Beyond the Birds and Bees: Teenage Pregnancy
Came across an article about Jamie Lynn Spears today that she did for Glamour magazine just ahead of her 21st birthday in April. Remember Jamie Lynn? She’s the cute little sister to the “other” famous Spears, Britney.
My girls used to love Jamie Lynn’s show on Nickelodeon,Zoey 101. Truth be told, I didn’t mind watching it either. It was a cute show and I remember thinking that if she could keep it together, she may actually have a shot at making it post-Disney. The show was on the air from 2005-2008 ending only after Spears had announced to the world in 2007 that she was 16, pregnant and unwed.
I remember the day that I heard the news vividly.. it was during the Christmas holidays of 2007 and my in-laws were visiting. As I often do, I opted to use the news as an opportunity to talk H#1 about the situation and what it meant to the 16-year-old Spears. When it comes to serious topics like this, I’m all about Shock Parenting.. I do NOT beat a drum and channel my inner peace. I tell it like it is and am actually pretty damn blunt. In a nutshell, I said that Spears’ life was ruined. My MIL overheard my statement and chimed in that “her life isn’t ruined, it’s just going to be different”. Yes. Different is a word one could use, but not me, not now. I realize that what I said was harsh, but the last thing that I ever want is for my girls to have some glamorized vision of teenage pregnancy. So much so that one of the only shows that is flat-out forbidden in this house is MTV’s “Teen Mom”.
Back to the article. I found the article to be an honest insight as to what Spears has been through the past few years. I really do respect her decision to head back home to try to raise her daughter in as little limelight as possible. But the things she said about being a normal teen with hormones under the scrutiny of the wholesome image of Disney made me sad. She was afraid to talk to anyone about the fact that she was sexually active (with the only boyfriend she’d ever had) because of the fear of that wholesome expectation. This fear is what caused her to be afraid to ask her doctor for birth control. In her words, “I was judged for something that probably most everyone does”.
The math is simple…
Sexually active + no birth control, quite often = teenage pregnancy.
I don’t think Spears’ fear of opening up about her sexuality is any different from any other teenager. Whether they answer to Disney or whether they answer to Mom and Dad, teens still struggle with the fact that, in someone’s eyes, they’re viewed as wholesome. Just like our kids don’t want to imagine their parents having sex, we surely don’t want to think that our kids are having sex. But they are and unless we make sure the lines of communication are wide open with nojudgement, the chance is there for an unwanted pregnancy or STD.
It’s hard to accept this stage of our kids lives. Remember when the biggest thing you worried about was why your 2-year-old wouldn’t stop crying? That’s a cakewalk compared to the issues that lie before us. If we’re not having these talks with our kids now, it’ll be ALL of us that won’t stop crying if we’re faced with a life changing event like an unwanted pregnancy.
So if you haven’t started having the conversations already, make a promise to yourself that you’ll start ASAP. I’m not saying barge into their room, but when the opportunity presents itself, be prepared to start the conversation. Talk about sex.. talk about contraception.. talk about abstinence and talk about what could happen. Because I know in this house, the only babies that I want to see for the next 15 years are the ones that are visiting.
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