Pregnant 17 yo & church community - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I decided to delete this post.  There were only a few responses where posters touched on the deep issues of teen responsibility and respect that I was attempting to start a conversation about.  Also the jumping to unwarranted conclusions was something to watch!  Speaking of being judgmental, I accept the drubbing you all are giving me, I can take it like a woman, but aren't you all also judging? 

 

The girl has been treated only with kindness by the church community, which is a liberal Christian, and her parents are wonderful people who raised a brat.   Her parents are taking care of her.  She will grow. 

 

They have been completely open about what's going on.  It isn't "gossip" to discuss issues that impact other people's children in a community where values are the glue.

 

My actual concern here is the younger teens watching this, two who may be on similar paths.  There is some evidence that teens watch what goes on, and when their community accepts a behavior, it becomes normalized and then repeated.

 

I don't have a problem with teen mothers - suspect most women until the past couple of centuries were teen mothers. 

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 7thDaughter View Post

 but how should the community around them deal with this?  Without making it all seem perfectly OK for the 13 yo watching it all?

 

 


Honestly I think you should greet this child with love and a welcoming heart, an open mind, hope for the future, offers of support, expressions of joy at the idea of a new baby in their community.  Without looking at it as a tragedy (which it isn't). It's not what I would necessarily chose for my kids, but I have friends and family who had children as teens and they have beautiful children and families, and wonderful lives (even though they may not have had the path they originally planned for.) They are wonderful mothers in part because they got exactly the sort of support that your church community is able to offer if they choose to stop making so many judgements.

 

If the 13 year old is going to be swayed into have a child as a teenager by a baby shower, the family of the 13 year old has bigger issues to deal with.   

 

Sorry probably not what you wanted to hear but I don't believe that the punishment you seem to want for this girl is yours to mete out. Not all babies are able to be born into perfect circumstances. It doesn't make the infant, or the family it is creating less worthy of celebration and support.

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#3 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 02:55 PM
 
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I am sure you will receive other responses, but for me, there are so many, many places in your post that feel shaming, and frankly just make me really uncomfortable reading it.  There's an awful lot of judgement happening that feels purely like conjecture and again, judgement.  I wouldn't throw around the word "tragedy"--this isn't a tragedy.  It's a life experience, and maybe it will be tough, but it's not a tragedy.

 

I have more thoughts, but I am digesting the post.

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#4 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:10 PM
 
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If all the church people are so judgmental, perhaps it might be best that the church not get involved.

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#5 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:10 PM
 
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In my church community growing up, where an unwed 17 year old with a lousy boyfriend would very much be viewed as a tragedy for everyone (child, mother, father, parents, community), the wedding showers where not help in the big church barn-raising tradition. I am not sure if young people simple weren't invitied or no one's parents would allow them to attend, but it simply wasn't done. The shower would be at the soon-to-be-grandparents house, the guest list would be small, and no children would attend. People helped the young mother gather neccessities but there wasn't a lot of joy and parading of the blushing, pregnant mother. If the couple wasn't engaged than the boyfriend wasn't invited. There was no way I would have been invited to such a shower and if I had been, I doubt I would have been allowed to go.  And you know, I am not that old.

 

I know that in many communities attitudes have changed towards teen pregnancy but it sounds like it hasn't in your community. I wouldn't be surprised if the shower turned out to be much smaller than the grandparent's hope.

 

If you don't view the birth of the baby as a joy, send polite regrets for your family and choose or choose not to send a gift.

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#6 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:12 PM
 
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In my experience (personal at that), teenagers that grew up in a richly religious environment with "Godly" parents don't go out and have sex with a 20 yr old.  I would suspect family troubles, even if you haven't seen them.  Again, that was my experience as a God-fearing, abused teen using sex to find validation.


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#7 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:21 PM
 
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Every child born should be a celebration. I know that is idealistic but this really only has to be a tragedy if that's what people in this girl's life makes it. My mother got pregnant with me at 16. I had a pretty darn good life (along my younger brother) & although there was rough times as a result (mostly economically related) we grew up loved & respected. My Mom did take longer than some without children might to become really solid financially but she did & in a  lot of ways she was ahead of the crowd in maturity than her peers.

 

Each parent is responsible for talking to their own children about teen pregnancy. For setting family expectations. For keeping an open discussion on this topic. Do you really think this should be hid away because it's not the ideal way for it to happen.

 

And I am curious - if she had been a mature, responsible, straight-A, no problem child for the last year & ended up pregnant would everyone be so negative about it?

 

Please try to help support this young mother to be - she'll need the support. A teen pregnancy does NOT have to be a tragedy by any stretch but they do need a little extra help at the beginning.

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#8 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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Frankly I must ask why you feel this girl's story is yours to tell? If you want to discuss how the Church should respond to these kinds of situations, maybe it would be better discussed in the religion section.

 

I say good for the church for responding with love and compassion for this girl and her baby. 


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#9 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:29 PM
 
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An alternative view:

"When our children run into problems we love them through it." This was the statement made by our associate pastor several years ago when she spoke at our women's retreat.

