A 17-year-old unmarried girl becomes pregnant by her first boyfriend. She is sent to live with an older, married sister in another town. The child is born. The nurse doesn't know the baby is supposed to be adopted, so the baby is brought to the mother...but only for a few moments until the nurse swoops back in, says, "You're not supposed to see the baby," and takes the child from the mother's arms. The baby, through private adoption, is places with a couple who has long wanted a child of their own, but who has become too old to be considered by most adoption agencies.
A 16-year-old unmarried girl becomes pregnant by her first boyfriend. However, times are different. This girl is kept at home. She has the baby at 17, early in her senior year of high school. Her parents help with the baby so she is able to finish high school. She doesn't marry the father, and she stays a single mom, raising the child with the help of her parents and a network of friends. She also attends college, first getting an associate's degree, then a bachelor's degree.
As it happens, I thought I might have to skip this month's blog train because my husband and I were going to be on vacation just before it went "live." But when it was announced that Teen Pregnancy Awareness was the topic of the month, I had to do something. You see, the baby in 1956 was the husband I just went on vacation with, and the mother and baby in 2006 were my daughter and grandson. And I was the one who suggested that we devote a blog train to this topic.
So yeah, you can find all the numbers and statistics at websites like the CDC's page on teen pregnancy. But they don't tell the story of the strength it takes to hand your newborn off to someone else, or to keep the child and raise him or her. They don't tell how many people it takes, or the sacrifice it takes. They don't explain how important it is for family and friends to circle around today's young mom and help her achieve her own goals as well as provide a stable life for her child. They don't tell you how crucial it is to remind a young mom - whether she has chosen adoption or parenthood - that she is not a failure, but that she still has all the potential she had a year ago, and she can still do anything she wants to do...even though it may take a little longer.
Our designers have put together a nice collection for Teen Pregnancy Awareness. Be sure to stop by and pick up the goodies from all of the following blogs:
Five Little Loves
DigiJen Scraps <-- you are here
Designs by Cocotounette
Obviously, this topic hits close to home. As a result, I found it difficult to be too casual, flippant or cutesy with this month's word art. It is, for the most part, meant to be straightforward and encouraging, while at the same time acknowledging the difficulty of being a young mom. I hope you can find something here you can use.
If you have stumbled upon this blog and find yourself with a teen pregnancy in your life, I would be more than willing to chat with you about it. Sometimes, the best shoulder belongs to someone who has traveled a road ahead of you. You can message me here or through Facebook under DigiJen Scraps.
Otherwise, I hope to see you back here on March 10th when the Scrap Designers Blog Train launches with "The Sounds of Music."