Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Saturday, March 6, 2010

C: WARNING. This is a Soapbox I’m Standing On

Whew!  Let me say it again: Whew!  This week has been a humdinger.  As a family law attornpaperworkey, I feel a bit macabre in saying that my business “has been good” lately, because that means that people are in pain.  However, it has been sooooo busy that it is phenomenal. 

I have found myself  going from one conference room to the next, meeting with clients.   What this means, of course, is that all the paperwork needed from those will have to be done this weekend!

Yes, people are still getting divorced at alarming numbers (yours truly…), but that’s not what this rant is about.  Before I go full-swing let me say a few “givens,” because I am going to sound somewhat harsh in this post:

  1. All babies, regardless of circumstance of birth, are blessings, end of story.  We are happy, happy, happy they are here.babies
  2. Life throws us curves.  Things (pregnancies, included) happen when they are not expected.  They just do, and I get that.
  3. If you or someone you love are in the position of single parentdom already, I’m sorry, and I mean no offense.  I know many are there by other-than-choice and that is not what I am preaching about here.  Well, not exactly….

I think we all know there has been a steep rise in unwed births.  I am very tempted to lapse into statistics here, because they would alarm you, but if you want those, ask and I’ll supplement.  I’m scared this is going to be too long as it is.

What I want to focus on today is the not one, not two, but three young women I encountered in my practice recently.  All have babies (under one year) by men to whom they are not married.  All three mothers are wild-eyed crazy (sincerely) at the thought of those men now getting visitation.  All three mothers want supervised visits for reasons from among the following:

  1. He has a rage problem and no patience;
  2. He uses drugs—she just knows it because she knows what he did when they were together.  We just can’t seem to get a sample to prove it.
  3. He never cared for the baby before and only wants visitation as revenge on her—probably true in one case.
  4. He lives with his mother in a falling-down trailer with four cats and three dogs in the house; nasty, nasty, nasty.  Where is her baby going to sleep and where is her baby going to safely crawl around?
  5. He’s irresponsible and immature (ya think??).

All three women admit that they knew of these unsavory characteristics in these men before they got pregnant.

These women are in sincere distress when I tell them (all but one) that supervised visits ain’t gonna happen under their facts.  No, thewaveir babies will be sent off for some variation of every-other-weekend and maybe one night per week plus rotation of holidays and some graduated extended vacation.  What!! I have to let him take her on vacation???!!!  Yep, he’s daddy.  Learn to wave “bye-bye.”

What about breastfeeding?” they ask, “Isn’t that a special case?”  Sure is; my advice: start pumping and freezing.  The courts will (must) ensure that almost any father has a real relationship with his child if he wants one.

And, now, we come to the issue that really has me worked up: Many of these girls are getting pregnant by men they have never had intention of marrying!!! When I ask them, they will tell me all those reasons they now don’t want him visiting (see above),  finishing up their litany with “I would NEVER marry him.”

They slept with him (unprotected) but they don’t think he’s good enough for them to marry?  They would foist a jerk on an innocent little child? I’m sorry. It upsets me no end, no end, no end. It is rank “me-ism.” Me, me, me, me, me—hang the consequences to anyone else, including an innocent baby not yet born.

And, while I often see women who just petulantly don’t want to “give” visitation, these three cases involve sincere concerns.  I happen to agree with them.  If I were these babies’ mother, it would give me ulcers to send him/her into these environments.  But, those kids will go.  Why?  Because their mothers chose poorly for them.  They set them up with circumstances that are far less than ideal.  They did not have to do that to these children.

I want to shout this from the rooftop to young women everywhere: If you want to sleep around, I won’t preach morality to you—your business, strictly. But we live in a day and age when birth control is absolutely available and you should remember that taking care of your unborn child is more than just about quitting smoking and drinking during pregnancy bird and watching diet. 

It’s about safe-nesting.  Wild birds do it—they choose the best location and circumstances that they can to give their offspring the best chance in life.  Why can’t human women do it? Folks, over thirty-five percent (conservatively) of all births in America are out of wedlock now.  There is a whole ‘nother post about why this, alone, even with great fathers, is less than ideal.

If you do not heed my warning here and you get pregnant out of wedlock by someone you have no intention of marrying, you are starting out as an irresponsible parent from the get go. You are consigning your unborn child to disadvantage because of your own rank selfishness. And if you inflict upon your child a father that you don’t even want as a husband because of his character flaws, then shame, shame, shame on you. That child had no say in any of this, and your selfishness will impact him or her far and away more that it does you.

And I am flinching to be hit by you out there in blogdom for my statements above..I know they sound harsh.  But they are my perspecbonk-on-headtive,  honestly.