 

There is an 18 year old in our church community who got pregnant by a man who everyone agrees is best out of the picture. The young woman's current fiancee, who will be raising the baby with her, was in prison for something he did under the influence. (They were not together when she got pregnant.) He's out and is currently attending AA regularly. He can't drive because his license was taken away. He's well meaning but we're worried about him because of his past behaviors that have suggested a real issue with impulse control. The 18 year old has ADHD, dyslexia and is going to school parttime and working part time.

 

Our church community organized a baby shower for her. We gave her 4 months worth of cloth diaper service (she lives in an apartment with no washer/dryer on site, but wants to cloth diaper). Other people contributed baby basics including clothing and supplies. We all gave her a book in lieu of a card, with a little note so she's knows why the books are special to us. One of our church members whose youngest is now 2 and who is DONE having children is giving her a crib, a breastpump, and a lot of other baby gear. One of our members who is a doula, will donate her time to be at the birth.

 

Despite all of this, I seriously doubt that any other of the 16-18 year olds in the congregation are seeing this as a message that this is a good choice. They see the worry about the young mom and her baby. Being poor (because she will be), with little education, a fiancee who is limited where he can work because he's got a felony conviction and little education and adding a new baby to the mix is going to be hard. 

 

So, why would we do something that looks like "condoning" having sex outside of marriage? Not just because the baby deserves the best start we can help give it. But Jesus had dinner with the sinners, not the saved.  Our job is not to condemn. Our job is to love her through it.


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#10 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:31 PM
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I'm disturbed by your post. Have compassion for this family that clearly has some big struggles at this time. There is a great deal of judgement here.


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#11 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDouble View Post

If all the church people are so judgmental, perhaps it might be best that the church not get involved.



pretty much, yeah.


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#12 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:35 PM
 
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Jesus loves mother and baby.......Church should do the same.

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#13 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 03:43 PM
 
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I didn't get a baby shower when I was pregnant at 20 due to parental disapproval, and I also had pressure to give the baby up for adoption. I won't pretend I'm a perfect mother, but becoming a mother definitely inspired me to get my life together, and I also would throw a baby shower for any pregnant teen in my life: young moms need support, emotional and financial, just like any other mamas, perhaps more.


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#14 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 04:15 PM
 
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Please don't participate in the celebration if you're going to spoil it.

 

Your 13 year old hopefully already knows that if someone gets pregnant it means they had sex, and that people can have sex outside of marriage even if you personally do not approve, and that having sex period has the risk of pregnancy.  (If they do not, please for goodness' sakes tell them).

 

If you love children (and I read between the lines that you disapprove of abortion) you have an opportunity now to live your values instead of just carrying them around in your head.  Don't participate if you can't control your disdain;  but do in the meantime try to work on your compassion and caring so that when this baby comes you can be part of a supportive community rather than a hinderance.

 

Sometimes people do things you don't approve of with their lives.  You can get over it and move on and so can everyone else.  As long as you're not a jerk about it, nobody will notice or care if you aren't able to participate, so don't and just be polite.  Nobody is asking you to mentor this girl, or do anything other than inviting you to her party.  Do what you are comfortable with, and just let other people go on with their lives.

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#15 of 22 Old 03-02-2012, 06:23 PM
 
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Wow.  I'm not really sure what to say.  It sounds as though her baby will be born into an incredibly harsh, close-minded, judgmental community.  

 

Maybe, just maybe that same communities unwillingness to see beyond their own realities had something to do with her actions this past year.  Kids often rebel for a reason.  

 

I feel so sad for this girl, and her child.  Of course she deserves a shower and some presents to ease the way.  Just like any other mother.  I hope all the clucking hens either keep their mouths closed and faces neutral, or stay home.  

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#16 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 06:09 AM
 
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Well, in your mind what should they do?  Should the family quit going to church so that no one has to see the girls "shame"?  Should we go back to the 1950's, where bad girls like her went to stay with their aunts for 7 months?

 

In my mind, you have 2 choices about the shower.  You can go with your sincere good wishes, because don't you really hope for the best outcome for this family? Or, you can stay home secure in the knowledge that you are right and she is wrong and deserves punishment.  If it were me, I could not turn my back on a church family that needed support - and I'm not talking about the "cute presents".  Could you stand to lose the support of your congregation at a time you needed it most because of choices you made?

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#17 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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A baby is always a blessing.

 

No mother should be forced to give away her baby. Doing so is wrong.

 

I think it would be best that you stay away from the shower.

 

Since you are religious, I suggest re-reading the story of the woman at the well and asking yourself what would Jesus do.

 

The young woman's life will be different because she is having a child now, but having a baby isn't a tragedy. People have babies, and then do their best to raise them. Yes, it is easier in a solid relationship and with money. But having a child young isn't "tragic."  It's just difficult. You can be part of what makes it more difficult, or not. That's your choice.

