Children Having Children Is Not A Sustainable Model For Society


I have grudgingly accepted that we live in an anti-intellectual society but I find it extremely difficult to take care of people who do not know if they are pregnant or not — and have no interest in pregnancy tests. You might ask what business is it of mine?

Teens Having Babies Is Hardly News AnymoreIt is my primary business – giving people prescription drugs or natural alternatives to same.  If these people are women of child-bearing age, I have to know – and advise them – of potentials for birth defects, transmission of substances through nursing, and other eventualities.

So it is extremely important in my line of work to determine if a woman is pregnant, nursing or even just planning to have a baby.

The “planning” part is usually not in the equation.  Here is a typical scenario:

I asked a young woman who had absolutely no sense of self what would happen in her life if she got pregnant. She shrugged her shoulders. “Sh## happens,” she said, and I wondered if she were even aware that the function she was discussing involved a nearby — but slightly different — bodily aperture.

But when a woman who just had her ninth child tells me that with the delivery, she asked her doctor to “tie the tubes,” well that is a situation, like having gone cold off crystal meth and stood off, where I just announce “standing O” and my nurse or physicians’ assistant or whoever else is in the room trying to learn stands with me and applauds for as long as it takes for the patient to smile or blush. I generally say something like “I am proud of you.  I really am.  It is the 21st century and it is good, really good, that women take charge of their bodies and they do not have to keep on having children.”

I usually get in response some statement about the worthlessness of men.  I jump into the fray. “There are some excellent specimens around — the proof being, I married one myself.” I often think wistfully of that diagnosis I formulated while establishing my private practice in Oklahoma – styling it linguistically to that particular region:

“Broken Picker-Outer Syndrome” – the tendency to keep choosing the type of dysfunctional mate that you just failed with in your last relationship. You fix your picker-outer, and you do better.  I guar-on-tee!

There is however a stage of development that comes long before the picker-outer, if you do it right. It is some kind of a knowing-how-to. It is somehow difficult when the notion of knowledge is approached. I hear that things “just happened,” or women who say “he made me do it.” 

Here is a doctor who at least has the right idea. Girls who become adults magically at 18 do not suddenly become festooned with sexual knowledge. That does not mean that they have not been sexually active.

I think most kids are sexually active starting in high school (or even middle school).

This is one of many things that “rings true” in the popular television show “Glee.” Incidentally, I do not think that singing in public makes anyone do it earlier. I would like to propagate that rumor, however, in the hope I can improve high school music participation, something to which my late father of blessed memory devoted a hunk of his life.  I do know, from the anecdotes that he told me included the stories of sex-crazed girls who liked to wear more revealing clothes than necessary to band practice, but who were not going to tell him why, despite some cheerful advice to take life easy and enjoy their music.

I do not know why human evolution does not apply to learning. It is painfully obvious that people simply do not have factual knowledge about their own bodies, and seem to think that they know everything and need to discover anything they do not know, on their own. I have seen mothers who swear that they will tell their daughters not to do what they have done, but I doubt they ever do.  I have seen the daughters who did not even wait for the senior prom to get pregnant — or HIV or herpes or…. they don’t know.

Many women did not complete their high school education because they got pregnant; many boys, because they had the responsibility of fatherhood too early.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of a voice they need to hear.

Putting the responsibility on the parents — well, it would be great if they were up to it. I do not think it is happening. Parents seem to be more interested in cultivating the delusion of innocence.  A hit movie of the 1960s, Goodbye, Columbus used the tag line “Every Father’s Daughter is a Virgin.”

Not much has changed since then.  As my husband often says, “There’s a lot of denial out there.”

The few parents who have cried to me about this tell me they thought by being moral and religious they would keep the kids from exploring. That is not a justifiable naiveté. Me, I’ve always believed in the inherent desire to know — in curiosity for knowledge being part of being alive.

I think the schools may have hurt any natural desire for knowledge. The only idea I have is one I got from a preceptor in child psychiatry many years ago. If we could start early, he said, teaching children that their actions had consequences, maybe they could choose the right thing.

I have a precise visual.  He told me how when the pioneer family would fix a wagon wheel, maybe the kid would hold the rim while dad hammered in the spokes.  The child became a part of the process and learned the value of working together toward a worthy goal.

Somewhere at that level is the place to start. Our goal should be to find a way to emulate this process before young girls — and men — pay for a lack of knowledge by starting loveless families full of neglected children who make the same mistakes they did.

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