Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jamie Lynn and dumpster babies...

I'm really disgusted with Western society right now. I mean, more so than I usually am. There are a lot of people screaming that Jamie Lynn Spears is glamorizing teen pregnancy. And maybe, to some degree, she is. But that's a side effect of her reality. This kid has lots of money. She has been working in TV and movies for several years now, and has amassed some serious cash. So yes, when she got knocked up there wasn't some big panic for her of "oh my god how am I going to pay for this baby?" She was able to just have the kid and carry on. Good for her. It's not as if she's saying that all sixteen year olds should rush out and get pregnant. And now there are people freaking out that in an interview with OK magazine, she says that being a mom is "the best feeling in the world." Apparantly she's supposed to hate her life, hate her baby, and be miserable for the rest of eternity. Apparantly by saying that she loves her daughter and is extremely happy to have her little family, she is singlehandedly bringing about the destruction of childhood in North America.


As a "teen mother" (god I fucking hate that phrase, more later) I can tell you that there is nothing glamorous about getting knocked up young. And the reality is that for us normal folks, having to provide for a child is HARD FUCKING WORK. Some girls are lucky enough to have immense support from their families-they continue to live at home rent-free, their parents babysit while they're in school/working/just continuing to be normal young women, they get huge amounts of financial support...and to those girls I say "stop whining you spoiled cunts, you get all the good parts of having a baby with none of the hardships." If anyone is "glamorizing teen pregnancy," it's these completely average young women whose parents continue to support them AND their children. They have no extraordinary circumstances (such as celebrity and wealth) yet they continue to have perfectly normal lives while procreating at extremely young ages.

Some of us don't get that help. I have survived innumerable hardships and done everything short of prostitution or theft to provide for myself and my son. Having him so young made my life harder than it really needed to be. But does that mean I should love him any less? Should I wallow in misery and self-hatred for the rest of my life? Should I start some sort of movement advocating mandatory abortions or adoptions for anyone who gets pregnant before they're 20? Should I tell young moms that their lives are over and they may as well just give up?

This is why I hate the phrase "teen parent." It carries such negative connotations. While I was in the hospital after Ronin's birth, recovering from an emergency c-section, I got a harsh introduction to the world of "teen parenthood." I woke up from a nap the day after the birth to be told by a nurse (possibly the only decent human being working on the maternity ward...mat nurses are by and large cuntsmears) that the hospital social worker had been down to NICU (Ronin was quite premature) to "check up" on my baby. This didn't sit well with me. As some of you may be aware, you just don't fuck with The Beckstar. So, in spite of my still oozing incision, residual fuzziness from the anaesthetics, and the fact that I hadn't walked on my own since the surgery, I figured I had to deal with this. I plopped my bloody, stoned self into a wheelchair and headed off to the social work office on another floor of the hospital. When I confronted this woman with questions about why she had been down to "check on my baby" without my permission or even knowledge, while I was having a nap and recovering from fucking SURGERY, she responded with, "It's policy. All children born to mothers under the age of 18 receive a routine welfare checkup." When I asked why parental consent for this "checkup" wasn't required, she told me that "when the parent is under 18, it doesn't really count."

Excuse me?

So, a HEALTHY baby is born to a HEALTHY mother, albeit prematurely due to TRAUMA RECEIVED IN AN ACCIDENT, not by any defect or fault of the mother, and because the mother is under 18 you can just waltz in and poke and prod the baby, looking for a way the mother may be unfit, and her consent "doesn't really count?" What the fuck country is this, lady? I'm sorry, I thought I was in Canada, with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms or some shit like that. I raised quite a fuss about this little incident and informed the self-righteous cunt sitting across the desk from me that either I received an apology in writing or the Human Rights Commission and every media outlet in the province received my story in writing. The end result? I got a letter from DSS apologizing for my "being upset by the behavior of their employee," and stating that they "regret her decision to perform the inspection without my knowledge, but it is department policy to conduct said inspection, and parental consent is not required where the welfare of the child may be at stake." Basically, they didn't need my consent for the same reason they don't need the parent's consent when allegations of abuse arise. If you are under 18 and give birth in Saskatchewan, you are automatically under investigation for child abuse. Now, this may have changed in the past eight years, but that's what the policy was "in my day."

