Facebook Pregnancy Pact: Black Teens Proudly Show Off Group Baby Bumps

News of pregnancy always has been a cause for celebration in my book—new life, a little baby, is a beautiful blessing. A miracle. But this picture, of four black teenage girls from Georgia celebrating their “Pregnancy Pact” on Facebook by showing off their pregnant bellies for the entire world to see, made me feel… sick.

Of course, teen pregnancy is nothing new—particularly in our community, where, according to the Guttmacher Institute, birthrates among African American teens soar at twice that of white teenage girls and black teen rates for abortion soar at four times that of their white counterparts. Statisticians and advocates note that while birth rates among teens is the lowest its been in 40 years, access to contraception and solid, smart sexual health education is a huge barrier for black and Hispanic teens and, as a result, their pregnancy—and, we’d like to note, HIV and AIDS—rates continue to soar over all others.

But this picture, which I spotted on TheRoot.com this weekend, doesn’t say, “damn, we couldn’t afford contraception,” or, “shucks, we missed that health class where they explained how to avoid getting pregnant,” or even, “good God, life is about to change and we’re going to be struggling to raise and provide for these babies.” It screams, “We thought it would be cute to be pregnant together and we didn’t think one second about how giving birth as a teen would virtually end our chances at a solid education; how it would force us into low-paying jobs or a life of government dependency as we struggle to get food, clothes and housing for our babies; how our parents, who thought they’d finished raising kids, will now be responsible for caring for us and our helpless babies, or; how we’ll likely have to raise these babies alone because chances are that the fathers of our babies will be completely useless in the day-to-day emotional, financial, mental and physical care of our babies.”

Equally disturbing? More than 70 others “liked” the Pregnancy Pact picture and left comments like, “oweee” and “Get it ladies”—like they’re congratulating the girls on picking a cute dress or a hot shoe.

When did babies become a cute “accessory” for teenagers? What happened to the days when parents put the fear of God in their teenagers so that they knew bringing home a baby wasn’t an option or cute or cause for celebration—that nobody would be tossing up sparkles and glitter because  it was downright shameful to do so when babies having babies was involved?

It would be easy for me to blame pop culture’s obsession with baby bumps—all those stupid stories in celebrity magazines that stalk Beyonce’s baby Blue Ivy and pen, ad nauseum, stories about the baby showers, cute clothes, baby gear, and post-baby weight loss of everyone from Fantasia and Mariah Carey to Angelina Jolie and those girls from Love & Hip Hop. I could even point the finger at MTV’s 16 & Pregnant, that god-awful show that makes reality show stars out of teen girls who get knocked up and allow cameras to document every ridiculous moment of their ridiculously pathetic little lives.

But really, what does finger-pointing accomplish? Nothing, really. Because at the end of the day, four black teenagers, who thought it a good idea to form a “pregnancy pact” and sport their baby bumps on Facebook for kicks and giggles, had unprotected sex, got pregnant, and now face the daunting task of giving birth and struggling to care for their babies. Blame their parents. And the girls and the fathers of their children. Because clearly, none of them have a lick of sense. And four little babies face a tough road ahead because of it.

RELATED POSTS:
1. When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy and Sex, CDC Confirms: Teenagers Are Morons
2. {Let’s Talk About Sex} The Best Ways for Parents to Get Ready for “The Talk”
3. Tweens, Sex and the Essence Article that Scared the Crap Out of Me
4. How an Unplanned Pregnancy Changed the Way I Want to Talk to My Kids About Sex

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

19 Comments

  1. This really does make one sick to the stomach. Really. I have 3 girls and they are CLEAR that I DO NOT condone, #1 sex before marriage, and #2 children born to a teenage or unmarried woman, and #3, I don’t babysit. Thankfully my children realize the utter ridiculousness of a child having a child and can clearly see what an unneccessary struggle this will bring to thier lives. I won’t even comment about the fact that these children think this is cute.

  2. My eldest daughter is seven – SEVEN. And at seven, she’s already told me she plans to only have two children when she’s ready to be a mom.

