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Teen Pregnancy / Reaction - Page 5

post #81 of 189
Quote:
We all know that the ideal situation for a child is a stable two-parent home
We do? That's not something I know. I think the ideal situation for a child is where they are loved, sure there are things that might be icing on that cake, but that is the core.

I don't like to say congratulations to anyone when I find out they are pregnant, and I always feel weird when people say it to me. Too many factors and even the most wanted pregnancy can be full of conflicting emotions. I go with "wow, big news, how are you feeling" or something similar, and just react to what the mama says. Sometimes I slip and say congrats and then I feel dumb, because I don't like it myself much.

I react the same whether the mom is 15 or 50. I honestly don't think it matters much whether I think as a group teen moms, or older moms, or mom's in the middle make the best mom's, it isn't my place to take my judgements on society in general and apply it to an individual who is standing in front of me and could use a kind word. (and I don't care what your age or your preparedness for pregnancy, if you are pregnant you could use a kind word!)
post #82 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I don't know a lot of mom's who really are regardless of age.

I hear this sentiment a lot and I wonder if people who say this really stop and think about it. Take the countless MDC mamas who were and are teen moms. Do you feel that about us? Do you feel that we are not or were not prepared? The thing is who really is prepared for motherhood? What is it to be prepared? It's such a myth that there is some sort of perfect formula to be "prepared" for parenthood. You might as well look for the fountain of youth while you're at it.
IA.

Oh yes, and I'm 21, and I'm waaaaay crunchier/AP than many women esp. those 10,20 yrs my senior. But unfortunately, I didn't make it too far.

I honestly don't see the advantage of waiting aside from education and money, and neither one of those guarantee good parenting. Really, I don't know if there's ever a perfect time.

I think young moms need encouragement and support not to be shamed.
post #83 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillc512 View Post
Someone on here used to have in her signature the quote "Women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy." (Patricia Heaton) I so agree!

With what we know about the effects of stress on pregnancy, how could we in good conscience react any differently? The mother's emotional state affects the baby -- would you like your judgemental stare or less-than-supportive words to contribute to a poor outcome?

And, if you're pro-life, know that your reaction could contribute to her decision to have an abortion or not (speaking in general here, not to this particular situation). From Feminists for Life: "It is important that we reverse the negative attitudes toward children and parenting that have become so prevalent in our culture. Our society needs once again to cherish motherhood, champion fatherhood, and celebrate the benefits and rewards of parenthood."
I love that.

I just wanted to say something real quit. As someone who has lost, it can be hard for young moms to cope with loss b/c people think you should be happy and grateful about it. After all, a baby would have ruined her life. And you get people who not-so-subtly say you had nothing to offer a baby, not even love. Basically, she would have been a bad mom anyway. That's yet another reason why I hate the idea that only young women shouldn't be moms. Just throwing that out there for food for thought.
post #84 of 189
Well I was a pregnant teenager. It *still* stands out in my mind that the only person to say congratulations to me was an anonymous mother who happened to be in the ER with her infant daughter at the same time the ER staff was verifying that I did not have an ectopic pregnancy.

I still remember how glad I was that somebody had congratulated me. I don't think anyone else ever did.

I got a lot of "I'll support your choice" and "how are you dealing with it" and "do you need me to do anything" ... but no "congratulations." It hurt me.

So I would congratulate her. Then ask how she's feeling. Or take it from her cues then.

But all those other well-meaning comments I got as a pregnant teenager just said to me "we're trying to politely talk to you now that you've screwed up your life."
post #85 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathryn B View Post
I think it is interesting that so many of those who say they would offer congratulations were also teens who chose to keep the baby. I would think that after going through the difficulties associated with this type of decision, these women would be less likely to congratulate a young woman on having just invited a whole lot of challenges into her life. Having made it through the hard times themselves, one would think these women would know better than to offer the idea that a single, teenage mother is an ideal parent! We all know that the ideal situation for a child is a stable two-parent home; not everyone gets to have the ideal, but this doesn't change what the ideal is.

I applaud the woman who is realistic enough to recognize that pregnancy as a teen is not necessarily a cause for celebration; it is merely an indication that a young woman is going to be facing a lot of heartache and frustration no matter what choice she makes.
What exactly do you hope to accomplish with this response? Honestly it seems it would contribute to the stigma associated with the situation- stigma that hurts not only the mother but the child. It seems their response is informed by their experiences whereas yours is formed by your assumptions. Perhaps you could learn from others who have had a different experience than you. If a BTDT mother says congrats, I think that is a powerful statement that we should celebrate with a young mom who is has made their decision.

