June 21, 2008 by 8junebugs
About the Massachusetts pregnancy pact.
Anchors who are clearly a bit removed from small-town life have demonstrated their disbelief that at least half of the 17 pregnant girls in one high school planned to fall pregnant around the same time so they could raise their babies together.
Welcome to the It Takes a Village generation.
A formal pact, okay, fine, that is a little…much, but I don’t have any problem imagining young women who (a) know they want to be mothers, (b) have grown up accustomed to living life on their own terms, and (c) think raising kids at the same time as their friends would be fun.
They’re probably right, to an extent. Motherhood requires (so I’m told) a support network. Going about it on your own is HARD. So transforming your cheerleading squad into your mommy’s group is a pretty savvy way to set yourself up for an easier time of it.
You’ve got to hand it to them–this is altogether different from getting knocked up and panicking. These chicks are–oh, my GAWD–doing it on purpose. I know there are issues and it may not be optimal for these ladies to start creating new people before they are themselves fully formed (and old enough to, as one schoolmate put it, “buy their own cigarettes”), but I have friends who have known all along that their calling is parenthood. Would I have judged them if they got pregnant when others were filling out college applications? When you remove society’s expectations, they are much the same thing.
When you grow up in a small town where most of the population sticks around, the only way to get people start seeing you as anything other than so-and-so’s kid or the paperboy is by hitting certain “grown-up” milestones. College helps tremendously–it takes you out of the everyday landscape and gives people a reason to get reacquainted with you during holidays. But if you don’t go to college or go to a local one, you’re stuck being Junior, Jenny, or “Joann’s boy” until you redefine the context.
You get married. You have a kid.
Getting a job is not enough. You wind up working for the mother of your class bully, or your aunt, or someone else whose kids probably bathed with you. But when you become a wife or a mother, you take a giant step into the adult world of your small town–your name changes (usually), you have first-word stories to share…you force “the adults” to deal with you on another level.
I’m not advocating this. But I’ve seen it and I won’t discount its power. Neither will I judge these kids for picking some guy at random to get them started; when you know everyone in town and haven’t found a partner, it’s hard to believe you ever will.
So thank you, John Roberts and Kiran Chetry, for your gobsmackedness in the face of teenage girls deciding to get pregnant and raise their rugrats on their terms. Your perspective is noted, but it doesn’t matter a damn. The pressures in a small community are entirely different from what you–we–experience in landscaped communities and high-rise condos. They may be biting off more than they can chew, but so is the B student who gets into Stanford and registers for particle physics. What’s right for them is what’s right for them, even if it’s hard, even if it offends your delicate sensibilities.
Best of luck, ladies. They don’t call it the hardest job you’ll ever have for nothin’.