Tag Archive | Pregnancy

I am Now Pro-Responsible

Since the beginning of time, the issue of women’s reproductive rights has been an issue. Whether it was a decision as to who would raise the child, how to keep from having a child, who had rights over the child, who was the father, whether or not you could claim to be from a particular religion, and this was an argument no matter what class level you were at. From Catherine’s children being removed at birth, by Empress Elizabeth, to all women having no control over getting pregnant. That was until Margaret Sanger came along and opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 (before this there were condoms and other items that wealthy women had access to).  In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court voted on Roe v. Wade (or legalizing abortion) and from that moment on, the war between pro-life and pro-choice has been an endless battle of women and men, screaming why they were right and not listening to the others point of view; safely from their battle grounds.

Now you are deemed anti-feminist if you are pro-life and you are a “baby killer” if you are pro-choice. I once went to a protest in the 1980’s in Los Angeles, CA. It was at a federal building in the Santa Monica area. Women were lined up on two sides and my first thought was that it looked like they were playing “Red Rover, Red Rover.” Each side yelled at the other, to the point where they were red in the face and barely able to talk by the end (I feel sure). They were hoping someone would “come over,” or at least this seemed to be the point of their debate. Though, in retrospect, I really don’t think they cared who crossed the line, they were more focused on the strength of their vocal chords and being right about their beliefs. I walked away from this “debate” because I felt disturbed by this façade or pretense that they even cared about women’s rights. All they seemed to care about was their side. I’ve never focused on arguing about this ever again. It is pointless when no one listens.

Instead, I have continued to work with young women or the father’s, pre-graduate degree in counseling psychology and post. In homeless shelters, TAPP – Teenage Awareness Parenting Project, Social Services/CPS, The Fatherhood Project (various men’s groups I was involved with), and now as a therapist in private practice.

It was hard for me to stay on the pro-choice argument when I began to learn that modern young women were just not using birth control. Not that I don’t believe women have a choice but I was alarmed at the staggering numbers of young women who – not because they were ignorant or had no knowledge of birth control – simply refused to use it. In the foster care system, the girls actually assumed that this would get them “out of the system.” They assumed that the courts would suddenly emancipate them: now that they had a baby, no money, no shelter, no job, no nothing – which is what would happen if they were dumped out on the street as an “emancipated adult.”

Other girls tell me they don’t use birth control because their “doctor said they couldn’t get pregnant.” It is amazing how many girls actually believe their doctor said this. I feel pretty sure that they concocted this belief by misinterpreting what the doctor said. There are probably rare circumstances that a doctor would say this but ultimately, if you are a teen, you are going to get pregnant. This is the prime age for fertilization. A teen’s body is ripe and in outstanding shape. If it isn’t the doctor’s fault, than they are playing the Russian roulette game, “Wait and see.” They aren’t married, just women who are risking and disrespecting their bodies with a guy who is totally hopeless. There are also the girls who “don’t want to get fat,” from old stories about antiquated birth control pills but don’t take into consideration the nine months of being fat, till your deliver the baby.

Meanwhile, the guys are playing the “I don’t feel comfortable with a condom” game. They also play Russian roulette with their bodies, because when they get AIDS or Herpes, that is not very comfortable either and lifelong if not life life-threatening. It is also not comfortable to have “the crabs,” or other venereal diseases. It is easier for a guy to run away from the “I missed my period,” sentence uttered by the gal, because we just don’t do much to hold them accountable in our culture.

So, while I do feel that ultimately, a woman has a right to make a choice about her body, I feel it is disrespectful to our society, to their bodies, and to all the children who are born unwanted to take such a carefree approach to life. Margaret Sanger did not risk her life and give up her family for the sake of abortions. She did this so that women could have sex without the burden of having an unplanned pregnancy. She did this so that poor young married people, in the inner city, weren’t having to forsake marital relations in lieu of 13 kids that they couldn’t feed. Welfare has become a crutch for ignorant people but they didn’t have this back when she started her clinic (welfare is a crutch because people who are raised this way, assume this direction if they get pregnant and so depend on its existence as their fallback plan). Margaret Sanger also did this so that any class level of men and women could have sex and enjoy this without procreation.

