I was talking to my cousin about the upcoming wedding of our 20-year old cousin with his pregnant girlfriend. Then we shifted the topic to another cousin who just gave birth to her daughter. Before this, we were playing with the newest addition to the family, the birth of the third daughter of our 24-year old cousin.
These are just the newest scoop in the family during reunions. They are not at all new. For a fact, they became the normal topic during family gatherings every year – not that our clan is tolerating premarital sex or teenage pregnancy, or something like that. But what else can they do once the egg has been fertilized? They are much more willing to welcome an addition to the family than to abort one.
I continue blabbing about them being so young and unprepared for the big responsibility, to my uninterested cousin. As if, I was an old woman lecturing a 22-year-old woman. She does not seem to pay attention to my blab, since she was busy texting her soon-to-be (I don’t know? Boyfriend or Alalay?). But she stopped when I said the magic words.
“Don’t they know condoms?” Even though it was dark, I can see that she flushed with my sudden frankness
“Shh… keep quiet. They [family] might hear you.” She scowls. Finally, I got her attention.
Then defensively I told her, “Why? There’s nothing wrong with that.” I said feeling indignant with his reaction with my stupid mouth.
What is more shameful? Using a condom or carrying a baby for nine months and rearing it for the rest of your life while listening to whispers around you when you carry that bump around?
Before, I don’t have that much confidence saying aloud the words condoms, sex, vagina, penis, and other promiscuous words that would make others’ ears tingling. But when I was exposed to the increasing number of young people engaging in sexual activities (specifically my relatives) and falling to the responsibilities that they are not yet ready, the realization of being ignorant has become very dangerous and saddening.
I believe that aside from being social being, man is also a sexual being. This is something that you cannot remove we cannot remove from each other.
Man continues to search, explore, and satisfy its sexual curiosity. With the fast emergence and development of media, the proliferation of information has shifted the mentality of people drastically, giving them access to information that they are not yet ready to know and process, such as being sexual and doing sexual activities.
I am not saying that we don’t deserve to know these things, because we do. As I have said, ignorance is dangerous. However, there is right timing for everything. You don’t expect a 12-year-old to know something about sex or using contraception. At least they have to know what responsible family planning is. Once they are old enough, let say 16, they can at some point, know more of what is behind this responsible parenthood or responsible health or taking care of their health.
Instead of nagging them of what to do or what not to do, why don’t we just tell these young minds the things that would protect them from untimely pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
On the other hand, these younger people have free will to choose something for their life. We cannot restrain them and mold them according to what we want them to be. That is just an indirect imprisonment, which will then turn into something worse such as rebellion. What we need to do is to inform them about taking care of themselves and their future.
Let’s teach them about condoms or pills. We may trigger curiosity more, but at least we are not helping them add to our seven billion population and worsening poverty.
The next problem would be the access to these. I believe Philippines is not yet ready to sell condoms in sari-sari stores. But when are we going to be ready? Once we have surpassed China as the most populous country in the world? Once our poverty level has reached the point where “World War Z zombies” will be challenged?
People may not agree with me. Just like what my cousin’s reaction when I proudly blurted out the word condom. But once they are in that situation of rearing an unplanned child, they might consider that condom exists.