Motherhood Starts Before Pregnancy

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Editor:

On Mother’s Day I read two articles that, as a high school teacher, I found significantly interconnected:

The first was the article in the Roundup detailing Gila County’s rate of children in single-parent households (40 percent), rate of teen pregnancy (40 per 1,000), and that 62 out of 100 women giving birth are unmarried, and most are on AHCCCS (taxpayer-funded health care.)

One possible solution offered was “increased abstinence from smoking during pregnancy and sex education for teens.”

The second addresses what I believe to be a major root cause of this problem:

“Stupid Mothers,” (http://www.wnd .com/2012/05/stupid-mothers) contains the following excerpt:

“This column is NOT geared toward women who are already mothers, but toward women who haven’t yet embarked on the maternal journey. Mother’s Day, in fact, begins long before a child (natural or adopted) is laid in a woman’s arms. In some respects, motherhood is of secondary importance when compared to what comes first. I refer, of course, to whom the mother chooses to father her child. There are few decisions in life that will have a greater impact on her children.

“Rather than offering all mothers unconditional vacant kudos and congratulations for having kids, I would instead question one of two things: One, how well did you choose the man to father those kids? And two, if you made a mistake, what are you doing to rectify it? Before you can accept the honors for being a mother, you also need to accept the responsibility.”

I plan to share both articles with my students, many of whom I see every day working valiantly, often against formidable odds, to make moral decisions. My admiration for these kids, knowing their challenging family situations, is indescribable.

Payson teachers and staff at every level daily see the personal faces of the statistics cited by the Roundup.

While some of the solutions offered in the Roundup article are important, without factoring in the insights in “Stupid Mothers” and working to counter the pervasive toxic cultural climate, I sadly believe these statistics will not change for the better.

I hope everyone reading this will think about what they can do to help improve this dismal situation. Ultimately, it’s not only about tax dollars — it’s about individual choices, hard responsibilities and personal role-modeling to help and support our young people.

Tina Terry

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