I’ve written before on this website about my reasons for writing THE DECISION: I was a teenage mother myself and I became frustrated a long time ago about the representation of young parents in the media.
Too frequently, young parents – particularly young Mums – are represented as having babies “for” the welfare payments available, taking tax payers’ hard-earned money and then sitting on their backsides. Too often, fictional teen parents in soap operas, TV series or movies are selfish and feckless, having babies and then dumping them on long-suffering relatives.
At the same time, women and girls who have abortions are frequently represented by the media as selfish too, even heartless: they apparently “murder” their babies because pregnancy doesn’t suit their lifestyles, even apparently using abortion as a contraceptive because they can’t be “bothered” to use preventative measures.
So what’s it to be? Neither, of course. Life is much more complicated! The above is not even remotely close to my own experience of teenage pregnancy and being a young mother, nor any of my contemporaries who have been through the same. Equally, none of the women I have talked to about abortion – many hundreds, over the years – have terminated a pregnancy lightly. These are outdated misconceptions and lazy stereotypes.
LIZZIE’S STORY is not an autobiography. I didn’t just want to write a book that only gave truthful observations of being a pregnant teen; I wanted to write a book where a young woman’s right to choose was automatic. This meant I had to include the notion of abortion, in detail. Too many narratives involving teen pregnancy gloss over abortion – or worse, say that every teen who chooses it regrets her decision or is “tainted” by it.
I believe in a woman’s right to choose, whatever age she is. This is why I wrote LIZZIE’S STORY. If you want readers to believe in your writing, you should believe in its message yourself. It’s the very least you do when setting out to write a novel. What else is there?
My #YA novel, THE DECISION: LIZZIE’S STORY is available in both English and German. Find them on My Amazon Author Page. Find links, humour, information and services for teenagers listed at The Decision Book Series or follow the character Lizzie on Twitter.