    “You work REALLY hard, don’t you Mommy?” she often says.

    or

    “Taking care of kids is hard work, Mommy,” she’ll say matter-of-factly.

    I’m married and pretty secure financially and life is still a struggle raising four kids. I only wish these clueless teens had a 7 year old to give them a bit of advice since their parents have clearly failed to do so!

    • Sounds like conversations at my house.

      It’s frustrating to see this happening, but there really is no way to tell teenage girls they can’t do this when older women intentionally become single mothers all the time these days.

  3. God bless them and God be with them. They are going to need it. Raising children is a difficult job at any age. Help, Lord. Just help them out.

  4. So I see how this is horrible and can lead to all of the things that was stated above, but can we also stop saying that having a child will early will end any life you will ever think about having… It is so depressing and lets be honest wrong to say such things, yes you will and can start off poor and living on state help but if you are determined and have goals that doesn’t mean your life is over, it just means you have to find another way to get what you want. I know plenty of single mothers who are making it happen with their child, and they don’t live off of the state or collect food stamps or even work in low paying jobs. They have careers, goals, ambitions and such.

    Having a child doesn’t mean that your life is over, it just means you need to readjust how you look at it and then go back in head first.

    If we can stop preaching that little comment (Your life is over if you have a child) then things can change and look different. It’s like the concept of always telling your child that they are stupid and can’t do anything, after a while they start to believe it and live up to THAT standard that you have just set for them… As a community we need to start raising up our youth and showing and giving them positive role models to look at and to fashion after.

    Anyways, it is a sad day when black teens make a pact. And people like and give them high fives for it. But it’s also a sad day when black adults tell them that their lives are over, give them hope and they might be able to see more than that half empty glass that we keep trying to shove down their throats #justmythoughts

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Yes, liona, it is depressing to think that having a baby at 15 or 16 will end all chances of a good life as a teenager knows it, but can we continue to deny the reality that comes with having a child so young? A kid at 15 or 16 hasn’t finished basic education, doesn’t have a job, most likely can not afford to feed, clothe our house herself much less herself AND a child and in many more cases than not, can’t count on her child’s father to help with the physical, emotional and financial burden of raising a kid. As much as we want and need to paint pretty, optimistic pictures for teen moms, the statistics paint a much more dire reality—one that we have to stop ignoring if we’re going to make any kind of headway in convincing teenagers that having babies before they’re ready is not cute. These stats on children born to teen moms blew me away: http://www.healthyteennetwork.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B3EEAA079-A14B-482D-B17D-895AD0CEBFE4%7D&DE=%7B199D3A2F-063E-41DB-BEBE-F492E22A2709%7D

      This post is not an indictment on adult women who become single mothers. By any stretch. It’s about our community’s responsibility to give the real to our daughters and sons as they negotiate the tricky terrain of teen sex, peer pressure and making bad decisions that could, if not ruin their lives, make it much more hard than it needs to be at age 15. Are there teen mothers who manage to finish their education, find good jobs and raise happy, well-cared for children? Of course. But the reality is that the chance of them making this happen is drastically reduced when they bring a new life into the world when they can barely handle taking care of their own.

      • I agree Denene…the reality is that life will be harder and that this will stagnate them. Its not to say that they will not or can not over come. However these stats don’t lie. Its alarming and more people need to tell
        their children that having a baby as a teenager is a nightmare and coach/pray/peel them away from the pretty thoughts or sweet ideas of it …”ok my two cents”…… many grow up and feel like they have missed something and then end up trying to make up for their lost teenage years…meanwhile that baby is the one who suffers…because the “new baby smell” has worn off………as a family therapist I see this far too often.

  5. i saw this on facebook this weekend, and while I was disturbed enought to shake my head in disgust, I wasn’t surprised. You see, I work as an L&D nurse in an inner city hospital. Babies are the new teen accessory it seems. Pregnancy is “cute”, and Labor and Delivery is like a big party. No one understands how SERIOUS and LIFECHANGING parenthood really is. They don’t even begin to understand until all the friends and baby daddy’s leave and they are left ALONE with this newborn. I’ve been wondering why, and I must point the finger at the PARENTS. If they are at the birth, they look happier than the pregnant child. Or, they are not there at all. No one is teaching these girls anything. They get all their morals, goals, and sex education from their friends and rap songs. SMH. I cry for this generation.

