babies having babies

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If any of my readers wants to research some of the good statistical questions from the comments box below, feel free. Specifically- has child abuse or infanticide risen in conjunction with the increase in abortion-on-demand?
I can just make observations - anecdotal evidence if that. It has seemed to me that news stories about child abuse and infanticide have been increasingly common over the last 30 years of my life but maybe I just wasn't paying that much attention the first 20 years. Or maybe the problem has always been there and prevalent but didn't get the media attention.
I do know that there have been enough 'dead baby in the dumpster' stories that several states have found it necessary to pass 'safe haven' laws - basically formalizing the legal and anonymous abandonment of a newborn in a designated 'safe place'. I don't know if that has worked, though.
I also remember that, in my first 6 months out of nursing school, I took care of a young woman who was in our locked room (hospital jail cell). She was locked up awaiting trial on infanticide charges. She birthed her baby in the bathtub at home, and when the baby didn't breath or cry right away she panicked and threw her out the window. I never knew the rest of the story. She was on our floor for a couple of days, then went back to the women's jail.
I've spent much of my professional career as an RN and later a CNM taking care of pregnant women who don't have much in the way of options. There are days when I dream of finding an affluent yuppie clientele - the kind that bring their personal masseuse or chiropractor along in labor. But for whatever reasons, I have found more often that I have been working among the low-income and disadvantaged population. It is rare that one of my patients is married and actively desired the pregnancy for which I am seeing her. It does happen, and I am grateful when it does because it gives me the strength to keep going, and it also tempers my tendency to get cynical. But I see a lot of girls, legally minor children, who are pregnant. They can't consent to get a tattoo or ear piercing, but they are having babies. We follow the state laws about reporting the pregnancy as evidence of statutory rape (where applicable) - but the response from the state agencies has basically been a big yawn.
Adoption is not unheard of but is pretty rare. Abortion is actually more socially acceptable to many of these girls and their families. There isn't any public evidence. It is interesting why some moms don't place the baby for adoption - often her mom doesn't want her to. I see that a lot. Sometimes grandma takes over and raises the kid, more often grandma has the baby shower and takes some pix and then is unavailable when the baby mom needs help. Maybe what we need is to acknowledge that a minor child is legally incompetent to act as guardian for anyone? Even (especially?) her own child. Maybe mandating a temporary guardian for both the baby and the mom is an answer.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the moms I see are not getting pregnant to collect welfare. They aren't thinking that far in advance. They are getting pregnant because they are having sex, and they are having sex for many complex reasons, not just because "it's fun". Cutting off welfare would probably not decrease the teen pregnancy rate, but would just result in more of those babies living in deeper poverty. Nor would it be likely to lead to more of these babies being voluntarily placed for adoption. There has to be a better way to deal with these complex issues and to protect these babies from becoming the target of abuse or neglect.
I personally think that we prematurely closed the 'homes for unwed mothers' of previous generations. If these high risk moms had a safe and supportive environment to be mothered and thus, learn how to mother their infants, it would make a huge difference. There are waiting lists at the few remaining facilities of this kind - and I know that at least one made the decision recently to exclude girls under the age of 18 (in other words, they won't provide help to those who need it most).
Stopping child abuse has been an ongoing challenge. Something I thought about putting in my previous post (but didn't) is that the first child abuse case brought in the USA was filed under an animal abuse statute. Our culture even over 100 years ago gave more legal rights to domestic animals than to children. The recognition that children are not miniature adults has only been around for the last 100 years or so - and the forces of evil are fighting against that recognition (see TeenWire's efforts to reduce the age of consent and to normalize pedophilia etc). I think that my commenter's observation that
"I think a pretty good case can be made from the other end - that the lack of value society places on children has given rise to a generation of young adults who don't value life, either unborn or otherwise" is pretty astute.
Stopping abortion is also not going to be easy. It will be packing two pounds of worms into a one pound can. We can't go after the problem from only one angle. We need to eliminate or reduce incentives to abortion, we need to reduce factors that lead to those pregnancies prone to being aborted, we need to figure out how in real life we can love the sinner and hate the sin. If we can do the job well enough, it won't matter if abortion is legal or illegal - it will simply be unthinkable.
Respecting life starts at the beginnig of life - it doesn't end there. Fr. Frank Pavone in his talks always challenges his listeners - "What have you done to support life lately?". Maybe we need to figure out a way to adopt a pregnant woman (who may not be as cute as her unborn child but may certainly be more needy) and put our values to work.
what say you all?


