DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and my boyfriend, "Todd," is almost 18. He wants us to have a baby. I would like to, but I live with my grandmother because my mom has a drug problem and my dad was killed when I was 9. I'm scared if I get pregnant she won't let me keep it.
My grandmother and I don't get along sometimes, and I'm scared she'll have my boyfriend put in jail. I have thought about this, and I really want to have a baby with him. I love Todd more than anything. Is it bad that I want to get pregnant? I'm in ninth grade and he'll be a senior. Please give me some advice. -- WANTS TO BE A MOM, PRINCETON, W.VA.
DEAR WANTS TO BE A MOM: Before you and Todd rush into this, it is important to consider how you will take care of a baby. Babies are not just cute; they are also completely helpless and a lot of work.
Some schools offer students a program in which boys and girls are given dolls that require 24-hour care. They are just like real babies in that they cry, wet, and must be "fed" and with a parent at all times. Students are assigned to care for their "baby" for a week or more, and often, by the end of the assignment period, the desire to have a baby disappears as the reality about the degree of responsibility becomes obvious. Please look into the possibility of attending a class like this because it is important.
If you become pregnant as a freshman, it will lessen your chances of graduating. You and Todd will need a diploma in order to support yourselves and a child. If loving a baby was all it takes, your mother would be caring for you instead of your grandmother. I cannot stress enough the importance of you and Todd completing your education before becoming parents. It will make you better parents. You should also be prepared to stay together until your child is an adult. Isn't that what you would have wanted if your father hadn't died and your mother turned to drugs?
I'm glad you wrote, that you're smart and didn't act on impulse. Your grandmother is doing her best to raise you, and she already has enough responsibility on her shoulders. Another child might be more than she can physically and emotionally handle.