NewFNP is just going to put her bias right out there: if not a single teenager ever got pregnant again, newFNP would be just fine with that. Sure, having a baby when one is in the 10th grade is not the end of the world. It doesn't absolutely mean that one will never, say, graduate from high school or attend college.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
But it sure as shit makes it more likely.
NewFNP concedes that it is utterly possible that the 16-year old sitting in her exam room, pregnant with twins, was not necessarily college-bound to begin with. Most of her patients do not go on to college, but newFNP makes it a practice to plant the seed in her pediatric & adolescent patients that they have options and that college is a very good one indeed. NewFNP recognized her patient's mom as one of the women who regularly sells champurrado outside the clinic from an orange Igloo container. Maybe college has never been thought of as a possibility for her children, never been discussed in the family. Maybe grandchildren will bring more joy than will the pride associated with watching your child succeed academically - newFNP just doesn't know.
NewFNP moved between the medical and social histories with this patient. Tenth grade. Lives at home. Planning to continue the pregnancy. Medical history insignificant until now.
When she inquired as to the father of the twin fetuses, her patient replied that he was involved.
Great - that is a good start.
"Is he in school?," newFNP inquired.
"No," her patient replied, eyes averted.
"What is he doing?"
"How old is he?" newFNP asked.
"Twenty-three," came the sheepish reply.
Somewhat shocked, newFNP turned to her patient's mom and asked her what she thought about this. She replied that she thought her child's Casanova was a good guy.
NewFNP almost fell off her rolly stool. It is a situation such as this in which newFNP imagines herself going vigilante in her hypothetical parenting world. This is a man and a girl. This is statutory rape. This is one of the many reasons that newFNP is a huge fan of the birth control pill, the IUD, even the shot (of which, truth be told, newFNP is no real fan).
Her patient's mom told newFNP that she had instructed her daughter to be careful. Be careful?? Has this mom never met a twenty-three year old man before? Because newFNP has, and she knows that they are horny motherfuckers.
NewFNP referred the girl to high-risk OB and to pregnancy case management. She reminded her that quitting school was not an option, that she would, in short order, have two children to support and that those children would look to her for guidance.
It wasn't one of those encounters that newFNP walked away from feeling hopeful about the future or inspired by her work.
She just felt sad. And disappointed. And angry. At herself for not being a better counselor, at the mom for not helping her daughter get contraception and for condoning the relationship and at the guy for dating a high school student.