Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back To School: When it's not what you planned

Crossposted at Mid-Century Modern Moms

A girl in my son's program has become very friendly with my daughter over the school year. Maybe it's because she's my daughter's boyfriend's sister, maybe it's because she's a nice kid with a lot of things going on and my kid is Ms Empathy. I don't know, but I do know they've grown very close in the past few months.

This girl in going into her senior year of high school. She also just became a mother this past weekend.

At just 17 she had a beautiful baby boy. We went to see him in the hospital just hours after he was born. Oh my, such an adorable little guy.

But the mom? She's not doing well. It's a long involved story with a bad abusive baby daddy and a new boyfriend who can't take the pressure and broke up with her, and parents who just aren't quite with it.

This new mom is planning to go back to school in six weeks. She actually wants to go when school starts next week, but it's not going to happen. I was thinking about her today, thinking about being 17 and a new mom, with a family that's not particularly supportive and a baby daddy that's got some serious issues. She wants to go to college. She wants to make something of herself. She's a good kid that bad things have happened to. And now she's got this teeny baby who is solely dependent on her.

She's going to start school next week with a home tutor and her regular school work. Did you know that new moms still in school are given the same maternity rights as the rest of us moms? She gets 6 weeks of tutoring at home before she's expected to attend school. She's found a daycare that takes infants, and she'll be leaving him during the school day. She'll be a regular kid for about 6 hours a day, and then it's back to being a mommy.

I can't even imagine this. I've thought and thought about it. Right now she's going through a bit of post-partum depression and she's spending a lot of her time crying. She hasn't taken a shower or gotten dressed in 3 days. Her parents haven't suggested that she call her doctor. They don't know. All of their kids are adopted and they have no experience with infants. This girl was 4 when she came to their home.

My heart is breaking for this girl. While her friends are having fun at school, she's going to stuck at home all alone with a brand new baby. At 17. While her friends attend classes, she's going to be caring for a baby and doing all her classwork.

For me, teenage pregnancy was always sort of abstract. Oh, I've known kids who got pregnant in high school, but never well and never with daily contact. I've seen the After School Specials, I've even seen the films. But this is real life and it is painful and scary. This is a girl who made some mistakes, to be sure, but she's mired in a situation that is too much for her to do by herself. She should be excited to go back for her senior year. She should be thinking about senior portraits and the prom and applying to college. Instead, she's a mommy with a mommy that can't really help her, a baby daddy that's dangerous, and seemingly no real support.

Back to school for this girl is just plain painful.

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Blogger Jo said...

My parents were still in high school when they had me (16 and 17). It wasn't easy and they lived with my grandparents for around 5 years until they finally were able to strike out on their own. My Dad did end up going to school for a few years to be an engineer, but in the end worked as a recruiter and eventually ended up as president of the company.
I know it wasn't easy, but they turned out to e pretty amazing parents.
It will be hard for her, but I loved having young parents.

1/9/08 8:36 AM  

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