Babies having babies

Every so often I’ll get an e-mail from that most easily offended creature, the Outraged Teen Mother. They follow a very predictable pattern-first they flame me for “killing babies,” then go into a recitation about how their kid (usually very trendily named) is so-and-so months old and is like OMG the best thing EVAR and they could have NEVER killed them. “Only SELFISH people get abortions!” they write, but with much worse spelling and punctuation.

After reading these, I often wonder if it’s not a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

A few months ago, one of my Live Journal friends directed me to a community called “My Baby’s Daddy” or something very similar. LJ does attract drama queens, but this community featured trainwreck after trainwreck of such spectacular proportions that I was literally flinching as I read. Abusive boyfriends, money issues, parent issues, housing issues … And the worst part? I read quite a few entries, and I don’t think any poster in there was over eighteen.

As is said elsewhere on the net, I wanted to go in there and club everyone with a clue by four. But at the same time, I can’t be surprised. This, after all, is the first generation of kids who were raised with the whole “self-esteem” thing. Don’t tell them they’re doing something wrong or you’ll warp their fragile little minds! So of course they’re going to get outraged and upset if you dare to imply that you don’t agree with their choices.

My “favorite” statement from OTMs is “Having a baby makes you more mature!” No. Having a baby means that your reproductive system is in good working order. Having a baby when you’re fifteen years old is, to put it plainly, idiotic. I know that teenagers think themselves bulletproof and they know everything, but any adult who can tell a fifteen-year-old girl with a straight face that they would be better off going through with a pregnancy needs to have their ass kicked. HARD. It doesn’t help that the anti-choicers have demonized abortion so badly that there are tons of women out there who think a twenty-minute procedure is somehow worse than nine months of even the most problem-free pregnancy and childbirth from a physical and mental standpoint.

I had a friend who was a social worker in Newark, New Jersey and dealt almost exclusively with teen mothers. She told me that when the babies were born, most teen mothers were actually pretty good. The girls were getting a lot of attention and gifts, the baby daddies were still in the picture (particularly if the baby was a boy) with more gifts and money, and they would be conscientious of feedings and doctor’s appointments. However, my friend noted, almost from the moment the baby began to walk suddenly things weren’t so wonderful anymore. The teen moms would start complaining that the baby was getting into their stuff, their schoolwork (if they were still in school) was suffering, their mothers or grandmothers were giving them crap about not wanting to take care of the baby, the baby daddies had lost interest or had long gone (or had gone off to be someone else’s baby daddy). In short, they were not getting the warm fuzzies anymore. How did they deal? Some abused their children, but most … went out and got pregnant again.

I do not like to see children born out of ignorance or fear. I don’t like babies being used as punishment for an error in judgment. I don’t like to see babies treated as living dress-up dolls by girls whose biggest worries in life should be passing algebra or if that guy in English thinks she’s cute. I don’t like to see girls having babies so they’ll have someone that will love them or to validate their existence. There is no good reason for a teenager to have a baby. And yes, anti-choicers, that includes having a baby to give up for adoption. With America’s foster system bursting at the seams with damaged children-far too many of them born to teen mothers-that’s the last thing we should be encouraging.