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28 July 2005 @ 10:25 pm
A disturbing relationship trend.  
If you can't handle a rant, step away now.

A number of times in the past year or so, I have seen the following scenario, mostly among those I know in Real Life:

  • Guy and girl are together, having a good time, nothing serious.
  • Whoops, girl gets pregnant.
  • And instead of the myriad of other choices available, guy and girl have baby and then get married (or vice versa), despite not being in love or having had ANY thoughts on marrying one another before this point.

  • This really, really bothers me, for a number of reasons.

    1) What is the deal with the inept handling of birth control?! It's just not. that. difficult. I will agree that yes, there is always the possibility of a mistake or accident, but the statistics will bear out that they do not happen that often - and certainly not often enough to explain this trend.

    2) The girl is actually trapping the guy by allowing herself to get pregnant - and the guys are buying into this bullshit!! HELLO MEN, you should NOT be rewarding this sort of dishonest, reprehensible behavior! What a horrible way to start a marriage. What a nasty precedent to set. (clarification - this may not be the case - but wouldn't you wonder? For probably the rest of your lives?) ETA: Further clarification - yes, in a perfect world men would be equally responsible for birth control. However, let's face it - there are only 2 ways men can do that right now, condoms and vasectomies. And yes, condoms have the highest failure rate of any contraceptive. So while I think it's neither right nor fair, the burden is still on women.

    3) When did it become the 1950's again?? Look, I realize that even pro-choice people don't necessarily want to have abortions - I'm certainly one of those. Who would ever WANT to have one?! But sometimes it's a necessary thing (and if you don't agree, take it elsewhere - you will NOT win if you try to argue with me on this one). I signed a contract saying I wouldn't get pregnant for at least 2 years for medical reasons, but I have to say that if I were to get pregnant before that time is up, I'd have to give some serious thought before deciding to terminate (although, of course, this wouldn't happen to me - see #1). But abortion isn't the only option anyway. Give the baby up for adoption. Or how about you raise it yourself as a single mother? Or - really radical thought - the two of you decide you both want to be parents but you're not going to rush into marriage! Maybe you won't even be in a relationship together! Marriage is not the answer to everything. I'm probably crazy, but I especially don't think it should be the answer to an accident that resulted from two people doing the bumpty-bump in the back of a van.

    Maybe the small, barely-visible old-fashioned part of me is showing here, because I believe in marrying someone you're certain you want to spend the rest of your life with and planning for the birth of very wanted children. Sure, life is what happens while you're busy planning - I get it, I know. But I just think, what, was I supposed to not take my birth control? Is that what all the cool kids are doing these days? Would that mean I'd now be married with babies? And would I even want to be? I know I want that eventually, but... ugh.

    To summarize, I don't get this trend and I find it extremely frightening. Your mileage may certainly vary.

    I feel better now.

    ETA 2: You guys have made some awesome points already, I look forward to responding to you all tomorrow!
    I feel: bitchyranty
    Ramblin, where to begin?angel423 on July 29th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
    Sing it, sister. I had a friend in high school who, although she didn't have the baby or marry the guy, let herself get pregnant five times over the course of two years. Her excuse? "The Pill makes me fat and we are going to get married anyway!" The first time she got pregnant, she thought he would marry her and instead he convinced her to abort. He, of course, refused to wear a condom and she thought this meant he *loved her* and yet everytime that stick turned pink she would eventually be "persuaded" to abort. They are, of course, no longer together and she is living with her new boyfriend who she is "engaged to", all 21 years old of her.


    Ramblin, where to begin?angel423 on July 29th, 2005 04:38 am (UTC)
    Oh, well, reading the comments below, I should probably mention that I do agree that it is not always specifically the woman's fault. My mother got pregnant with my brother while using two forms of contraceptives. She was already married at that point, but you know *waves hand around vaguely*.

    As a woman in a relationship of over five years, I wish I could say that if I were to get pregnant I would know what I wanted to do immediately, but I can't say that. I'm not ready to be a mother, but at the same time I really do love my boyfriend despite not being ready to think of marriage. If I were to get pregnant, would I be able to get rid of the baby? I honestly don't know. If I decided to keep the baby, would I marry him? My mind says no, but then again I can't definitely say that I wouldn't either. It really is a complicated thing to think about.

