As I sit here contemplating guzzling a bottle of arsenic rather than write my science paper, I decided to share my thoughts on the most recent Lifetime movie (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the cheesiness of Lifetime movies?). The Pregnancy Pact is based off a true story following the lives of about five high school sophomores who allegedly all made a pact to get pregnant together after one of them discovered her condition. This took place in Massachusetts 2008 and gained national recognition because of a woman’s video blog. What Lifetime seemed to be attempting to do was to expose the true difficulties of teenage motherhood and promote the distribution of contraception in public schools to prevent such drastic situations from occurring again.
I have a few distinctly different opinions on the movie and the specific issue it brought up. The first is that the girls were incredibly dumb to do something like this. Come on, I loved babies as much as the next girl at 15 and probably wouldn’t have minded too much after the initial humiliation and family freak out if I had found myself pregnant, but that certainly did not mean I would ever have contemplated going out, finding a boy, and purposefully getting myself pregnant. To be fair, there is no factual evidence that any of the girls actually went out and formed a pact to do just this, but the evidence is highly suspicious (most were all in the same group of friends and got pregnant around the same time, hmmm…). If this is how your girls think, PLEASE give them contraceptives!!!! We’re not living in the stone age; in today’s society and financial situation, it is just not practical to have a child at 15. Inevitably, you would wind up acting like it’s your younger sibling rather than your own child; you aren’t ready to be a parent and your parents would end up doing the the dirty work for you because you need to finish school and get a job. And if you do find yourself pregnant that young, there are plenty of couples who are unable to have a child and would love yours with all their hearts. You don’t have to raise it if you know you’re not capable. It’s not rocket science. Come on, none of these girls paused to THINK!
My second thought: I detected a bit of Catholic/Christian bashing. I could be way off, but being a devout Catholic and having encountered some serious verbal abuses directed at me and my faith to my face on more than one occasion, I am sensitive to this issue. The movie was set up pitting Catholic and Christian tradition against modern society (which is usually what happens, no problem with that) but in many scenes it showed the parents of the principle pregnant girl to be to overly constricting and not supportive because of their faith. The woman who wrote the blog accused the mother of being blind and that the purpose of her blog was to “only ask a question” or “try to help these girls.” In reality, it was her fault that the story gained national recognition. If she had left the town alone, as she was asked to do on several occasions, her blog would not have gained much popularity and Time Magazine and other national media would not have become so involved. Whether you think the increased teen pregnancy rate is considered an epidemic or not, the fact is, it should remain a private matter between the girl, the boy, and their families, which was all the Catholic parents were trying to preserve. Portraying them and their beliefs as the bad guy is hardly fair
Bloggers and journalists have no right to stick their noses into other people’s lives because they “smell a story.” This particular woman believed she had an obligation to help the girls because she had gotten pregnant at 16 herself and had been in their shoes, which granted maybe she did have such an obligation; however the way she went about it by publicizing it with her blog and not realizing the extent of all the damage she singlehandedly caused was both arrogant and wrong. She wanted personal recognition for her blog under the guise of “raising awareness.” Awareness doesn’t need to be raised in that fashion; people notice when they see a pregnant 15 year old and statistics, presented in a blunt, black and white, impersonal manner, speak for themselves. Leave people alone, they have enough trouble being pregnant without you exacerbating the situation.
Another thing that bothered me about the blogger was her selfishness regarding the lives and aspirations of other women. She tried convincing the girls that there was so much more to life than being a mother. And of course there is! But this blogger bought into contemporary society’s take on motherhood as not good enough. It is absolutely fine, and encouraged, to have large goals and aspirations for yourself as a woman. I have tons of them, I want to finish college, get my masters, travel the world, maybe get my doctorate in either English or history, and publish my novels. I’ve got a lot on my bucket list, but I also want to be a wife and a mother before I turn 30 at the latest. This does not bring my dreams to a skidding halt, it just postpones them. My goals would be nice things to have and do in life, but they would not make me intrinsically happy. If some sicko forced me at gunpoint to choose between writing and having a family, I would throw all my pens and journals in the fireplace and pour gasoline on them to speed up the destruction. Being a mother is not the end of the world; it is something beautiful that has been warped by today’s day and age.
That is what the blogger didn’t comprehend. Some women have large aspirations and a ton of ambition to achieve great things, and all the more power to them, we need them in the world so we don’t backtrack to the Middle Age philosophy on women. But other women don’t need all that. The one pregnant girl in the movie said, “None of that stuff matters to me. All I need to make me happy is to get married and have kid.” I’m with ya, sister! I’m not going to make a pregnancy pact right now, and when I do it will be with my husband and not my friends, but I’ll be happy when the time comes. Truly happy.