The Secret to Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Yesterday's blog got me thinking: when it comes to teaching pregnancy prevention to teenage girls, I think they've been going about it all wrong. Forget the role-playing with fake babies, the warnings of dropouts and welfare, and whatever other (obviously inefficient) methods the powers-that-be are using - I've got something that will, without a doubt, make them stop in their tracks and think twice.

Warn them about stretch marks.

When it comes to stretch marks, I serve as a cautionary tale. Due to a ruthless combination of massive pregnancy weight gain and skin with ZERO elasticity - thanks on both counts, Mom - I've been left with stripes on my abdomen that rival a zebra's. Actually it's not just my abdomen - it's from ribcage to hipbones, if you want to get specific. (Also the boobs, and behind my knees for some strange reason ... ugh!) Here is a glorious picture of my actual pre-baby stomach:

(I cannot look at this photo too long, or I'll cry.)

And then there's the "after." While this is NOT actually me - that would just be toooooo humiliating - it's safe to say it's a pretty damn good representation:

Note the difference: much more flab (it reminds me of bread dough!), and the appearance of having been clawed by a tiger. I swear, once I was watching "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" and saw a video of Kate Gosselin's stomach pre-tummy tuck. The woman had eight children, six of those all at once, and her stomach looked only marginally worse than mine. No "miracle" lotion or potion is going to remedy my poor stretched-out stomach: it's going to take nothing short of surgery (which, come hell or high water, I will undergo once I'm done having kids).

Anyway, I've found through experimentation on my teenage nieces that giving them a glimpse of just a two- or three-inch area of saggy, stretchmarked skin sends them reeling backwards in shock. It's amusing, watching their eyebrows approach the ceiling as though they've seen a ghost. I've never had to show them my entire stomach because just a tiny peep is enough to elicit an almost-universal response: "I'm never having kids."

Maybe that could be both a valuable civic service and a lucrative business idea. I could get paid an exorbitant fee to bare my belly to unsuspecting teenagers, like a circus freakshow - "You could look like this!" - and, at the same time, reduce teen pregnancy rates.

Hey, it's a thought. :)


  1. that's a great idea - like how they have found out that the best way to get women to use sunscreen is by telling them they will get wrinkles rather than skin cancer. Vanity is the ultimate negotiatior

  2. Yep, I agree ... I think it's mostly because it's easier to picture ourselves getting wrinkles than cancer and stuff like that. Most of us don't KNOW how cancer will affect us because we've never had it ourselves - but we've all felt ugly, so that hits home!

  3. Oh Rita - you are so right...I do the same thing - except I show people my boobs and they recoil in really is enough to put anyone off their dinner, let alone having more children!

    Thanks for popping over to mine - love your blog. And good luck with the rest of your pregnancy x

  4. Fantastic idea.

    I miss my poor flat stomach. And my perky boobs.

  5. Thank you Emily and Amber!

    Yes, my boobs are a sight too. Raisins put them to shame. :p

  6. Hmmm...I'm thinking you need to come to my school for a day.
    PS: Your pre-child stomach looks GREAT! I'm not sure I could ever even considered childbirth if my stomach had ever looked like that (which is hasn't)!

  7. Hey Jennifer, feel free to show 'em this blog. Pictures can be equally effective. :)

  8. I agree about deterring teenage pregnancy. What a good idea! :o) Thank goodness we live in an era where bodies can be repaired, to some extent. You'll just have to follow my example and have a flat stomach with a scar from hipbone to hipbone and firm plastic boobs! LOL

  9. Sigh...even before I had three kids, I didn't have perky boobs or a flat belly.

  10. I have to wonder about those girls who are so hell bent on having a baby to love them or to keep their pimple-faced boyfriends feel when they realize, no matter how flat they manage to get it, their belly will never look the same again, and they have done that to themselves at 15 or 16 years old!

    I am one of the very, very, very lucky and rare people that simply didn't get them, even producing a 10lb plus baby. I don't think it in anyway had anything to do with something I did or didn't do, but simply genes. My mother had horrible stretch marks with me, I still can't believe the scars 50 years later, BUT my father's family, the women simply didn't get them, not his mother (of 5) nor either of his sisters (one had 2, the other had 5) and I must have gotten genes from them. My cousin however (which shares both sets of grandparents as my mother's young sister married my father's younger brother) has only had one TINY baby and her belly looks like a road map. All luck (or lack there of) of the draw.


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