    All in all, though, I have seen more than my share of situations like what I shared above for me to say that I don't completely agree with you on most of your points *sigh*
    Faster, plebe! I do believe I have the vapours!: Green Faeryslytherincesss on July 29th, 2005 03:59 am (UTC)
    1) Birth control accidents are more common than one might think. I had one myself. I got pregnant while using a diapraghm that had a tiny hole in it. I realized immediately that there was a hole in the diaphragm and went the very next day to Planned Parenthood and took the morning-after pill as a precaution, and forgot all about it . . . until six weeks later it occurred to me that I hadn't gotten my period in a while (I'm UBER regular with my cycles -- every 28 days on the DOT). Hmm. Yup. Was pregnant.

    And this happened when I was already married. It was totally unplanned. Totally.


    Fertile Myrtle.

    PS -- my personal opinion is that women are no more responsible for accidental pregnancy than men are. Men more often than not rely on the woman for birth control, i.e. the Pill. If they really wanted to take extra precautions they would 1) use condoms religiously (which, no, are not without a failure rate), or 2) get a vasectomy if they know they absolutely don't want any children. I don't think there is something inherently wrong with coming together in the face of an unexpected pregnancy in order to try and provide a two parent family for the child. There are many people why people marry and subsequently have children; I personally don't think there is only one valid reason for marrying someone.

    Just my two cents and, yes, YMMV. :X :*
    Sometimes You Get Marshmallows: babyflorahart on July 29th, 2005 04:22 am (UTC)
    I got pregnant while (correctly) using birth control. My brother and his wife, while using both the pill AND condoms. It's not inherently a matter of using it wrong--for some people's bodies, things don't work as predicted. Like, the same way I also am one of the lucky few who don't metabolize codeine into morphine. Most doctors DO NOT BELIEVE me, but I have HAD morphine, which works, and codeine, which does NOTHING for me. The medical establishment as a whole, in other words, believes ALL people metabolize codeine the same way, even though there is evidence to the contrary, which SOME doctors are aware of and many are not. I expect it's entirely possible there are SOME women for whom the pill doesn't do what it's supposed to do. And failure rates for condoms and diaphragms and such--those are calculated using pristine products, which ones in use aren't, always.

    Also, while you're talking about it becoming the 1950's? You might want to take a look at your assumption that it's the women's fault. I will acknowledge I am assuming that's what you mean when you say they are trapping the men. However, in fact, it may be that both partners are equally responsible for the failure, or that neither has done anything wrong.

    Having been pregnant and not married, I am clear on what my choices were. I agree with having had those choices. I chose to have the child (which I did and do want despite him being moving into annoying teenagehood now), and would have in fact been fine with not getting married, but since everyone else involved seemed to think we should (his parents, my parents, him), we did. This was in 1992, and we're still married. There are things I might do differently, if I had it all to do again, but all in all, I'm fine with this. I don't think having made one of the choices at my disposal is particularly disturbing.
    Vicki: Catherine - CSIhermorrine on July 30th, 2005 04:16 am (UTC)
    You make an excellent point about people's bodies reacting to things differently - and considering my current situation, it's one I should've thought of.

    The assumption about it being the women's fault was more that I know of particular cases where the guys were lied to, told the woman was on birth control but she wasn't (there was proof). But you are completely correct in that there could be absolutely no fault for anyone.

    From everything I've read you say about your family, it sounds as though it all worked out well for you. I probably should've written this slightly different so that it was understood that I wasn't referring to ANYONE on LJ - especially since I obviously didn't know the details of so many people's pregnancies, etc! - but was really in response to seeing this happen to a number of people in real life lately who, from all the details they'd provided to me, were making bad life decisions. I think I made this sound too one-blanket-fits-all, and I apologize if I came off as sounding at all insulting.
    netbyrd on July 29th, 2005 04:23 am (UTC)
    This is such a huge issue right now. People are being pushed into tradtional roles again for some strange reasoning, I don't know why. If a women does get pregnant and isn't married, there's really a push to get her attached. Of course, I'm not one to talk, with three kids and a boyfriend of 11 years. We'll get around to that whole wedding thing. Eventually.
    Alexandra Lynchalexandralynch on July 29th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC)
    There's a huge push to marry. For me, I was five months pregnant when I married, but we'd been intending to get married the following June. It just moved the date up and I had to plan in a hurry rather than at leisure. Of course, I then proceeded to the dubious distinction of getting pregnant on nearly every variety of birth control I had access to. Seven in six years. I have my tubes tied now, but that was a hellish period in my life. If it worked, it made me sick as a dog (and I don't consider that "working")and seemingly, if it didn't make me sick, I was nauseous about six weeks later. (wry grin)

    I agree there's a lot of people having babies and getting married for all the wrong reasons, though.
    Muddle-headed Kaymhw on July 29th, 2005 05:18 am (UTC)
    Or how about you raise it yourself as a single mother?

