Babies Having Babies
During my freshman year of high school, one of my classmates got pregnant. I wasn’t friends with her and I never saw her with a boyfriend, so I never knew who knocked her up. Even the other kids, who gossiped about her growing belly at lunch, didn’t have the details.
After watching her, along with all the Very Special Episodes of 90’s teen shows that featured pregnant girls, I spent the beginning of my time as a sexually active woman in stark terror I’d get pregnant. Despite taking precautions, I feared broken condoms or any other odd circumstance that would give me the same reputation as my classmate (as well as result in my mother ending my life).
Apparently, flannel shirts aren’t the only trend that’s fallen out of favor since my high school days. High school girls in Gloucester are actually trying to get pregnant.
The Globe reported on the increase of teen pregnancies at Gloucester high a few weeks ago, and quoted the school nurse as saying some of the girls were sad to find they weren’t with child.
Each time, Daly stood in her lab with her eyes closed, little white wand in hand waiting for the results to appear. When they were negative, she breathed a sigh of relief. When they were positive, she braced herself for the unpredictable emotional response that comes with telling a teenager she’s going to be a mother. Some girls broke down in tears. Others broke into smiles. One exclaimed, “Sweet!”
Did she forget to add the “. . .mother of God, what am I going to do with a baby?”
If you’re like me, your first thought is what are these girls thinking? Both the Globe and Time cite the weakening fishing economy’s effect on Gloucester families. From the Time article:
[I]in recent years, [fishing] jobs have all but disappeared overseas, and with them much of the community’s wherewithal. “Families are broken,” says school superintendent Christopher Farmer. “Many of our young people are growing up directionless.”
Let me give you a direction, ladies—out.
Get out of Gloucester. You’re only 40 miles away from Boston, which has dozens of colleges for you to choose from. Every teenager feels unloved and that her family is horrible. But you listen to your Tori Amos CDs (or whatever angry girls like these days), suffer through four years of high school hell, and leave town to get an education so you aren’t limited to fishing jobs or child-rearing.
Now, if you need me, I’ll be checking to make sure my birth control hasn’t expired.