This morning, I logged onto my Twitter account, and after reading some exciting things about landing on Mars, I came across an angry little Tweet from one of my friends. Though I am pretty tempted to, I won’t put it on here- but it was one of those “Why are so many girls our age pregnant/This generation is pathetic” complaints.
I don’t want to blast the girl, she’s just one of many who doesn’t have anything better to do. But I DO want to blast the attitude towards pregnant women.
This attitude that women are “stupid” for getting pregnant or not using birth control is simply nonsensical, but one I have encountered many times during my own unplanned conception. When I went to my campus clinic to take a birth control test, the nurse who handed me my positive results asked me all sorts of questions hinting at my ineptitude: “So, do you actually know how to use a condom?” “Wait, you aren’t even on birth control??” “Describe how you got pregnant.” (Umm… the same way your mom did?) Her questions and tone indicated to me that I had messed up, that this was not a happy moment for me- especially when I said that I planned on keeping my baby. The nurse’s cold treatment affirmed the doubts about myself that had been nagging me since I discovered I was pregnant. It seemed that my choice NOT to be on the Pill had incriminated me to a fate where I deserved to feel angry and guilty about my baby and can be treated as such. I wasn’t expecting her to burst into song and dance or anything, but I wanted to know that things would be okay- which I didn’t find out until much later.
Unplanned pregnancy is different for every woman who experiences it; it would be unfair of me to make a generalization about what every woman encounters. But making a choice to keep your baby almost puts a target on your back (and in some cases, your forehead). Some of the girls I was close to in college, upon finding out I was having a baby, could only say “How could that happen?” and fake smile for 10 minutes until we could talk about something else. Suddenly, the “Everyone I went to high school with is stupid and pregnant” and “Those trashy girls actually show off their baby bump” comments bored people make on social media sites were about ME. When I announced that I was engaged, I received the response “Oh, because of the baby and everything?” far too many times. A great deal of time was spent biting back my sarcastic comments during this period. I just kept wondering, “Why does everyone get to have an opinion about my life??”
The fact is this: when you’re having a baby, young or old, planned or unplanned, everyone has their own stance on it. The biggest thing I learned from my baby so far is that I don’t have to make everyone happy. I have to be happy, and that is what matters. Trying to please people who need to put down others to feel better about themselves has always been pointless- and though they seem to triple in numbers when you are involved in such a “tragic scandal” as pregnancy- it will always remain pointless. It can be hard for people-pleasers or girls with generally low confidence (I’ll admit it!), but being happy with yourself is one of the most important components of Self-Actualization and leading a fulfilling life- pregnant or not! In the Olympic spirit, I’ll use a track metaphor: Once you are able to hurdle other people’s opinions, you are free to run the straight path to your own.