Reality’s Birth Control

Okay, we all know that DD and I grew up in very southern communities—with the constant harping of being a ‘wholesome lady’ and always putting forth our ‘best manners.’ I attended Sunday school every Sunday in my prettiest dress and tried my dearest to take each lesson to heart.  I remember the fear of going to Hell if I applied the mornings lesson to my own innocent, 5 yr old life. Yes, that is growing up in the Bible Belt. Religion by fear. But that is another blog topic that I’ll rant on later. For now, teaching abstinance in schools. Is it cool? Well, coming from a community where you were lucky to have the taboo science teacher who MIGHT slip it in during a science experiment, I think it is VERY important.  Look, I get the argument. Parents have a moral responsibility and right to teach their children about the birds and bees. Well wouldn’t that be a perfect world?  Wanna know how I found out the REAL deal?  A girl in my SEVENTH GRADE class got knocked up and thought it was cool (as a 12 year old might) to tell us all her secrets in the girls bathroom.  At that point, I certainly had not had Aunt Flo visit me yet, and was not entirely certain how the process worked.  But I promptly went home and asked my Mother, who being the good Southern woman she is, gave me the details in a respectable manner. Including the discussion alerting me that I can always come to her with questions or issues, and to please please speak to her about birth control before I make any rash decisions. But, I have good parents.  Unfortunately I can’t say the same for many adolescents out there. I suspect many kids these days are learning by doing. Do we not remember little Alfie and his baby mama drama? Kids grow up too fast already, so trying to shelter them from something they are inevitably curious about is probably not the wisest idea.  I know that I want my own children (someday) to have the benefit of knowledge so that they can be proactive in their decisions.  Clearly, I hope that my children decide to wait and make educated decesions, but I also realize that they are abducted by hormones and social pressures well before they know what has happened to them. Let’s be practical.

Now, recently I’ve taken to watching MTV’s real life drama “16 and Pregnant.” Have you seen this show? If this isn’t a case against unprotected sex I don’t know what is.  This show documents the struggles associated with having a child at a young age. And it really runs the gammit with sitatuations from a couple trying to ‘play house’ on their own, to a girl who isn’t sure just exactly who the father is, to a scared youth who ‘texted’ (yes TEXTED!) her news to her mother from class—clearly she was ready.  You see firsthand how their lives are forever changed (I did not say ruined, I said changed) and that they are forced to give up the glorious days of no responsiblity.  Most of them won’t enjoy Prom, college romances or frat parties, skipping classes to hang out with friends, or even something as simple as a day at the mall.  What’s worse, is you really see the child clinging to the forced adult. These kids aren’t ready. Many of them don’t even know what their body is going through (as evidenced by their concern of ‘how much this is gonna hurt me’ commentary). I am a firm believer in teaching sexual health in school systems, or even after school progams if the community gets its panties in a tizzy.  After all, if you are a responsible parent and want to keep things on your own terms then you can elect to have your child not participate. BUT keep in mind, they WILL learn about sex and they WILL experiement, so how do you want them to find out?

Kudos to MTV for taking a backseat to glamorizing bratiness (Super Sweet 16) and documenting a true issue in today’s youth culture. I think this show could be of some value to teens everywhere. I’m 26 and married and thank my stars everyday that I have the smart Southern Mama I do, even though I know it was difficult for her.




Filed under My Life - Boston Belle, News, Pop Culture

4 responses to “Reality’s Birth Control

  1. As a mother to a 13 year old, we’ve watched not only 16 and pregnant but also the horribly over-acted fluffy bit of crap called Secret Life of an American Teenager.

    I applaud your support of sex education in the classroom and completely and wholeheartedly agree. Children need to be educated and learning it in a safe, neutral environment in addition to open conversations at home is key. But the classroom misses something that only parents can teach, and it needs to start well before these children hit puberty.

