By now, you’ve probably heard about the 17 pregnancies at the high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where apparently a bunch of girls decided it would be cool to get pregnant together and raise their babies concurrently.
My thoughts are perhaps a bit different from some expressed out there. I do agree that it’s nuts to maintain an “if only they had easy access to birth control” refrain in the face of intent. Also, they clearly knew how pregnancy happens, so it’s not a problem of education.
It is, frankly, nuts to expect sexually mature beings not to want to exercise that imperative. Just because we lock away young people who might once have been productive, even married, at least learning how it is to be adults, as if they are icky, that doesn’t make them any less old than people the same age would have been 5000 years ago.
Since birth control exists, it’s stupid to make any effort to keep it from them, tell them they shouldn’t use it, and so forth. So far, so good.
The desire to become pregnant is a powerful thing. It makes any desire to have sex even more powerful, but might strip away selectivity. Why not a 24 year old homeless guy? Sperm without the attachment, and who could blame the dude? Just because there’s an arbitrary norm turned law that says a 24 year old shalt not fuck a 16 year old no matter how persuasive, willing, and equipped for the task, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen or they’re not going to consider him a better option than high school boys. That part simply doesn’t bother me.
What bothers me is that the girls had no clear idea of the reality of what they were getting into. Yes, people should help each other when it comes to the raising of and providing for children, as necessary. There’s some question as to whether the support should be so strong and obvious as to encourage profligate parentage in the face of alternatives.
The same locking away of youth who were once members of adult society has too often gone hand in hand with insulating young people from knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be responsible, to function as an adult. It’s as if earning of money and raising of children happens by magic. We shouldn’t deliver kids to their 18th birthday and then expect they have a grasp on how to make and handle money, how it might change their lives to have kids at the wrong time, and so forth.
That is basically what happened to me. The monetary lessons I picked up were unintended and not necessarily good, but mostly it was all opaque.
As far as sex, I was obsessed by it from my earliest memories, even if I didn’t know what exactly I was obsessed with, apart from girls and the fact they were different. I had two deterrents. One was an overwhelming sense of guilt and secrecy instilled by family, and we weren’t even Baptists. Another was being stricken by shyness and being convinced, not without help, that no girl could possibly be interested in me, or in sex, no matter how much evidence existed to the contrary.
I’d have been a good donor for the Gloucester Girls, in my day, as I am obviously as fertile as it gets. I was joking about how well my kids turned out and being a donor with friends of mine recently, when one of them, getting divorced, talked about wanting more kids.
It’s probably a Really Good Thing that I got scared and depressed and obtused out of sex as a teen, because otherwise I’d easily have grandchildren by now. But then, I was born when my grandmother was 45, around the middle of the slew of grandkids she would acquire.
I just wish the dissuading had been done another way. Like not letting me learn about money and economics and stuff entirely on my own, and not making it look like kids just sort of raise themselves. There was the example of my brother, and that did have an impact, but even so.
This probably didn’t come out as coherent as I’d like, or clearly make the point that seems so obvious in my mind. I fully expect my kids to do as they will when they are teenagers, but I fully expect them to know the risks and responsibilities and let that guide them into taking it more slowly and cautiously than might be in an informational and parental vacuum.