Yesterday I watched a video that had tears rolling down my face.

It took me back to a time when I was a teenager. All I wanted back then was a family, thought my 15 year old self. 

And so it was that I “fell in love” and tried for a year to get pregnant. The boy and I decided that if I became pregnant, we would be allowed to be married.

Silly kids.

I had enormous stars in my eyes that obscured any reasoning. A family would finally come true for me. Or so I thought. 

I became pregnant at almost 17 years of age. I went to Planned Parenthood and they gave me the happy news. 

I had no permanent home. I shifted back and forth between friends’ homes until their parents would shift me along and back out on my own. 

But I was so happy with the knowledge that I would have the baby I’d wanted so much. I would have that family I’d been denied.

However, when I told the boy the news, he was not happy, as I’d expected him to be. He was upset. Unbeknownst to me, he had been seeing another girl. And she too became pregnant. 

He told me to get rid of “it.”

I understand he too was just a boy. Nineteen years old. But I was devastated.  

The other girl had a father and mother who looked out for her, and so they were married.

After I had my daughter, I went back to school and sat in classes with her as I watched her burgeoning belly grow another daughter for this boy, who had not bothered to come see his first one. 

No one in his family acknowledged my daughter. Or helped me out in any way. 

The reason I am telling you this story is really not about the boy I knew at all. Or what happened when I was a naive teenager.

It’s about the women who mother these boys, then protect them from having to take responsibility for the children they bring into the world.

All the while blaming the girl who becomes pregnant.

News to mother of boy: she didn’t get there alone.

I didn’t see it then. I just felt shame. 

But I see it so clearly now.

These mothers are women just like you and me. But in the rush to see that their sons’ futures are not complicated by the constraints a child might bring to their lives, they often chastise and ostracize the girl. 

The girl that carries their grandchild. The one they often don’t want to know about. So sometimes they close their eyes to what their son was also a part of.

And pretend it never happened.  

I never had a son. But if I had, I promised myself that I would one day, when he was a teenager, say to him:  

“If you get a girl pregnant, you are in it for the long haul. You will not run away. You will not forsake her. You will honor your child. Because you had just as much to do with this as she did.”

Forty some odd years ago, things were different. Girls did not proudly go to school in maternity smocks (maternity smocks!) unless they were married and had a shiny new ring on their finger. 

Then it was expected that their child would “arrive early.” And no one pointed fingers.

But if you were the girl who became pregnant and the boy turned you away, you were a whore. 

Oh but, boys will be boys, someone will say…

Isn’t it interesting how thin the divide is between one girl and another? The divide is the width of that shiny gold ring. 

The thing that gives one girl the promise of happiness. And the other the promise of being alone and ashamed.

The world is not as it was then. 

But if you’re born a woman, you must realize that in some ways, it always will be. 

So if you happen to be the mother of that boy, and your first thought is that you don’t want this girl to ruin his life, remember that the girl is in dire need of your support. 

Remember that she just as well could have been your child. 

And please don’t turn away and pretend she doesn’t exist because it has caused a ripple in your boy’s life.

Please don’t let him think that he can just skate when it comes to standing up and doing the right thing. Make him understand that if he brings a child into the world, he is in it for the long haul.

Because children often create children. 

Please watch the video and tell me your thoughts in the comments. I look forward to your input.

Dear Daddy, I Will Be Called A Whore.

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  1. Poignantly beautiful Brenda. I am the mother of a now grown son and I believe the key is in teaching our children to accept responsibility for their actions, no matter the situation. Too many parents bubble wrap their children (or think that they do) and then deny or wonder, how things go wrong. I recently saw an article on "teaching empathy" and scarily wondered when and how we became a society that needs to teach empathy. The young boy who is taught to respect the little things around him will become the older boy and man, who respects the bigger, more important parts of his life.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  2. Brenda, thank you for sharing this thought provoking video. It is heartbreaking.

    YOU are inspiring, the way you use this platform to share so many things that matter greatly. I am always encouraged by your writing. Xo Lidy

  3. I'm so sorry to hear of what you went through with no support. As the mother of two sons, I did indeed tell them pretty much the same thing you said – that if they chose to have sex before they were married and they got a girl pregnant, that they were as responsible for that child as the girl was. And I'd make sure of it. Thus said, I do agree with Tammy J and JKaye with what they said about the way some girls dress and act. It works both ways.

  4. I'm sorry, Brenda, that you didn't have a caring adult to give you support when you were a teen and in a tough predicament. It's so sad that the boy's parents weren't interested in you and your child. When they got old, maybe they were lonely, and could have used the company of you and your child. But they gave up that comfort in their future by not wanting to deal with a problem in the present. You were brave to go on alone and to have your child, even though it was a struggle.