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice women could actually come to the table and have some agreements with each other, just as the Pro-Gun and the reductionists could and just as the Democrats and Republicans could. They don’t because each side is more invested in being right than in coming to a compromise.

My new stance on being Pro-Responsible is that focusing on being responsible is much wiser and a better stance to take with young women and women in general than whether or not you should have an abortion. Pro-Life women are women. I haven’t really talked to many of them who believe that a woman who is raped should stay pregnant. However, this is dealt with anyway, IF a woman goes into a Rape Crisis shelter because she can get the “Day After” pill or the RU486 or whatever they call it these days. Though, if it is not the day after, women in general don’t believe a rape victim should be forced to keep the pregnancy. Meanwhile, pro-choice women have told me more times than not that they really wouldn’t get an abortion if they were pregnant or they wouldn’t want to but these are generally very responsible people.

Women who have told me they had an abortion, went through an unbearable amount of pain and grief. Generally speaking, this is a one-time thing, not a birth control option – though it happens. There are no accidents in life though. This is 2019, I don’t accept “it was an accident.” If you are not using birth control, it was on purpose. This is what women need to be focused on as an issue, not whether or not to get an abortion. By focusing on abortion rights, you are going to an early emotional grave – yelling and screaming – about what is the least of our problems. Women not using birth control, this is the more important issue at stake. Lets not forget the Special Needs girls who are extremely vulnerable (especially those in the inner city) to sexually active boys, who will pretty much do it with anyone they can get to pull their pants down.

Being pro-responsible is going to have more of an impact on our youth and young adults as we focus on making sure they are not only educated but encouraged. The most vulnerable population is the inner city girls and the girls from single parent families. These girls all KNOW about birth control, but they aren’t using it. So, what do we do?

We focus on teaching children to have respect for their bodies and building their self-esteem. I have, in the past, been a part of a wonderful organization in San Jose, CA called “Girls For a Change.” In this group, girls became “Social Change Agents.” They focused on projects, throughout the course of their school year, that took them out of themselves and into being concerned about an issue they cared about. Whenever we gathered together for conferences, with hundreds of girls, no one was pregnant. They were also less interested in gangs, chemical dependency, and hanging out with the wrong people. They were more focused on having an education and going to college in the future.

UNESCO studies show that the more educated a woman is, the less children she will have.

I was a Girl Scout until I was 14 years old and this was a safe place, that I could go to, to learn about: being a woman, work ethics, leadership, building a business, among many other things. This organization continues to provide young women with the same values. Women who are in the Girl Scouts, from around the world, can vouch for how this has impacted them. We continue to hear women thanking this group for helping them to become the person they are today. Eighty percent of female entrepreneurs; were once a Girl Scout. It is an institution that has been around since 1910 (began in England).

There are other ways of teaching young women to have respect for themselves and their bodies. Naturally, this is the job of parents but it cannot happen in a household with drugs/alcohol, mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, narcissistic parent (s), and/or other mental health issues. It is part of a religious education but can’t be if the theologian has issues with women. It also can’t happen in a girls organization that is in a bad neighborhood and controlled by the streets rather than the group (which I have seen).

The Roe v. Wade argument is ridiculous because the law has been passed by the federal courts. It is ridiculous because it has avoided the real issues and we are ignoring the fact that women/girls need to be responsible for their bodies. Men/boys need to be responsible for their bodies as well. When adults do nothing but argue, kids will go off and look for emotional comfort. If we spent more time being focused on family planning and less on abortions being right or not, the issue may be of less concern. To do this, we should focus on creating more organizations that teach young people to respect themselves and to respect the other gender.

