Following on from yesterday’s post, I started thinking about pregnancy generally.
My experience tells me that there are still many young girls who believe that having a baby will be the answer to all of their problems. Firstly, they will have someone in their lives to love them – and this might be quite a novelty for some. Secondly, they have a misplaced vision of motherhood – some romantic ideal of baby powder and little, cute clothes, when, in reality, it is more like poo and puke.
My own daughter told me once that she was angry that many girls from her year group in school had deliberately got pregnant as they got a house, furniture and a nice cheque through the letterbox regularly, whilst she worked hard to get enough money to have a home of her own. I had to admit that her comment was backed by my experience from over thirty years of working in Secondary schools. In my first year of teaching, a fourteen year old in my tutor group was pregnant. This was actually quite a rare occasion. I remember visiting her in a home for teenage mothers. It was dire and the expectation was that she would give her baby up and go back to being a teenage girl at school. She didn’t.
As time went on, there was a much more relaxed attitude to teenage pregnancy and cases where those girls continued with their pregnancies and kept the babies themselves seemed on the increase.
What concerned me in more recent years was the gradual change which led to girls deliberately planning babies as a perceived escape route from their mundane lives, bolstered by the benefits that would be available to them. I am very much in favour of those in genuine need being supported by society – the disabled, the elderly, those who really and truly can’t find work – but have to admit to having doubts about those who choose to go down the benefit route when there are real options available.
Children deserve to be brought up by a loving parent with adequate resources to feed, shelter, educate and clothe them. This is my ideal world, far removed from reality I suppose.