Do you remember trying to avoid pregnancy in high school? Or was it just me?
I vividly remember pregnancy being considered the WORST thing that could possibly happen to you at that age. Not failing an exam, or a subject or even an entire year!
Pregnancy most certainly topped the list of worst possible life outcomes.
Pregnancy Would ‘Destroy’ Our Lives
For me it was never the baby itself, or destroying what I can see now (that I no longer have it), was once a glorious figure, or even the bloke himself- I really liked my hubby then boyfriend all those years ago… possibly even more than I do right now.
The thought of my family’s utter disappointment, my mother’s rage my grandmother’s grief and just the sheer disgrace that it would bring with it is what fuelled my fear of unplanned teenage pregnancy.
I felt obligated to do things ‘the right way’ by them – study, get an amazing job, buy a house, travel, get engaged, get hitched and ultimately start a family just before my body clock ran out of time and hopefully before I ran out of energy to chase after my future children.
Personally I couldn’t stick to it though because my hubby’s parents had an idea of who he was supposed to marry- he comes from a background of arranged marriages. The kind of union which ensures only the finest of bloodlines gets to procreate with their son. And my mother, although once best friends with my hubby’s family, hated their guts at the thought that we weren’t a good enough bloodline… I presumably wasn’t good enough for their son… as a parent and a human being I can somewhat see where she was coming from.
Another obstacle was the fact that I had a set wedding date in mind. It is one considered incredibly lucky in Chinese culture and although I am not Chinese, I’m also not one to ignore the blissful magic of positive superstitious beliefs.
Pregnancy was our only option in enabling us to get married on the date that I so desperately wanted. I mean there was no changing our parent’s stances. We weren’t teenagers, in fact we were in our mid twenties! But it still enraged our families no end, to the point where my mother didn’t attend our wedding, nor did my hubby’s father.
We got hitched shotgun style at the registry… I had hoped that one day we could simply redo the entire thing once all the rage had passed and our families were on talking terms once more. Meanwhile a whole decade of marriage has passed and still no change.
Pregnancy Is So Unpredictable
I felt lucky back then to have been able to fall pregnant in the timeframe that we needed, but I cannot express how incredibly blessed I feel now with the deeper understanding I have of how completely unpredictable conception truly is!
It’s not as easy as I thought it was in high school to simply get knocked up. Yes, I admit that it just takes one time, one missed pill, one night of unprotected passion, heck people even experience pregnancy after a one night stand. So yes, it sometimes does ‘just happen’ for some people, but for others, it doesn’t always play out that way.
Such A Heartbreaking Struggle
One of my closest friends, who I’ve been besties with since kindergarten, has done EVERYTHING ‘the right way’. She is just such a wonderful person and the type of daughter any parent would be proud to have… especially mine.
She studied hard, works even harder, opened her own business, travelled, bought her own homes, met the man of her dreams- he is as glorious as what she is and they are ‘soulmates’ in every sense of the word. Heavens, they are so in love that he proposed TWICE… I’m still waiting for a single engagement ring from my hubby!
Conception isn’t being kind to them though, and it’s heart-wrenching.
Every time I have to break my own pregnancy news to her I feel the deepest guilt, because I want it for her so incredibly badly! And even though I know my news isn’t taking anything away from her I can’t help but feel hurt for her at the same time.
It would be silly to think that pregnancy announcements didn’t trigger some people who are trying incredibly hard to conceive for excessively long periods of time. I know how it would impact me and make me question why it wasn’t working for my hubby and I especially if everyone around me was having babies.
Pregnancy Is Not The Enemy
If I could go back and educate my teenage self about anything, it would be that accidental pregnancy is not the enemy. Acceptance or lack there of, of human circumstances, being unwilling to grant your child freedom, to want to live your life through them, to maintain a rigid nature which controls every aspect of your child’s life – that’s the real enemy.
I remember not being allowed to talk to anyone on the phone, not attend school dances, or a single birthday party- including visiting anyone of my friends homes for ANY reason. Heck, I’ve only been to a nightclub once in my entire life! All for my mother’s and grandmother’s overwhelming fear of teenage pregnancy.
Some parents choose to teach their children that pregnancy is by far the worst thing that could ever happen to them. My mother often told me that given her time over she would never have had kids. And I respect that her views are different to my own. But I think it’s also imperative that people really put things into perspective, especially when scaremongering their young – what truly are devastating outcomes in life and what simply aren’t.
Watching three of my closest friends struggle with conception for years and have countless medical appointments and procedures is right up there with devastating life scenarios for me. Now that’s not to promote teenage, unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, but only to try and put things into perspective.
How The Tables Have Turned
We once feared pregnancy as though it were the end of the world, but now we wait with baited breath for a second pink line to show up on a pregnancy test and even pray for it with every fibre of our beings.
Yes, a pregnancy that is unwanted or unplanned has the potential to cause quite an upheaval. But it most certainly is not the end of the world. It’s not cancer or any other incurable disease and your chances of dying from it are thankfully quite slim.
The fear of pregnancy was used like a weapon to achieve ultimate parental control. I believe that honesty and trust would have been far more compelling than instilling a sense of embarrassment and dishonour. Especially when you consider that children, teenagers, grow up, they remember these things and eventually they see through them.
Honest, unbridled communication is a powerful thing. And in reality, the facts of sex and pregnancy has the potential of being far scarier than simply telling a teen how badly a baby would ruin their life and that of their family’s, forever.
Did your parents make you fear pregnancy when you were growing up? Tell us in the comments below.