Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Do Not Avert Your Gaze: On Teen Motherhood
Then you are what our culture calls "prolife." But supporting "life" in the abstract and supporting, really supporting, life as lived and experienced by real human beings is very different. Our lives can be messy, vulgar, joyful, unfair and pocketed by violence. To support those lives - from conception to their natural deaths - is radical, counter-cultural, and, some might say, nonsensical.
Our culture is full of ugly messages about girls and the consequences of teenaged sex. How can you knit a baby blanket for a teenager? Isn't that just supporting her poor decision making? How can you accommodate pregnant teens at a high school? Won't that make more young ladies pregnant? Why didn't she use a condom? What was she thinking? Why did she let this happen? Isn't her mother angry? If she had had an abortion, none of us would have to deal with this scandal. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN: call your local Planned Parenthood and we will give you a morning-after pill, no questions asked.
In these days, I am praying for a young lady I know. She is mentally ill and the victim of violence by boyfriend. She is 17. She is pregnant. She is making a brave and difficult choice to carry and raise their child.
I am remembering a story from years ago, when I was living in Raleigh, NC and a high school student became pregnant. Her private Episcopal school kicked her out : not because she was pregnant but because she chose to carry the child. You see, her pregnant belly was causing a scandal. And I wondered then how a church-affiliated school averted its gaze when their students got abortions. Noone had to know about that, you see. No reputations lost, was the thinking.
I stumbled across a poem from a website I love called "Fried Chicken and Coffee." The writer is 29 (pictured here ) and writes with heartbreaking clarity about another mom in another difficult circumstance.
We must not avert our gaze from what is real, what is true, what is life. Only Beauty can save us.
Read Misty Skaggs' poem here.