Tuesday 2 September 2008

The hard facts about preventing teenage pregnancies

They do get pregnant

It is now a news story that you have a probably read about and I would not dwell too much on the exact event itself but the context in relation to society as a whole.

A young beautiful woman with a fascinating life in the executive leadership of her home state gets plucked from obscurity to join in a national ticket for a job that leaves her a heartbeat away from world leadership.

She has five children, one would be loved dearly through the personal situation of having Down’s Syndrome, one would tug at the heart strings as he get sent to a war zone to fight for his country and one is a parental dilemma, she is 5-months pregnant out of wedlock at 17.

Conservative or liberal, in America or anywhere else, I am sure we all have a story to tell about daughter, sister or niece who happens to have fallen pregnant by circumstance.

Did it jump on you?

I have been witness to at least one interrogation of a housemaid in our home where my mother had having noticed the spitting, the whites of the eyes and early morning discomforts asked questions that included if I was responsible for the housemaid's anatomical changes.

Oh! Mother! You surprise me, whilst, I might have been interfered with, I have never interfered with our staff, she should have known that even if opportunity and privilege presented itself, the maid would never be laid; I would hope I was brought up both well and discerning enough to behave appropriately.

The funniest question if it was not that serious came when the girl could not account for how she fell pregnant, so she sneered in Yoruba (O fo mo e ni), which translates to in context, if you do not know how you got pregnant, did the baby just jump on you and result in an unexplained conception?

Dealing with a rampaging dilemma

In one instance, I could well tell when it happened, my mother had gone to have her hair done on a day we were to travel to our home town, as the driver arrived to take us away, my cousin and I had gone to get mother, leaving the driver and the maid at home – when we returned, the maid’s hair was all messed up she looked dishevelled, I just suspected something had happened.

Two months after, I found out exactly what had happened, the driver had taken advantage of her, most definitely raped her and the result was this rampaging dilemma that resulted in the sacking of the driver, a termination and the return of the maid to her people.

The truth from the delusions

But this does not half represent the fact that no matter how devout, strict and disciplined our families are, there is little we can do to prevent or arrest teenage pregnancies if we are not open about the possibilities – boys and girls are experimenting with sex and suddenly finding out the potency of their sexual organs after the fact – the sperm of the boys can fertilise the eggs of the girls and result in a PREGNANCY! Shock Horror!!!

I have never in my early life been warned of the possibility that this could happen, rather I have heard threats of foreboding, the girls terrified into nothingness with the father bellowing from afar – If a girl brings a pregnancy to my house, I will ... unprintable and unspeakable.

Insurance brings some assurance

Now, having no kids puts me at a disadvantage, but I have seen other parents do the very pragmatic, they have put condoms in the bags of their kids realising that adolescents would be adolescents with the probability that what they have been warned against might well be what they would indulge in.

So, as an insurance despite their stern entreaties, the condom is not so much a license to be promiscuous but a warning that if the child does find themselves in a tight situation of frenzied excitement, there would be the possible or slight presence of mind to wrap it up before dipping it in.

Unfortunately, there are many parents who cannot countenance the reasonableness of this approach and have lived to rue the day they have not been more forth-coming about the realities of life that good sex education prevents in the long term.

The more religious have joined in cults of the ring [Source: Silver Ring Thing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] saving themselves until marriage in sexual abstinence vows; a movement and discipline in numbers that I commend, but what if the ring is not a good enough contraceptive at a moment of unanticipated weakness?

The facts of life are

As the child falls pregnant, many parents despair at the longer term and wonder if the life of their child is about to be truncated with a responsibility the child is hardly ready for or complicated by a decision the child had no power to make – there have been extremes from having the baby to term, telling the child that it was a still-birth whilst put the baby up for adoption to the trauma of an abortion.

Can we not agree that kids do experiment and the best thing to do is provide material and knowledge to prevent unwanted pregnancies and through that we most definitely would not have to deal with the matter of abortion or other complicated life decisions?

It is time to throw away those pseudo-religious goggles and the hubris of supposed insulation of our children from societal ills because we have been such good parents, guardians or mentors and face the possibilities that could hit us in the face so hard we cannot fathom when and where it all went wrong.

Very few of those out-of-wedlock pregnancies results in the seeming fairy tale ending of the event I alluded to at the beginning of this blog – young secret lovers having stolen a moment of sexual excitement now planning on becoming man and wife; in all, I wish that couple the very best of good fortune.

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