Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not preventing teen pregnancy

I’ve read a few things lately that have noted that a teenage girl who wants to have children rather than not wanting to have children is at higher risk for teen pregnancy.* However, we spend a lot of our time in young women’s lessons and activities talking about how marvelous and glorious motherhood is, and how a girls’s highest calling will be that of a mother.**

It seems that we’re sowing the seeds for teen pregnancies with that—or rather (more likely, i’d say) we’re at least counteracting some of the protective influences against teen pregnancy that active Mormon girls tend to have.***

So, then, why do we push the whole baby-making thing? I mean, it’s not like women who aren’t raised in contexts where their religion goes on and on about the glories of motherhood automatically refuse to ever conceive children, so why do we cling to our rhetoric on childbearing when it may actually even be harmful?

* For “teen pregnancy”, read “unwed teen pregnancy”. Also, the studies i’ve seen have shown no difference between girls who want to have children and those who are ambivalent about it—basically, the only protective effect comes from actually actively not wanting to have a baby.

** Which annoys me, actually, if for no reason other than that some of them will not be mothers. Way to set ’em up for an emotional fall, folks!

*** Strong religious belief, familial and community support, and such—not that all active Mormon girls have all of those, but the likelihood of any given active Mormon girl having those is comparatively high.


Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

Sometimes you make good points, but you mostly just unproductively complain. And you've only been funny once or twice. So what's the point of this blog, then? Are you trying to be funny, are you trying to satirically demonstrate quirks of the church to hopefully promote improvement as a people, or are you just voicing complaints without trying to provide any productive suggestions?

I've read your blog for a while, but you don't seem to have anything meaningful to say, so I'm unsubscribing.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Methinks Matthew R. Hall, Esq. does not understand the meaning of the word snark.

All my lessons talked about motherhood in the context of within the bonds of marriage. I don't think anyone ever thought they were saying we should have babies willy-nilly. It wasn't "right then," it was "in the future."

And, seriously, they needed a study to tell them that girls who want to have babies (right now) are at higher risk of teen pregnancy? Isn't that kind of obvious.

David B said...

Ah, Matthew R. Hall, Esq. provides us with a delightfully heady brew sourced from the finest grapes of wrath. Very promising—it starts without any lead-in, lacking the buttery notes of flattery that so many enjoy but that i (at least) tend to find distracting. Unfortunately, it falls a bit flat in the middle, asking a pair of questions that could have been answered by looking at the title of the blog and consulting a decently comprehensive dictionary.*

The end, i must say, provides a decent kick, but it doesn’t even last long enough to provide a lingering bitterness, what with the “ima take my ball and go home” nature of the closing.

All in all, though, i see some potential here. After all, given that one of Matthew R. Hall, Esq.’s blogs is titled “Nonsensical whims of a madman”, one does retain the hope that a really, really enjoyable rant or two lies in his future.

* Hint: Basically, what Heather said about it. Snark is sometimes funny, but that’s not a requirement of the genre—and, if nothing else, wouldn’t providing snark necessitate complaining?

David B said...

And Heather, i think that you’re right—most of the time. That’s not always the case, though—not infrequently, the rhetoric veers off the rails into pure “mommyhood is an unmitigated good” territory.

I suspect that this has become more frequent in the past few years, what with the (false, but widespread in certain religious and political circles) belief that nobody wants to have kids anymore, and the nation and species are doomed if the birthrate declines.