I used to have the same belief system about the ideal time to become a parent- I think 30 was my min age. Then I took a job working in parenting support. I worked with teens. I worked with 44 year old first time mothers. I worked with millionaire families and families on welfare. I saw competent, loving, capable parents of ALL ages and income and family situations and I saw parents who should have had their kids taken from them at ALL ages and income levels.

We must consider too that the stigma and economic hardship on teenage mothers is a function of our culture and not the norm in history or around the world. My grandmother married at 19, and was the last of her class to do so. She had 9 children in 20 years and is a wonderful mother. I am not saying people should feel they need to be married and have a child at 19 like her generation did but I am saying it's about choices. In her day you were long in the tooth in many social circles to be unmarried at 21 and girls were pressured into marriage and motherhood. We have gone to the other extreme where I am, as a 27 year old happily married for 6+ years woman seen by some as "too young". I don't think women should be persecuted for having a baby at any age that works for them.

Further, once something has happened, it has happened. It's time to figure out how to make it work and work WELL. Because even if "it would have been better to..." the ship has sailed, folks. Once she decides to have and keep the baby the best thing we, as a culture, can do for the mother and child is to help her be the best parent she can be (regardless of age).
post #86 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I don't know a lot of mom's who really are regardless of age.

I hear this sentiment a lot and I wonder if people who say this really stop and think about it. Take the countless MDC mamas who were and are teen moms. Do you feel that about us? Do you feel that we are not or were not prepared? The thing is who really is prepared for motherhood? What is it to be prepared? It's such a myth that there is some sort of perfect formula to be "prepared" for parenthood. You might as well look for the fountain of youth while you're at it.
The reason why I feel that age is a factor (and again, there are exceptions) is that with age comes experience. I'm not talking about babies crying in the middle of the night, or the stresses of raising a morally sound being, or the amount of unconditional love you will have for your child, nothing can prepare you for that. I am simply talking about the lessons that we learn as we get older and go through life. If you are absorbing the world around you at the age of 30 as you were when you were 17 then you haven't grown yourself.

You as a parent/ mentor can only teach what you know or have experienced, and if you haven't experienced a lot what do you have to offer??

I want to STRESS that this is not personal to anyone on here it is just how I SEE things right now (maybe in 10 years I will feel differently)
post #87 of 189
I haven't read through, but I thought I would add--
When I was waiting for a midwife appt at around 39 weeks, I heard the midwife doing the first prenatal check on a 13 yo in the room next to me (the nurses let her age slip to me while I was getting a blood check)... and it was NOT going well. The girl kept screaming "stop stop stop" while the midwife was doing the exam; I couldn't help hearing that the girl already had some STD complications and a bleeding, untreated yeast infection. Anyway, I was sitting in my room, thinking about how blessed I was to have a husband, great support, a good knowledge about how to stay healthy, etc-- but I heard the midwife say, as she was leaving the room, "Your next visit you'll have an ultrasound and you'll get to see your baby! Congratulations!" and she said it with such sincerity... she was celebrating the existence of the baby, not the circumstances. So yes; I would probably just say congratulations.
post #88 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telle Bear View Post

You as a parent/ mentor can only teach what you know or have experienced, and if you haven't experienced a lot what do you have to offer??
My favorite quote used to be: The beauty of marriage is not that marriage creates children, but that children create adults.

I personally feel, when seeing what seems to be a rising number of immature 25, 30, 35 year olds who can't hold a job or balance a checkbook or live anywhere but their parents basement that we have protracted adolescence to a HUGE degree in the USA. I am not saying people should rush into parenting but I wonder why it is that we look at people having babies as young adults a tragedy.

Love and care, not life experience is the main thing parents bring to their kids.

Honestly, we will all be much wiser and more experienced at age 80 than now. I don't think anyone would argue we should wait until then to parent?

ETA: I am a professional woman whose career centers mainly on writing and finance. I know little about most of the topics that fascinate my son yet because he is science inclined, I have worked with him on science etc. I don't think it is true that all we have to teach is what we know.
post #89 of 189
Yes, please do. I got pregnant at 23, and it was definitely not planned, but I made my peace about it, but it was very sad that the reactions that I got from those closest to me were not happy ones at all. Bringing a child into the world is a great thing, and it helps if other people treat it as such.
post #90 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by kijip View Post

Love and care, not life experience is the main thing parents bring to their kids.
I think you may be taking what I am saying too literally.

I love my husband more everyday because of the things we have gone through. We have learned about each other everyday and have grown together and have shared our lives. Love like this only comes with time and experience. My love for my husband is deeper than say my love for my highschool sweetheart.

