Friday, May 26, 2006

Following up from yesterday...

Thank you everyone for your encouragement and responses to my post earlier today.

To answer a few questions…

C-Money and this bitch are mentors. The 14 year old in our lives is not a blood relative…and a bitch refers to her as a mentee because she is being mentored. As to her choice, she has yet to fully express that...and she has little say in the matter, since her choice is viewed as an opinion not enforced by law in Missouri.

What can we do?
Get active in your community at a level that you feel you can sustain and grow from. As hard as this situation is for C-Money and this bitch, being a volunteer and a mentor has enhanced my life and a bitch doesn’t regret a single second.

If you like to work with chil’ren, then contact a mentor organization (Discovering Options or Big Brothers Big Sisters)…there are young people currently on waiting lists for mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is national, so you can check this site out to find out more if you do not live in St. Louis.

Contact your local schools, community centers or youth organizations…they need volunteers and/or support and advice. Teach art, cooking, life skills or whatever it is you like to do.

On the topic of choice…

This bitch is pro-choice. My volunteer efforts at local women’s shelters focus on teaching the applied philosophy of planned parenthood…that women have choices and rights and options that lead to a plan rather than unplanned for consequences. A bitch advocates reproductive freedom, which includes the freedom to not reproduce and to choose when to reproduce.

Which brings me to another great question that was posted…

Does this mentee have to have this child?
Mercy.

That was the question that had this bitch up all night. The woman in question is 14 years old and pro-choice activists familiar with Missouri know exactly what that means.

Her mother made the announcement phone call to C-Money. The question of whether she was going to proceed with the pregnancy was asked and her mother’s response was “You know I don’t believe in abortion.”

In Missouri a woman under the age of 18 can not seek an abortion without parental notification.
In Missouri, a woman under 18 can seek the following services at Planned Parenthood without parental consent.

The curious thing is that once she has her baby she is viewed as an adult…at 15. Many of the women a bitch volunteers with are in temporary housing or transitional housing because they are now considered adults with chil'ren…but they were considered chil’ren when the decision to keep or terminate their pregnancy was going down.

Which circles a bitch right back to what we can do…

Know your state's laws…know how they are applied…and know how you feel about them. Then…and this is crucial…let your elected representatives know how you feel about those laws. Planned Parenthood has set up this site to facilitate this activism in Missouri.

Your representatives answer to you, but you have to question them to get those answers. Find out what legislation is pending, what it all means and who is responsible for it on the Missouri House website.

Whew.

Again, thanks for your questions and encouragement.

This very situation is why a bitch is in this struggle and why a bitch is committed to the struggle for freedom of choice.

9 comments:

one smarmy mama said...

I love a bitch. I do. I have not related to much to a fellow blogger in...well, ever.

That said, as someone who was a young single mother, I resent to no end the notion that babies are EVER not blessings, that they ruin our lives, and that there is not a cause for celebration. I had so many people in my church, community, and in the fathers family telling me I was ruining my life and this childs by keeping her and shaking their heads and tsk tsking at me. Granted, I was far above the age of 14, but I was treated like I was 12.....I was a headstrong, defiant, ignorant girl to be lectured to.

Many people thought I didn't deserve a baby shower for me and this bastard child. Many people saw my expanding belly and just shook their heads in sadness.

That's not what I needed and I don't think that's what this girl needs either. If, for whatever reason, she keeps this child, it's not a death sentence, especially since she has strong women like you around her. She can be successful, she can access help, she can rise up, she can be what she needs to be.

If, for whatever reason, this baby comes into the world, there is damn well a good reason to have a registry at Babies R Us, have a big ol' shower with cake and punch, and lavish this future mama with gifts and praise.

Having a baby young is not a death sentence. I think this notion of hanging your head in shame is a huge detriment to women......what, we aren't strong enough to step up and take care of ourselves when we need to? We only have supportive women to lean on if we abort the baby?

If this girl has to keep the baby, it's what you all make of it. I believe the negativity surrounding teenage pregnancy is often a self fulfilling prophesy.....if we expect the worst, we'll often get just that.

I'm white trash from a small po dunk white trash town that is notorious for teen pregnancy, high school drop outs, and meth labs. When I got pregnant, it was completely expected of me that I would drop out of school, move back home, and be on welfare for God knows how long. I'm strange, because I was able to overcome that stigma on my own. Most girls, especially so young, aren't that strong just yet.

Anyways........that's my ramble. Like I said, I love a bitch. But, I just had to say.......

Thanks.

notoftenpunctual said...

I've been seriously considering getting involved in some kind of mentoring program. I waffle back and forth on it a little, but your posts have pushed me closer to "yes." Thank you.

