Sunday, February 28, 2010

My H.S. Student Is Pregnant

One of my favorite students has been missing from class more frequently than usual.  I asked some of the others if they knew what was wrong. As it turns out she's pregnant.  She's due at the end of June. She's a  pretty girl... long blonde hair, athletic and a relatively intelligent 11th grader.  I feel awful for her, but it's not like she wasn't aware of the consequences.  I was even surprised that she was keeping it.  As it turns out she's living with her boyfriend (also a former student of mine) and her parents are apparently supportive of her decision.  Truthfully 20% of the students in each of my H.S. classes has a child.  Unbelievable but it's true.  Some have infants, some have toddlers and some have girlfriends currently expecting.  True, the school that I teach at has a very diverse population and many of the cultures are more excepting of this.  But they're still just kids themselves.  If we can't get the parents educated what chance is there for their children's education?  My student says she's going to continue through to graduation...but how? I asked one of my girls that has a 7 month old if she missed her daughter while she was at school.  She said, "Yes but I enjoy the time away too."  How sad.  For both of them.  She doesn't truly get to appreciate the gift she's been given, and her daughter doesn't get the benefit of being with her mother as much as she should be.  What is wrong with this picture?

It gets to be very surreal sometimes.  I can't help but thinking, "that should be me not her." Then it would be a joyous occasion all around.  The responsible adult that waited until she had a career and a house would be set to raise a child.  The H.S. student would have her whole life ahead of her.  She could finish high school on time and perhaps decide to continue onto college.  But things don't seem to go that smoothly.  It almost feels as if it's one or the other.  I can't even blame her knowing what I now know to be true.  If she does get the support that she needs, she'll have a child possibly graduating college by the time she's my age. Who knows, if she aborted this baby maybe she'll never get another chance.  I know she's young.  But then I'm old and infertile.  I wish I could turn back the clock but I can't.  She probably wishes for the same thing.  It's a sad mixed up world.

I've noticed that about every five or ten years I look back and realize the mistakes that I've made and how I would change things.  It's like that song, "I wish that I knew what I know now... when I was younger." I think it was a car commercial or something.  But how do you live in the moment and have the forethought to make decisions that you're not going to regret in the future.  If I keep spending time looking back I'm going to miss what I should be enjoying now and will be regretting it when I'm fifty.
I'm sorry for rambling.  The DH and I have been under the weather lately.

It snowed another twelve inches on Friday.  I thought I'd keep the falling snow on my blog because apparently we might be getting more in the coming week.  I've lost track of how many inches we've had this winter.  I think it's around forty!

I'm trying to keep up on reading all of your blogs.  It's not easy.  You guys are really great to talk to.


  1. 20%?! That's 1 in 5 of your students who is a parent or imminently about to be. That's truly catastrophic - not just for the student but for the child.

    But on a personal note, I can certainly understand how it must feel to watch that and wonder what the heck is wrong with the universe when a grounded, responsible adult has so much trouble conceiving a child. Ugh!

    What's worse is that at 43, with a good home, a great job, financial security and a lot of love to give, I wonder all the time if I'm doing the right thing - if it's fair to bring another child into the world. And teenagers are popping them out without the slightest thought of any of it.

  2. I loved this post because I can relate. I am a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer( GAL)... and when I get cases of abused children I ask myself why do these parents get to have children and not me... I just don't understand... and I too wish that I would have made better choices...

  3. Holy crap - 20% - my jaw is on the ground, that surely cannot be right. Gosh don't get me started on this subject - it is very closely related to the great people that say 'it will happen when it is meant to' - oh, like teenagers getting pregnant is meant to happen in their lives. You have handled the situation very well indeed.

  4. To shed a little more light on the situation, I only teach 2 H.S. classes. In my class of 20, I have one whose girlfriend is expecting and 3 students w/kids. In my class of 10 there is 1 girl expecting and 1 boy has a 2 yr. old. I primarily teach 7th and 8th grade. However, last year one of my 8th graders was pregnant. I used to teach one of the sisters in my class of 20 who dropped out in 7th grade to have a baby. And to make it even more interesting, that 7th grader's boyfriend (also a former student) was arrested and put in jail for beating a man to death with a baseball bat. Of course our wonderful justice system acquitted him for lack of evidence, but everyone knew that he was guilty. I won't even bring up the student that drown her baby in a toilet a few years back and somehow came back to school and was allowed entrance in the school's mentor program. None of this ever makes it to the newspaper. It's such a crazy messed up world!


  5. One of my friends in high school got pregnant at age 16-- she had the baby, married the dad, and they now have 2 beautiful children. It was hard for her at some points, but they had a great time being parents, too. And now they have a lovely family.

    I don't envy that road, but I don't envy the IF road either. In fact, I'd take high school pregnancy over this. :)

  6. Ugh. High school is just way too young. And yet, you're right -- what if this is her only shot at parenthood?

    Tough situation all round. :(

  7. 20%? OMFG. I used to teach back in the 1990's, in a fairly rough neighborhood, and I don't remember even 10% having children.

    I've tried to slice and dice the reality of young girls getting pregnant over and over (because it IS so damned unfair) and the scientist in me keeps coming back to natural selection and biological imperative: if you breed very young you have a higher chance of passing your genes along.

    Our cavewomen ancestors, without societal constraints, would have mated/bred as soon as they wished to - those that waited had an increased chance of dying by any number of means, or encountering infertility (from PID or other means). Mother nature's interests are served best when we breed young and with abandon.

    Unfortunately, our biological imperative and our societal "responsible-ness" are on different paths and time tables. :-S

  8. This post made me think about The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow (I Hope) - you may enjoy this post - she's a teacher too and struggling with her pregnant students: