I think society has given sex a bad name.
For so many years, it’s been so controversial to talk about, and it wasn’t until recently that people began feeling more comfortable talking about the taboo topic. Many people see sex as a dirty act, when in reality, it can be a beautiful thing shared between two people who love each other. But because it happens behind closed doors, so many people are embarrassed by it.
So when a parent finds out their daughter is pregnant, often times they become upset. And I’m not talking just teen moms. I’m talking 20+-year-old adult women who are getting shamed for becoming pregnant. Some fathers even stop talking to their daughter for days, sometimes months. Who’s the child in this situation? Throwing a temper tantrum and refusing to talk for days is not going to resolve the situation.
I think many times, a parent is not upset that their daughter is pregnant, but rather that their daughter has had sex. The perfect illusion they’ve created in their head of their virginal daughter is completely shattered. At this point, they know there is no denying the fact that their daughter did the deed. They’ll fantasize over the thought of their daughter being the next Virgin Mary, but when reality sets in, it’s obvious their daughter has had sex.
In all honesty, sometimes I feel like they will never find us “children” mature enough to enjoy the pleasure they’ve had the luxury of experiencing. They feel that since they’re the adults, they’re the only ones entitled to this sacred pleasure.
At 21, I became pregnant out of wedlock. I was in my senior year of college and was living away from home. When I first let my mother know, I was met with much disappointment, and asked multiple times how I could have let this happen. Well, maybe if we would have been open about sex during my upbringing, this could have been avoided.
After beginning a relationship with my now-husband, I remember trying to do the mature thing and get on birth control. I was covered under my father’s health insurance, but I was too scared that visiting with an gynecologist would show up on his “Explanation of Benefits” statement. So in an effort to get some guidance, I texted my mom for help.
Her response surprised me. She said I was an adult now and could figure it out on my own. It was like she didn’t want anything to do with my sexual health. This was the same person who came to me when I was 13 years old and told me to let her know the day I started having sex, so she could get me on birth control. It wasn’t a heart-to-heart conversation, but rather, she was just trying to prevent the “embarrassing” situation of having a pregnant teenager. So it was baffling to find that when I actually asked for the help, she didn’t offer any.
I was left having to fend for myself, and since the local free clinic didn’t offer any services for people who already have insurance, we were left using our old birth control method—condoms.
Of course, condoms aren’t foolproof, and they’re not as effective as the other forms of birth control I was interested in. They can break, slip off, or you can simply run out. On the day I returned from my study abroad trip, my boyfriend and I were so caught up in the heat of the moment, we ended up not using one. Still, I did what I was taught to do — not by my parents, but by a random stranger in a commercial. We went out and bought emergency contraception and expected everything to be fine since I had taken the pill within 24 hours. Well, I ended up being the lucky 5% that gets gifted with a child.
When the time came to tell my parents, I was most nervous about telling my father. It’s almost every girl’s number one fear. But to my surprise, I was met with much more sympathy than I had imagined. My father hugged me and told me everything would be fine. And of course it would be. I was a senior set to graduate with a degree in Biomedical Sciences a few weeks after my due date, and my boyfriend was set to graduate with me with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
We were adults, not children. So why were we met with such disappointment? Although my father didn’t outright say he was disappointed, he definitely wasn’t extremely excited, over-the-moon happy like you’d hope your parents to be when you tell them you’re expecting. What was the big deal? Sure, I wasn’t married, but neither was he when my mother was pregnant. Not to mention, they were only 17 and 18 when that happened.
I tried to explain to my father that I wasn’t being reckless and had desperately tried to get on birth control before this happened, and he quickly tuned me out, saying, “Gross, I don’t want to hear about that.” And you see, that’s the big problem. We can’t openly talk about sex with the two people in our lives that are supposed to be there for us the most. How about we just stop giving a shit about whether our children are having sex and instead make sure it’s safe sex? That would have been much more appreciated.
It’s not just me. Girls everywhere are experiencing this same situation. Our parents are making it awkward for us, even if we’re at an “old enough” age to start a family. I once read a YouTube comment where a woman was talking about how she got pregnant at 22 after getting married, and even then, her father was upset and didn’t talk to her for days. WTF?! Did this father think that on his daughter’s wedding night, she just went home with her husband and played cards? Hell no! We’re adults and we have the right to do as we please with our bodies, so don’t be surprised when you find out we’re sexually active.
Now that I’m a mother, I want to change the tide and do things my way with my son. Obviously the whole tactic of avoiding the topic hasn’t been working, so why not be honest with our children instead? I plan on teaching my son about his body and how to respect it. What’s important to me is not whether he has sex, but whether or not he shares it safely with someone he loves.
Let’s get over hoping our children make it to be 40-year-old virgins, and instead be there to guide them through the challenges of intimacy. Even though I didn’t plan on having a son at 22 years old, I’m so grateful for this chance to be his mommy — and to make a difference as an empowering mother.