    As for the video, well, no, I didn't like it. It's a double message — girl can dress provocatively, get plastered, throw herself on top of boy, kiss passionately, behave like a whore, then act like a Victorian maiden when he puts his hands on the body she has thrown on top of him. Then when he calls her a whore — which is incorrect, since a whore would have actually had sex — she gets all hurt and points out how the boy, his friends, the boys parents, and everyone in the world but HER needs to change. She isn't being a whore, she is being a bitch. I can say that because I behaved that way myself more than once back in the day, tried to learn from it and talk some sense into my daughter's head when she did the same thing. I'm not saying a girl should have to go through with something sexual she doesn't want to do. I'm saying that she needs to wake up and learn that she needs to look at her behavior too and consider making some changes so that she doesn't set herself up for being hurt.

  5. Beautiful post, Brenda. I have a son and the thought of him getting a young girl pregnant was always a fear. It didn't happen, but if it had, I would've treated his girlfriend like my own daughter. Whatever can be done, should be done, to make the baby's life healthy and happy.

  6. I respect story but do you say same thing to girl who get pregnant that you want to say to boy? "If you get pregnant, you are in it for the long haul. You will not run away. You will honor your child." Message have to be both ways. Girl have to take responsibility for action too. Child not at fault. Child must be honor by both parent.

  7. A heart-wrenching story, Brenda. Thank you for sharing. Yes, in some ways this world will not change for girls, ESPECIALLY girls without the support of families. I, too, was an "orphan," lacking the support and protection of a family and it is only decades later that I realize just how ALONE I was. I grieve for all the children of broken, fragmented and "disfunctional" families. I grieve for all the "orphans" (alone or with abusive parents). May GOD hold a special place for them in Heaven.

  8. Hello Brenda, I am a relatively new follower. I felt compelled to the mother of three grown boys, the saying ' boys will be boys' was NEVER allowed in our house….our boys were raised as ' human beings' and they were taught to do all manner of tasks, irrespective of stereotypical gender classifications….I would never have forced them to marry a girl in such situations…but she would definitely have had his and our support….and we would have embraced our grandchild…. my heart goes out to you that this boys mother abandoned you, yes, shame on her…but you should hold your head up high…because you survived and she missed out….mothers of boys…take note…oh dear… I feel rather strongly about this, don't I ….keep up the good writing, Brenda..I do so enjoy what I read xxx

  9. It is good in so many ways that times have changed a bit. When we were young 'morality' and 'shame' went hand in hand and nowadays while many might still behave / react in the same way I think that it is a bit different for some.

    Your story is a hard and sad one, though…they missed out on so much and left you with no support or help 🙁

    I will check out the video now…I suppose that it will make me cry.

  10. I am so sorry you went through all of that alone, Brenda. You are a very strong person. You are right about certain mothers out there that over protect their sons. I am sure parents of daughters have acted the same way, as well. I was going to say, it's difficult to be a woman, in general. But I think…it's just difficult to be humans, really. Some of us were lucky to be born into a loving, cohesive family; others, not so much. I do agree the world needs more compassion and forgiveness than not. You have a talent for words, I love your writing.

  11. Well jeez- seems you were the lucky one, Brenda, after all. Who can respect a man who would deny his child regardless of the relationship with the child's mother. Shame on the grandmother too. I hope your daughter has made peace with her father's rejection and does not harbor any feelings of worthlessness because of it. You are both very worthy of love. He just wasn't capable of giving it.

    I have a 20 year old son. We've had many frank discussions about being responsible and respectful. Sadly, not all children grow up hearing that message.

  12. Brenda as I started watching the video my daughter turned to me and said "mom that's the video I sent you last year." So yes we have had this discussion with our daughters. And in turn with our sons. We always remind them to treat girls with respect because that girl is someone else's daughter. I agree with Tammy J. it is all about respecting yourself first.

    I am sorry you had such a tough time of it as a teen. But I believe all of our actions make us stronger in the end if we are smart to learn from them.

  13. You were the lucky one, not the girl he married. She ended up with a husband who would lie and deceive. He was probably not a good father to the other daughter either. I cannot conceive of abandoning a child. It doesn't say much for that family.

    1. Ironically, I learned a few years ago, when their daughter and my daughter somehow connected on FB, that they didn't raise the girl at all. Her maternal grandparents raised her, telling her her mother was her older sister. When she got older and found out, she was very upset of course. And I don't think she has any relationship with her natural father. I don't know about her mother.

