteful environment at once apologizing, taking responsibility, and trying to put a positive political spin on things? They should be at home, trying to figure out their future, their baby's future, without all this scrutiny...just like any other teen couple facing this momentous event.

Yell at her mother, revile her mother, say what you will about her mother - her mother is a grown woman who freely chose to cast her hat into the political ring, thereby inviting the press, the public, and her rivals to investigate and voice their opinion about the minutiae of her life - but leave the kids out of it. All of 'em, on both sides - after all, it's not the kids who will be doing the job (please don't lecture me on how they will still be representing our nation, yada, yada, yada - I know they will, but they're still kids, and kids get to make mistakes and learn from them and expecting perfection is expecting too much)(and I never think a baby is a mistake, just so we're clear).

In future, when the media tries to cram this girl down my throat, along with a heavy dose of vitriol about her mother and/or judgment of the family, I am going to close my eyes, cover my ears, and sing "la, la,la, la, la, la, la...." as loud as I can until it stops.

As an aside - I'm tired of all the hate. Just once in my lifetime, can we have an election where the candidates don't sling mud? Where they are allowed to show what they've accomplished rather than forced to defend their errors, thoughts, feelings, families, churches, misspent youths, that one party in college, or anything else? Please?


Aunt Becky said...

I feel so sorry for her child. I really do.

Suzy said...

Well said. Why dont you run for office?

Kyddryn said...

Aunt Becky, me too. That kid's going to have a rough enough time without rival political parties putting her under in a microscope and blathering about her every action. The poor baby, too...good grief, what a beginning!

Suzy....hahahahahahahahaha!!! Whew...my ribs hurt...