All I’m asking here is that women THINK! And care about someone else other than themselves when the consequences are so dire.  Please take care of your unborn child by building a safe nest before he or she comes.  It is basic mothering…

C’mon out there…how do we get across to young women that they have a responsibility to their future children to nest safely?  Do I need to get a tent and a bullhorn and go on the road?

And if you’re already in this predicament, there is hope. Sequel to this rant covering what-to-do-now-that-I’m-in-this-pickle is available on request. People usually pay $250 per hour for this advice…

See, I told you this was a rant…I’m gonna push “publish,” but I am, truly, flinching…C

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PS: I see Barbara from 3 Acre Homestead is first on the comment bandwagon. This is ironic, because I first got the thought about the responsibility for "safe-nesting" from her blog. She wrote about her ducks choosing good locations for their nests, and I thought "WE need to do that..." Go visit Barbara. She is wise and you will love her blog. C


Anonymous said...

All I have to say is "AMEN!". While most of these men want visitation it will only take one or two times of having the child and realizing the resposibility of actually taking care of a child emotionally, mentally and physically that the request for visitation will cease. These boy's and girls should be responsible. A Condom is pretty easy for a guy I would think. Where I live I see many 15 year olds having kids with no Daddy around.
When my children were old enough to date I told them why they should not have sex, (unwanted pregnancy, diseases that kill) but also told them worse case scenario if you can't say NO you must have a condom and if you do not, CALL ME even if it is 2 am and I will pick them up and throw them out as I drive bye your location. I preached so much that I now have a daughter that is going on thirty that still has no child and is a nice girl. Of course I am wondering if I will ever have a grandchild.....just kidding....Point being Parents really must preach and preach and preach. I also made my children watch just about every video at the Libary on the subject at least once. Did you know that the Henry Winkler put together a wonderful video on the subject of the sex education for children?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Do you think I freaked my kids out? .....grin....
At least we did not have a unwanted pregnancy.....
My kids tell me all the time, "ENOUGH ALREADY".

Unknown said...

If you go on the road to pass along this message, let me know and I will go as your poster child of what not to do. I wish I had read this 23 years ago...seriously, I needed to read this back then.

Awesome job and keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Hi C. I agree with every word you said, but on these blogs I feel like you are preaching to the choir. I wish there was some way to get this message out there too. I have a page on facebook and overheard one of my grands say "Who wants Gramma on their facebook?" I am going to close my facebook, because I can't stand the things I read, not just my grands, but all the kids. Can't even understand half of the things they say. Use one letter and slang etc. Maybe you could start a facebook account. Put that post out there.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

QMMM is right, I am preaching to the choir. By the time these girls get to me, the damage is done. How can we help on the front end?

Barbara did just the right thing on this subject with her kids. I agree with her.

Living on the Spit is gracious. I do not mean to be hard about this...I just see so much pain tat could be avoided. I look at her blog and know that she has overcome whatever those challenges were. C

Vee said...

The only trouble with this is that not enough people will have the opportunity to read it. May I feature it in my little soapbox section? (Not that too many people find that either.) I really feel that this is of extreme importance. Safe-nesting should be taught in schools and talked about everywhere. It's pretty incredible that a duck is more intelligent than so many of our young women today. (I also wonder if the young ladies are financially desperate in these rotten economic times and if that is some of the reason why the pregnancy rates are skyrocketing again.)

Zuzana said...

Although a bit out of my expertise and knowledge, I agree with your sentiments.
I will never understand young girls like that, nor have I ever been a girl like that.
Have a nice weekend, if possible.;)

Kitty said...

There are a million reasons why people CHOOSE to do what they do. Do I understand it? Nope. Will I judge these young women, nope, I won't. I am sitting in my warm, heated apartment, with clean clothes on my back and the backs of my children and clean sheets on my bed and the beds of my two girls. We have food to eat and (today) we are living without fear. Or illness. Or disease. (Mental or physical.)

Do I understand their fear? Oh yes, sadly only too well. Things change sometimes, within a relationship, within a marriage, when children arrive. Then, sometimes, what is best is to divorce and to become a single parent. Did I ever want this? No but sadly that is exactly what happened to me.

I preach to my children to NOT have sex, but, I also preach about why it's also necessary to keep your wits about you and always have condoms on hand. Worked fine with my 21-year old son, and it still does. At 10 and 12 my daughters are still too young, but, they KNOW all about condoms, AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, venereal diseases. And what these things WILL DO to their life and their future choices in life. Limit them.

Just keep talking. That's the important thing. And, thank you.

Monalisa said...

Really interesting blog.
Things have changed, not for the better.

Mama said...

