Recently there has been much made of an alleged “pregnancy pact” at a Gloucester, Mass. high school among a number of 16 and under students. The school nurse reported “high fives” when pregnancy tests came in positive, and great disappointment when they didn’t; the Time magazine reporter who broke the story says that a recent graduate confirmed the basis for the pact (if it actually existed– there is some dispute about this) by noting that, “…They’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally.”
Indeed. Unconditional love is a need we all have, and a baby does provide it, at least for awhile. Nevertheless, in the wider world, and specifically in the world of liberated women, there has been much huffing and puffing about a lack of sex education and the dire consequences of a condom-less existence, parental rights and concerns be damned. Observing all this, one might wonder what the real story is about– general angst over the declining prospects for the New England fishing industry, the pig-headedness of Catholic parents who won’t let their children near a condom rack or the shabby practice of stopping sex education at 15 because the academic budget comes first… ? According to this article, it’s none of the above. Instead, the real issue is about the choices of young women who have been fed a load of goods… and aren’t buying them.
As Christopher Caldwell in this Financial Times article points out, the idea that a 16 year old girl isn’t ready to become a mother is a quite modern idea. For thousands of years, and across most cultures, woman of that age had already had a baby or two. “The Dark Ages… oppressed women…” and other mutterings can be heard in the background, but facts are facts. In today’s world, when pregnancy avoidance is both easy and hip (and expected, in middle class and above circles) the joy of young motherhood simply can’t be taken at face value. “Don’t these girls understand how hard life will be when they are single, jobless and …” is the mantra from working suburbia, as if having a child and raising it is such a passe and foolish idea– at least until the bank account is in great shape and a few promotions are tucked into one’s resume. Yet Mr. Caldwell points out statistics (from US sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas) which tell a different tale if you aren’t likely to cross any socio-economic boundaries. Poor teen mothers will eventually earn about the same income as poor mothers in their late 20’s who wait to have their babies.
Given the increasing likelihood that a woman will raise her children alone, might not the teen years be a prudent time to become a single mother, while the financial and day-care resources of one’s own parents are still available?
This is where all the authors and I part ways, for a reason that is so very sad. Absent in all of this is any mention of the real answer to all of the legitimate, heartfelt needs and deepest desires of young mothers, whether pregnant and single, or married and childless. Where are the real men? That is, men who have the self-control and godly fortitude to stay away from women they have no desire to marry (instead of wearing them out like a dishrag for their own selfish ends) and commit in love and fidelity to their wives, thereby providing a nurturing home for all the children they might want? This kind of men (real men, not boys) are a dwindling band, and our country is in crisis because of their absence. And why would that be? Are we “evolving” into a species where the females do the work and take the responsibility, because the males are too busy chasing selfish ends to notice the distress and hardship of families all around them? Don’t think so– the answer is simpler than that, and terribly convicting as well.
The Almighty God is also a man, and when we abandon Him, we lose the ability to become real men ourselves.
May the young girls in Gloucester who long for unconditional love find the one, true Real Man. Not only can He provide all that they need, but most amazing of all, He died for them so that they and their babies can live forever with Him.