  14. what a powerful and necessary post this is!
    perhaps you should send it to washington and let our president read it and watch the video.
    if a man that age still doesn't get it… what chance do young boys with raging hormones have?
    and oddly enough malania in an interview used the same phrase…
    "boys will be boys." always the unwritten excuse.

    so many thoughts tumbled through my mind while watching the video.
    it is beautifully done and shows the experiences of being young as both sexes in today's world.

    but I saw many paradoxes in it.
    the girl walking by a boy and not wanting to be thought of as a whore as she tugs at her skirt that is BARELY covering her buttocks.
    why did she leave the house in that skirt in the first place?

    it's like advertising for something and then being surprised or appalled when the advertising works.

    I think it's a two edged sword. you don't dress like that and then demand respect from them.
    you FIRST respect yourself.

    and then the next thought tumbles…
    if you're lucky you have parents that are helpful and they teach you to respect yourself.
    but so many don't have that kind of parenting at home.
    they have to get their cues from tv and movies and magazines and peers.
    what then?
    there seems to be one message now for everything in all forms of media. and that's constant sexual images. it's the way of life for males and females interacting on all levels now. and no holds barred.
    and at all ages. even mr clean is now presented in a sexual way! LOL!
    seriously. mr clean?

    I have never been a prude. and I like to think I have an open mind!but more and more I'm thinking that the clothes girls wear now are part of the problem.
    from tank tops barely covering breasts to skirts that are 6 inches long like that one in the video.
    I live in a university town and see it every day when it's nice enough weather. they are dressed more for the beach than a class room.

    and yes. it's arguably true that a girl should be able to dress however she wants and still not have to worry about being treated badly or in harm's way. it's her freedom of choice after all.

    and I am NOT excusing the boys. especially those who are abusive.
    for that kind… it doesn't matter how a girl dresses or acts.
    and those male actions are always abominable.
    everything you said about teaching sons how to treat girls and to be a gentleman is true.
    at the same time I would add to the mothers of girls …
    teach your daughters how to be a lady.

    she doesn't have to revert back to jane austen times. but in most of the immature boy's way of thinking is one simple message
    "what you see is what you get."
    "what you advertise will be taken as a sign."
    we might not want to agree with that… but it's true.

    and becoming so drunk out of her mind that she doesn't know where she is or whom she's with … at 2 in the morning…
    I can't even fathom that.
    by and large the world treats you the way you treat yourself.

    it's all about self respect. in BOTH boys and girls. men and women.
    and we have a shortage of that in the world today in all ages.
    and right along with that we have seemingly lost the simple art of kindness.

    it is a powerful video. maybe it should be shown in high schools as a starting point to discussion about all sides of it to help both sexes understand each other better.

    thank you brenda for bringing up such an important topic.
    and I'm so sorry my comment is too long. please! feel free to delete it. I won't be offended! xo

  15. I have a 15 yr old foster daughter. She deals with this issue everyday. She is still a virgin, however, just because she is a beautiful girl, there a girls that are jealous of her. Boys also call her a "whore" because she will not accept their advances. Her so-called boyfriend calls her a "whore" whenever the get into a fight. This is a terrible moral breaking word. Parents need to talk to their children and explain what this word means and how demoralizing it is. I hate this word.

  16. Brenda, this is such a true and disturbing piece. And, it's not just kids. My grandson is 2, and his mother is 36. They and his sister who is 15 are back in the house with me…why? Because his daddy, who is not married to his mother, was caught by her doing heroin. He has another child who is 10 years old. His mother blames all of this on my daughter–who is not stupid. She got a degree at 34 Magna cum laude and now teaches special ed english at a large local high school. Guess what he's contributed to this baby's life–a small package of diapers and wipes and a bottle of juice. Yep, he's a real winner. This is just one of millions of stories. The biggest thing our kids are not being taught is consequences for their actions. That's obvious when you watch any news on TV.

  17. Very thought provoking Brenda, you're such a great writer. I had an experience when I was younger with a boy, it had nothing to do with pregnancy but the mother of this boy protected him like you talk about here. It has stayed with me my entire life and I still think about it now and then. I am the mother of a daughter and I talked to her early on about things and luckily she actually listened! ha!


  18. Brenda, I'm the mother of two boys and we've always had very frank discussions about this subject.

    I will tell you that in the world now things have changed from when you and I were girls. I've seen girls who were crazy aggressive…much more so than my boys could ever be. In the end the girl will have the baby though so everybody needs to be knowledgeable and understand the consequences of their actions.

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