Teaching respect for bodies and self, will keep children occupied on their goals for the future and to be more aware of society at large. This is why I am now Pro-Responsible.


NYC Teen Parenting Campaign – Its About Time

Warning:  This is a very controversial statement and is not a therapeutic article because it is being written with my old hat on, when I was a Child Welfare Worker with social services. As a therapist, whatever your mindset is when you come in to see me, I will support you on your journey. That is because therapy is not about me. My blog is about educating people to the realities of the issues we face. It is not meant to be therapy. Sometimes I have to have a very assertive voice.

Thirty-two years ago I found myself pregnant at the age of 17. The time was 1980. I had to

My child did not graduate from High School either.

My child did not graduate from High School either.

request permission, from the minister, to continue going to my church. I had to endure my doctor badgering me with questions about the father – who I was engaged to. I suffered the humiliation of going to school everyday in my senior year wearing maternity clothes. I dealt with the emotional abuse from my mother about how I had gotten to this place. Yeah, it was a bitch but you know what, I never got pregnant again.

Truth be told, had I not been abandoned by my father, abused by my stepfather, and forced into an adoption, I would not have clung to the first guy who came along. So, as a young girl with severe PTSD symptoms, I fell into an abusive relationship that yielded a teen pregnancy. If I had been raised in a household that respected women and placed a high value on education, this never would have happened.

The NYC Teen Parenting Campaign is doing what it needs to do to wake up young girls to the truth of the consequences. It is not realistic to push parents to be more respectful to the women in their household. This campaign is coming from social services. When I worked for social services in Oakland CA for eight years, here is what I saw: the majority of kids brought in were from addictive homes. Yes there was physical and sexual abuse too, otherwise we could not have removed (for addictions alone). But I’d safely say about 90% of all our cases were addictions on top of the abuse. People who are using and abusing children are obviously not in the mindset of respecting women. You have to be blunt with this type of mindset. Also, the teen girls that I worked with had it in their heads that getting pregnant meant they would get out of the system – as a reward for being pregnant. This does not happen. Naturally if they are pregnant, it means the social worker is going to be on top of them even more (as I used to explain) because now there is an additional child to focus on. It also meant that the social worker had to educate them on parenting skills, make sure they didn’t abuse the embryo or the child once outside the womb. So no, they did not get dismissed from dependency simply based on the fact that they were pregnant. Rarely do these foster kids have a father involved who sticks around. The money to pay for their child comes from the welfare department – obviously since we are already paying for the parents welfare in the foster system. Oh and the pregnancy was ALMOST ALWAYS planned since they refused to use birth control. So yes, a very blunt campaign that says “Wake up and Smell the Coffee,” is exactly what is needed here.

I am sorry to hear that Planned Parenthood is not standing behind this campaign. I know that they are only doing it because it is the PC thing to do and they would probably lose a lot of liberal donors if they didn’t take this attitude. But they know as well as I do that in cultures that ostracize their children who get pregnant as a teenager (Asian) have lower teen birth rates then the other cultures who do not. If you are raised to understand that it is disrespectful to become a teen parent, and where the focus is on getting an education, chances are more likely that you won’t. If you are raised in a society where you are watching “Who’s your Daddy?” and glamorizing teen pregnancy on MTV; chances are you will take the approach of “it must be okay.” I listened to those teens voices for eight years in the inner city. Glamorizing teen pregnancy only holds women down. Women with potential.

Sitting around feeling sorry for people because they are ignorant is not the answer to the problems in America. We have a huge problem with teen pregnancy, with unwanted children (not babies but the older ones) and women who are against pro-choice.  We still have an issue with signing the Violence Against Women Act, thanks to 150 Republicans who refused to sign the bill. We are one of the only countries in the developing world who does not sign this. If you don’t want the kid to have an abortion and you don’t care about the rights of women, then you need to be focused on keeping these kids from having babies. The irony here is that Planned Parenthood is in favor of pro-choice and VAWA. I know they are not in favor of teens being pregnant but I don’t know how they expect to end this from happening with the campaign that they have going at the moment. There really isn’t one. Planned Parenthood’s website is only telling you to find a location near you and get on birth control. They have been saying this since Margaret Sanger founded the program. It isn’t enough because the teens are just not into it!

