"illicit pregnancy" comments


#1

I’m hoping someone can help me understand something that’s been puzzling me.

Statistics indicate that the vast majority of couples marrying today have been sexually active before marriage. But I keep reading comments, especially from Catholic commentators, about how disappointed they are when a young lady they know is pregnant when getting married, or who becomes a single mother. Now I realize that pregnancy outside of marriage is not a good thing, but why be particularly disappointed in such women? Pregnancy obviously makes the woman’s sexual activity public knowledge, but do such commentators tell themselves that women who are not pregnant are publicly confirming their virginity?

I also just read a comment on Catholic.com stating that children of divorce are more likely to have an “illicit pregnancy”. I just want to confirm, are they saying that children whose parents are married are less likely to be sexually active outside of marriage? While that is probably true, I am guessing that there is only a very small difference in the percentage of children of divorce who are virgins on their wedding day and children of intact families who are virgins on their wedding day.

My point is, it seems to me that if the majority of people are not virgins on their wedding day, and the majority of the marrying couples’ parents are still married to each other (a 50 percent divorce rate does not mean that 50 percent of people who get married will get divorced, actually far from it) then what is the difference in regard to sexual activity, and why be NOT “disappointed” in the non-pregnant non-virgin? I guess I’ve seen some hypocrisy lately among conservative Catholic I know, who will present themselves as examples of purity, when the only reason they “get away” with that image is not that they are sexually pure, but that they have not gotten pregnant. Is there some virtue here that I am missing, because it does not seem terribly virtuous to me. Is the ultimate goal to prevent unwed pregnancy (an important goal, surely) or to be sexually pure?


#2

I agree. It pisses me off to no end. What about the guys who helped father these babies?

I think this attitude only increases abortion. Yeah, premarital sex is wrong, but I hate the attitude of, "Well, we look like we're condoning it and we need to show that sin has consequences!" By making it harder for a single mom to raise her baby? I'm pretty sure she's learned how hard it is already. Also, it makes it sound like the baby was a mistake. Last I checked, God never made mistakes.

A friend of mine got pregnant in college, was scared out of her mind (this was before I knew her). A mutual friend of ours took her to a crisis pregnancy center.....well, unfortunately, this particular center felt the need to criticize her and yell at her for her decision to have premarital sex and offered almost no support and no help. She had an abortion two weeks later. To this day, if someone even mentions the topic of abortion, no matter what side they're on, she freaks out. I think she felt she was backed into a wall. She wants a lot of kids, at least five, some day......but found herself with very little support. My pro-life friend who took her feels guilty.....she was expecting nice, compassionate, merciful people.


#3

I think that sexual immorality and absence of father figures for BOTH girls and boys contributes to pre-marital sex.

It’s no secret that children raised without a parent suffer. That the human need for love of both a mother and a father leads to the desire to find it.

And sexual predators target children without steady mother/father figures which adds to sexual promiscuity.

I am disheartened when I hear of pre-marital sex or pregnancy. Not because the person themselves but because that person was inflicted with so much pain and felt so unloved that they chose to step outside of the God given boundaries to get that love. Because the child will likely suffer without a father, and if they do have a father may still suffer in poverty.

That’s not to mean one who finds themself in this situation shouldn’t be treated with mercy, but I think if we truly recognized the wound we’d be much better able to heal this world.


#4

That’s what our local crisis pregnancy center does, in addition to making you watch about 10 hours of videos on abortion and sign a statement of faith in the bible before offering any assistance whatsoever. Women who are ready to make the right decision should be supported, not yelled at. I’d imagine that they’re aware that they’ve sinned, and that’s between them and their confessor.


#5

The ultimate goal is purity, whatever state in life we are called to by God.


#6

Actually, single parents have a hard enough time without having to hear how easier it is to have a spouse. (If only it were that easy to find a spouse at a moment's notice.) It's also "no secret" that the President of the United States was raised by a single parent, as was an Olympic swimmer among countless other examples. So, too, is it no secret that being raised by both parents is not a guaranteed "Get Out of Jail Free" card for life. Generalizations like that tick me off to no end.


#7

with the way the president acts and the decisions he's making for this country I'm not sure I'd call him a success...more like a sign of the times.


