Sparkle asks: what are the constraints of becoming pregnant at an early age?
Hi Sparkle –
There are really two answers to your question. The first is what the constraints are of becoming pregnant at any age.
I was spayed when I was six months old, so have no experience with pregnancy. But from what I hear, it’s the most intense experience anyone ever goes through. Your body changes in countless ways – your hormones go wild (which is of course happening in your teen years anyway, so just figure it’s more of what you’ve been already experiencing!). Your belly of course swells to many times its normal size. The pregnancy cuts into pretty much all your activities, from athletic physical ones (of course) to social and academic ones (you’ll need lots of extra sleep, crave odd foods, have to avoid lots of your favorite foods, throw up lots, and have to pee ALL THE TIME since your bladder is being sat on by the fetus!).
Then the actual giving of birth is apparently amazing and profound and unbelievably painful – well, the best description I ever heard was that it’s no different from pooping. If you were pooping a bowling ball.
These effects would be true if you were twelve or forty-two. And they’d be the same if you were single or a married woman expecting your fourth kid. Where the giant constraints come in is because you’re young. If you decide to give the child up for adoption, which is something I’m a big fan of (after all, I was adopted!), you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering about that kid, and it will always be a part of you – that you had this child. Whenever you get close to anyone, there will always be that question of if and when you tell them about this. And people will look at you differently, knowing that this happened.
And if you keep the child… then your life will truly be constrained forever. Just as every other parent’s life is. You won’t really just be “yourself” ever again – you will always be that kid’s mom. You might get very resentful about that child’s needs, and how they interfere with your life (compared to the much freer lives your friends have). If you’re still with the baby’s father, and he sticks around, that’s good – but most teenage romances don’t last, and you’ll likely find yourself still very young, looking for a boyfriend or husband who’s okay with your kid being around.
Then of course, there’s the other alternative, that you decide to end your pregnancy. Of course, the number of legal, religious, and moral issues this brings up are way too numerous and complex for me to go into here. All I’ll say is that anyone who makes that decision is making the toughest choice of their life. It’s never easy.
Sparkle, I’m the last one in the world to tell anyone to not have a baby. (I mean, they smell so cool!) But your question is beautifully asked. Having a baby is just about the most constraining thing a teenager can do. And one’s teen years are usually the time they most crave freedom and adventure. So my usual suggestion is that you hold off. Wait till you’re older. Have fun with your peers now, stay out too late, make mistakes while you don’t have to take so much responsibility for a helpless innocent who needs you all the time. Be yourself, while you still can be just yourself.
But if you decide to get pregnant and have that baby and keep it… I will bow to you and honor you. As long as you have also made the decision to give your life to that child, to put him or her before yourself in everything you do. If you do that, you can still be a wonderful mom, and have a wonderful life with that kid.
Just make sure you’ve thought it all out beforehand.
All my best,