Is this disturbing?

As the child of a teen parent, I would expect Dr. Boyce Watkins to have some sympathy for teen parents. After reading this article on TheRoot.com, I was shocked to know he would judge these girls.

Just because a group of girls with similar lives decided to take a picture together does NOT mean there was a pregnancy pact. Is it too hard to believe that 4 girls from the same community or school got pregnant, were connected by their pregnancies, THEN became friends as a means of finding support in a judgmental world? When I became a teen mom, I didn’t know any teen moms. By the time I was 6 or 7 months, I finally had a group of 2 or 3 other teen moms who related to me. For the first time, I could be happy around my peers and not feel isolated.

In my opinion, proudly displaying a baby bump is the first step to becoming a great mother. Why should teen moms have to hide their bellies when older moms are posting painted belly pics all over the web? These young girls are probably going into their third trimester meaning they’ve had a few months to accept their pregnancy and make the remainder of it a happy and healthy one. Sadness, misery, anger and stress are all dangerous for babies. Should we remind them every time they smile during their pregnancy that their bellies are disturbing? Shouldn’t we just be happy that they are even smiling through the struggle?

Disturbing. The word makes me cringe. Being happy about the end of their pregnancy is not disturbing. What ISN’T pictured is what IS disturbing – the judgment, the stereotyping, the discrimination, the struggles, the unnecessary (and constant) opinions of others, and the isolation young parents are forced to face. The mere thought that teen parents have to keep their happiness hidden is disturbing. The idea that taking a photo with other pregnant girls means there was a pact is disturbing. And what else is disturbing? Using the word “PACT” puts all the blame on the teen parents and takes the responsibility away from the educators and adults in their lives. It comes with the notion of “if there was a pact, there is nothing we could have done to prevent it.” This then leaves a gaping hole in a serious issue – preventing teen pregnancy.

Why does the image of a teen mom’s pregnancy offend someone? When I was pregnant, I only took photos of happy moments but could barely fill up one album. I’m sorry I don’t have miserable photos to share but here’s a photo of me (at 17 years old) smiling during the begininning of my third trimester. Let me tell you what my smile didn’t say: I was kicked out of my home, I was abused, I was depressed, and I was going through my entire pregnancy completely alone but I don’t regret my smile or my picture.

Is this disturbing?

Comments

I do not think that her picture is disturbing but I aree with the blog that was written. The picture on here and the picture he speaks off are two very different pictures and I feel that yes, he used the word disturbing but he also articulated his opinion on the subject very well and we should be careful to not only look at one word from the blog and going from there. And he did not say that there was a pregnancy pact....the person who posted the picture labeled it as the pregnancy pact when they posted it on facebook.

Great post Natasha. I have NO pictures of me when I was pregnant, not a single one, and throughout my pregnancy I felt that I should hide my bump, and keep my head down. Not because it was the end of the world for me, but because of the reactions like those you talk about and because I didn't want to 'disturb' other people. Looking back I regret so much that I let other people's problems affect the way I viewed my own pregnancy and stopped me from enjoying this time as older mothers are allowed to do. Every time people make negative comments on pictures like this, they are also telling a hundred other pregnant mothers that they aren't allowed to feel positive about bringing another human into the world. Is that really a message we want to give to mothers?

I don’t think the pictures of teenage mothers are disturbing. What is disturbing is that the number of teenage mothers and fathers gets higher every day. Some of these mothers have no idea how hard raising a child can be and that being so young makes it even harder. But some of the mothers are fully aware of what lies ahead for them and they are more than willing to deal with it..........and to me that says they are taking responsibility for their mistakes and growing into mature women. BTW: If you're looking at that young mother and thinking she's a sinner or her mistake is having a baby maybe you should remember that the real sin or mistake is having sex before marriage not having a child, no matter how young they are. With that being said, I agree with Natasha: Being sad, stressed, angry, miserable, isolated and judged is not helping that young mother or her child. Being pregnant and having a child are supposed to be happy times. The goal for any pregnant mom is a happy, healthy pregnancy and baby and a happy, healthy, well-adjusted person. Achieving that goal is possible for all mothers.

I did not find the photo posted here or the actual photo used on theroot.com disturbing. I am with Natasha, while being a tern mom is not ideal, why once it happens do so many still hold onto the mentality that the young mom should be shipped off to Great Aunt Marys House for Unwed Moms? Why are we being forced to think we must be depressed and unhappy because if the situation? I have NUMEROUS pica of my pregnant belly (although clothed) and in each one I was smiling! Why should my now 16 year old son see me forlorn and depressed while I carried him simply because I was 14 when I was pregnant with him (15 when I gave birth?)?! I have a 17 year old step daughter from a previous relationship and she just gave birth to her 2nd child...certainly not ideal however she graduated high school in December of last year (a semester and a half early!) and is set to graduate from cosmetology school in October. Neither pregnancy was an accessory for her but she did not allow either of them to stop here either. After graduating from that program she intends to continue onto college to pursue her business degree. Had she allowed the depressed and negative attitude to settle in she would have dropped out of high school altogether.

Thank you to everyone who supported this blog post. It took a lot of strength to share a picture of my pregnant self at 17. While I'm proud to parent, there is a bit of discomfort when it comes to sharing a photo of a sensitive time in my life. Here's to hoping there is less judgment and more support for young parents!

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