    Or even a single father, perhaps?
    Vicki: Ewan oh Ewanhermorrine on July 30th, 2005 04:08 am (UTC)
    I'd have absolutely no problem with that. I wish it would happen more often.
    MamaCheshirecheshire23 on July 29th, 2005 07:19 am (UTC)
    I was sexually active for 12 years before a BC failure that resulted in pregnancy (and I can even pinpoint when/why it happened, somewhat due to carelessness on my part but not consciously intentional, and also the ONE time we actually had sex all cycle, sorry for the TMI). Then again, I had been married for about 5 months and with the person for 2 years before that, which I don't think is as bad, and I think that deity-of-one's-choice was hitting me with a cluebrick going "IT'S TIME, don't try to get out of it!" My mother conceived me as a result of a different form of BC failure when she was the same age, after 7 years of marriage and not being sure she really wanted kids. She had a second contraceptive failure when I was 14 that ended in a miscarriage shortly after she realized she was pregnant but before she even told anyone but my father.

    Some reading I've done suggests that Pill failures are more common than advertised in women who weigh more than 150 pounds (in other words, the MAJORITY of women), so to me this is somewhat a size issue, and it's one that a lot of ob/gyn's ignore. There are also tons of things that interfere with it that you wouldn't necessarily think of - I did my research before going on it and at least I knew NOT to take St John's Wort with it (which I had taken before) but some people still don't know about that. Etc.

    I do agree that this is no reason to automatically get married to the person if you weren't going to do so anyway, and that those women who deliberately LIE about their BC use or lack thereof need a good kick in the pants, but hormonal BC in particular seems to be a lot less reliable than it "should" be, and if you're sexually active long enough and consistently enough, sooner or later you're most likely going to have at least one contraceptive failure of some sort.
    Sophie: Drew Barrymoresophie10 on July 29th, 2005 08:35 am (UTC)
    My mum managed to get pregnant 3 times on the pill, although I do think that at least two of those were deliberate and yeah it was to trap the bloke into a relationship. Never a good idea.

    However I have a friend that got pregnant whilst on the pill and using condoms. And she went the single mum route and she's a fantastic mum with a wonderful 3 and half year old son. If she could do a good job of being a single mum at 17 then anyone can do it.

    As for me, I'm on the pill. If I were to get pregnant, I'd keep it. But I'd never assume that it meant the f0x had to marry me or that we'd keep living together. I know from experience that he's a good dad and that he doesn't run away from his responsibilities. But I'd never expect him to support a child that he didn't want.
    Selina Kyleselinakyle47 on July 29th, 2005 11:23 am (UTC)
    It does seem that young women are defaulting to marriage once they find out they are pregnant. Out of all the options available to them (abortion, adoption, single parenthood, married parenthood), being married is the least stigmatized (still!) and probably the easier choice, though not necessarily the best option. Path of least resistance and all.
    Jori: Jori and Damienlikebunnies on July 29th, 2005 12:08 pm (UTC)
    I got pregnant at 24 while using birth control and after being told at 17 that I wouldn't be able to have kids. Oops! They were wrong! But oh well because I've got Damien and I don't care that they were wrong. We didn't get married until Damien was 20 months old because I was too sick (bad pregnancy, bad post partum depression) to even consider it before then but I didn't do it to trap him into a marriage. I was perfectly happy just living together in sin with our bebe but I really needed some health insurance and got tired of my grandmother throwing a hissy fit every time she saw us about the whole living in sin thing. But now we've been married close to eight years and it all worked out in the end. We've had good times and bad times. Is it how I imagined my life going? No, not at all. But the road of life is rarely how we imagine it.
    I cared not for consequences but wroteelorie on July 29th, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
    1) Birth control isn't perfect. I myself am the result of birth control failure...and I've had it fail on me more than once.