    • LaShawn, you said exactly what I was going to say! It is the parents’ fault for not teaching their daughters right. It is also MTV’s fault for glamorizing teen pregnancy. The girls on that show get PAID. They do not struggle as much as it seems that they do. Many teens today think they can get pregnant and get on a reality show. Or act skanky ala Snookie and get PAID big bucks. That’s not reality. It’s made-for-TV reality.

  6. I’d love to see these young ladies a few months after their bundles of joy arrive as they try to navigate school, childcare, baby daddies and all the things that await them.

  7. I have jokingly told my kids that I saw them as babies I don’t need to see it again(i.e. I don’t want to be a grandma).

    But is all seriousness, I have been very open and honest with all of my children- the boy as well as the girls, that getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant, while tough and a struggle under the best of circumstances (older than the age of consent, educated, employed, stable relationship, etc.), is not the only thing you need to worry about when you have unprotected sex. You can get a disease that will impair your health, your fertility and/or kill you. Yes, kill you! What if these young girls someday meet Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right NOW and have some horrible disease or impairment that would prevent them from living their supposed ‘happily ever after’? Hepatitis? Genital Warts? Herpes? PID? HIV?

    What if you are a young man and you get one of these diseases? It is still a shame and shouldn’t have happened.

    Our children want to grow up so fast but they do not have the wherewithal to make the best choices for themselves and we as adults are falling down on the job of educating them, empowering them to make the smart but tough choices to wait for sex and if they are going to have sex, insist on it being safer sex- every time. This is why I am co-hosting a PARENT sex ed class at my daughter’s junior high school. I am actually thinking that getting the parents to information and trying to empower them at the junior level is far too late. Sigh.

  8. I agree with all that has been said but I do want to add that some parents are not to blame. We have many good parents both single and couples whose children defy what we tell then and go out in the streets and do what they do. Some students are having sex at school and condoms are being pass at school and I really have a problem with that but those that work in the field says it is necessary to provide because regardless of what you say these kids are gonna have sex. I remember as a teen when my mom said if I tell you there is a hole in the ground would you step in it? and I said yes. She said why would you do that after I told you it was there. I responded because I wanna see how deep the hole is and I guess you know she went off on me! I just say that to say not all parents condone it, their children just do it because they wanna see how it is inspite of what they were told. Love you guys and keep the conversation going.

  9. Well said. I don’t know whether to cry or go find more girls to mentor. Ahhh, I think it’ll be both!

  10. While I do find it disturbing that these girls made a pregnancy pact, but putting them down and or saying their lives are over isn’t the way to go. I’m 17, a young black woman, and I don’t plan to be pregnant anytime soon. I have lots of friends who are pregnant, and they don’t think it’s cute, my friend (we’ll call her “D”) said in a Facebook post that while she wishes that she could go back in time to undo what she did, she is going to buckle down and care for her son because it’s not all about her anymore, it’s about that beautiful baby she’s waiting to meet the day he comes into the world. Adults lived in a world growing up where, they didn’t have to worry about the baby, they worried about their parents wearing their behinds out when they came home and told them about it. It’s punishment enough to bring a child into the world who you have no idea whether they’ll survive their first year of life or if you can even care for them. We need to uplift young mothers not put them down, I love my friends and I’m proud of them for stepping up to the plate and becoming the successful young ladies they’ll be despite this setback. Some of the most powerful women on this earth are women who can say ,”I made a mistake, but I’m going to own up to it and do what’s right.” Don’t put down young girls, help them. If you saw a young girl with a newborn in a store with not enough to pay for formula or diapers, would you tell her “You’ll never be anything in life and it serves you right.” or would you pay for the things for her child? We understand that the we make mistakes but we need your help and that’s all we’re asking for.

Leave a Reply