At the end of last week there were multiple articles popping up online about the resurgence of pregnancy pacts. Hellobeautiful.com had uncovered a Facebook photo of four high school girls showing off their expectant bellies while their friends commented that the pic was “kute” and wondered who would be the first to drop. I didn’t even want to click on the articles because the last time I had heard about pregnancy pacts was last January when a Memphis high school came under pressure for 90 of its teens being pregnant or having a baby that school year. The rate was chalked up to abstinence-only teaching, accidental pregnancies and unfortunately the thought that being a teen mom is “cute.” Before that it was the 2008 Gloucester High pregnancy pact involving 17 teens that sparked the Lifetime Original movie, and being four years removed from that, I wanted to believe that there was no way this craziness had become a trend again, but there the blatant evidence was staring me in the face. Looking at the photo like someone trying to decipher hieroglyphics, all I could think was, where are the non-pregnancy pacts?
I don’t particularly get bent out of shape over teen pregnancies. I do in the sense that it’s an unfortunate situation, an accident of the utmost consequence, and a life-altering experience that makes me feel sympathy and compassion for the teens involved, but when it comes to intentionally deciding you are going to create a child knowing full well you cannot care for it, I can’t wrap my head around that choice. Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote a great five-point article to try to ease his frustrations with the reality behind the image seen in the photo. I love how he presented his ideas from an optimistic viewpoint of what he hopes are the circumstances behind these girls’ decisions, but I’m going to remix his list into my own non-pregnancy pact from the perspective of a teen girl. If you’re at the point of considering making a pregnancy pact there’s no reason to sugar coat reality; you need the facts laid out for you in the form of tough love.
- We are not fully equipped to provide for any kids without depending on the help of the state or living off of relatives until we are deep into our 20s. We can be as optimistic as we like but the fact is that if we’re in high school, still living with a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin because we don’t have the means to provide for ourselves, possibly because we aren’t even of a legal working age yet. Considering we can’t provide for self, we certainly can’t provide for another without being a burden on someone else in order to keep up with the pregnashians. Making that decision in spite of this knowledge is not fair to myself, my child, my family, or society.
- While attempting to become pregnant we’re also putting ourselves at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Knocked up may not be the only thing we get while we forego protection to have a baby. The HIV rate for women in certain areas of the US now rivals African nations and it’s not slowing down. Just because the virus is no longer a death sentence doesn’t mean it’s easy to live with by any means, not to mention it can be passed on to the child, like other infections such as Herpes. It’s selfish to play with our health and the health of our baby in that way.
- Our children’s fathers will not be in our lives forever. High school sweethearts that turn into 40-year marriages are not a dime a dozen. The likelihood that we will be broken up by the end of the school year, let alone the end of our high school career, let alone the end of my nine-month pregnancy term is far greater. Since this still seems to be a trend, it bears emphasizing that a baby will not keep a boy, if anything the feeling of being trapped will push him away even more. In the slight chance that my child’s father will stick around and be a father, his financial means are the same as mine meaning there isn’t much he can do for our baby.