#8

I agree completely with your sentiment. Disappointment at the point of revelation of the pregnancy might do more to encourage abortion than to discourage premarital sex. OTOH, this moment is often the only time people have to express that they are disappointed in premarital sex itself, so that creates a little mud in the water…

I bolded one of your paragraphs. I do think that there is one point of validity to the statement that kids from divorce have out of wedlock pregnancies more. It doesn’t only imply that they have more extra-marital sex (which may or may not be true), but it also suggests that children of divorce may not value marriage as an institution, and therefore may be getting pregnant intentionally while single. Whereas, children of intact marriages might be more likely to attempt to wait to have their children until they’re marriage, because they see more of a value in marriage. Generalizations yes, but all about premarital sex, no. The bigger issue in my mind (r/t this particular distinction) is the effect that divorce has on the value of marriage in general, and the trend towards not bothering with “the institution” when making a family.


#9

My husband is the youngest of four children his father died when he was two years old .so four kids no father ,they all turned out wonderful adults ,compassionate ,likeable ,hard working .the stereotyping of father less kids makes me sick.I grew up in the post war years when half the kids in my class had lost parents i n WW11 ,either in the military or the blitz some kids lost whole families ,I don't know one of them who ended up in jail.I do know some who turned up in he British Parliament,One in the House of Lords, some brilliant scientists ,school principles,newscasters ,electricians ,plumbers.great tradesmen , and business men .I also agree that the prejudice against young pregnant women is deplorable just because someone is married in a white dress unpregnant does not mean she is a virgin, it usually means she remembered to take her birth control.abortion became the easy way out because of the horrible treatment of young women who "got themselves pregnant"while the man walked away scot free .the clergy has alot to answer for that condoned it


#10

[quote="jamanne, post:9, topic:206215"]
My husband is the youngest of four children his father died when he was two years old .so four kids no father ,they all turned out wonderful adults ,compassionate ,likeable ,hard working .the stereotyping of father less kids makes me sick.I grew up in the post war years when half the kids in my class had lost parents i n WW11 ,either in the military or the blitz some kids lost whole families ,I don't know one of them who ended up in jail.I do know some who turned up in he British Parliament,One in the House of Lords, some brilliant scientists ,school principles,newscasters ,electricians ,plumbers.great tradesmen , and business men .I also agree that the prejudice against young pregnant women is deplorable just because someone is married in a white dress unpregnant does not mean she is a virgin, it usually means she remembered to take her birth control.abortion became the easy way out because of the horrible treatment of young women who "got themselves pregnant"while the man walked away scot free .the clergy has alot to answer for that condoned it

[/quote]

Knowing that your father died in defense of your country and knowing that your father made the decision to abandon you and your mother to your own devices are two very different things.

Having said that, although I know people who are disappointed that so many do not feel marriage is a necessary prelude to parenthood, the same people usually express the sentiment that a woman who bears her child instead of having an abortion is a brave and self-sacrificing woman. They expect the father of the child to support the child, too, even if marriage is not in the cards. Sometimes, the "disappointment" over a single mother is disappointment in the father who is absent, not in the mother who is left to take on the entire job of parenthood by herself, or in the case of the marrying couple, is disappointment that they did not wait for marriage. It is not disappointment over the blessing of a child, but over the decisions of the child's parents, the burden of which can become the child's to bear.

I know there are clergy who think that purity is entirely, or almost entirely, the work of women, because they think men are too weak to be expected to protect the purity of the women, but I don't personally know any with that attitude. The clergy I know expect men to be men, and say so. I suppose when you are celibate, you are in a position to tell other men that it is possible to control yourself in the interest of someone else's welfare!


#11

I agree–I know many Catholics who speak badly about unwed pregnancies of family members or the children of friends but then speak glowingly of the prolife movement and saving babies lives. I think it’s important to realize that the people who may need help and support may be closer to home than we think. Being prolife should begin at home.


#12

Very well said indeed.


#13

Jamanne, there is a big difference between someone whose father died, and someone whose father deserted them.

Has it crossed anyone's mind that disappointment in someone who gets pregnant before marriage could come from a high opinion of the couple - an assumption that they were both chaste?

