I really can't see the point of wishing this or wondering that -- what's done is done, the past is the past, and there's nothing anyone can do to change it. Saying "if only" just adds worry and stress -- something none of us need.
I would not change anything for all the world. If I could "start over," I would do the same thing. I love my son. I would not be complete without my son. I cannot imagine what sort of life I'd have without my son.
I still have the sort of life I wanted to have. I am in school, and I made the dean's list yet again this semester. Having my son in my life gives me a reason to study hard and be responsible. I do not go out "partying" at all. I take care of myself because he needs me. If I didn't have him to take care of and support, I'd still be a smoker, a heavy drinker, a raver, everything I was before he came along.
So, no. I do not wish I'd never become sexually active. I was sexually active for 3 years before getting pregnant; I have been sexually active in the 2 years since getting pregnant. I'm extra-careful, and he's still my only child. Why would I change any of that?
Of course what's done is done. For most people, having a kid especially at a young age and not being married causes them to be unable to live the way they wanted to. I'm not talking about partying, but other goals. You are lucky that you are still able to go to school, but for many young moms, that privilege is taken away when you don't have parents with money or time to take care of kids or very supportive boyfriends.
Posts: 12 | From: Illinois | Registered: Dec 2001
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Do I regret some of the stupid choices I made when I first became sexually active? Yes.
HOwever, I don't think that teen pregnancy is an automatic ticket to a life of misery, or that not having sex (or not getting pregnant at a young age) will automatically make life better. People do have choices, and options, even when they become pregnant.
And girlie, if you think that Aria's had it easy, check out her Village People thread to see some of her trials and tribulations.
I think in a discussion like this, it is really important to recognize a few things, and be sensitive to a few others.
1) Most young mothers here and in the western world made a CHOICE to have their children. I don't know of a poster here (save perhaps Bobolink) who was pregnant previous to abortion becoming legal, and adoption has LONG been an option. So, I think it's important to recognize that many young mothers made that choice BECAUSE they wanted to bear and rear their children.
2) MOST of the reason that teenage or young adult pregnancy is such a "problem" in the U.S. isn't because having children is a problem. It is because our nation and others like it do not offer young mothers adequate support and programs because there is a moral agenda at work that essentially puts forth that teenage pregnancy and parenting is wrong with a capital W. And that agenda isn't based on anything other than personal politics, because for thousands of years, women have been rearing children and parenting them at early ages, as they used to marry FAR earlier than most people who marry do now. And if you talk to mothers who had children in her teens or early twenties who also had other children later on, you'll likely discover that most of them agree that both bearing and keeping up with their children was far easier when they were younger. The notion that it gets easier when you are older, or that opportunities cannot also be missed, just isn't at all accurate.
Lots of the choices we all make in our lives involve choosing to do one thing and either crossing out or putting off other things. That's just life, with or without kids. I'd bet some of the young friends you have now may not be so intense about their feelings about this as they get older and realize that that sort of thing goes on your whole life. There are just so many hours in a day.
Lastly, let's do try and be sensitive to people's feelings, especially young mothers, most of whom have worked their tushies off not just to take care of themselves and their children, but to do so in a climate which is highly unsupportive of them for no good reason. saying 'what's done is done" about someone's child -- their own child, their family, and likely one of the -- if not THE -- most important things in the world to them, comes off as more than a little harsh and insensitive.
As a personal note, my mother was also a young mother, who was very shortly single. And if you think it's tough now, check out what it was like for unwed mothers in the 60's and 70's or earlier. Yeeowch. But at over-50 now, she's very clear that she wouldn't change a thing, and that, in fact, the sort of "accident" I was was the happiest accident of her life. Even associating me with sexual activity in this way wouldn't make any sense to her. While it's clearly causal, sexual activity in and of itself isn't a direct recipe for babies. I know she wishes she was better sexually educated, and had access to birth control so perhaps she could have known what she was doing, but (we've had this discussion, can you tell?) she also is really clear that no time is a perfect time to have children. It's ALWAYS a helluva lot of work, no matter how old or young you are, and when you want to parent, it just isn't something you'd want to undo, save in fleeting moments on days from hell, and those always pass.
Pardon the lengthiness, but I have to honestly say that the young mothers -- especially most of those who post here -- deserve enormous amounts of respect from all of us, in my opinion. I know I am endlessly awed by most of them, especially given how incredibly they seem to parent despite the rough spots. This area of the boards is the one where I often find my eyes welling up, simply out of feeling that some of these folks are real heroes, not just to their kids, but to us wee little onlookers as well.
I did not really have a choice to become sexually "active". I was raped, and it took my virginity. After that, I remained sexually active because the person said I was "good" and because of low self esteem, it made me feel somewhat important. I want to feel good about myself when it comes to something, and sex is that thing. I regret all other sexual experiences I have had, because it is a f-cked up thing to do if your trying to feel good about yourself. I know that now, and I am not going to make anymore mistakes when it comes to sexuality. If I had a choice, I would still be a virgin right now, waiting to lose it on my wedding night.