I'm still torn about the idea because I'm nervous about what it's like to work with parents on their child's upbringing. I grew up poor with a single mother and I know that my mom would have resented it if some chick had shown up and started telling her what was best for me. She'd have been threatened by someone "taking her place" while she worked three jobs. She'd have been furious if someone wanted to talk to me about abortion or birth control.

But, at the same time, those aren't issues that I could, in good conscience, ignore. I know too well that I'm lucky. If I'd been a little more confident and a little less confused about my sexuality, if I hadn't had parents who really pushed me towards college--I'd probably be where most of the girls I grew up with are today: Married with kids by 20, then divorced, working a dead-end job they hate, with all the stuff they wanted to do about as realistic as riding a unicorn to the moon.

But how do you balance that? How do you build a relationship with a child and give them the important advice you know they aren't getting without stepping on the parents' toes? I'd love to hear more about your experiences. Mentoring is such an important thing and I don't want to scare myself off from it.

You, your sister, and your mentee are in my thoughts.

Nate West said...

If she decides to have the baby (or is forced to), is adoption an option?
-Nate

Shark-fu said...

one smarmy...
Thank you for your thoughts and a bitch agrees to a point. This bitch is not one for absolute statements. One person's blessing is another person's greatest nightmare. But my ass is with you on attitude and positivity regardless of the choice.

notoftenpunctual...
Programs are set up to match you to the right mentee. Be honest about yourself and they will make the best match. Mentoring is one of the best choices this bitch ever made.

nate west...
We have not gotten that far yet. Sadly, black babies are not high on the adoptable list and putting an infant up for adoption does not result in placement as often as we'd like. Also, there is a certain cultural stigma. She has a large family and this bitch has my doubts that they would look on adoption favorably.

But it is a worthy question and a decision the 14 year old would have to make and be comfortable with.

Kate said...

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this.

I've been in St louis a little under a year, and have toyed with the idea of mentorship (putting it off til my life got a little more stable post-move). Like notoftenpunctual, your posts (before this as well as these last few posts) have pushed me more in that direction. So thank you.

And I think I will adopt your bitchfirmations for myself this week. My work life has been a bit crazy of late, and their replenishing powers worked wonders.

Anonymous said...

Having a baby young is not a death sentence, but it is a life sentence, and I for one am not feeling celebratory. And who will buy all of these shower gifts? The same people who don't buy birthday presents and Christmas gifts and winter coats? I'm living in the real world and I don't see a blessing. I see an obligation. I see a burden. I see a victim. I see a tragedy. If this were a blessing, I wouldn't have tried so hard to prevent it. I'll re-read One Smarmy Mama's comment when I'm feeling more optimistic about beating the odds and looking for examples of the one in a million. But like everything I've overcome, I wouldn't call my struggles blessings that others should go through as well. It's good to hear it might work out. But if it makes me a bad person to see teen motherhood as a crisis, a tragedy, a pitty, something to tisk, something to avoid, something to cry about, something for others to celebrate and be optimistic about while I brood and worry ... I'm ok with that.

C-Money

Anonymous said...

ABB, I am impressed by those who make the commitment to mentor and do a good job of it. I have known others who have done this and are very glad they did. I have not considered it because I don't know if I have the temperament/social skills/ child/teen-wiseness to do a good job. Thanks for all you do!
NancyP

Willendorf said...

We live in such a sexually repressive and oppressive society that we aren't able to speak openly and honestly to our children about sexuality. We don't talk about healthy sexuality in teens or otherwise, we don't admit that we are all born of sex and we are all born sexual, we don't guide our children/teens into being healthy and responsible - we only yell at them about morality and criminality. We don't talk openly about regaining control of sexuality once it has been damaged by abuse, about celebrating it, about using it to be a healthy and self respecting person.

It is an unfortunate situation that The Church has so much power in some communities, and the power is used to preach rather than heal. We can't increase sexual responsiblity and sexual health through "family values" morality. We need open, supportive dialogue about sexuality in all its flavors, and we need the churches to lead the way to a full spectrum of sexual health services - free, confidential, and non-criminalized.

We need to raise our boys to value their own sexuality and to use it appropriately. We need to raise our girls to understand that it is ok to lose a boyfriend if you question his status, his willingness to be responsible by using protection, or his sexual history and current sexual practices.

It is not ok to withhold information. It is a matter of life and death that we provide the very best information possible. Especially among young black females, vulnerability to pregnancy also means vulnerability to HIV.

The stats on teens having babies is eye openeing - 66% of pregnant teens have a prior history of abuse. Of those, rouhgly 10% are pregnant due to incest.

Can we really look at these young girls and simply tell them to abstain when someone has already used them?

This issue makes me absolutely crazy.

Willendorf said...

Ok - just fired off a fairly long missive and thought I sent it to be posted, but it isn't there... if I see this, I will post again. Otherwise, I am doing something wrong (fairly new to blogging)...