And why are people asking why the men escape blame? This is a Catholic forum, folks; we don't have a double standard about sex! We are all called to chastity. (Don't confuse it with celibacy.)


#14

Isn’t this a terrible prejudice as well? I know many people - myself and my husband included- whose parents are divorced and as a consequence we put marriage and family as top priority in our lives.
I often hear comments like this and find them extremely upsetting because I feel that people see victims of divorce as damaged goods without possibility of leading moral lives :mad:


#15

I think it is since Eve handed Adam that darn apple we have not been able to get rid of that darn scarlet letter.

OK- enough of the metaphor.

Here it is in the nutshell. We have the gift of childbearing. We also have the curse of all the responsibility that goes with it and that is hard.

Men were given the priesthood by God - and that is a gift and that means that they suffer all the slings and arrows that go with it. Just ask a local Protestant for a good Catholic pedophile joke sometime if you don't beileve me.

We all have our gifts and crosses given by God and through obedience and acceptance we happily endure.


#16

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:14, topic:206215"]
Isn't this a terrible prejudice as well? I know many people - myself and my husband included- whose parents are divorced and as a consequence we put marriage and family as top priority in our lives.
I often hear comments like this and find them extremely upsetting because I feel that people see victims of divorce as damaged goods without possibility of leading moral lives :mad:

[/quote]

AMEN!

Apparently, it's my fault that my father abused us and cheated on my mom, so my mom left so we wouldn't be hurt more. She could have stayed, and end up dead. But I wouldn't be defective goods.

And I have a very high view of marriage. And a very good father figure from my older brother and uncle. I'm not a man hating woman. It was brave of my mom to leave an upper class for her children's safety. Not all divorces are just because people where tired of each other.


#17

I’m not so sure about the underlying premise here.

I have a family member whose parents found out that she was sexually active without being married, and they certainly were disappointed in her and worried for her and didn’t hesitate to show the disappointment and the worry.

Nearly if not actually as much so as if she’d become pregnant, which she wasn’t and didn’t.

Are you all so sure that it’s REALLY only disapproved of at the point of pregnancy? And not that parents and family simply don’t KNOW about the sexual activity unless/until a pregnancy happens, except in the rarest of circumstances?

Or (especially) that people outside the families involved are really not going to be told unless/until a pregnancy happens that makes it impossible to keep the sexual activity a secret?


#18

When Bristol Palin got pregnant, and was ridiculed in the media, I had the feeling she was ridiculed for being a stupid girl in the eyes of the world, someone who wasn’t smart enough to play by the rules of the world. The rules being, you go and get an abortion. :frowning: It’s as if, the problem is not that you had sex out of wedlock, the problem is that you got yourself into a mess, and don’t know how to get out of it. The “world”, that is the secular world, will not ridicule anyone for pre-marital sex. Indeed, Hollywood idolizes pre-marital sex all the time in movies and celebrity gossip. The world will also not ridicule the wealthy and self-sufficient Hollywood stars who deliberately choose to get pregnant and have babies outside of marriage, in fact it celebrates them for having it their way and for showing that they can have it all, without this “outdated” and “oppressive” marriage thing.

That’s how upside down the world’s values are. We Christians better make sure not to get leavened by the yeast of the world. And to criticize a scared pregnant woman, when she is most vulnerable and needs help and compassion the most, that’s just heartless and cruel. :frowning:


#19

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:14, topic:206215"]

             *but it also suggests that **children of divorce may not value marriage as an institution***,  and therefore may be getting pregnant intentionally while single.   Whereas, children of intact marriages might be more likely to attempt to  wait to have their children until they're marriage, because they see  more of a value in marriage.  .