We are here on MDC because we believe that we are doing what is best for our children. Are there teenage moms on here...yes...and I think that is awesome. At some point they were exposed to breastfeeding, baby wearing, vax alternatives, keeping our sons whole, and what ever other decisions we have made. I believe that the MAJORITY of teens have NOT been exposed to these options.

I guess what it comes down to is what you want to bring to your relationship with your family and/or child. I want to bring more than love and caring. I believe that ALL mothers love and care for their children(some just don't have the ability to show it).

You do better when you know better....I believe that comes with age and experience.
post #91 of 189
this thread has turned into something else...but, i need to add...

my parents were addicts, i lived separately from my sibling and grew up in foster care. no one Attachment Parented me. no one wore me as a baby, we all got mercury fillings and vaccinations. my mother had 4 C Sections, I had homebirths. no one exposed me to the kind of parenting I do. Mothering came from inside me. I learned how to not parent from my parents. and i am not an exception to the rule.

My kids know their great grandparents.
Think about that.
Three of my four grandparents are alive and well enough to tell my children stories of their own youth...four generations...i have very lucky kids.

we have neighbors who waited till they were 48 and 51 to get get pregnant and it makes me so sad. I think its selfish. Those kids are not going to have any of their adult life with their parents around and what time they do have will be taking care of them. on the other end - I can't imagine dealing with a teenager when i'm pushing 70...it seems crazy to me.

so i don't recommend having a baby when you are in high school but i don't think its a social atom bomb either
post #92 of 189
I have mixed feelings about pregnancy in general, even now that I am pregnant myself. I guess it's not the age issue, so much as the readiness issue. Is the mother ready and willing to completely change the focus of her life? How much of a support base does she have? Etc etc.

My 19 year old cousin found herself pregnant a few months ago. She decided to have an abortion after much discussion (and persuasion, honestly). She can barely care for herself. She's bipolar, has temper tantrums, and in general acts like a bratty five year old. She had a brief fling with Rx painkillers last year with other classmates. I cannot imagine her being a mom anytime soon. Maybe the baby would have caused her to HAVE to grow up, but I don't know that would be necessarily true.

In other cases, like the teen moms on here, I would not have these same concerns.

I decided to wait until now to have a baby as I wanted to be sure I did certain things more easily. I'm in a happy marriage, I have my MA, I'm somewhat financially stable as I navigate through my PhD program. This is what I wanted first before baby. I didn't want to be a much older mom for many reasons, but especially health concerns. My mother was an older mom, and she died at age 52 because she was in poor health. And it was hard for that, and for the fact that I was being raised more like my peers' parents rather than my peers.

So am I going to congratulate a teen mom? I might, if I know her to be a responsible person in general. Otherwise, I'll ask her how she's doing first.
post #93 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telle Bear View Post
At some point they were exposed to breastfeeding, baby wearing, vax alternatives, keeping our sons whole, and what ever other decisions we have made. I believe that the MAJORITY of teens have NOT been exposed to these options.
Frankly, I don't think the majority of 20 or 30 somethings have been exposed to these options! I was 22 when my daughter was born -- and I was the first person I knew who breastfed without supplementing and did so for an extended period of time, or who questioned circumcision (my son is the only intact boy in my family and his father's), who examined vax options, etc etc. Unfortunately, none of these ideas are mainstream in MOST of the US.

That doesn't mean younger parents can't make good decisions -- it means those of us who know better should do more to make sure that ALL people are educated about important parenting choices.
post #94 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telle Bear View Post
I think you may be taking what I am saying too literally.

I love my husband more everyday because of the things we have gone through. We have learned about each other everyday and have grown together and have shared our lives. Love like this only comes with time and experience. My love for my husband is deeper than say my love for my highschool sweetheart.

We are here on MDC because we believe that we are doing what is best for our children. Are there teenage moms on here...yes...and I think that is awesome. At some point they were exposed to breastfeeding, baby wearing, vax alternatives, keeping our sons whole, and what ever other decisions we have made. I believe that the MAJORITY of teens have NOT been exposed to these options.

I guess what it comes down to is what you want to bring to your relationship with your family and/or child. I want to bring more than love and caring. I believe that ALL mothers love and care for their children(some just don't have the ability to show it).

