Recently, I was reading your paper online and came across a letter to the editor from M.J. Embree regarding teen mothers. I felt compelled to write as this is a subject that has deeply impacted my life. In September of 1993, my senior year at Payson High School, I found out that I was pregnant. Though I had opinions coming from everywhere, I decided that I will be the one to make a choice regarding my child. I decided to keep him and have never regretted doing so. The father of my son, Nathan LaFlesch, has been involved in every possible aspect of his life. We both graduated high school and were able to walk with our class to get our diplomas with our newborn son, Tyler, in attendance.
Nathan and I married in April of 1998 out of love, not because we had gotten ourselves into a 'situation.' We now have three beautiful children and contrary to popular assumption regarding teen parents, are not on welfare and do not expect our parents to raise our children. We have worked very hard and luck has had nothing to do with it. We are financially secure, own two homes and are both attending college.
My point is that just because you have a child in your teen years doesn't mean you will become a welfare case or a burden to society. It doesn't mean that the grandparents are going to raise the child and it definitely doesn't mean you won't do anything with your life. With hard work and determination, all that you ever wanted, and more, will come to you.
Don't get me wrong, abstinence is the best route, but it isn't a reality. It wasn't a reality 50 years ago either, it just wasn't talked about (little Sally just went to visit relatives, you know). Parents have to talk to their kids about sex, not just about abstinence. Don't assume they know about it or that they will wait until marriage. If you do, you may become a grandparent a lot sooner than you had planned.
Jessica R. Hasty-LaFlesch