Isn't this a terrible prejudice as well? I know many people - myself and my husband included- whose parents are divorced and as a consequence we put marriage and family as top priority in our lives.
I often hear comments like this and find them extremely upsetting because I feel that people see victims of divorce as damaged goods without possibility of leading moral lives :mad:
[/quote]

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound prejudiced. Maybe I am and don't know it. Maybe I'm not, and can clarify. What I meant to say is that when you see a statistic about certain groups of people, you have to wonder why that stat occurs. The mathematics of statistics teach us that when there is a large enough discrepancy in numbers, it likely has a reason, and isn't random. In the case of the statistic (which I haven't personally heard, but for the case of this discussion I will assume is true) that says that children of divorce have higher rates of out of wedlock babies, you have to ask why. In fact, we really should ask why, so that we can address whatever is going on. So in considering why there are significantly more out of wedlock births from children of divorce, you could probably come to a few conclusions. One of which would be that statistically speaking, there is more premarital sex with these folks than children who are raised by parents who did not divorce. Well, the poster I was responding to, and agreeing with, thinks that is probably not the case, seeing as pre-marital sex is pretty much rampant in all circles (not counting a few orthodox religious communities). Another possible reason is that perhaps that in this group of people, there are more whose only experience of marriage is negative, and therefore, they are more vulnerable to the societal pressure to undermine the importance of marriage. I don't mean to say that growing up a child of divorce = not valuing marriage. Rather, statistically speaking, it is possible that there are a greater number of "children of divorce" who see marriage as a negative, than the number of children from intact marriages. And that perhaps statistically speaking, more of them are choosing to get pregnant, as opposed to it happening "completely unexpectedly."

When I say "statistically speaking," be assured that this only is a generalization. Statistics might be able to predict what percentage of a certain group will behave a certain way. But I wouldn't take that statistic and impose it on any particular person. After all, even though the numbers may be higher, there are still plenty of children from divorced parents who DO wait til marriage to have children.

I have a good friend who is like you. Her parents were divorced, and she put up with a lot of %^&*( from her father. But she has a great head on her shoulders, and has ALWAYS been a faithful person, whether in friendship or otherwise. I haven't asked her directly, but I strongly suspect that the issues she had to deal with as a child are a strong motivation for her (along with other motivations) to make sure that her marriage lasts. All the same, I'm sure there are others who decide that the way to avoid those pitfalls is not to get married at all, you know? Not to mention the others who weren't able to avoid the cycle and end up repeating their parents mistakes (as so many of us do in all areas of life). Anyway, my point is that I'm just thinking about generalizations and statistics, not trying to say that this would be true of any particular person, or that it would be true of most.


#20

[quote="havana1, post:6, topic:206215"]
Actually, single parents have a hard enough time without having to hear how easier it is to have a spouse. (If only it were that easy to find a spouse at a moment's notice.) It's also "no secret" that the President of the United States was raised by a single parent, as was an Olympic swimmer among countless other examples. So, too, is it no secret that being raised by both parents is not a guaranteed "Get Out of Jail Free" card for life. Generalizations like that tick me off to no end.

[/quote]

Yes, the father of the President of the United States left his son when he was two years old, leaving him to be raised largely by his white grandparents in Honolulu (and not his mother by herself for his entire childhood, BTW). The President of the United States is himself adamant about the need for fathers, even fathers living in the same house with their children, to be fathers. As he put it:

"*Any fool can have a child -- that doesn't make you a father. Too many fathers are missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities. They are acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families have suffered because of it.

"You and I know this is true everywhere but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households. Half. There's a reason why our families are in disrepair and some of it has to do with a tragic history, but we can't keep on using that as an excuse."....

"I know the toll it took on me not having a father in the house -- the hole in your heart when you don't have a male figure in the home that can guide you and lead you and set a good example for you," Obama said. "So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle -- if I could do anything in life, I would be a good father to my children*." (June 16, 2008)

Abraham Lincoln didn't get a formal education, either, but that doesn't mean that parents shouldn't provide their children with one, if they have the means to do so.

Thank goodness that the foolishness of telling women that they should stay with husbands who abuse them "for the sake of the children" is normally realized now. Thank goodness that there is some appreciation for what is really "for the children" and what isn't. Thank goodness that it is possible for a single parent to do a splendid job raising a child, how much outside support helps, and how much outside criticism or judgement can hurt.

I still think that we do a disservice to those who contemplate* choosing* to be a single parent if we are not very up front about how hard it is....because it is getting to be a popular choice, not a state that is only reached by adverse fortune. Maybe those who are in the situation get tired of hearing it, but surely some of them, if not most of them, don't want anyone to unknowingly choose the hardships they face. Both sides of the story--that it can be done and that it is very hard--need to be told.


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