Saturday, June 27, 2015

Very Young Mothers

This is a random cute baby I found in a file. I don't know this baby. I just thought it was cute, as I think all babies are beautiful.

I'm still not allowed to lift or carry the baby, but he likes playing on the floor more anyway, and I can hold him in my bed while I give him a bottle.  In some ways I  see what would possess a teen or very young adult female to reproduce arguably too early, as in before she possessed the means to support the child, as babies are just about the most delightful creatures imaginable. I understand that not every moment with a baby is a good time. They get sick. They sometimes have colic. They don't always sleep when their mothers or caretakers are tired. They go through times when they're teething snd are not at their happiest.

Still, if someone approached me and said, "Here's enough money to get by - but just barely -- for the rest of your life. Quit medical school and have a few babies right now instead." I have to admit that I would be at least a bit tempted to take the person up on the offer.  

The logistics of who was going to provide sperm for these imaginary babies -- whether in real live or via a syringe in a medical lab -- would have to factor into the equation. The involvement of this sperm donor in the children's lives would also  influence my decision. In my family, having babies without the benefit of a marriage license -- or at the very least, an involved and supportive father -- is highly frowned upon.  I wouldn't necessarily be disowned, but neither would the relatives be flocking to my aid at every opportunity because I had allowed myself to be knocked up repeatedly without benefit of paternal support [financial or otherwise] for my imaginary babies.  Personally, even I think that babies deserve two parents whenever possible, although far be it from me to criticize a single parent for taking in a child who otherwise would be without any parent at all, and one good parent beats two lousy ones any day of the week. Still, it's a factor to be taken into consideration.

Then there's the absolute truth that, barring tragedy, babies grow into children. Some women adore babies but are less fond of children.  Will one take the same pleasure in caring for growing children as one did in nurturing babies? In my case, I think the answer is yes. I have numerous cousins, and I could sit all day just listening to the profundities with which the youngest ones come up on an almost minute-by-minute basis. I know that they make messes they shouldn't, that they break things, and that they throw up without an advance notice,  but I still think I could go along with the program on that.  The sheer wonder of watching these tiny creatures advance from the infant stage to the toddler stage to the for-real human stage is nothing short of a miracle in and of itself.  

Next come the pre-teen and adolescent phases of development. That is where I may have to draw the line at this point. And, unfair as it seems, a parent cannot simply give his or her child away when the child reaches one of these phases.

I know I'm only twenty now, but I cannot right now see myself as the mother of a fifteen-year-old boy who steals my keys from my purse and goes out for a three a.m. spin in my car. In terms of how to react, I wouldn't even know where to start. I could lock my keys up, but what if the kid learned to hotwire automobiles? I could have him declared an out-of-control minor, but I've heard that's more easily said than done, and that would seem to somewhat have defeated the purpose of having had the baby in the first place. (And I've heard, though I couldn't tell you from personal experience, that girls can be worse.)  

Some parents would say that you lay the groundwork long before the kid reaches the age of fifteen so that by the time he reaches that age, the thought of taking his parent's car out for a twilight spin wouldn't even enter his mind.  There seems to be logic in this, though I'm not quite sure how one goes about accomplishing it. I suppose it has mainly to do with establishing respect for authority from an early age. I'm not totally sure how that is achieved either. I'm hoping wisdom hits me between now and the time I birth these supposed children that I'll probably eventually have.

Meanwhile, I'm passing on the early birthing plan, although in many of the less educated parts of California, I'm already way behind in the game, not having yet produced a single offspring even though I'm already twenty years of age. I'll take every available advantage of being a Godparent to little Andrew, and I'll enjoy his baby sister when she comes along somewhere around July 8 (my predicted birth date; NOT the OBGYN's). 

Sometime between my internship, which I'll complete when I'm twenty-four, and my residency, which I should be about twenty-seven when I finish, and there's no rule that I cannot take a break off to have a baby or two between internship and residency, though it might not be the most convenient way of doing things. I'll find time to have a baby if there's a suitable father in sight and biological factors work in my favor.
Twenty-seven seems a bit old to be having a baby, but my mom was twenty-seven when she had Matthew and me, and we didn't turn out THAT disastrously.

