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Thursday, April 07, 2005 

Kaycee Lives in Sin and I Upped the Teen Pregnancy Statistic

Not sure who wins that one. Shall we tie it, Kaycee???

I was a total prude growing up. Yes, my parents were fairly open about sex but I would say that would be generally speaking. Jess might disagree with me, but when we were kids, the sex talks were pretty basic. But maybe I didn’t ask enough questions. Maybe at that age I just didn’t want to know how I got to this earth. Perhaps it is all my fault that I was such a prude. For me, much of that openness with my parents (really…my mom) came after I had sex. I had been the “good-girl” that listened to my parents and church leaders all my life about waiting until after marriage to have sex. I had plans of marrying a returned missionary, in the temple, at the right time, right place, etc. I set my sights to all the things a “good little Mormon girl should. But sometimes even good little Mormon girls can “get in trouble”, too.

I had sex and got pregnant before I was married. Things happen. Sex happens. Pregnancies happen. I just didn’t think it would ever happen to me. Not like this. I had set my sights on the way things were supposed to be, the plan I had set. I had no clue what I was doing when nothing happened the way I had planned.

I had broken the rule that had been engrained in my brain for YEARS. And I felt like scum. Being someone who had ALWAYS done what I was told, this was a huge blow to me, my family, my friends, and people in the church. Not only did I have so much to deal with between my boyfriend (now husband) and this new baby on the way, I had to deal with the weight of guilt and the weight of my family and friends and ward. It was an immediate transition of me always being the example of “what to do” to “what NOT to do” in no time.

I realize that many of my posts surround that time period. I don’t mean to be redundant, but the story and the lessons I learned (or haven’t learned) seem to fit in many of these topics. This is the time period that shaped my life, for better or for worse. Jess had mentioned in her comment yesterday that I put this guilt on myself. I did. But I can, to this day, see the looks on people’s faces when they found out I was pregnant. I can still hear the words I heard people in the ward say when they thought I couldn’t hear. I can still see my mom and dad and the pain they felt. I can still replay the conversations in my head I had with my friends and family members. I can STILL feel the guilt I felt back then and how that guilt affected my married life and my new family. I can still remember being the very scared young woman that had to be strong for everyone else because that’s what I felt I had to do. I can still feel the tears I felt back then because I’ve had tears streaming down my face writing this post.

It is my opinion that if you want your kids to wait until they’re married to have sex then you have to be ready for constant work with your kids. I feel that sex before marriage is A LOT of responsibility. Some people can handle it. Some can’t. I know that I will teach my daughters that sex is something wonderful but that I really hope they wait until they are married. I will remind them of the responsibility and I will be ready with questions and answers for their questions and answers. I plan to be involved in their lives and try to always keep an open mind. I will always make sure that they have the resources they need to make the best choices that they possibly can.

Well, that's even if Hubby will let them out of the house on a date before they're 30. We'll see...

You must have had your fingers in your ears. =) Our mom? It seemed like there was far more than just the basics being talked about.

One thing that I feel the need to point out is many kids were struggling with morality. A lot of them repeatedly, others not so much. Many of them took care of things quickly by going to the bishop (which you did). BUT: you faced consequences that most others didn't. Your consequences didn't allow you to sweep things under the rug and be on your way. Your consequences forced you to be an adult over night. Your consequences took away a lot of your agency. Your consequences changed your life.
On the softer side: Your consequence is one of my favorite people (who I am missing terribly) and the most important girl in my girl's life.

I often think about children who are (what has been referred to as) the "consequence" of premarital sex in LDS culture. I have a 13-year-old girl in my beehive class whose parents conceived her before they were married, and they later married in the temple. I understand that you (JP) aren't active in the LDS church, but you still hold many of these values close to your heart. Does your daughter know the situation surrounding her birth? (Maybe she is too young, I'm not sure.) Is it hard for you (or will it be) to talk to her about it? Just very curious...hope I'm not being offensive. I've always appreciated your directness and honesty about this part of your life. We can all learn a lot from it.

jesse: Your consequences took away a lot of your agency.

It think it is more appropriate to say that your ethical choices were limited. Agency remained.

That said, I was moved by the post. Thank you.

Dear, sweet Suzie Petunia you are never offensive! I can tell you that one thing is for certain: Paige is my FAVORITE mistake/consequence. When that child smiles, all everything is right in the world. That's the funny thing: as hard as the situation is/was, Paige was NEVER a factor in any of it. That sounds weird and it doesn't make sense...but I never felt guilty for Paige. As a matter of fact, she made EVERYTHING better. One day I hope to explain that to her. She's only 7...so I'm not sure how much she actually "gets" yet. And you're right, I still hold many things from the church close to my heart. Thanks for letting me be open and honest about all of this...it helps a lot.

Jess: I'm not sure. I honestly don't remember a lot of "sex talks" w/ mom when I was in my teens. I just don't. Even though we come from a VERY close family, we have only become good (okay a lot better) communicators in the past few years. Even though are parents were very open, maybe it wasn't the actual "sex talk" I needed. I was very naive about many things.

