I attended a baby shower this weekend for my 16 year old cousin. Yes, add another checkmark under the teen pregnancy tally will you. Now I like to be supportive, I mean what are you going to do – it happens, it shouldn’t but it does and I respect her choice to keep it.
However, I found it kind of difficult figuring out what to put on the card. It was blank inside as I made it myself (I’m a crafty gal) and Matt and I debated for quite some time what to write inside. “Congratulations” or “We’re so happy for you” just didn’t seem sincere. I suggested “Congratulations on becoming an unwed teen mother!” he suggested putting a condom inside and saying “use this next time”. I called Shawna and asked her opinion. She suggested a diaphragm or “Good luck”. Maybe some Planned Parenthood brochures would have been a good choice as well. Ultimately I decided to just sign our names.
The shower itself was more reminiscent of a birthday/slumber party than a baby shower. Imagine 15-20 teenage girls (along with a handful of older relatives) in a room with pizza and gifts. This girl has no idea what she’s getting into. All in all I felt a lot of pity. I felt sorry for my cousin because she won’t get to be a girl much longer. She’s so young. There’ll be no more lying around watching soaps on a summer afternoon, no carefree dates, no spur of the moment road trips to the local convenient store unless maybe she runs out of diapers. No spending her cash from her part time job on candy, CD’s and nail polish. No more living life without worrying about someone else.
I also felt sorry for her mother. There she was, thinking she was almost done raising her child and would soon have an empty nest and more time to enjoy an adult life without kids, and now she’ll be sidled with raising two, her own and her grandchild.
I felt sorry for the baby because it would probably benefit more from a more mature mother, and a loving father. I haven’t asked outright but I’m under the impression that the owner of the sperm that spawned this child is no longer in the picture.
Then I snapped myself out of it and realized that she is a good kid, except for that small matter of getting herself knocked up at 16, and she has a fabulous support system around her. There’s going to be a new member of the family, a new member of the world and I can’t help but be excited about that. She won’t love that kid any less than a 28 year old married mother would. Sure, things might be a little rough, but life is rough. I felt a lot better after that change of heart and mind and I was able to focus on other things, like how to ensure that my daughter will never, ever have interaction with any sperm infested boy/man until she’s at least 25.