You do better when you know better....I believe that comes with age and experience.
The majority of PEOPLE have not been exposed to these options. I also think that teen parents are pushed to want all the STUFF (cribs, strollers, ....crap) because people are trying so hard to push them to feel inadequate and highlight their "mistake". "How will you afford to properly take care of your baby?" So I see some teen parents trying to provide all of that to prove to the judging world that they LOVE their babies. They are pushed to not take enough time for their babies and are given less support in the breastfeeding department. Much of this is caused by judgemental people who want to make sure that teens realize they made a horrible mistake and to prevent the massive spread of the "teen pregnancy disease".

That said I think that people who hold the AP/NFL beliefs are still pretty much as likely to be good parents. I may feel that breastfeeding is better but formula fed babies can be just as loved. I did not circ my son but I know people who did and they love their sons and their sons are just as happy as mine. I don't think it's right but it's not a reason someone shouldn't have children. I vaxed my children because I look at the situation in a different way than many people here and it's silly to think I shouldn't have had them because if I'd waited till I was older I would have known better. I think teens can be just as good at parenting as anyone else. ...hell I was so much more patient when I was younger. It could almost be argued that I was a better parent.
post #95 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by gracequinn View Post
we have neighbors who waited till they were 48 and 51 to get get pregnant and it makes me so sad. I think its selfish. Those kids are not going to have any of their adult life with their parents around and what time they do have will be taking care of them. on the other end - I can't imagine dealing with a teenager when i'm pushing 70...it seems crazy to me.
See, I think comments like this are likely to take the thread in a direction it doesn't need to go.

I'm all about celebrating new life, whether the expectant mother is 15 or 50.

I didn't meet the right guy and marry 'til later in life, so I had my first at almost 36 and my second at almost 41. Dh is 6 years older than me. Now I'm 44, and we'd love a third if it's in God's plan to bless us with one.

I don't see why anyone feels a need to "defend" younger moms by bashing older ones - why can't we just celebrate pregnancy whenever it happens?

I'm sorry another poster had a bad experience with older parents. Personally, I think my children's upbringing is very different from both that of their peers, as well as their peers' parents. I hope they have mostly good memories of their childhoods -- but whether they do or not will probably have little to do with dh's and my ages, and more to do with our love, responsiveness, and availability.

I say this because I've met many people who've had unhappy childhoods -- and they weren't all children of very old parents or very young parents; I think there are other factors at play here besides parental age.
post #96 of 189
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Originally Posted by lachingona1 View Post
I would ask how are you feeling!
This is what I did.
Then I went from there. If the mother is excited and happy, I am excited and happy. If she is putting baby up for adoption id start a discussion on why, if its because of pressure Id support her to keep the baby if she was able. If she was choosing to abort, I would support her in that decision as well.
Its not for me to judge her, I also believe babies are wonderful and we all deserve to share in that gift.
post #97 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telle Bear View Post
However, I feel the same when when I hear about people having kids when THEY are in a bad situation no matter their age.
This just seems so patronizing! I guess it's all based in the idea that our feelings/assessments should dictate whether or not someone else's pregnancy is cause for rejoicing.

If someone tells me she's expecting, I believe that the new life is cause for joy and I'm going to express that joy to her -- not as a means of telling her how she "should" be feeling (because I also usually do ask expectant mothers, of any age, how they're feeling, and realize we often do go through a wide range of emotions) -- but as a means of celebrating the goodness of God in creating and blessing our world with a new, unique, little person.

And I think you can celebrate the joy and beauty of new life, even while not "feeling" 100% perky, too.

I remember getting a visit from someone after the birth of my second daughter. I was almost 41, and we hadn't seen this woman for a while. So, she shows up at our house all shocked after hearing about the baby (it's not like she was a close friend or anything -- just a lady we knew at church).

Anyhow, she shows up and says, "I never knew you were pregnant. I never even knew you were wanting another child!" -- and I'm thinking, "You're married -- don't you know that married people have sex and, under the right conditions, sex results in babies?" It was so weird to me that she was all weirded-out over a married couple having sex and producing a baby!
post #98 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
See, I think comments like this are likely to take the thread in a direction it doesn't need to go.

I'm all about celebrating new life, whether the expectant mother is 15 or 50.

I didn't meet the right guy and marry 'til later in life, so I had my first at almost 36 and my second at almost 41. Dh is 6 years older than me. Now I'm 44, and we'd love a third if it's in God's plan to bless us with one.

I don't see why anyone feels a need to "defend" younger moms by bashing older ones - why can't we just celebrate pregnancy whenever it happens?

I'm sorry another poster had a bad experience with older parents. Personally, I think my children's upbringing is very different from both that of their peers, as well as their peers' parents. I hope they have mostly good memories of their childhoods -- but whether they do or not will probably have little to do with dh's and my ages, and more to do with our love, responsiveness, and availability.

