We just wanted to issue an emphatic “Happy Mother’s Day!” to all the mom’s out there!
The concept of motherhood is so integral to the work we do. We rely so heavily on moms as our allies in pregnancy prevention, while also working to prevent girls from becoming mothers before they are ready.
In so many cases, a mother is a child’s first and most influential sex educator.* This is as it should be. While I got the very medical version of the “where babies come from” talk from my dad (I think I was 7, there were zygotes), I got the real information from my mom. My mom helped me (to the best of anyone’s ability) try to figure out adolescent boys. She helped me navigate puberty. She taught me important life lessons – like how to survive a bad perm. I still have the well-used copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves she gave me in my very early teens. More than that, my mom was a strong feminist raising two children in a very traditional southern town. She wore her hair short and – scandal alert! – wore pants to church. She read lots of books, and I followed her lead. She encouraged me in my Nancy Drew phase when my friends were totally into Barbie. She valued intelligence and wit while my peers’ mothers seemed more interested in whether their daughters’ were blonde or popular or if their thighs touched. I learned so much from my mom about how to be a good, strong, smart person, and I am eternally grateful. I wish every child could have a mom like mine.
Ultimately our goal – as the word “prevention” in our name so explicitly states – is to help young women (and their male partners) gain the knowledge, develop the inclination, and access the medical care it takes to avoid becoming a parent too soon. We want our future mothers to attain an education, to enjoy their youths, to find great partners, and to become parents when they are emotionally, physically, and financially ready to.
Finally, a shout out to our adolescent mothers. Adolescent mothers have a hard road ahead of them, and they need all the help and support they can get. Not only do they need an extra hand to get through school and establish their adult lives, but they are also at the greatest risk of becoming young mothers again. You may not approve of the past choices of our youngest mothers, but they, their children, and our communities are all better off if they can develop the education and skills necessary to become healthy, productive members of society.Shaming young mothers does absolutely nothing to improve lives or reduce teen pregnancy rates. This articles in Colorlines does a wonderful job of expressing the shame young mothers often face.
So, happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. You rock!
*Dads are super important, too! But it’s Mother’s Day, so this is a post about moms.