Well before the egg to become the foundation of my daughter had matured, something that happened just about a year after my graduation, I had seen many glimpses of the life of a pregnant teen. There must be something in the waters of my old town, because I continue to hear stories of my peers still in the area being pregnant, usually it’s the second or third baby.
I don’t think I ever saw a bulging belly actually in school. There’d be an occasional breeze lending gossip about some girl, but as public topic, it didn’t bear much fancy. The attitude was, “yeah she’s stupid, whatever.” However, I’d dare speak of my peers being more foolish than that. I suspect the very few girls that did harass me (for other reasons) in school are some of those that are now also moms, just in worse condition. Sure, the school had sex education, but it was rather boring. Many of kids where still ignorant. The topic of being pregnant in school was very much skirted. You don’t come to school if your pregnant. Granted, some students used lesser reasons to not come.
All this is relevant. The prejudice against teen mothers is just one piece of a puzzle that says that education isn’t quite as free as advertised. To truly be informed, one must fight for the information. No wonder many teens are left stranded when taken by surprise by the fact that they’re pregnant. Either people are judgmental and don’t want to be “infected” or just ignore the situation. Ignorance that causes just as much harm.
Even as a person who graduated before becoming a parent, I still occasionally get caught by the greater surprise of someone being snooty. I have actually had a stranger make an offhand comment that the baby I have in the store looks like she could be mine. Of course she does, she’s my daughter! I suppose it may be complementary for some women to look younger than they are, but for me, such a blessing means I still face some of the discrimination a teen mother has. Perhaps this is what gives me such a unique view.