The issue of baby dumping and teen pregnancy has been a widespread social concern in Malaysia and other countries as well. Just yesterday alone, another body of a baby was found in Ipoh : http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/11/24/nation/9964095&sec=nation
It saddens me as a developmental psychologist and human alike to think that women out there have the heart to abandon a baby that they have carried for 9 months and dump them in rubbish bins. These innocent lives are basically left to die. Can you imagine what it would be like if these babies are not found? There are definitely many out there who aren’t…
It’s actually interesting that in Malaysia the government has chosen to tackle the issue by having baby hatches. It is definitely a good way to save the babies but the question remains on whether the baby hatches actually help prevent baby dumpings and unplanned pregnancy in the first place.
I am writing about this issue because when I was doing some research with regards to teen pregnancy in the USA, I discover that girls already start having sex from as young as 12 years old. It’s shocking, true but not surprising. Instead of encouraging young girls by telling them to save the baby by placing them in a hatch, isn't it better to prevent than to cure?
The thing is, it’s not just happening in the USA anymore but also in Malaysia! I recently heard from a student of mine that many of her friends were pregnant in high school. It was indeed a shocker to me. Many others have to go through “shot gun marriages” which in the end potentially lead to divorces.
Another reason why I am writing this is because I know a friend with a 3 year old child who was left to be raised by the grandparents. To add salt to injury, the parents actually go clubbing and only visit the girl on weekends. You would think it’s because they were working on weekdays and want to have fun right? No, the wife was actually a housewife and they are now separated. I am sure there are many more others who share this couple’s state.
From teen pregnancies to “shotgun” marriages, I feel it’s time that society in general around the world disseminates the right messages to young girls on how to prevent the issue of baby dumping and “shotgun” marriages from happening.
On this note, religion, positive parental guidance, good family upbringing and basically the relevant societal support system come together to educate the younger generation. There are of course many factors that have contributed to the increase rates of teen pregnancy. For instance, it is shown in the USA that females from lower income families actually have higher rates of teen pregnancy.
Enough with the statistics but what I am trying to say to young girls and women is that we have the right to put our foot down if we are in a relationship. I’m absolutely certain you don’t want to be just another one of the statistics right? And if you are not ready to be a young mother even when you are married, you can always prevent unplanned pregnancy by using contraception, instead of resorting to baby dumping or the dreaded abortion! There are so many out there from birth control pills (21/7 and 24/4 regimen oral contraceptive pills), intra-uterine systems (IUS), hormonal implants, male and female condoms too.
You can find out more about women sexual health and contraception at www.yesican.com.my . The Yes, I Can campaign is a nation-wide campaign aimed at addressing the issue of unplanned pregnancy by advocating for the empowerment of women in making informed decisions on contraceptive options. Essentially, the Yes, I Can campaign hopes to bring together like-minded individuals who stand up for a common belief on the empowerment of women in taking charge of their own lives. It’s time women do.
And of course, there’s also the choice to say NO to premarital sex if you don’t feel comfortable or ready about it. The choice is yours to make.
Women need to be educated about so many issues especially when they are not matured enough to take care of themselves, let alone raising a child. They could very well put many innocent lives at risk and harm by their ignorance.
At times, amidst the growing apparent chaos of unplanned pregnancies and ignorance of young men and women, it feels as though nothing can be changed. For instance, judging by the number of prevailing myths about the pill, we still have a long way to go. However, I personally feel we can make a difference. Somehow, we got to start somewhere. I hope we start realizing that we can actually make a difference, esepcially as a female!