Real Medicine

Delivering the Children of Children

They arrive in jeans and flowery T-shirts, or Disney pyjamas.

Some hold their shoulders up straight, their body language aggressive or protective at the least. Their gaze defiant. “This is me, this is my body. You do not get to judge me.”

Others make themselves small – and become more so because they already ARE small – averting their eyes, staring vacantly at the ceiling when doctors and nurses prod and poke their bodies. You think, how did this child even manage to have sex?

At their side, the protective lioness: Mom, Mammie, Ma.

Pull up their gowns for internal and abdominal examinations and you are met by little feet in school socks, panties with girly designs and cute slogans.

Their bodies are not equipped for the pain, even from the first stage of delivery. They curl up on their beds and beg for back rubs. They are anxious and require constant soothing; constant reminders that this unnatural pain is completely normal.

When the time comes to push, their tiny bodies struggle to coordinate such powerful movements. Nurses shout at them and they beg forgiveness. They cry.

Eventually their bodies let go of the child. Drenched in sweat, blood and amniotic fluid, they sink back. Ask what the child is. See the child. Comment that it looks like its father, or its granny. Never like themselves.

They struggle to breast feed, comment honestly that it hurts, that it is weird.

When the ordeal is over and they have washed, they play doll with their baby, dress him up in pretty clothes brought along beforehand.

They say that their child is beautiful, the most beautiful.

At this point you can no longer wonder what happened, or question the decisions made. You can simply respect their perseverance.

And wish them well as you think,

“The ordeal has only just begun…”

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6 thoughts on “Delivering the Children of Children”

  1. omg!your experience sounds crazy.you see the other end of the ordeal of teenage mothers…i’m still shocked when i see them in their school uniforms and i can’t help but wonder “WHy?”

  2. Strangely, one of my saddest experiences so far with pregnant teenagers was the 14 or 15 year old who actually wanted to keep her pregnancy, but was getting an abortion (I think the father of the baby and her mother was pressuring her to). I’m Pro-choice, but emphasis on the choice.

    By the time I’ve seen any of my pregnant teenagers as patients, they’ve coped with the idea and aren’t obviously sad about it anymore. Which is good. But what really bothers me is the 22 year olds with five children, because the other four are almost never planned. I haven’t had a chance yet to ask one of them what happened. Did the system fail them? Did they give up and assume pregnancy was inevitable? One of them was actually really happy and loved her kids and was back in school. I can’t say the same about any of the others.

    1. Those are terrible… my mom is a social worker and she has all her days with people who try to force teens into abortions (such coercion is of course illegal). It sucks. “Emphasis on choice”, I agree.

      As for the 22-year-olds with 4 or 5 kids… I don’t know. I think there are those who came to enjoy motherhood so much that they carry on but… I think it’s largely a matter of the system failing them. It would be an interesting case study of sorts…

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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