Teenage pregnancy. The term still sends terror shooting through my veins, even now, seven years clear of my teens. It hung over me like a sceptre, whispering: “Whatever you do, don’t get yourself pregnant.” It was the worst thing. The end of everything.
This idea, that teenage pregnancy destroys your entire future, that it kills it dead in a baby’s heartbeat, has been bread-and-butter to sex education campaigners for years. A recent campaign featuring an array of celebrities and its own Twitter hashtag #noteenpreg, has fanned the flames of fear to its own advantage. “You’re supposed to be changing the world … not changing diapers,” says American teen singer Carly Rae Jepsen from a massive billboard. We have seen similar tactics utilised here, tactics that shame teenage mothers for making the “wrong choice”, and hint at bright futures that were inaccessible.
When the girls in my year became sexually active and the sex-education drive began, already too late, a split occurred. There were those, like myself, for whom a teenage pregnancy would scupper any chance we had at the greatness (university) that was expected of us. The “don’t get pregnant” drive was focused on us and as a result, 10 years later, we are still terrified of pregnancy to the point of neurosis. You pop the morning-after pill “just to make sure”, even though you used a condom. Then it’s weeks of sleepless nights; one day late and you’re down the chemist in a jiffy. [Rest.]
- Twitter #NoTeenPreg campaign: Without teen pregnancy, there would be no Justin Bieber (telegraph.co.uk)
- Will Plan B help with teenage pregnancy problem? (mysouthwestga.com)
- New York City’s campaign against teenage pregnancy (westminsterprego2.wordpress.com)
- Rise in school leaving age is predicted to cut number of teenage pregnancies (guardian.co.uk)