Getting Pregnant to Keep a Man

Guys who are quick and fast make an art out of seducing women. As many as they possibly can in a short period of time. They enjoy their craft and put a lot of time and effort into researching exactly what you want to hear. Over time they get better and better and better at slipping through your fingers. There is even a Pimp Bible that teaches guys how to work a vulnerable woman and set up a successful business. You can buy it on Amazon. I am trying to teach you how to NOT be bought and discarded OR worse sold!

There is no greater cautionary tale than the one where you try to explain to a young (sometimes older) woman that pregnancy will not lead to a long-term relationship. Sadly, I have found myself being on the other end of this conversation after the fact, not prior with my clients. Why would someone want to come and see me when they think they are in a good relationship? When they believe they have everything under control in their life?

I did some work with the fatherhood project several years ago. The studies showed that a young man will often stay up until the baby is born and then generally begins to run sometime shortly after this. It is so much easier for a man to run out on responsibility. You the woman are left holding the child, it is impossible to run out on an infant in your arms that is completely dependent on you for everything (although on rare occasions some women have done this or had to do this). What is also true, from statistics, is that the rate of domestic violence, that sometimes includes homicide, is much greater during pregnancy.

Knowing all of this is great for an intellectual who has gained a lot of experience over the years. But for a young girl or an older woman who is still not sure of herself, these statistics mean nothing when they meet the guy who makes them believe he is going to stick around.

Red flags that he is a flight risk.

1. Using drugs or alcohol quite a bit – you aren’t going to stop him from doing this and neither is a baby. In fact the baby will make the situation much worse because it will heighten his stress load.

2. Quick Talk Man – the type of guy who doesn’t hold normal conversations. He uses quick short sentences, slang words accented with clicks of the teeth. If the majority of the words a man uses are slang, question this no matter where you come from.

3. Non-dates – if all the time you get together for a “date” you are really at someone’s house, going to parties, just hangin’, seem to be at your house all the time, this is not a responsible or a very serious person. The non-dates mean non-committal, carefree, someone to waste time with.

4. Flashy Man – spends lots of money quickly. You’ve known him how long? Two days and he is inviting you to a trip to New Orleans. This is not a long-term committal guy. Too quick, too soon, too fast is a trip down your pants and back out again. He is a runner because he is fast and he is fast for a reason. He has to dodge every obstacle in his path and you are just one more easy come, easy go. Don’t get caught up in the attention.

5. Tall Tales – you are the one honey, you are different, I never met a girl like you, I think I’m goin’ to keep you, I could see us having babies together, you are good.  If you have heard any of these lines spoken this way or along these lines, so have many other women and by his same beautiful lips. This is all designed to get your clothes off because he knows this is what you want to hear.

6. Married Man – he might leave his wife to take care of your kid but is this love? If he already has kids with his wife, why would he leave her and the family who he has become settled with to start anew? Why are you any different? There have been situations where a man has left his wife for a woman who is pregnant but it generally does not last. Think Donald Trump and Marla Maples. The woman he is with now and raising a family with is someone he was with for quite some time before marrying her. He did not leave a wife for her.

7. Misogynist Man – He doesn’t respect other women, he won’t respect you either and certainly won’t respect the fact that you are carrying his child. Think about the guy who talks nasty about past girlfriends (blames everything on the woman), doesn’t like his mother or has no relationship with her, takes advantage of mother/aunts/grandma (lives off of them), uses slang terms toward women or dirty words (there is a difference if this is all you ever hear in the bedroom vs. playing around now and then), with regard to you and sex.

