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H.O.W. to Make A Difference in the Life of an Unwed Pregnant Mother
Pregnant Happens, Get Over It
It isn't rocket science, females get pregnant. While for me it would have been an answer to my prayers, for many it is an accident. Of course we can play the "blame game", but to what avail? It is a little too late to warn of the dangers of sex before marriage. It is also too late to counsel a young woman lacking in self-confidence that she need not settle for the first guy that comes along. Instead, it is time to step up and be the person that the young girl needs. You've always wanted to do the right thing. Will you do it now?
A Miracle, Not a Mistake
Children are Not Mistakes
It's a fact of life that mistakes happen, but I refuse to believe that a child is a mistake. When I was fifteen my unmarried sister, who is seven years my senior, found out that she was pregnant. All of a sudden the atmosphere in my home became uncomfortable to say the least. I was raised Catholic, my mother was very devout. My brother had attended the seminary for two years. All three of us kids had received at least ten years of Catholic education, if not more. Heck, the parish priest, who I thought of as Uncle Bill, was at our house every evening working jigsaw puzzles with my mother and watching "Barnaby Jones", "Kojak", or "Baretta." But, it still happened. Then something else happened. The loser father skipped out of town and missed out on raising a precious gift from God. (This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.)
Gradually, my parents and my sister started looking forward to the event, as well they should. My sister, who had been quite tiny, became huge. She eventually had the baby, who wasn't too big, a month late. Our lives changed immediately. Although I was in high school, I got up many nights with Chris so that sis would have her wits about her for work the next morning. I have to admit, I miss those days when I would rock him in my grandmother's red-cloth rocker, singing old songs and lullabies to what appeared to be a purse-lipped little cherub. When I would tiptoe to his crib, place him gently in it, and slowly tiptoe away, I would be relieved that he didn't wake up again. That is until I was safely under the warmth of my covers, ready to sleep for three more hours, and he would start to cry again. In all actuality, I really miss those days, uhm, I mean nights, and the feeling of his warm breath on my neck as I rocked him back and forth.
Eventually my sister would marry and have two other little boys -- each a unique gift. How blessed we were. But how many others can say that? I have had many students who have gone through the same thing -- pregnant at a very early age. Yet for many of them, they did not have the support system that my sister did. Instead they have been ridiculed, and left to fend for themselves. Where is the humanity in that? Is there anyone so perfect that they haven't made a mistake somewhere along the way?
It saddens me to know that in some countries, such as Malaysia, young girls are so shamed by their parents and others around them that girls dump their babies or kill themselves. Even here in the United State, young unwed pregnant teens have felt compelled to try to hide their pregnancies, choosing instead to discard their babies upon chlidbirth. What signal have we sent to these young women that makes them believe that killing a child, or themselves, is better than having a child out of wedlock? We have to change this attitude and show these young ladies that it is okay to be grateful for a new life.
Forced into a Corner?
- Bellarmine Student Charged with Murder in Baby's Death
A Bellarmine University student has been charged with murder in the death of a baby girl she gave birth to in a dorm room.
Breaking the Cycle
Many times we observe things happening as if they are vicious cycles. If we don't educate and take care of one another, poor judgments tend to repeat themselves. Therefore we witness generation after generation of families continuing to live in poverty, being forced to take menial labor jobs, and struggling to put food on the table. When I was a teenager, just after becoming a news junky, a saw an article on the nightly news about a young woman who had struggled for years to make ends meet for herself and her daughter. The details of the story are sketchy now, but I seem to recall that the young woman had been the daughter of an unwed mother. Rather than learn from the struggles of her mother, she sought refuge in the arms of a boy, which lead to her own teenage pregnancy. My response at the time was to write about it. I wrote a poem entitled "Fifteen" which can be found on HubPages.
HOW You Can Help
It is so easy to turn our backs on those who need us, often times without realizing that there was something we could have done. What would you do if given the opportunity? How would you react? Here are just a few ideas:
- Talk to the young lad in a respectful manner, which will give her a sense of self-worth. Let her know that she is not alone, and can always talk to you.
- If you are male and feel uncomfortable with #1 above, put the young lady in touch with a local minister or social worker.
- Offer to drive her to medical appointments and guide her in proper prenatal care.
- Speak to her realistically about the future, but also be excited about the baby. This way she won't romanticize the pregnancy, making the baby seem more like a toy. Instead, she will come to terms with what she is up against, while at the same time begin to grow into a mature young lady, ready to take care of her child for the long term.
- If you are a teacher, don't allow other students to bad mouth the student. This is definitely no time to be a bully.
- After the newness of the newborn has worn off, help her to look toward the future, again, realistically.
- Help her find support groups and resources to raise her baby in a clean, healthy atmosphere, while still allowing for her own growth and reassurance.
These are only a few of the ways that you can help a young mother succeed in raising a healthy, happy child, while at the same time providing for her own emotional well-being.