We contribute to The Gabriel Project for that purpose-- assisting pregnant women in need. The Tribe really enjoys saving money to help the babies . . . and the moms.

I'm trying to carve enough time out of my week to be able to volunteer with our parish's branch of the Gabriel Project, but so far I haven't been able to do so. :( Until I get more time, it will just have to be money.

True, true and true again - this is such a complex business, but it all comes down to respecting and supporting life. I have a niece who has two beautiful daughters; my niece is young (mid-20s, now) and did not think further than the end of her nose when she got pregnant without being married. It's easy to say she's a "welfare mom" but to see how much she loves her kids, I am grateful that she was able to make it through so far. If nothing else, she has two beautiful girls that could have just been statistics in the abortion industry.

Off topic, but relating t your post on Ragemonkey:

If you don't object to buying things online, adams extract has a website where they sell lemon extract.

My husband and I used to work with Birthright, whose philosophy is that every woman has the right to give birth to her baby and every baby has the right to be born. We would hook them up with social services, provide baby clothes, provide counseling, and help them get ahold of whatever they needed to either keep their baby or deliver the baby and then allow the baby to be adopted. I wish there were more agencies like that: "come here and we will make sure you get out of that abusive relationship; we will make sure you have food; we will find you a place to live; we will help you get clothes for your baby; we will help you with maternity clothes; we will help you find a job and child-care; we will help you with everything you need, so that you and your baby have a chance to succeed."

I always keep in mind that many women do not "choose" abortion as much as they "resort" to it. Many women grieve afterward (though not all) and there is the real tragedy. Some women wanted their babies if only they could have provided well for them. Society's challenge is how to best provide for the providers.

As I read this post, I was thinking that it would be great to open up individual homes for unwed home, for instance. For just one girl. She could live here and see how our life runs (and what a wonderful mother I am, of course! Egads, that's actually pretty scary!).

But then I started thinking about what kind of girl I might get. Do I really want to deal with all of her baggage? Because I do have the attitude of "if you don't want to get pregnant, don't have sex". I lost several boyfriends because I wouldn't have sex with them. It really didn't bother me. Why can't everyone have that attitude??? So, here I am, all high and mighty, wanting to "fix" someone else.
And how do I screen to keep my young children safe (they are aged soon-to-be-born up to nearly 10)? And my husband, who is a super-introvert and would think I'm crazy to want to have some stranger in our home?

How do I solve all of these things that make that great idea not-so-practical?

I have huge admiration for people who can work with "these types" of people and be loving and not judgemental. Do you really have to work hard for that Christian charity? How, on earth does one separate the sin from the sinner when the sinner keeps making the same mistakes?? And how do you know when to stop wasting your energy?


And how do I screen to keep my young children safe (they are aged soon-to-be-born up to nearly 10)?

I am a HUGE proponant of you can do anything you want to in this life, but not necessarily all at the same time! You'd probably be a wonderful menter, but it's the season of your life right now to do that! Maybe when your baby is in his/her late teen years would be a good time to mentor a single mom. And think of all the wisdom and patience you'll have to share!

This doesn't invalidate what alicia says about most very young women who have babies, BUT, not every woman in her teens is unable to take care of a baby. My oldest daughter became pregnant at age 15 and had the baby when she was 16, the day after her last Regents exam in 10th grade. Eight weeks later she was a freshman at the local community college. I was not taking care of the baby...I was also a freshman in community college-a different one-beginning nursing school. My daughter got up at 5:30, nursed and dressed her baby, drove her to day care, went to her morning classes, drove back to the day care at lunch time to nurse the baby, back to college for her afternoon classes. When she came home, about three days a week she watched all of her younger brothers and sisters (she is the second of nine) and made dinner for them, because I was also working 30 -35 hours a week as an aide in a nursing home. Then she did her studying. I occasionally watched (and nursed, as I was still nursing my two year old) her baby, but not as often as she watched her brothers and sisters.
I think many women 10 years older could not have done what she did that year.