8. Flirty Man – Out with you but still ogling other ladies in the room. With you but going over to another woman to chat her up. Hanging out the car window making comments to women that he drives by. Yep, he is sleeping with someone else and it will soon be them. Don’t believe it when he says he is just being friendly. Pulllease!

By the way, a man only needs to fit ONE of the categories above to be a bad person to spend time with. He only needs to say one thing in those categories to be concerned. Don’t try to weed him out by crossing one of the these items off your list. You are not having chemistry with this man, you just want to have sex with him because he is the man you shouldn’t be with and yeah, he is probably really good too.  It is an art for him, remember!?! Just remember how many other women have been here already and the numbers will keep adding up after you. With him you are not special, you are just a game.

This all may seem very crass and very harsh to hear.  It is better to hear the harsh reality now than to find yourself several weeks/months pregnant and all alone. I know how low you have to feel as a woman to get to a place where you actually feel attracted to a  man like this.  When you feel as if the words he is saying seem true and that he is only saying it to you. When you need it so desperately that you are willing to take what you get. When you want to have a child so much that you kid yourself into believing he is the one.

If this man is the right man for you then he will take the time to get to know you, before having sex. You will find out together that you share common interests, values, ethics, and he (the two of you) will want to take the time to build a relationship with you. Building a family is something that is an investment in a future. It is not a Ponzi scheme where you get rich quick. Having a child is something that should happen after you have had some years together as a couple and have decided to get married and commit yourselves spiritually.

As a woman, we have come too far with Planned Parenthood and birth control to kid ourselves and anyone else into hearing “It was an accident.” In 1960 it was an accident. In 2012, it is foolishness, irresponsibility, immaturity and “I wanted to get pregnant by this man because I thought he would stay with me.” Not going to happen. It is time for us to grow up as women and begin to become the strong, independent, feminist, wise women that we are capable of being AND that we have struggled so hard to become in this last century.

It is time for men to grow up and become a man. A man who would not dare to abandon a woman and a child. But before he even gets here, a real man would make sure to use a condom and have more respect for himself.

The bottom line is casual sex = safe sex and leave the babies out of it. If you are not responsible in bed, you won’t make a responsible parent.

Abortion and Grief

There is so much that is said, in a very negative way, about a woman making a choice and

,., decision making

,., decision making (Photo credit: nerovivo)

deciding how to deal with a pregnancy. When a woman comes to me and tells me she has made this choice, I understand that she is dealing with grief.

Each day we make choices in our life; some good, some bad. Often we don’t realize what this decision will mean in our future. Whether we are young and starting out for the first time as an adult or older and still not quite clear where we are. Obstacles that face us do not come with a map, we must find the road and travel down it on our own. Often others join us on this ride in the form of partners, families and friends. In the end, no one can really come to a decision about their life except the person with the weight on their shoulders.

Once the decision has been made, if those around her do not agree, they will never let her live it down. Even though she may feel that the choice she made was right, it is a heavy burden to carry the weight of ridicule and scorn.

When it comes to the choice of terminating a pregnancy, this is not done lightly. I have never heard anyone say they enjoyed the process.  Often the choice is made when they are alone (without a partner to support them). This does not mean that the partner is absent in some cases either.

In the aftermath, the woman can become traumatized due to regret or the judgement of others. This trauma is a hidden emotional setback that women don’t realize is there. In an attempt to be brave and strong, we often persevere and force our self to not look back. After an abortion, her body takes on this pain and she carries it throughout her life. While sometimes the agonizing decision of having an abortion must occur, I personally do not believe that any woman wants to do this. I have heard many women who are pro-choice say that while they approve of this right for others, they could never do it themselves. However whether you would or wouldn’t when faced with this dilemma and in certain circumstances, it is not easy to know how you would deal with it.

We must follow our instincts and the path set before us. Once we have made a decision, it is done. A loss of any type brings about grief and sadness. The pain of making a controversial decision, taking a stand for what you know is right – for you, is a difficult and horrible process to bare. I urge anyone who has gone through this to consider speaking to a psychotherapist. This should be treated as a loss and dealt with as one. Your life will never be the same and it is important that there is a professional there to help you through this.

