Thursday, January 27, 2011

Breeding Contempt

When I was sixteen I fell in love for the first time. I remember being on a coach for 20 hours returning from a school ski trip to Austria and can see myself nervously sat next to the boy that had stolen my heart. I picture us sharing earphones, listening to East 17 and my heart is pounding so hard in my chest because I'm hoping that when everyone falls asleep and they turn the lights off, we will kiss. When it happens, I never want it to end. I would constantly replay that moment in my mind for the next three years of our relationship and it never failed to make me blush. I was 16 and everything was raging; my hormones, my fight for independence, my complete inability to focus on anything but the thought of us being alone together again. Of course nobody understood. I remember being completely fearless in love. Why not? I'd never had my heart broken before. I had no thought that this would ever end. I can honestly say that I have still not experienced pain as sharp as I did in the summer of 1998 when my first love called time on our relationship. I hope I never do.

Some 10 years later, I became pregnant and spent the 9 months getting to know myself again. I had to. I don't know where I had lost that connection but I wound up being present with myself for the first time in years. I was my own best friend and yes, I am fully aware how pretentious this sounds. For me, being pregnant was without doubt my most lonely time to date. Not because my husband wasn't the most loving and supportive man on earth. Not even close. The pregnancy was unexpected and it took a wealth of soul searching to get to the joy I eventually experienced. I found the realization that life was going to change forever utterly overwhelming. Receiving that first lesson post discovering your pregnancy is one you never stop learning - that it's not about you anymore. We graciously and unwittingly take 2nd or 3rd or 4th place. Doesn't mean it is easy or without sacrifice.

With that said - the thought of being a hormonal 16 year, teetering on the cusp of independence and then discovering the unfathomable responsibility and hormonal insanity that accompanies pregnancy sounds not only terrifying but quite unimaginable.

This week a (dreadful) woman called Kim Kardashian suggested that a TV show called Teen Mom was to blame for a rise in teen pregnancy by glamorising the experience. I found this claim absurd. Watching a young girl repeatedly vomit, go through labor unsupported and juggle night time feedings with schoolwork is not glamorous television. We see young girls robbed of more than their figure and social life. They should be making mix tapes (okay, okay), mooning over boys and running out the door without a second thought - that's what being 16 is all about. Yes, the girls get paid for their TV appearance but I suspect they will pay a much dearer price than their 15 minutes of fame brings them. Witnessing the most punishing emotional journey a woman gets to have experienced by a young girl is far from appealing.

Plus, last time i watched Celebrity Rehab, i didn't rush out and snort my weight in coke.

I wasn't a teen mom but I was a loved up, sexually active teenager. There comes the realization that a lot of contraception and a little bit of luck is all that separates the two.