Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pregnant at the Wrong Time

The Baby Scoop Era - Pregnant at the Wrong Time

Instead of encouraging young women to take responsibility for their actions and parent their children, young women were sent away in secrecy.

The plan was for them to wait out their time, then give birth, often alone in a distant city. After the birth, they were sent home and told to keep quiet so that no one would ever know. Your reputation would be intact, and you would still be considered a “good girl”. Nothing was mentioned about how you might feel later other than, “you will get over it”.

In the baby scoop era, it did not matter if you were perfectly capable of parenting your baby, and desperately wanted to do so. It did not matter if you had finished college and had a good job. It did not matter if you were already engaged to the father of your baby. All that mattered was that you had broken the "rules", and you had to pay for your sins. The number one rule was that mothers had to be married. Nothing else mattered nearly as much.

Unmarried women were counseled to relinquish their children, and did so in astonishing numbers. The sheer volume of young women who relinquished babies to adoption was also convincing evidence at the time that it must be “the best solution”. Otherwise, why would so many women “willingly” give their babies away? In today’s society, the numbers of women who relinquish babies to adoption are much less commong. We now know adoption is not always the favored solution that we used to believe that it was in the past. Some of us do. Others may still need some convincing.

Although many still feel a two-parent family is still the prefered ideal family situation, many single mothers now parent, and do it well. Some single woman adopt now. Explain that to a mother from the baby scoop era who was told being a single mother was totally unacceptable. It is difficult at best.

Jan Baker in Birth-First Parent

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