“I wonder how much damage you did to that baby by probably binge drinking and smoking cigs at a Halloween party a week before you found out. And I wonder which lucky frat guy(s?) got to sweat it out.”
I chose to ignore this comment on my first column, but after learning about some comments that our online editor removed because they go against our policy for comments (it’s called libel), I’m using this week to stick up for myself and make the point that it’s 2010, and times are changing.
For every person out there who wrote that I am unfit to be a mother, too young or too immature, or those people who might think less of myself and others in the same situation, I want to you know these things:
1) Emaline’s father — my fiance — has never been and never will be in a fraternity.
2) I don’t smoke or binge drink.
3) Even if I had during my pregnancy, I just want to let you know that Emaline has always been ahead of the game. The day she was born, she broke the Shawnee Mission Medical Center hospital record for the fastest completion of the newborn hearing screening, and passed the average by seven and-a-half minutes, meaning her neural connections are faster than normal. She will eventually be the kid that gets things before everyone else.
4) In high school, I was one of two recipients of the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s Citizenship Award for my high school. I have been labeled academically gifted since third grade and traveled the nation speaking to other students about civic engagement.
5) Unlike Jenelle on MTV’s “Teen Mom,” I don’t expect to go out and party whenever I want while someone else cares for my child. I don’t even let my mom get up with her when I’m back home in Kansas City because Emaline is my responsibility and that will never change.
The irresponsible thing to do would have been to cling to a care-free, party hardy college life (which I never really had), get an abortion and pretend like nothing ever happened.
I don’t pass off my lifestyle by trying to stick a car seat into the back of a Honda Civic. I drive a mini-van for crying out loud, and every other woman I know who has made the choice to be an unwed mother after an unplanned pregnancy, despite some of society’s criticism, has made the same changes.
Feel free to write judgments against me and the other girls who are strong enough to live their lives in the face of stereotypes. I’ll be happy to leave those comments up. But only judge me if you’ve never had sex without marriage.
Only judge me if you got pregnant with your boyfriend at 19 thanks to a faulty condom, never once questioned what you were going to do with the baby, and stayed in school so you could get a degree to continue on to grad school in order to provide for your family.
I cry every time I watch “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom” because I realize that those girls are even less equipped to handle having a baby than me. I realize that they are going to need to choose to miss out on a lot of their youth.
Life happened and I took responsibility for my actions. If you’re going to go out of your way to tell me how bad of a person I am because of it, by all means do so, but realize that times have changed and it’s time to open our minds and hearts to everyone, no matter the twists and turns their lives have taken.
– Aubree Casper is a junior in life science. Send comments to email@example.com.