 

 

 

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#18 of 22 Old 03-03-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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I thought churches were all about charity. Isn't this what this shower is about? Do you think that ANY of those participants aren't also using this situation to talk to their 13-year-olds about how difficult and sad this is? We've helped out families in need... didn't make my kids want to be homeless, didn't want to make them have babies young, hasn't given them the impressions that they don't have to work hard because the food bank will always be there. If anything, those activities make them more resolved to make good choices with their life. 

 

Look, my mom and dad were 16 and 17 when I was born. Both were excellent students with good reputations that made a mistake (though I might argue that now lol.) Yes, they got a lot of help in the beginning from my dad's family (mom's family really had nothing to give financially nor emotionally) and the help of the community.That help meant they could finish high school, go to college, have real careers and turn what could have been a life-long bad situation into just a difficult start to an otherwise prosperous life and 41 year marriage. About 10 years ago, I attended a community reunion (it was a small town) with my parents and my own family. I hadn't lived in that community since I was 4 but they were all so proud of me, telling stories of how they'd babysat me when my parents were in school or at work, remembering how I used to sit quietly in the back during college exams when no sitters could be found... I was sort of overwhelmed by it. Whatever they really thought of our situation back then, they were visibly happy to see that we'd all made it.

 

Believe me, no one is sitting around thinking this is cool. They are just trying showing the family that yes, things will be tough and we can't make it all magically better but you aren't alone. If you can't offer this then send a polite "regrets" and let it go.

 

 

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#19 of 22 Old 03-04-2012, 06:02 PM
 
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My mother had me at age 16. During her pregnancy, she was shamed by her family. My grandmother refused to take her to the OB until she was married, because she was ashamed to have a pregnant daughter with the same last name as her. She was alone in her labor in the hospital and not treated nicely by the nurses because she was so young.

 

Then, I got pregnant at age 17. No father in the picture.(my dh has since adopted that child) No one shamed me. My mother made it a point to let me know pregnancy/having a baby is NOT punishment. It is NOT a good situation, but I was not to be punished. She didn't even say the baby was punishment enough, or anything stupid like that. She was supportive of me keeping the baby(and would have been supportive of adoption, as hard as that would have been for her to be) My mother was my labor coach, and a wonderful one. Interestingly, my mother's mother did not shame me at all, and had alot to do with me through the pregnancy and everything. I guess it's different when it's your grandchildren, I don't know. I did have a baby shower and it was at a church. The church where a good friend of the family was a preacher. Not once did I feel shamed, but I also did not feel that anyone was condoning teen pregnancy. The women in my life were making the best of my situation and celebrating a new life. My family is very religious, with deacons and missionaries and choir members and such. Premarital sex is a huge no-no. But no one ever should be made to feel their child is a sin, or mistake, accident or punishment.

 

My first child will be 17 in a few months and apparantly I have not screwed up too badly. I did give up breastfeeding at two weeks and she was in daycare fulltime, but I did the best I could with what I had. I am lucky I had supportive people in my life!


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#20 of 22 Old 03-04-2012, 06:12 PM
 
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I should also add that I got pregnant after I ran away from home. After a summer of sneaking around and smoking weed and hanging around with unsavory characters and sneaking out my window at night. I ran away and a few months later, contacted my mother who wanted me to come back home(several states away from where I ended up) and I was pregnant. So I also gave my parents so much grief and heartache. I caused my father to stand at his bedroom window and cry at night, watching carlights and hoping one set of them were mine coming home. I grew up as soon as I got pregnant(well, as grown as one can get at that age). Again, I am lucky I had supportive family to show me what a blessing a child is, even though I had made some bad decisions and hurt my parents/family.

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#21 of 22 Old 03-04-2012, 09:35 PM
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I have to say that I agree with all the previous posters.  Please don't go unless you can offer some support to the girl.  

 

However, fwiw, I can say that when I was a teen, there were several pg teens around.  Seeing them didn't make me want to have a baby too--instead, it brought a good dose of reality, more like "holy crap. . . this COULD happen to me".  I wasn't a virgin throughout high school, but seeing those girls made me double check my protection methods and think twice about what if. . .

 

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#22 of 22 Old 03-06-2012, 07:09 AM
 
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Obviously, I haven't had a chance to read the original post. But... gleaned enough to comment, I think. Pregnant teen, supportive church, not 100% supportive OP, what to tell other teens...

 

Teen pregnancy isn't the ideal situation, and I suspect few would be jumping up and down in celebration. But, the situation is what it is. I would expect that those who truly consider themselves Christians would also show compassion for both children involved. One doesn't have to support the circumstances, while still showing support for the children. If you can't do that? Step away.

 

As for what to tell other teens/tweens/preteens? "A is going to have a tough time, being a Mom at her age. There are a lot of dreams she may have that she'll have to put on hold. And that will be hard. But it's good that she has people standing by her, and who will help her. What do you think *we* could do?"

 

iBoth of my kids knew/know teen Moms/Dads. It was never something that they wanted to do. But know that they would have support if it happened.

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