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.
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