My 12-year-old has reached the point of no return. It was time to discuss intercourse. Not to sound too naive; it wasn't our first conversation on the subject, but it was the first where we discussed more than just abstinence and pregnancy.
It came after watching The Pregnancy Pact together. I'm proud to say she was horrified at the thought of actually wanting to get pregnant during high school, and while she tried to reassure me that she will NOT be doing that while in high school, I didn't want to leave it at just that. We discussed options, we discussed condoms, we discussed STD's.
Shortly thereafter, I read the MSNBC article about Abstinence ed, minus the morals, may work. While no one should be convinced by one sole study, I can't help but think that this approach of talking about both abstinence and safe sex makes logical sense.
I could easily have agreed with my daughter, and admonished "you better not!" after her vow of celibacy, but I didn't. I've grown accustomed to thinking about consequences, and I didn't want her to one day not tell me that she'd broken her vow for fear of my disappointment. I didn't want her to face the consequences of that all by herself.
While we certainly have our fair share of verbal spats because she's an adolescent and I'm the mom, we still talk a great deal. I need to do my part if I have any hope that she'll still talk to me when she's 16.
So I talked to her about all of it. About all of the options. About all of the possible consequences of such decisions. And I did tell her that if she changes her mind, I want her to talk to me or another adult about it. I try to make room for the possibility that she might not want to talk to me about such things, but she also has the numbers of her aunts, uncles, and trusted family friends in her cell phone.
What was especially weird about it was how it wasn't weird at all. Neither of us were embarrassed, and she asked questions so I know she wasn't just thinking, "please let this be over soon" the whole time! It was a conversation, not a lecture. She even felt comfortable enough to admit her own insecurities that no one will ever like her. And I got to just hold her, while she found comfort in my arms. And I was comforted that she still needs her mom every now and then.
Originally posted on LA Moms Blog, Feb. 16, 2010.