The day care was "Mom's House" which is a free day care center for single parents who are full time students. It was started by Catholic mothers of many children, whose children had grown up, who were working for Birthright and not feeling that they were doing enough for the women. It-the first one, anyway, is in a closed Catholic school building. Besides day care, they monitor the student/mother's grades and attendance and find them tutors. The mothers are required to attend talks about nutrition, and various parenting topics, and to put in 3 hours a week service time at the center, taking care of the children under the watchful eye of the older women.

My granddaughter had the same people take care of her for two years there, and had excellent care. I had had extremely negative feelings about infant daycare, but this experience changed my ideas about that somewhat, although I think that it would be almost impossible for daycare workers that were employees to be as dedicated as these volunteers. There are now several more "Mom's Houses" around here. I don't know if there are any anywhere else. I contribute by payroll deduction to Mom's House. In the next generation though, I wonder if there will be enough mothers of grown up children, who don't have jobs, to keep Mom's house going on a volunteer basis?

My grandaughter, whose name is Alethea, is now 13 and a fine girl, top student, etc. My daughter Joan, her mother, went on to graduate magna cum laude from the community college and get a big scholarship to a four year school, from which she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in social work. She is now a foster care case manager.

I tend to think that maybe we should not be raising teenagers to think of themselves as children, entitled to party and play, without serious work to do. (I'd like to ban the word "teen-ager" and stick to child and young adult. ) Obviously it would be better if babies didn't get started until they have a mother and a father both willing to take care of them. Our society makes it very difficult for young men and women to be financially able to be independent and be parents. But we shouldn't forget that a hundred years ago a man of 18 and a woman of 16 often married and started a family. Young people of this age are not intrinsically and by nature too immature to be parents. Maybe one of the many ways to approach this issue is to find ways to expect maturity and responsibility of young people.

The one time, back when all my children were small, that I did something like what alicia is suggesting and became very involved with a seventeen year old mother I met through Birthright, I thought she was quite brave and resilliant and devoted to her child, and living a reality much more difficult than the reality of my life. I was able to do all of the pregnancy things for her : help her get WIC and foodstamps, go to the grocery store with her and help her choose nutritious food, help her get all the baby things she needed, teach her about birth and breastfeeding. I remember I had an argument with the women who was running John's Hopkin's Teen Pregnancy Program, who told me that they tell all of their girls that they WILL have an epidural, and accused me of imposing my far out ideas about "natural childbirth" on this girl. My idea was that I was just talking about "birth" and she was imposing an unnecessary intervention into the birth process, as a matter of course, before any need for pain relief was even asked for. I wound up finding a different program for the girl, she and her boyfriend went to Lamaze classes, and she had an uncomplicated and unmedicated birth, and nursed her baby successfully. What I could not do for her was make her boyfriend ready to be a father.In an attempt to keep the boyfriend she left the baby for a weekend to go to Atlantic City despite my warnings that she would get engorged, which she did, and got a breast infection.This was easily cured, and the baby went back to nursing ok, but it didn't solve the boyfriend problem. There was also the question about contraception. She had the baby in a Catholic hospital which offered her information about Natural Family Planning. The boyfriend was not willing to consider anything which involved abstinence. I myself was not using contraception, and struggled with the idea of telling her to use it. I pointed out that she wasn't married and maybe if she insisted on being married before continuing the sexual relationship, she might get some committment out of him, but she didn't feel able to make this demand. I wound up sending her somewhere to get a diaphragm. He never did help her support the baby, more than sporadically. She wound up having to leave her baby with this aunt and that aunt and this cousin and that sister while she worked to support herself and the baby, and necessarily having to give the baby bottles of formula and stop nursing earlier than she wanted to. I remember suddenly realizing one day that I had a much easier life than she did and that it was one thing for me to practice the never leave your baby, never use a bottle, ideal, since my husband, while not doing much baby or child care, was definitely supporting us so that I could...and a whole different world for her. I think at some point she decided that I didn't have much more to teach her. I think she may have been right.

The young men....when we "adopt" a young woman, maybe our husbands could "adopt" a young man, and help them become real fathers?

Susan F. Peterson

Our pro-life pregnancy center has seen girls as young as 12 come through our doors. We've had good success in both adoption and parenting. Probably the most promising program we've done though is creating and implementing an abstinence education program that has been taken to high schools, and soon to jr jigh schools. An ounce of prevention....

y is having a baby so hard?

this made me tink twice about having kids maybe it aint as fun as i thought. ty for makin me think before i did it.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on November 14, 2004 12:00 AM.

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