There's a baby boom under way in Gloucester, Mass. Time magazine reported last week that this past year, 17 pregnancies were reported at Gloucester High, four times the normal number reported in the 1,200 enrollment school last year.
School officials began looking into the problem as early as last fall, when a high number of girls began seeing the school nurse to take pregnancy tests. By early spring, according to principal Joseph Sullivan, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan said.
After asking some questions, nearly half of the expecting students, aged 16 and younger, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Some reportedly gave out high fives when learning of a positive pregnancy result.
The reason for the pregnancy pacts? The girls wanted to bring someone into the world who would love them unconditionally.
As anyone who is a parent can attest, the birth of a child is a wondrous thing that changes your life forever. The flow of effort and love, especially for the first few years of the child's life is a one-way street, with the child receiving the unconditional love of the parent.
Gloucester's main industry, fishing, has fallen on hard times. Many families are struggling to survive. "Families are broken," says school superintendent Christopher Farmer. "Many of our young people are growing up directionless."
It is disturbing to find out that young women who are no more than children themselves are wanting to have children in order to be loved. Before prevention can be successful, the students need to have improved self-esteem and be taught that there is a way for them to find success and follow their dreams.
Nationally, teen pregnancies were up 3 percent in 2006 -- the first increase in 15 years.
Parenthood should never be seen as the way to get the love you need.