Posts: 15 | From: Glendale, California, USA | Registered: Nov 2001
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I'm glad that you recognize what you were doing and why. That's really important.
In my opinion, virginity is not just a physical thing, it's a mental thing. If you were raped, it was not you, it was not your will, it was not you saying "yes, I'm ready to do this and take full responsibility for my actions."
It's never, ever too late to stop having sex and wait until you are married. Many people do this. Do what you feel is best for you.
You're not the only one, Michelle. I agree with you.
Girle, I don't have parents with money. Our clothes often come from second-hand sources. Our house will be heated by wood-burning stoves this season because my mother could not afford fuel. We have often had to go without water, lights, and telephone. Most of my tuition this coming semester comes from scholarships and government assistance, and I buy my textbooks second-hand. I scrimp, and I save, just so my child can have warm clothes and food. He has serious medical problems that need attention from a specialist -- something insurance will not cover. Don't make assumptions about me and my situation. Every day is a struggle, and statments like yours make it all the harder to get out of bed in the morning.
You know how supportive my child's father was? He beat me with a chair when I found out I was pregnant. I have not seen him since that day.
But do I let any of this -- any of it -- stand in the way? I do not. Being a young single mother, and struggling in the way I do, has made me a better person. I have gained patience. I have learned to be considerate of other peoples' feelings. And I have learned that the fairy-tale view of life never, ever comes true. Thank whatver gods are out there that this "accident"/"tragedy"/whatever else people are calling it these days happened to me.
And really, I'm not putting my hardships out in the open to get sympathy. That's the last thing I want. If I should accomplish but one thing in my life -- just ONE thing -- I hope it's that I have proven to people that single motherhood (or ANY OTHER "bad thing") does not mean the end of the world, or that all opportunities for careers, education, and future relationships have gone out the window. All it takes is a little strength, a little flexibility, and a lot of patience.
[This message has been edited by Aria51 (edited 12-30-2001).]
It's great what you're doing with your life, and I commend anyone who's taking care of their responsibilities like you are. But what about the girl I know who had 4 abortions before she was 17? I guess that is fairly responsible. At least she knew she wasn't ready to be a parent. And the girl I know who has put all 3 of her babies up for adoption? Again, at least she gave them good homes. But then, what about my sister who's got 3 babies before she's 17, got them taken away by CPS. Now my dad and bitch of a step-mom are raising her kids and she has no interest in getting them back or taking care of them at all. My dad's 50 years old, has heart trouble, has never made more money than just enough to scrape by and now has to raise a second generation of kids just because my sister decided she wanted to have sex and not pay the consequences. Now my sister is married to her second husband, and he's got a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old. I don't know how she thinks she's going to be a mother to them...
Posts: 25 | From: Austin, TX | Registered: Dec 2001
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I think it is REALLY important to recognize that the sorts of things Leap is listing are NOT direct "consequences" or sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. They are consequences of having irresponsible sexual intercourse or activity.
I have yet to meet someone using reliable birth control who has become pregnant three or four times. I have met very few people who have become pregnant even ONCE when using birth control and condoms effectively.
So, these things are CHOICES these folks are making, not things that simply happened to them because they were sexually active. And whether or not we like those choices, within the bounds of the law and very basic ethics, it is everyone's right to be able to make their own choices as they see fit.
The thing is, people will make poor choices in life that may effect others, and crappy things happen. But I have a problem with theorizing that removing things which add joy to our lives, and which can be done responsibly and in ways we are ready to handle, will make those things go away. If someone is bound and determined to make poor choices, they're going to make them. If a person simply can't live responsibly and with care for others, they don't need to be sexually active for that to have ill consequences.
Too, people -- especially children -- really are more resilient that most people give them credit for. While very srious trauma can make a child's growth challenging, or even have long-term consequences (especially in terms of things like physical neglect or abuse), I assure you that many, many children around the world grow up in shitty situations. I did, and when I was in ECE, I taught many other children who did as well, and they all can get past it with some help and support. I guess what I'm suggesting is a little perspective: look around the world at the children and people in it and what so many of them go through every day, many of them NOT of their own choosing.
People make mistakes. That is part of growth. It is a real shame when those mistakes impact others, but I'm inclined to say that EVERYTHING we do impacts others -- as a people, we're usually more interconnected than we think. And our troubles and suffering don't usually lie in basic things like sexuality, but in what choices we make and how we act.
(And one last time: please remember that not everyone CAN get married, nor do they WANT to get married. As well, it's worth bearing in mind that marriage is not a fix for these problems, nor is it any sort of guarantee of ANYTHING. It simply isn't.)
sometimes i wonder if things would be different in my life, if id be with the boy im with now....stuff like that. as to regreting it? i dunno. last year a year from a school near by was killed by a drunk driver. she was so young and she never got to experience prom, or marrage or graduating, or sex. i guess live while you can - dont be reckless - but like they said in that one movie....'the brave might not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all'....
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