As we broke bread, er, bean dip and chips my mom said “since you’re good at figuring people out, what do you think about…”. I’m usually scared of what she’ll ask and how much I’ll have to censor myself.
My sister is overwhelmed by the number of her school friends that have babies, are pregnant, or want to be (and will likely be before they graduate next June). I was overwhelmed hearing about it. My mom was demanding to know why it seems to be so common and “cool”. Statistically, teen pregnancy is way down not up, I guess it’s just more acceptable. Saying things like “it wouldn’t matter” “my parents wouldn’t really care” “oops I missed 7 days worth of pills, oh well I don’t care if I have a baby”.
I could just see the anger building in my mom, in her day everything changed when she got pregnant. She dropped out of school and got married – the other alternatives not explored at the time. She had to give things up. “They bring the baby to class like it’s a purse!” I was speechless. They’re allowed to bring a baby to class? I didn’t know what to say.
I don’t think there’s an easy answer. And although I became a mom at 19, I wasn’t in school. Thank God. Really, I never would’ve survived it, honestly I probably would’ve chosen differently. Some of the things my sister was repeating really left me speechless. Have I been out of touch with teenage things for that long?
I have a lot of thoughts on this that I’m not even sure how to express – I understand my mom’s feelings exactly. I just can’t imagine being so flippant about having a child, even being a former knocked up teen for pete’s sake. Being pregnant was the worst time of my life on several points (the baby not included) and it wasn’t until a few weeks before he made his appearance that I really felt ready to do this no matter what I might’ve said.
When my parents and the girls came home from the campground that October, thank goodness it filled the empty house and the empty me. It made a world of difference. I knew the answer to if I could do it, I could really answer yes. Not do I want to or will it be super fun, but I could, and the rest just grew on me.
I often worry about others, afraid they feel the same way I did, secretly wanting to hug a stranger or help them in some way, knowing how alone it can feel. But I guess it’s good to feel afraid or overwhelmed – it’s natural for such a big step. At least it should be.