I am actually surprised that she and I are still “friends” because her mother and I had a falling out. Actually, that is a nice way of saying what I really want to say about her mother. Her mother helped destroy something that was fragile to begin with because she just knew that she was right.
But that is the past and in the present this 16 year old is pregnant. My heartbreaks every time I read a status update that is negative (and there is more negative then positive). She is so young and full of all the angst that a teenager should have and now she is pregnant. I can not imagine being pregnant in high school. I can not even imagine being pregnant in my twenties. I can imagine all of the things that she will miss out because of this one mistake.
I remember a conversation with the mother about a concert the teenager wanted to go to. Mom did not think it would be appropriate. I thought she should just take her daughter to the rock concert. She lectured me on why she would not do that and proceeded to tell me of all the evils of going to that concert would cause.
I may be exaggerating, a bit, but when I think of the mom, now, I think of an uber right wing, republican, Bible beating, Sarah Palin stereotype. You know that stereotype… someone who burns books based on the title and not bothering to read the whole novel. She loves her girls and is involved with them and her community but I do think that a good old fashion book burning would suit her just fine. She is very much out of touch.
I wonder what she thinks of that concert now that her 16 year old daughter is pregnant.
I also have a “friend” that is rebellious and walking that fine line between adulthood and childhood. She could easily become the next 16 & pregnant but her mom took her to Planned Parenthood. Not that it is a guarantee that she won’t be a statistic but maybe her odds are lowered. My friend takes her daughters (she has three, but only one that is over the top) to rock concerts and is involved in everything they do, day in and day out. She is a great mom and an amazing, beautiful woman. She has always been the example of what kind of mom I wanted to be if I ever had a girl. Again, I may be exaggerating a bit.
All of these things take on a whole new meaning now that I have a little girl. I never thought I would have a girl. I thought I would be a mom to a bunch of boys. Never a girl. Still not sure how to even shop in girl mode for her and by the grace of God (or Goddess) I have received some wonderful hand me downs that have made the last ten months so much easier.
Eventually, I will have to start deciding on what will be the foundation of her “style” and I will have to learn to be a mom to a girl. I want to be able to have a relationship with her that does not cross the “my mom is my friend” line but one that is open to honest talking. I want to establish appropriate boundaries as well as be available to her as a sounding board. I don’t want to spew my ideas and thoughts to her and expect her to follow them with out question but I do want her to make well informed choices.
Ultimately, I want to be the kind of mom that is patient, understanding and trusting. I want to her to learn from my mistakes and know that I will love her regardless and not anyway. Phd in Parenting wrote in her blog titled Dear Daughter (yes, I stole the title):
I try to set the stage by setting a good example, repeating myself a lot, and just stopping to listen.In a sentence, she summed up what I want to do with both my kids.
Girls, I think, have it harder. This is why I wanted to have all boys. One (pretty big) oops and her whole life is changed forever and having the responsibility to raise another human being. Sure, boys are changed but not the same way. They will never understand what carrying a baby will feel like and how it will change you and they are rarely made to live with their consequences in the same way. I think of what would happen if my baby girl got knocked up and pray it never does. For one, I don’t believe in preaching abstaining when sex is everywhere.
But to be honest... I just don't get teen pregnancy in this day and age. I am not going to pretend to understand. Mistakes happen. I have the utmost respect for the teen moms. I will not pretend to relate, because I can't nor do I know what courage it takes to live their life but I can respect them for making the most of the situation and taking responsibility.
However, if my baby girl has all the tools and it happens – then it is my responsibility. I will raise that baby and my daughter will go to college so she can provide a better life when she grows up and can care for her child. Better, yet, I will encourage her to think about adoption. Making her miss out on her childhood because of a mistake that big just does not seem right. Maybe it will stop a cycle. Maybe a truly loving couple will get the baby they always wanted.
I hope I will never find out.
Or maybe… I have no idea what I am talking about and will look back on this when she is 16 and laugh at how little I know.
I do hope that she grows in to a woman with healthy self esteem. I hope she dates a lot in high school so it prepares her for dating in the real world. I hope her choices are sound, based on facts and motivated by her heart and I hope that she will know love. I hope she knows that she will never find someone that will complete here more then she will do that for herself and she will never be able to love someone until she learns to love herself. I hope she makes many mistakes and learns from them and I hope that she never makes the mistakes that I made. I also hope that she falls in love often and does not look back with regret at anything she will do in her future.
I also hope she sees this video which is on the PhD in Parenting blog post but I am re-posting.
It sums up everything else I would want to say in a much hipper way.