Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Thing About Teen Pregnancy

I know. Its a touchy and controversial subject, but its also an important one. Lately my little Italian bambini's have been turning on the TV and watching Teen Mom. Clementina also likes the show and she told me about this movie called 17 Filles, a French film that is based on the other American film called The Pregnancy Pact. This became an interesting discussion between the two of us as well as Yaya, who asked if teen pregnancy is really that common in North America. I told them that The Pregnancy Pact was based on a true story in a high school in Massachusetts, but that it was just a freak idea. I don't personally know anyone who's made pregnancy pacts, but it is true that I do know a lot of people who became parents at a young age.
Before going any further, I will not name names in this post. I don't think its fair, nor is it my business to exploit specific people as to how they've dealt with teen pregnancy. This is just
a generalization on my opinion on teen pregnancy and is not based on any current or historical figure. 
Recently there's been a huge rise of pregnancy among teens. Statistics can tell you that - hearing it from me shouldn't be a big shock. And yet it spreads like wildfire when that girl who was on your soccer team or sat in front of you in science class becomes pregnant. One thing that really upsets me is that in a situation where a young couple becomes pregnant, its always the girl who has to deal with the rumours and judgments from people at school. I 
understand that the baby daddy doesn't have a swelling stomach for people to stare at, but it's pretty unfair, especially when people gossip about how the girl is a "whore" or "foolish" for becoming pregnant at a young age. But what about the father, who is 50% responsible for bringing a new baby into this world? If the girl is foolish and a whore, what does that make him?
Allow me to introduce you to Alfie Patten. Alfie is the British boy who made headlines when at 12 years old, he impregnated his then-14 year old girlfriend. Even at 18 years old, I can never imagine having a baby anytime soon, and I don't want to for a long time. There's too many places I want to travel and things that I want to accomplish before I decide to raise a family, and getting my university degree is one of them. However, there are so many adolescents out there who are starting a family before they even get their high school diploma. I could never imagine having to be one of those people, but I have a lot of respect for the young parents out there who are able to raise their children the right way while still pulling themselves through school. School is difficult enough without having a child, and I applaud those who manage to make it work.
Famous people who have children at a young age (i.e Bristol Palin and Jamie-Lyn Spears) 
make it look so glamorous and easy. But the average teenager I know doesn't have millions of dollars under their belts, nor do they have makeup artists priming them to look beautiful 24/7. Its not as easy as it looks, and shows like 16 And Pregnant and Teen Mom do a good job at showing that. These shows allow us to catch a glimpse into the lives of normal American teenagers who have unplanned pregnancies. The shows uncover how their families have dealt with it and also reveal the ups and downs of their relationships, friendships, school work as well as how they're managing to be financially stable enough to support themselves and their kids. Speaking of finances, when a British reporter asked Alfie how he was going to support the child financially, he replied with wide eyes and asked, "What's financially?" If you don't know how to answer this question or don't know what the word financial means, it probably means you're too young to become a parent.
Being a parent must be the most difficult job in the entire world, especially when you're still young. Having to grow up completely within the span of 9 months and having a baby changes absolutely everything to an extent that I cannot even begin to imagine. It doesn't help when everyone around you is criticising you and sharing their unnecessary opinions such as, "They should've aborted the baby," or, "The smartest thing would have been to put it up for adoption," or "How irresponsible." I don't think that anyone who hasn't become a parent at a young age has the right to tell someone how they should've handled the situation. What's truly 'irresponsible' is spending your time gossiping about someone who did the most responsible thing in a difficult situation. But it doesn't have to be like that. If you aren't sure about contraceptives or haven't been educated by your parents or school system, visit www.itsyoursexlife.com or www.thecandiesfoundation.org
I went to a Catholic school for 9 years and the only information I got from them was to practice abstinence and wait until you find that special someone to marry and get it on after your wedding ceremony. I'm not sure if they've realized whether or not that hardly anyone in Canada or the United States is saving themselves until marriage. If they are, that's their choice, and that's totally fine. But if you're not, its important to know how to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I'm not sure how the public school boards in Canada operate their health lessons, but to the Catholic school boards out there who refuse to educate their students on birth control and pregnancy and instead preach abstinence, shame on you. I have one thing to say in response to your theory - its not working.

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