**Please take note: I will not be allowing any comments from pro-life activists in regard to this post. Since I approve all comments before they are made public, you will be wasting your energy. This is a psychotherapy weblog written for clients and perspective clients to read and hopefully find some solace. In order to protect these people who might read this article and comments that follow, I will not allow them to be harassed any further. This is meant to be a safe and supportive place, not a debate circle. There are plenty of other venues to take action – it would behoove you to stay there.

Teen Pregnancy

At this time of the year, many young women and men are marching down aisles donning their robes with the odd flat hat and strapping tassel with school colors waiting to be tossed to the opposite side.  They are beaming with excitement at the prospect of being free from parents, rules, and get out and begin their adventure in life.  Most who are privileged will be off to college.  Some are hoping to get a job, others have plans to travel and see the world.

Unfortunately though, no matter how many studies researchers do, no matter how many clinics, in school special classes in health, Planned Parenthoods, doctors, television shows, ad campaigns there are, young women continue to get pregnant and thus their graduation (if they have one) involves being the odd one with the huge belly at the parade while everyone around them feels sympathy for the ruined life they have ahead of them.

It does not matter what researchers do to determine how many are or are not, young girls who are getting pregnant are ignoring birth control and in denial.  These young girls are being raised in single parent or stepparent households, sometimes in abusive homes and the bottom line is that they want attention and there are plenty of young boys with raging hormones who are only too happy to provide it.  Please don’t misunderstand when I say they “want attention.”  I am not talking about a temper tantrum here.  I am talking about girls (and boys) being raised in homes where there is too much of an emphasis on problems.  An unhealthy household.  A young girl who is insecure, does not have role models, is not being taught right from wrong, or who simply believes all of this mess [at home] is somehow her fault.

Meanwhile, as we blame young girls for teen pregnancy the boys once again slide away from responsibility.  Why aren’t there studies that ask “How come you are not using protection?”

My most favorite study was one I found while I was working with a group educating the public on Team Parenting.  This was a study conducted by Morehouse College in the 90’s which showed that in single parent and stepparent families, young girls are more apt to become pregnant and young boys were more likely to end up in juvenile hall.  This was what I suspected already, having noticed the families I was working with in social services and my own personal history and knowledge of girls who were pregnant at an early age growing up.

Thus the concerns about ending or lowering this rate are not going to come from what we are doing already.  It can only happen when we begin to realize that our country has a high divorce rate, as well as a large number of [never married] single parent women.  For a highly developed country we should be focusing on this rather than solely being focused on young girls who don’t know any better.

The reason why the group I was working with were educating the public on  TEAM Parenting is because young girls rarely if ever end up married when they are pregnant to the baby’s father.  Even if they do get married, the reasons for doing so are not love and do not end up equating in a long-term commitment.  In fact, the studies that I read while working with this group found that “the baby’s daddy,” if he does stick around through pregnancy will be gone shortly after delivery.

Again, instead of focusing solely on the young girl, more efforts need to be made on growing responsible men.  Men who have respect for women, for themselves, for their bodies and for their future.  Men who are not the type to abandon a child [or create one irresponsibly].  After all teen pregnancy is not the result of a young girl wandering around in a forest with fairies, elves and goblins.

At the same time, young women need to be developed in to mature, responsible people who are considering a future in academia.

This will not happen when we, as adults, continue to go willy-nilly into the throes of marriage, focusing more attention on the white wedding then on what happens the day after.

The following is just one more recent study on teen pregnancy that I read today which was copied into AAMFT’s newsletter.  The type of study that I don’t like because it is trying to blame rather than focus on the real problem at hand, which I have just described above.  I clip the article here however so that you can see just how many unwanted pregnancies we have today. Unplanned Pregnancies in States reach 4 in 10.