The High Cost of Teen Pregnancy
IN THREE MONTHS TIME, Taylor will be become
a mother. She is 16. "I'm not
about it. It's unfortunate it happened
like, I'm not going to let it ruin
Chances are, however, it will ruin
The odds are against her. Overall,
mothers are likely to remain poorly
have additional unplanned pregnancies,
broken relationships, endure long term
and have children with emotion and
These are the conclusions of the first
time study of teen moms who were followed
for twelve years by researchers in
Two hundred women were interviewed
the years starting soon after pregnancy
confirmed. The children of these former
mums are now 12 and 13 years old.
Jen used to aspire to be a marine biologist.
Now with a nine-month-old baby, she
do it. "Sometimes I get scared."
Why all these teen pregnancies? "We
are fooling ourselves and we are starting
out with the wrong premises if we assume
that most of these pregnancies are
says Bill Avison, one of the coordinators
of this study. "We have to face
fact that for some teen girls, having
seems like a reasonable option. There
an appeal to it."
A baby provides these teens with someone
to love, someone to love them, a way
a relationship with a boyfriend. Obviously
faulty logic but the point is that
girls are reasoning this way. Even
who don't set out to get pregnant,
lackadaisical approach to it all, means
they don't see pregnancy at such a
age, as a terrible thing.
Why is it faulty logic? Because you
be a good mother when the first decision
you make about your child is based
own need to have someone to love rather
the need of the child to have a good
Besides, these mothers are children
children. Good parenting, bonding,
to be taken are disproportionate to
ability to carry them out.
In Guam it is taken for granted that
extended family will take over responsibility
of the child once the baby is born.
the expected thing to. Correct ground
Many have their doubts. They claim
may lead to a more heedless attitude
part of teenage girls. 'I carry the
for nine months and then mum or grandma
take over the burden' and 'I can continue
living my life!'
Woman, Be What You Are
So where do we go from here? More social
assistance? More educational programs?
stability in homes? Is there a happy
No, there isn't. It is easy to moralize
to pass judgments. But it is wrong.
Vanier is the founder of the L'Arche
residences where mentally challenged
physically handicapped are cared for
community setting. Writing in a different
contest, he says that we are often
with feelings of guilt which paralyze
and lead us to judge and to criticize
"We feel that we are not what
to be or what we should be. We are
quite up to the mark. We do not think
really know how to love others. Husbands
feel they do not know how to love their
and vice versa; children feel guilty
to their parents and parents in regard
their children. We are all carrying
of guilt, fears and blockages inside
It is important that we learn how to
How? Well, start by having a look at
book A Return To Modesty ! There is
of an answer. Wendy Shallit, the author,
suggests the rediscovery of the much
virtue of modesty as a counter revolution
catalyst to ease many of woman's and
In a manner both courageous and passionate,
Wendy challenges the bored, desensitized
masses of women to use their female
in finding a way out of the emotional
created by the sexual revolution.
The Beauty Of Modesty
Modesty is a quality inherent in girls,
argues. It is not prudery but a natural
Instead of trying to overcoming reticence
as some feminists advocate, she persuasively
argues that without propriety, there
be no true surrender, no richness and
in relations between two sexes.
Modesty is women's infinite capacity
embarrassment, for blushing, for shyness,
for refusing flattery. The fact is,
so natural that it has to be deliberately
bred out of girls by the debased tactics
of sex education, fashion slavery,
The natural inclination towards modesty
not a "hang up" that we should
set out to cure but rather a wonderful
that, if rediscovered and given the
social support, has the power to transform
many a life.
Why? Because it is woman's natural
It gives women the right to withhold
from men with ambiguous intentions.
forces men to make themselves worthy
women they desire. True modesty wisely
account of the inescapable differences
men and women in order to protect them
"We have been designed in such
[by God] that when we humans act like
without any restraints and without
we just don't have as much fun... Modesty
is the proof that morality is sexy."
Virginity is cool.
"Encouraged to act immodestly,"
Shallit notes by contrast, "a
exposes her vulnerability and she then
in fact, the weaker sex." In that
women are victimized while men become
as our current disastrous state of
wars demonstrates. Anorexia, teenage
and Prozac... are just three of the
of this disaster. "Why are none
grandmother's friends anorexic? Why
the plumpest of them contented?"
Shallit pointedly .
Shallit has no illusions: "If
want the men to be good, they have
to be good too."
Just this week, the Pope was saying,
no one be deceived: today, like in
being Christian means going against
with regards to the mentality of the
seeking the will of God and the authentic
good of ones neighbor instead of ones
interests and the applause of people."
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright