By Namrata Kumar:
For most of us, our teenage years house some of our most precious memories. Needless to say, this is considered to be an experimental period, a period of all our ‘firsts’. So, whether it’s our first kiss, or a drag of our first cigarette or having our first sip of alcohol or becoming head boy/girl in school, these memories will always be wedged in our heads regardless of however old we become. But sometimes, in the process of being experimental, life can take a completely different turn. One such turn is teenage pregnancy. But the question is, is teenage pregnancy really a bad thing or rather is there a need to call it a taboo?
Taboo is a very strong word. It is taken in the context of behaviour which is prohibited to be performed in society. So would you club teenage pregnancy under the same category of other common taboos such as abortion, adultery, inter-marriage and many others? But wait, are these common taboos today considered as taboos in the first place? In my opinion, I think most of us would agree with the fact that these are most certainly not taboos, possibly in certain religions but society in general doesn’t ostracize anyone if these acts are committed. This being the case, why can’t we think about the same for teenage pregnancy?
I am not advocating teenage pregnancy. Yes, it’s not an ideal situation be in. Elder generations argue and give reasons as to why then, girls who got married early and became mothers in their teens was an accepted practise. It was accepted because of the involvement of the whole family and primarily because she was married and it was her duty to procreate. How is the situation then and now any different? The main reason why teenage pregnancy is forbidden is because it is believed that teens don’t really understand the gravity of the situation, they don’t understand the task they have at hand, they don’t understand that they have to support another life and this requires a great level of maturity, patience and most importantly a solid ground to start from. Essentially, sixteen year olds of the past were far more mature and responsible than sixteen year olds of this generation or at least that’s what people are saying.
If a good family-support base acted as a cover and was acceptable in the past then why can’t it be applied today? The irony lies in the fact that once a teenager becomes pregnant, her options are to either abort the baby or give it up for adoption or raise the baby on her own. Let’s say she chooses abortion, although it is considered a taboo, it is the first thing that is offered or rather encouraged when a teenager becomes pregnant. Taboo in actuality is played around by people’s thoughts, perceptions and emotions. It is unfortunately a principle which is not independent. Keeping that in mind especially in today’s day and age, think, think whether it’s fair to all those girls and boys who have engaged in such an activity. They are paying for their mistakes or is it right by us to call it mistakes? Is it fair as third parties to be judgmental and condescending? Is it fair to shun them away from society? They are after all teenagers. Think whether it is fair to make teenage pregnancy a taboo.