An article in the Sunday Times last weekend caught my attention, against the general national discussion and/or handwringing about teenage pregnancy. “Too much too young?” picked up on some recent research which reveals that having a baby whilst still a teenager can often be a deliberate choice, even if in some cases it is still an accidental byproduct of recreational sex. Even if becoming pregnant is a bit of an accident, having a baby is a conscious decision. For those of us that work regularly with young people, this may not seem like particularly groundbreaking news, but it suggests that the simplistic target of ‘reducing teenage pregnancies’ may, in some cases, be up against the maternal desire of young people who, 150 years ago, were mothers at the same age.
Then one of my team came into the office this morning having spotted in the newsagent the August edition of Cosmo Girl with the article “First time sex! Teens who’ve done it tell you everything.” How much readers (target age 13-17) will actually learn is a moot point, but it continues to endorse the impression of normality in early sex.
Finally, Ian Macdonald, Youth Adviser for the Oxford Diocese and the author behind Youthblog, posted on Tuesday about Teenage pregnancy and the Government’s new strategic plan. He annotates each of the four basic themes with a range of positive suggestions for improvement.
Through PSHE lessons and pastoral work with young people we’re doing what we can. To be honest, I feel a bit overwhelmed by the task. And I don’t see society being changed in any kind of hurry. But I hope we can make a difference – one life at a time.