Another piece of propaganda came out in fish wRappler entitled “Babies are not Blessings”, here. Written by the creator of a sexual-awareness site called SAS (Sex and Sensibilities), it is a piece directed against teen-pregnancy but spun by this sex-monger, in a way that focuses solely on the socio-economic burden of bringing a new life into this world, hence the title. I find it amusing when a woman who creates a site which “…heralds the value of loving yourself first and aims to make sexual reproductive health sexy and sassy for women“, critiques what it means to bring a baby into this world. No wonder she sees them as a burden, her entire perspective is focused on sex as a lifestyle and nothing more… and they accuse us Catholics of being obsessed with sex!

The basic premise is simple: Babies are a burden because; 1. You spend crap-loads of money to raise them, 2.  You lose sleep caring for them and 3. Your lifestyle changes for the worse because of number one and two.

1. Spending crap loads of money: I won’t detail the fact that many out-of-wedlock mothers are taken in by their family or extended family which serves to ease the financial difficulty of a single mother raising her child. I am not encouraging this practice. I am merely calling attention to that fact that which we Filipinos hold dearest to our hearts, the family, who more often than not, is ready and willing to help out.

It is true that having a baby is expensive but that expense will be commensurate to adjusting one’s chosen lifestyle, that is, what one is willing to give up and do for their child. Many times this adjustment is all it takes to see things through. Giving up the twice-weekly Starbucks, brown-bagging for lunch instead of eating out, buying discount clothes instead of designer ones, choosing a lower mobile plan and even some creative ways of earning on the side… selling small things at the place of work or school (if the employer/school allows it). Every small amount of savings adds up and counts! I take issue on the “cost” info graphic in the article because it is quite out of touch and makes it appear so horrifyingly rigid that one cannot find creative ways to go around and mitigate them.

Take the cost of education for example: Education in a private school is expensive but there are now options like home-schooling and home-schooling resources that can reduce the cost of education, info here. If home-schooling isn’t an option, most schools these days have financial plans that allow families to stagger tuition payment. Which means that the cost is not a one-time breaking-the-bank expense as what the article wants to portray.

Cost of living: It assumes that a single mother would be living alone on her own with no support from family or from the father of the child. This is again, a scare tactic. Every single mother I know has made it through with her child with the support of family and friends. Expenses can be assuaged by keeping track of them and eliminating those that are unnecessary. As one is able to finish school and find gainful employment, this lack diminishes. We’ve been there!

Medical expenses: While healthcare is costly, who says that one has to confine themselves to premium private hospitals to get optimal care? There are ways around it: For example, you may ask your pediatrician if they hold clinic in other less expensive private hospitals or government-owned hospitals where fees and costs are less. Physicians will never think the less of you for leveling with them regarding finances. City hospitals also give huge discounts to their residents and many times, doctors from private hospitals also hold clinic in these.

2. Losing sleep:  The only time a mother loses sleep over her baby is in the first several months of infancy or when they get sick. It is an utter exaggeration to even make this an issue! Think of it as an extended form of insomnia and make sure not to over-eat and drink lots of water.

3. Your Lifestyle Changes for the worse: False, it becomes more mature and more fulfilling! You will have to give up many things but look at what you are getting in return, the opportunity to raise a God-given child of your own. It is a whole new adventure and journey that only the bold and brave are willing to take!

Teen pregnancy is a problem that cannot be ignored but to frame it in a way that loathes a new life as a burden only serves to reinforce the abortion mentality which, in my opinion, is the implicit option being proposed in the article. It is interesting to note that women who go for abortions do not do so primarily because of socio-economic reasons, which the article above places as the top reason. The primary reason why women have abortions (and in my mind why they also contracept) is that having a baby will make their lifestyle worse.

Adversity, struggles and difficulties, practiced with virtue, can build a strong moral character. However, these days, this message is ignored or even ridiculed by the the modern-day false prophets of adolescent health and sexuality.