Here’s Why There’s No Such Thing As “Glamorizing” Teen Pregnancy

“Yes, we should support teen mothers, but we shouldn’t, really, glamorize teen pregnancy, you know…” 

Let me be blunt: It’s not possible to glamorize teen pregnancy. It’s not. It’s like glamorizing 40+ pregnancy, or a pregnancy of multiples. Teen pregnancy just IS.

What people are really concerned about is whether we make teen pregnancy look easy. Fun. Worthwhile.

But these are all the things that we associate with “traditional” parenthood. We want parents to feel like their job as parents is doable. That they are not being set up to fail. We want them to smile at their babies and find joy in their roles as Mom and Dad. We want them to think that if they had the choice, they would choose their kids all over again.

But with teen parents, the narrative couldn’t be further from this. Teen moms have to hide their belly under large shirts or be accused of “being happy” about their pregnancy if they dare to wear a tight T-shirt. Teen parents are discouraged from asking for help and support because “they made their bed, now they must lie in it.” They are marched into high schools and asked to tell their non-pregnant peers how difficult their life is and how they wished they had made smarter choices.

Hard to find the glamour in that.

“Glamorizing teen pregnancy” is really code for “showcasing successful teen parenting.” The “g” word gets thrown around whenever people talk about a high school with a daycare on its grounds, or a young mom is profiled on a reality show  and magazine covers simply being pregnant In short, whenever a teen parent is happy with her lot in life.

The fact of the matter is that we need teen parents to be happy and successful. We want them to feel content with their decisions and to feel supported in their needs, whether it’s quality and affordable childcare, school staff that is well versed in Title IX accommodations for pregnant and parenting students, or safe spaces to discuss their relationship questions.

Next time you overhear someone talking about “glamorizing” teen pregnancy, take the conversation a step further and ask them what they mean. Let’s change how we talk about teen parenting and perhaps we can change how teen parents talk about themselves.