Adding to The Problem: Young Parent Discrimination
I often wonder why people discriminate against young mothers. I often ask myself, “Is it because they cannot put themselves in another’s shoes?” How could others not see my value in the decision to not terminate a pregnancy? Do others not see how much the mother loves her child not to give the baby up? Could they not see that the mother didn’t run away from her responsibilities whether she was going to be single or not? Young mothers decide that something else is more important than them (their children). All the young mothers I know say that having a baby makes them think about their future and what’s Important for their baby.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I realized what was important to me, but most of all, it made me think about the consequences of my actions. I thought about what kind of life I wanted for my daughter. Termination of my pregnancy was out of the question for me because I wasn’t ready to take on the emotional backlash that came with it. Adoption was also out of the question for the same reason, and also, who’s to say they would be a better parent or would give her as much love as I could. I’ve seen many adopted children be treated worse than the adoptive families’ biological children. I decided that even if I became a single mother I would give her the best life, with all the love I could give her. To me, that was better than termination or adoption. I didn’t care If I lost my friends, my boyfriend, or support from society. I was not going to let anyone come between me and my child.
When we treat teen pregnancy as an epidemic, it’s not fair. Young moms get treated like some disease; people wrinkle up their face like as if the air we breathe is contagious. Most ignore our accomplishments, as if praising us for doing a good job would seal the fate of others. Why is it different when an older mother’s child is going through a growth stage (example: terrible twos)? How come they are not looked down on like young moms when their child has a temper tantrum at the park? Why aren’t they labeled as bad parents too? The answer is discrimination; I think it’s a shame and it makes me sick.
Discriminating against young mothers is adding to the problem. Some schools are publicly shaming pregnant teens in front of their peers and suggesting they go to an alternative programs. Then there is all this talk about how pregnant teens drop out of school. Everywhere you go people are shunning young parents, day after day reminding them that they made a mistake. Who would not be depressed after hearing that broken record played day after day?
People who discriminate against young parents should be ashamed because they’re adding to the problem. They need to realize it’s too late to advocate for adoption and abortion after a child is born. If they really want to help, they should be advocating for sexual education in schools, not by hanging young mothers for all to see in hopes of setting an example to our youth. Our youth is learning from society’s peer pressure to shun teens that are pregnant, causing lack of support for teen mothers and fathers from their own peers. This can cause teen fathers to walk out on their responsibilities because society promotes it’s better to give up your child than to own up to your responsibilities. Society doesn’t shame fathers who walk out on their families half as much as they do teen moms who own up to their responsibilities.
We need to bring society together instead of dividing it because discrimination from society is not working. Everyone needs to realize the cause and effect of discrimination. We need to be a part of the solution, not add to the problem. For just a few seconds think like a teen parent and put yourself in someone else’s shoes beside your own.