Wearing my Berks Teens Matter sweatshirt, carrying a handful of brief 3-question surveys, I’ve been having some great conversations about teen pregnancy and adolescent sexual health with adults of every age over the winter months. I have approached more than 250 adults in various settings across the city, and while some responded more enthusiastically than others, it has been the rare individual who declined my invitation to share their thoughts.

That is why I was a more than a little taken aback when a mother I approached recently responded with a curt, “I don’t have daughters, I don’t know anything about that.” I took a calming breath in an effort to quiet the voice inside my head that was silently screaming, “REALLY? You’re a parent! And a female! You don’t know anything about that?”

A pause. Another breath. I tried again, calmly sharing that I was just looking for the opinion of adults in the community. Even though she didn’t have daughters, her opinion mattered. Her second response was equally abrupt, “I have boys. I don’t have to worry about that.” I wondered, in that moment, how many of the parents of how many of the fathers of the 309 babies born to teen moms in Berks County in 2016 share that viewpoint?

Authored by Nadine Smet-Weis, MA – BTM Liaison for Community Engagement

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