"It's every parent's worst nightmare."
I heard the T.V. promotion for the upcoming special on teen pregnancy and, as always, it didn't sit quite right with me.
And then my husband spoke aloud what had been in my heart:
"That's not my worst fear."
It's not mine either. It's not even close, to tell you the truth.
Let me be perfectly clear. Of all the dreams and aspirations I have for my two daughters, getting pregnant as a teenager is nowhere on the list. I pray that we will instill in them the morals and judgment to make better choices. I fervently hope that we will provide the right support and communication to help them grow into adulthood before becoming mommies themselves.
But... my "worst fear"?
Off the top of my head, here are several things that I think would be worse:
- Losing a child.
- Having a child be kidnapped/injured/raped.
- Having a terminally ill child.
- Having a child who commits a violent act against another.
- Having a child addicted to drugs.
- Having a daughter run off to abort a baby.
- etc. etc. etc.
Every parent's worst nightmare? Not these parents. It may have something to do with the fact that we stood over our first daughter's NICU bed as they told us she wasn't going to make it. (She did.) Had they told us then that our little girl would make it but she would later become a teenage mother, trust me, we would have happily agreed to it. And I'm guessing we're not alone in that feeling.
I don't like that ad. I don't agree with it, and I just don't like it. I don't like the idea that there may be young girls out there struggling with having just found out they were pregnant who see this promo and feel like even greater failures. Who wants to be told you're your "parent's worst nightmare"? How is this going to help the situation? It is too easy for me to envision a fifteen-year old girl who thinks killing her baby is her only option...
Teenage pregnancy shouldn't be our worst nightmare. It shouldn't be something we silently fear as we send our daughters off into the dark. We need to prepare our girls as they head out into the world. We need to arm them with the support and tools they need to make good decisions.
And, at the end of the day, we need to be their soft place to fall.
I want my daughters to know that they will never be a nightmare to me, no matter what they do. And I want them to know that, while we want them to wait, a baby is never a nightmare. A baby is a blessing, a tiny human whose life is full of promise. I want my daughters to know that I would help them find a way to best fulfill that promise...
How about you? As you raise your children, is teenage pregnancy one of your greatest fears? Do you think a fear tactic is a good one? I'd love to know what my readers think.