    I am also the mother of a 23 year old son, who I gave birth to at the age of 16. I became pregnant not out of a lack of knowledge (though admittedly what I knew I learned from friends, not parents) but out of a lack of self-esteem. Far too many parents and educators miss the real issue at hand – the majority of young women that get pregnant aren’t as naive as they’d like to believe. It’s a lack of self-esteem and a good foundation of morals as well as the desire to be loved that greatly contribute to both sexual activity and teenage pregnancies. Both of my children are aware of the struggles I faced and overcame and know that it’s not a path I would choose for either one of them.

    My 13 year old is not only aware of the mechanics of sex and pregnancy, she also has a good self image, a plan for her future that involves children after college and marriage and a dedication to abstinence, which she demonstrates to other kids by wearing a purity ring (at her suggestion, not mine). Will she have sex before marriage? Perhaps. But by being open and loving while instilling moral values in her I know that when the time comes, my daughter will be making the right decisions.

    Now I’ll jump off my soap box and give you back your blog… 🙂

  2. friendly daughter

    On the one hand, I wish my folks had been MORE forthcoming with the good ol’ traditional values. As religious and conservative as they were, I never remember being told that virginity before marriage was particularly desirable. Isn’t that odd?

    Mom said that sex while under HER roof was positively verboten, but that once we got out on our own, we were free to make whatever choices we were prepared to live with.

    I’m the first woman in four generations to have had more than one sex partner, and it DOES feel a little sad to have naively thrown myself at a series of guys who plainly did not love me.

    I guess I thought virginity was silly and antiquated.

    Love itself is a silly and antiquated idea if you think sex is just another leisure activity, though.

    I think that’s where the objection to sex ed comes from; there are plenty of very well-educated people who think that with the right risk-management strategies, sex can be made as unremarkable as driving 80 mph on the freeway is these days.

    And they are probably right. Once that happens, we can expect to start learning about how the Middle-Class Myth of Romantic Love is also a discredited tool of the patriarchy. Bleh.

    But to do that, to teach, basically, risk-management instead of theology, about sex… is to suck all the magic, all the deeper meaning, right out of the thing.

  3. Big Apple Belle

    Friendly Daughter-

    Firstly, thank you for your comment, I do enjoy when conversation sparks from a blog topic. I appreciate your thoughts and do see where you’re coming from, but I think that reality (that of a horny, naive teenager) does not always allow for the mature and romantic thoughts on love and sex. I can say that now that I am madly in love I do value sex for its beauty and bond it lends to my marriage and relationship between me and my partner. BUT, I’m not quite sure I would have been able to fully appreciate how special it is having found ‘the one’ had I not had experiences before marriage. Do not get me wrong, I was very conservative in my pre-marital experiences (a Belle of course), but I think it was important to the strength and success of my marriage to understand just how amazing it is when its right.

    Aside from all this, my blog was not to define love or how sex plays into it. In fact, it isn’t about love at all. It is about providing an educated foundation for young adults who DO choose to partake in sexual activity. Its about teaching consequence and precaution, so that we can prevent long-term damage through disease, or provide facts about pregnancy and how to be smart. Kids at 14 (or younger sadly) don’t always think about love in the same mature way that adults to, or if they do, it still doesn’t necessarily work out. My pro in this blog is to provide education so that whenever you face that decision you are rightly and fairly prepared to make it wise.

  4. friendly daughter

    Ah, yes. I know that’s how we’re all supposed to feel about the matter now– it’s practical, of course.

    I guess my point is, not everyone is there yet, and it’s sad to see the irrational, the sacred, the meaning, all die in favor of chalkboard analysis of sperm cells and the Fallopian tube and the mechanics of AIDS transmission. Feh. Do the horny fourteen-year-olds really take all that stuff into account before fumbling their way into each others’ pants?

    But I suppose airtight studies have already been done to determine the efficacy of sex ed programs.

    Public schools are just so BAD at dealing with matters of wonder and awe. Perhaps it isn’t fair to ask them to reflect any value system short of “don’t bash your classmate’s skull in.”

    But they are not so bad at banging out the basic facts.

    Gotta give the devil his due. 😉

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