(originally published at Two Women Blogging)
Never assume. First rule of life. If you meet me, don’t assume that just beacuse I have a daughter, I think I’m entitled to control her body. Don’t assume that I abandoned my opposition to parental notification laws. Don’t assume that I think I will know about everything she does as a teenager. Don’t assume that my knowing is more important than her safety.
Know this instead: I want her to have what she needs. I want her to be safe, and supported, and to feel every option is open to her. Sure, I hope she comes to me if she decides to have sex; I hope to God it’s her decision, and not something that happens against her will. If asks me, I will help her find a birth control method and talk to her about protection from STIs. But if she doesn’t come to me, she still deserves to have birth control, and condoms. And if all that fails and she finds herself pregnant, she deserves to have all her choices available.
If you are an adult in my daughter’s life, know this: it’s not about me. It’s about her. If she comes to you about birth control, help her. Take her to Planned Parenthood. Give her condoms. If it means you have to take her to another state to help her get an abortion, because it’s what she needs and we live in a state with parental notification laws, then take her. Go with her, and hold her hand, and hug her afterwards, and make sure she has someone to talk to. Sure, you can tell her that she can talk to me – you can offer to help her do it. But if she doesn’t want to, if she’s scared or ashamed or just too overwhelmed, that’s OK. It’s more important that she gets what she needs than that I know about it.
I am trying to be the kind of mother she can come to, but that’s not entirely under my control. And if she can’t come to me, let her come to you, and give her what she needs. If you’re her aunt, or her teacher, or her doctor, or just a good friend, know this: it’s about her.