Let's recap. Western society says that if you have a baby when you are a teenager, you WILL be a bad parent if left to your own devices, you probably already have abused your child somehow before they are born, and your life is effectively over. Therefore, you must do penance by hating both yourself and your child forever, and you are not allowed to enjoy the experience of parenthood. You must instead don sackcloth and ashes anytime you are seen in public with the child, go on welfare for the rest of your natural life and refuse to even attempt to better yourself, because you are a Teen Parent and the best you can hope for is meager survival.

People, this is why things like the "prom baby" happen. Granted, girls who do shit like that are probably a little fucked up to begin with, and it's utterly wrong. I'm not excusing their behavior. What I am saying is that when we bombard young women with these ideas that if they get pregnant they're completely fucked (ha ha) and then expect some sort of contrition in place of celebration from the ones who do have babies, we create a culture of fucking dumpster babies. I have pulled Ronin out of a daycare centre because the owner had the balls to make a distinction (while I was in the room) between "teen moms" and "real moms." I have said very unpleasant things to complete strangers who have made comments like "don't you think you should have at least had the decency to give that baby to someone who can take care of it properly?" I have gotten into a physical altercation with a girl who told me that I shouldn't be happy to be a mother at my age. You just don't fuck with The Beckstar. But not every young mom can be me. The reason these attitudes are allowed to continue is that many young moms don't feel they have the right to stand up for themselves as women and as mothers. And unfortunately, in many parts of our community, the stereotype of the undereducated young mom is true, so these girls don't know how to defend their family the same way I have. (With a few notable exceptions, I tend to believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. But when you mess with my family you'd best believe that I will fucking gut you with that pen and write a letter to my MLA in your blood.)

Let's educate these teen moms, you say? Open special daycare centres and programs for them?

Let me ask you something, my friend. ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH? Have you paid any attention to today's lesson at all? Better yet, have you ever set foot in one of those "special programs" for teen moms? Go ahead, try it. I fucking dare you to see how long you can take being spoken to as though you're a five year old sociopath before you just give up and flush all your kids down the WalMart toilet.

What we need is for people to pull their heads out of their asses and treat mothers like mothers, regardless of age. Discrimination against young parents is a form of human rights violation that is not only still legal, but in fact sponsored by our government. Yes, educate children about sex, pregnancy, birth control and everything that entails. I am a huge proponent of reality-based education, and telling young women that if they have a baby before they are truly ready it will be HARD AS FUCK. What I want is for girls who do get pregnant to be told that they can still accomplish anything they choose, they might just have to work a little harder for it. We need to get rid of these "daycares for children of teen parents" and "teen parent programs." In fact, I wholeheartedly applaud the Saskatchewan Party for abolishing that den of government-employed fuckstains that used to operate on Avenue M South. I have struggled in my life with depression and suicidal thoughts, but never so strongly as I did after my only visit to that building during my pregnancy. Looking back now, I kind of want revenge on the government health nurses and counsellors who psychologically fucking raped me that day, but at the time I walked home KNOWING that my life was effectively over and that I would truly be better off throwing myself in front of a passing truck than ruining my life and dooming my unborn child to the worst kind of hell on earth by having the audacity to have a child at that age.

We as a society need to start treating parents like parents, no matter their age. I am a better mother than many women twice my age. Good or bad parenting does not depend on one's birthdate. I am all for support programs for parents, but they must be all-inclusive. It is extremely psychologically damaging for a young pregnant woman to have to face a distinction between herself and a "real mother." We cannot segregate parental support based on age-it must be done based on need. And regardless of age, a woman who chooses to give birth to and raise a child MUST be allowed and encouraged to see the joy in her decision, and to love her child the way nature has dictated. If we tell young women they shouldn't be happy, love their children and enjoy being mothers, they very likely won't. And that leads to poor parenting and a repeating cycle of poverty, abuse and misery in a far more direct way than age ever can.

I celebrate my child. I have walked a hard road because of my decision to keep him, and I celebrate that too. It has made me who I am today, and this child has brought me more joy and more learning opportunities than anything else in my life. Anyone who says that young mothers shouldn't celebrate their children the same way older mothers do should be sterilized on the spot, because they obviously have some deep seated hatred of children if they advocate parental apathy like that. And if this celebrity controversy can raise public awareness of this travesty, I'll be thrilled. Unfortunately, what it seems to be doing is giving these hateful, discriminatory fear-mongers a platform for their filth. And that makes me a sad panda.