I also know that I am not the only one that dealt with the morality issue. I've never thought that. What's hard to explain is the proverbial bomb I dropped on everyone and how those people reacted. I chose to let it affect me, I guess...but WOW, was some of it hard to take. No one EVER thought that I would be in that position...and they certainly let me know. "I never thought this would happen to you." I hear that A LOT.

Such a moving post... and such a great illustration of what life is like in our lovely religion when someone does something outside the bounds of "suppsed to." People tend to automatically jump to conclusions of one's character, especially in this situation. You sound like, previous to this, you were what a friend of mine likes to call 'plastic angels'.. and then people couldn't handle it when you fell, and suddenly everything good about you was marred by this black streak, this thing that they saw as being so bad. How I loathe such a mindset, that such a circumstance has any correlation with your character in the slightest. You sound like you're such a great mother who will raise a daughter with so much more awareness of the world around her than you (and I, as I relate so well to what you said of your childhood) were raised.

JP - I think that you handled A LOT of people acting in VERY un-Christian ways with more grace than any 18 year old should be able to. That was the ugliest time, people were so unkind. Your situation was an oppertunity for people to be Christ-like, to love you, to care for you, and they didn't do so. I love you loads, and that little "mistake" of yours is the most amazing kid. And also... she is a very good runner... but not as good as her sister. ;)

Sorry I wasn't more clear in my point...no, you were not the only one to go through it, but so many "got away with it" (not to be too irreverent).
Today has been tough, not so much because of the topic, but could you please put her on the next plane to MT?

I married my wife when she was 19. And shortly afterwards, she got pregnant. So I would tease her for being a teen pregnancy, and tell her that she was a statistic. I thought it was pretty funny -- she was a good Mormon girl, married in the temple, active in the church . . . and still, technically, a teen pregnancy.

The thing that comes to my mind allot with this is the unnatural amount of differnece between what happenned with you and what happenned to the other girls. If you were deemed to be a not so good Morman girl when you got pregnant no one thought a thing of it or no one would say anything about it. They would just go about their way, but for some reason with you they all chose to make their comments public. I fel he same way Sarah does, so many people took that situation and tainted it. I just remember thinking about how strong you were when you would still come to church, you amazed me and frankly you still do. I still find you to be a great person to want to be like whether or not you made a mistake or not...because really who has not made a mistake or two in their lives.

Today has been hard...and I really wish I was getting on a plane to Montana. REALLY WISH.

I think that one the very important points is that there are consequences for all actions. Good or bad. I felt that I took responsibility for my actions, but that still didn't take away the hurt, the confusion, the fear and the feeling of helplessness. I honestly don't think the people in my life/family/ward MEANT to hurt me. Like I've said before, when people expect so much out of you, and you fall so far from that pedestal, they just expect you to bounce right back up. Or they don't recognize you because you're so bruised and broken.

No matter what, I have been TRULY blessed. There is a reason I went through all of that and why I go through what I do now. I have a precious little angel in my family that could only be straight from our Heavenly Father. I learned a huge lesson on how judging another person can crush them. I also learned that I'm stronger than I thought I was.

Kaimi, you made me laugh...I remember thinking (back then) "well...at least I'll be 19 when she's born..." somehow that helped...well, at least made myself feel better ;)

Rosie Smosie...that is TWICE in one week that you have made my heart burst. You are a dear...thank you.

JP-I think one of the things that always fustrated me with the people within the church was their ability to take an easy target and totally tear that person down. But in your case you had the strength of character to face the slants and snide remarks with an aura of grace. You also had a faithful army of family and friends ready and willing to tell those intollarable idiots to jump of a short pier.

I chose to have sex at the age of 16. I do not regret, nor will I apologize for this choice. I knew what sex was, how all the functions worked and I made the choice. I even went so far as to get birth control, without my parents knowing. Knowing what I know now and knowing what I did then, I still would make same choice.

There wasn't a church leader that I didn't get the morality chasity speech from. Before and after I chose to have sex. It came off as "Sex is the devil". It's not a bad thing, it's wonderful. There is right time for everyone and it is truely up to the individual to make the choice when and where. Be it after marraige or before.

I never get sick of you discussing this topic JP and I never feel it is redundant. I love that you are able to share everything. I wish we are were not so judgmental... especially towards people who are struggling and are young, but we are and it isn’t just in the Mormon church or only among faiths, it is everywhere.

I heard a heartwarming story recently about a girl who became pregnant without being married. She and her boyfriend were to be married in a private livingroom ceremony. Her father told the priesthood about it so that they would "just know" what was going on and be loving about it.

Little did they know that the entire ward would show on the scheduled afternoon for the marriage ceremony -- with especially generous gifts and elaborately-prepared foods. The whole ward showed love and appreciation for her and her husband and the festivities didn't end until late at night. Afterwards the girl just sat in the middle of her parents living room and sobbed and sobbed. She said she had no idea the ward had cared that much about her. To get all the gifts to their new apartment this couple had to make many trips with their little car.

I don't know you, but I feel so awful for what you had to go through. There was a girl in our ward who got pregnant when she was 16 or 17. I wasn't really friends with her but I remember feeling really uncomfortable with what people were saying about her. I know I tried to act the same I always had towards her or even nicer. I hope I didn't make her feel like you did. What a sad thing that people can be so hypocritical.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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