The delivery perhaps epitomized the sum of our emotions working with these patients. On the one hand, any new life is special and can be celebrated, especially one born on Christmas Day, a holiday that means so much to so many people, both religious and non-religious. On the other hand, though, an 18 year old with three babies is just downright discouraging.
I was chatting with the obstetrician and OB resident at the nurse's station after the delivery and mentioned my disappointment that this was mom's third pregnancy. The conversation turned to young mothers with multiple pregnancies, and the obstetrician told us of a 19 year old she had seen with her 13th pregnancy, which was mind boggling even for a jaded guy like me. The OB resident - a young black woman, a contemporary of the mothers we were discussing- shook her head and said "Those women just need to be beaten."
A commenter on my previous post asked what I meant when I said "Some women degrade themselves," and other commenters noted the courage of single women for having babies instead of aborting them. As I've said before, I don't mind it so much when a young single woman comes in with her first pregnancy, because anyone can make a mistake. But when that woman gets pregnant repeatedly, time after time, she degrades herself and her children, by condemning herself to a lifetime of dependency and irresponsibility, and by starting her children in life with two strikes against them, poor and with no strong male role models around. She degrades herself because she just doesn't care about herself or her kids. As for choosing life by deciding to bear the children rather than abort them, I suspect that as often as not the reason they are not aborted is because they sought prenatal care too late to have an abortion.
On New Years Day I'll gather with extended family for the day. I'll see a variety of siblings, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews, from ages 6 to about 66. We'll watch football and play foosball, and there will be lots of fun stuff to eat. It's always good to see the kids, who for the most part are well raised and respectful, except for the trash talking during foosball. It will be a surprise if most do not finish college and a shock if any are young, single parents. I can't help but wonder: Are these kids better than the 18 year old who had her third baby - or just luckier?