I was 22-years-old when I got pregnant with Aiden. It was the year following my college graduation. I had an Ivy League degree, a full time job as an elementary school teacher, an idea of the direction I wanted to take my career, and plans to apply to graduate school in the near future. I had a promising future and, by my own definition, I was well on my way to being somewhat successful.
Then, I saw the positive sign on the pregnancy test and immediately felt like a failure.
Because I looked like I was 17-years-old. There was a certain naïvete about me that made me seem even younger clueless than I actually was. Also, I didn't have a ring on my fourth finger, left hand, and I felt as though people would judge me, shame me, and associate me with every negative stereotype associated with a young, single, pregnant girl.
And, unfortunately, I was right.
The teen pregnancy prevention campaign the NYC Department of Social Services is currently running brings me right back to that feeling I had when I saw the positive sign on the pregnancy test almost six years ago — back to that feeling of shame and failure. It brings back memories of the hurtful things people said to me while I was pregnant.
"Wow, how old are you?"
"Where's the father?"
“Do you know who the father is?"
The teen pregnancy prevention campaign the NYC Department of Social Services is currently running is no different.
Head over to REDBOOK to read the rest of my response to these ads, which are everything but effective, in my opinion.