In my job as Welfare Worker, I get four new applications a day. This means four new families in crisis, and they all want something "Right Now". Some want food stamps, some healthcare, some want cash. Along with every person is a different situation, different lifestyle, and different "stuff". Now, I have to be impartial in this job. A big part of interviewing for the job was talking about how to deal with situations that I might not necessarily agree with.
Last week, I saw a 16 year old pregnant girl. She wanted Welfare Healthcare to go and get an abortion. When I see these young pregnant girls, I want to cry. First, I wonder why in the heck they weren't using birth control. Then the voice in my head says, "You got pregnant at seventeen. You weren't using birth control." When the girl tells me that she wants to terminate the pregnancy, on the inside I'm relieved. I think about what an array of choices they'll have available to them without children at such a young age. I offer the girls what resources are available to them (counseling and whatnot) and work my ass off to grant their case so they don't have to miss thier abortion appointment.
16 year old girl called me this morning and told me that she has decided to "keep it". Inevitably, the next question out of her mouth (out of all thier mouths) is "When can I apply for cash aid?"
Rather than terminate the pregnancy, graduate highschool and make something out of herself, she wants to have a baby at 16 and live on welfare.
That stupid voice! It says, "You decided to have a baby at 17. You were on welfare. And look at you now! You didn't let it hold you back forever, now did you?" The strange thing is, when I see a client who comes in to apply for Welfare Healthcare and knows immediately that she is going to continue with the pregnancy, I tell her this:
"Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. It's hard, but you can. Know this."
It's just irritating when they wobble back and forth. But I don't say a word out loud. And you know what? Whatever her choice, when she's leaving, I tell her "Good luck." Because whatever the outcome, and whatever choice she makes, she's going to need it.