Preach it, Sister. I see these children later, when they're in high school. Often, they are reeling from the effects of their parents' choices. Then, you know what? They repeat the past.

The ones who do not follow in the footsteps of their parents are the ones who change the future of their family. Some still do.

Thoughtful post!

Tanna said...

Go, C!!!! Amen and amen!!

T said...

I wish I would see/hear this more often! Often these children are the very ones that suffer and choose to cause others that kind of suffering.

People so need to THINK what they are doing and the ramifications of their actions. (men and women - the men too could say no to sex if there is the absence of a condom!)

Great post!

Vickie said...

A THOUSAND AMENS! I see it all the time, too, in my business. These kids are thinking with their hormones and not their brains. I think you SHOULD go around the country with a bullhorn!

I've heard all the rants about bringing children into the world under terrible circumstances, but C, I've never thought about the "nesting" thing. That is a great way to look at it!

You may get some flack or not, but there are a slew of women that are behind you, those of us who have almost grown kids, teens, and those of us who've lived long enough to see the consequences of un-thought-out sex. Bravo! These young ones will see it, too, when they've lived as long as we have.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, C. I have wondered the same thing many times. I don't remember ever hearing the term "safe nesting" before but it's a good concept I'm going to remember, for next time I want to get on MY soap box about this! (I've done it before, and I'm sure I'll do it again!)

Becky K. said...

Oh, I cannot even imagine working in the environment that you do. I imagine if you chose to there are a million soapboxes you could stand on.

Family...what was meant to be so precious.

Children...So many hurting and put in the middle.

Thank you for this courageous post.
I came over from Vee's Blog and hope that many will read this. Parents and Young People alike.

Becky K.
Hospitality Lane

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi I came over from Vee's recommendation on her blog today and I applaud this post for many reasons. Having and raising children should be a well thought out and prepared for decision, yet sadly many young women AND MEN are not being directed by their families, their church, by society at large to prepare themselves for that responsibility. I do not let the men off the hook as they are equally to blame for allowing a life to come into the world that now has to grow up in a dysfunctional family.

I wish our schools would do more at a young age to teach the ramifications of early parenthood and what the responsibilities of raising a child will be, as part of required curriculum. It's the only way I can see how that message will ever be brought forth for a majority of today's youth.

Malinda said...

When my girls were old enough to know that they could have a baby without being married, I told them that that was true, but the EASY way to have children was to be married and settled into a home and career. I then explained why. They are now in their mid twenties and doing very well. All that preaching wasn't for nothing.

Joy said...

Oh girl, I am sooooo with you on this. But I'm going to go a bit further than you, and I AM going to 'preach'...however, it's actually wisdom from God, so if you've got a problem, take it up with Him. The Bible says, 'What you sow, so shall you reap'. You sow to the flesh (self) you reap corruption. God's word is wisdom and commom sense all rolled into one. And until humans everywhere, repent of sin, we will continue to make very unwise choices in our lives. You said it all, kid. Young women are not 'getting it' (wisdom) cause their mama's are not teaching it and Mama ain't teaching it cause our culture is saying God does not exist. Our country and culture is reaping what it is sowing.

But I'm also going to blame many 'famous' people that young women idolize... movie and music stars that have babies right and left and are not married. It's being accepted and it's being touted as cute, cool, fun, romantic, blah, blah, blah. Does no one have any SHAME anymore? We need to go back to the morals that said, 'NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE'. (And don't tell me that is unrealistic and can't be done.) You might know what kind of father the guy will be by then, and hopefully, you'll make a wiser choice.

Jody Blue said...

Would that more women would speak out as you have! You are a Titus 2:4 woman!!!

Pondside said...

I don't know how you came to my blog, but I'm glad you did - I just know I'll be up til all hours reading your back posts.
I work with men and women who could have been the children described in your post. There aren't a lot of happy endings.
You'll have no brickbats from me - you're just speaking common sense, that has nothing to do with judging the actions of others - it's all about looking at what is and acknowledging that the children are the big losers....and speaking up to educate young women.

truestarr said...

An amazing post! Very well said.

It also works from the other side as my son was blackmailed by his now ex wife to marry if he ever wanted to see his daughter. (to hell with what the law told her)

They married. It was manipulation for years and years. He was always the main parent and fortunately when the end came he did get custody of both children to their benefit as well as his.

They are 15 and 21 both doing well, the eldest in her last year of college. NEITHER one will ever have a surprise pregnancy- it's pretty much guaranteed!!!

Vivianne said...

Yep, agree with all you say.

KathySue said...

This post contains a lot of wisdom! Appropriate message for teens and college age girls alike...I definitely think you should take this on the road!

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