    2) It would be far more accurate to say that the man is trapping the woman by getting her pregnant. That statement, and the attitude behind it, reveals much.

    3) If you DON'T want to get an abortion, getting married is the RESPONSIBLE thing to do. Because babies are a hell of a lot of hard work, and putting them in a baby kennel (ie, daycare) is not in their best interests, nor is having a parent who is exhausted all the time. I wouldn't question someone's decision to not get married...but questioning their decision to GET married is completely insane.

    Exactly HOW is getting married a lifetime commitment, when having a child ISN'T?

    And exactly WHAT kind of fucked up logic makes the woman totally responsible for the results of sex (ie, pregnancy) and the man not? If he doesn't want children, he should use a condom EVERY SINGLE TIME. If he isn't willing to take reponsibility for it if the birth control fails, then he should keep it in his goddamn pants.

    What actually happens is that men whine about using condoms and then act like they are being put upon when faced with the results of THEIR irresponsiblity.
    MamaCheshirecheshire23 on July 29th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
    As soon as I became sexually active, I made a very simple decision: I don't sleep with men who refuse to use condoms, mostly because I don't necessarily know where he's been and there are a lot worse things than pregnancy that can happen as a result of sex. *shrug* I recently got in a bit of an argument with a friend whose SO was insisting that he was "too big" for condoms, which I know from my college safer-sex workshops is an utter crock. There are a surprising amount of guys who will try to claim this, though.

    I'm also curious about this whole condoms-aren't-reliable thing, myself. I hear it all the time from men, but my experience doesn't bear that out at all. I used condoms for birth control for a little over 10 years, and have had exactly TWO break. Of course, one of the two was the very first time I ever had sex, which was kind of scary, but the vast majority of the time, condoms that are being stored and used correctly will not break. It makes me wonder if guys who don't want to use condoms are breaking them on purpose...:P

    OTOH, I do think that getting married to someone you aren't necessarily compatible with solely due to pregnancy is not in anyone's best interests, and not all child-care arrangements are "baby kennels". Both of my parents worked full-time, and I spent a lot of my early childhood in a family day-care situation with a woman who became like a second mother to me. I don't like the big corporate-style day care centers either, but I see nothing wrong with having an extra loving and involved adult in a young child's life, so long as the parents are willing to spend time with their child when they are NOT working.
    Vicki: Right.hermorrine on July 30th, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
    1) I never said it was. And I find it very interesting to see the number of people who posted here saying that they've had failures.

    2) How do you figure that? Unfortunately, I've known far too many women - girls, really - who have done EXACTLY that. And I think you're making an assumption about my attitude - if it was mine you were referring to.

    3) I completely disagree with this. There is absolutely nothing right about getting married for the sake of a child or staying together for the sake of a child. Two people who cannot stand one another, getting married for only that reason? No, I cannot agree with that. And if we have to have a parting of ways, so be it.

    And exactly WHAT kind of fucked up logic makes the woman totally responsible for the results of sex (ie, pregnancy) and the man not? If he doesn't want children, he should use a condom EVERY SINGLE TIME. If he isn't willing to take reponsibility for it if the birth control fails, then he should keep it in his goddamn pants.

    I don't disagree with this. HOWEVER, I don't think women should just go right ahead and listen to a man who says he's using a condom - they should bring their own. They should take the pill if they want to make certain. Considering that it's the woman who will end up pregnant, it's in her own best interests to take care of herself. And as I said above, that doesn't make it either right or fair. But that's the way it is.
    Jordan Catalano: Sadprettyveela on July 29th, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC)

    Remember that talk we had on the YIM Morri? After reading these stories, I'm even more scared shitless.
    Where there's a will, there's a waykokopoko on July 30th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC)
    Ah, a rant all about me! We had sex and found the condom broke. I ovulated the next day. She's now 10. It was very, very upsetting. I can not tell you how upsetting it was to be pregnant, single and 23. I was thrown out of the house, not allowed to contact my family or go to that part of the city. He refused to marry me. He actually said we'd be engaged the second I signed my name on the adoption papers to give her up. (He was using marriage as the ol' carrot on a stick to get his way). So I'm a single mom. Sure didn't want it, sure didn't do it on purpose. But there it is.
    Oddreelambrini_girl on August 1st, 2005 12:19 pm (UTC)
    Over here, girls don't use pregnancy to get married, they use it to get council housing.