As I'm waiting for that time, even should I expose myself to the activity that can result in pregnancy, many reliable methods of preventing pregnancy are available. The info on the TV birth control commercials lists the reliability of most of the methods at around 99%. The one of my professors charged with giving the sex lecture to all of us early in first quarter said that most methods, if used EXACTLY as directed, are actually much more reliable than 99%, and that the manufacturers use that "99%" figure to protect themselves in the event of a failure. He said that almost everyone who gets pregnant while using a reliable form of birth control (other than condoms; they're certainly better than nothing and currently the best thing on the market for preventing STDs short of abstinence, but aren't the most reliable form of contraception) usually didn't use the  method exactly as directed and lied about it afterwards to save face.  That's just one professor's opinion, but he's been around awhile and has seen a lot of us pass through his program.

Someday I'll probably be a mother to my own child or children. While I'm waiting, i'm enjoying giving Andrew his bottle with one hand while typing with the other. He's either going through a growth spurt and has decided he needs to eat during the night.  or he knows what's coming to him in terms of a new sibling and is getting his final hurrahs as the only child before he is joined at the age of around eight months by a baby sister. Isn't that totally insane? I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it.  By the way, don't feel too sorry for Andrew. His parents know that their choice (?!? remember what I wrote earlier about condoms not being all that reliable) to have another baby so soon is their problem and not his, ad he will not be expected to turn into an adolescent at the ripe age of eight months. They know they will have two babies at once and that they cannot expect Andrew to dress himself or prepare his own breakfast just because he has a younger sibling so soon.

Andrew's father has shown up to collect him and put him back to bed. 

There's no real point to this post except one on which I haven't even touched, which is that so many reliable forms of birth control exist that every baby born in a first-world country should be a baby someone wants.  Perhaps we should work harder to extend the things we know and have so that the same is true of the less developed portions of the world.


  1. I forgot to have kids... and I am getting to the point at which I don't regret it.

  2. i want kids, but if something happened and it didn't work out, I would find that there are lots of other ways to be happy, and that there are even advantages to not having kids.

    How much money do you have saved fr your kid's college education? Zero, I would think, because you don't need it. You can travel with it instead.

  3. Incidentally, I am reminded of that poor 11 year old girl in Paraguay who is pregnant... talk about your very young mothers!

  4. The notion that women have to have children in order to be fulfilled is - thank god - passe.

    Actually I was one of those moms who enjoyed by children as children and adolescents more than when they were babies.

  5. Alexis, you write so honestly and sincerely that it is really enjoyable to read. It makes me feel like I am your friend and not just a reader. Technically I am just a reader of your blog, but I feel like your friend. Now if you could do this with speaking, then you could become the most loved president since JFK. Both my Jewish mother and Jewish grandfather had a picture of JFK (who was Catholic) in their homes. They loved him.

    Like other animals, humans were designed to enjoy eating to preserve themselves. They also enjoy sex to preserve their species and also enjoy raising their children as part of that.

    Don't worry about how your children will turn out. They learn by imitation, not by teaching. They will be like you and your significant other. If you and your significant other treat each other kindly, then they will do that since that is normal for them. If you and your significant other treat each other with hate, then your children will feel that is normal to hate people.

    Many times a rotten woman will want her kids to not be rotten. That does not work. If you raised children totally alone, they would be just like you and I feel that you are totally wonderful. If they have a wonderful father also, that will make them even more wonderful. If their father loved writing as much as you, your children would probably be the greatest writers ever. If you and your husband act like saints, then your children will act like saints.

  6. Please note that when I said acting like saints, I meant treating other people very kindly. Here is a nice idea. It is totally original and pure genius. Why not treat other people just like the way that you would want to be treated? This means to treat your 6-year-old the way that you wanted to be treated when you were six.

  7. The golden rule works in most cases.

  8. I have several family members who have gotten pregnant on various forms of birth control. Including the pill and two different pregnancies with an IUD in place. I don't know if the pill was being used perfectly or not obviously. But it happens. I refuse to use the mini pill because our obviously fertile family history makes me paranoid.

    I don't think there is any perfect time to have kids. I had my first a month before I turned 26 and the second at 28. And I was considered pretty young by non Mormon standards. We also were lucky enough to have engineer salaries in a pretty low cost of living area and no student loans so I feel like we got to have kids earlier than most of our friends would be able to.

    The nice thing about being an MD (so I've heard) is that once you are done with residency it's fairly easy (depending on your specialty obviously) to work part time which is awesome if you have kids. I ended up staying home because the commute/hours would have made working not worth it to me but I think I almost would have done better working part time. Anyway you have lots of time to think about it!

    P.S. Had started typing up a response to the comments on the last post but the baby woke up and interrupted me and I never got back to it. Basically agree that memorization has it's place but I still think there is too much emphasis. At least when I was in school.