As if to reinforce my point about teens needing unfettered access to medically-accurate, fact-based sex education, this headline today in Houston’s (only) paper of record:
Even more frightening were the stats–statewide–about the increasing number of 2nd births to teen moms. Not mentioned in the 6-page summary, but perhaps explored in the more in-depth research, was who those fathers are. If you want to check it out & let me know, you can navigate to the report, by Child Trends, here.
I suspect most of us have a knee-jerk reaction to teens having 2nd (and 3rd …) babies, but allow me to tell you about a determined young pregnant teenager/woman who was back in school to earn her high school diploma and get into college. She did not plan her first child, but did plan her second. She said she’d always pictured herself with two kids, and realized a couple of things:
- Her high school offered free, on-site child care, something she might not be able to get later in life.
- She wanted her kids to grow up as good friends, so didn’t want them too far apart in age.
She also told me that she didn’t learn anything in sex-ed that was at all useful, but once she got pregnant, BOY did people pile on with the helpful information about not getting pregnant again.
If you look back over your shoulder, you will see the barn door, swinging in the breeze …
It was hard to judge her for her reasoning. She was in high school, taking part in a special program that let her earn credit at community college without paying tuition. Her first child was in, and soon, her second would be, an accredited child care program. She could keep them up-to-date on all of their shots because there was also a pediatric clinic on campus.
Still, my heart goes out to the pregnant and parenting teens of Texas. I hope the grown-ups can get over ourselves and start giving y’all the right tools for taking care of yourselves.