I say this because I've met many people who've had unhappy childhoods -- and they weren't all children of very old parents or very young parents; I think there are other factors at play here besides parental age.
post #99 of 189
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
The majority of PEOPLE have not been exposed to these options. I also think that teen parents are pushed to want all the STUFF (cribs, strollers, ....crap) because people are trying so hard to push them to feel inadequate and highlight their "mistake". "How will you afford to properly take care of your baby?" So I see some teen parents trying to provide all of that to prove to the judging world that they LOVE their babies. They are pushed to not take enough time for their babies and are given less support in the breastfeeding department. Much of this is caused by judgemental people who want to make sure that teens realize they made a horrible mistake and to prevent the massive spread of the "teen pregnancy disease".
This is so very true! I lived in fear for a long time because we couldn't afford the "necessities" that our county parent's class told us we had to have. I did everything the nurses and Drs and older and wiser folks told me to do because CPS hung in the air with every visit, in between every "helpful suggestion".

Great post
post #100 of 189
Here's the thing; if you, as a person on MDC, see a teen pregnant or know someone who is, and you act like they are diseased or get all negative, they arnt going to WANT to talk to you. At all. YOU as non-mainstream people have an opportunity to help a not so great situation become much better. Instead of being negative or freaky about it, ask how they are, talk to them, become their friend, even if its only for a few minutes. Ask if they are planning on breastfeeding, ask if they know about cosleeping, midwives, all those things the people on this wonderful forum are lucky enough to have learned all about. It doesnt mean they *will* listen, but hearing it may be enough for them to look into it further. Tbh, I really wish someone would've said something about circumcision to me, about babywearing, about vaccines. I had already planned on breastfeeding as well as cosleeping, but beyond that I really didnt know. Oh if I had known that homebirth was an option! Granted some of this stuff isnt something you'd bring up to someone in passing, but still....take it as opportunity!

I am working on becoming a speaker in the teen parenting classes in my school district for EXACTLY this reason. I took a teen parenting class in high school while I was pregnant and while breastfeeding was encouraged, cosleeping was NOT at ALL. If it hadnt already been a part of my family (and btw-I myself was raised by a single mom on $600 of social security a month; it sucked being broke but I'd take that over an abusive 2 parent family ANYDAY!) I would've been scared to cosleep. Instead, I was made to feel like a bad parent and was told I could get a crib for free since I couldnt afford it. I could afford it, I just didnt WANT one. And this goes with what someone else was saying-if a teen doesnt get every little bit of baby stuff they can, the attitude is that oh, see, this is what happens when you have a baby as a teen, you cant buy anything. I had what I wanted and felt that I needed. Other things were not talked about in that class; when my ds was born I hadnt even thought about circing, I didnt know what a sling was or about vaccine concerns until I somehow, by accident, came accross a mothering mag. TY for that mothering!

I also VERY much disagree that the ideal family is a 2 parent one. How many 2 parent families have an abusive parent? How many kids listen to constant arguing and bickering between their parents? How many of these 2 parent families end in divorce and even more strain for the kids, being bounced back and forth, possibly having at least one parent mad at the other and saying stuff about them? Yeah, that doesnt sound ideal to me. Yes, some 2 parent families are great, on the same hand, there are plenty of single parent families that are great as well. And that doesnt mean all teen parents ARE single parents or will remain single. I know 2 of the 6 teen parents in my class stayed with the guys they got pregnant with and are still together (we had a reunion ); 3 of us are now married to other guys and only 1 is still single. Regardless, my point is, not all 2 parent households are fine and dandy; in my experience its been quite the opposite. I feel lucky in that my dh is my best friend, we never argue, my kids would probably have a break down if we did but many families are not this lucky.

All I can say is, even as a teen, I was a better parent than half the parents I know in real life. Yes, I am full of myself, but I dont care. Its true. Especially from the standpoint of MDC. That 14 year old that I talked about in my earlier post was a hell of a lot stronger than many adults-she left her only support system when her dad (who was an abusive, pompous a$$ if I ever saw one) slapped her ds. Now think of how many adults wont leave their husbands when they beat them-or their children. Teenagers are NOT children. Period. They are simply under the age number we as a society picked to count them as adults. Some 13 year olds are more mature than some 30 year olds. Dont dismiss a teen as being an immature child incapable of taking care of their own child before you know that teen and give them a chance. I have 2 daughters and a son of my own and while I will certainly discourage them from becoming pregnant as a teen, I will at the same time completely support them and whatever decision they make. And yes, I WILL congratulate them if they are happy about it.

Everyone deserves a little love.
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