Our modern day narrative around pregnancy and the decision to enter parenthood is confusing at best. However, we’d argue that the language and lens through which we view, vote, discuss, and legislate around this sacred act is closer to dysfunctional.
Sex and reproduction is a conversation that starts early. As teenagers, we are taught that having a baby is more or less a death sentence; fall pregnant before your 20th birthday and your life is over. This sentiment moves into young adulthood, with many women and men believing that having a child before twenty-five limits their personal freedom, ability to travel the world, or to advance their career. Essentially, the consensus is that kids come later in life, after we have lived out the wildness of youth and are financially and emotionally ready to be parents.
For the most part, the picture painted of becoming a young parent is one that is often equated with fear, restriction, and a loss of adventure.
Although being financially responsible, psychologically mature, and emotionally sound are indeed powerful requirements for parenthood at any age — perhaps there could’ve been a better reframe about our sexual and reproductive choices? A reframe that allowed us to feel empowered to define our own timeline and to create our own version of parenthood; one not necessarily mired in doom and gloom.
For example, along with the many hard-hitting truths about the responsibilities of parenthood, perhaps there could have been conversations around the life-giving experience of becoming a young mom or dad. Things like the renewed sense of play and joy and the opportunity for profound spiritual and emotional growth that comes with bringing a child into the world. Instead of hearing hometown horror stories and rumors about young parents in our communities, perhaps there could have been positive anecdotes from real-life young parents that had gone on to explore the globe, had thriving careers, and forged deep friendships.
Yet those types of round table discussions never happened — not at school and rarely at home. Perhaps this is also due to our repressive nature around sexuality, especially teen sexuality. Our inability to have a healthy and open dialogue about sex itself has resulted in binary extremes — abstinence or contraception. Usually, if you mention that you are ready to have sex as a young person, you are most likely guided to one of these two options without much explanation or hand-holding. However, this completely avoids the conversation around the privilege and responsibility that comes with being sexually active — that there is potential to become a parent. We’d argue that this infantilizes young people and assumes that they’re not mature enough to entertain and understand the reality of sex and its consequences.
The inability to acknowledge and examine the interplay between our sexual choices and reproduction is something that can follow both women and men into their twenties and beyond. It is a belief system that is supported by a medical system. Again, depending on your location, the advice from most doctors is that the most responsible thing a sexually active person can do (regardless of age) is to jump on birth control to prevent any and all chances of getting pregnant. Rarely do medical professionals advise of the negative impacts the chemical contraceptive pill can take on the female body.
Equally, more natural birth control methods are often deemed unsafe or ineffective by the mainstream medical community. It is once again, a conversation that feels limiting and scary.
All of this is to say that at THE FULLEST, we are first and foremost an advocate for medical freedom. It is our belief that every person has the right to decide the best course of action for themselves, their bodies, and their families without government intervention. However, we also argue that there seems to be a number of perspectives, voices, and alternatives missing from this conversation. It is our view that sex is a pleasurable act, one that is to be enjoyed and respected, and that each of us has the right to explore our sexuality in any way we choose.
Yet, to turn a blind eye to the fact that sex doesn’t equal potential conception seems illusory. Along with the partners we choose and the type of sex we engage in, we must also ask ourselves what our own perspectives are on a potential pregnancy.
If we were to fall pregnant, what would be our course of action? Have we discussed our thoughts with our current sexual partners? Have we researched and taken up the best form of contraception for us personally?
To us, these are just some of the questions to consider as a sexually active person. In answering these questions, we encourage our readers to remove fear and limitation from the equation, seek out stories from a wide variety of voices to gain further insight, and to ultimately listen to their intuition and stay true to themselves.