Country doing little for teenage moms

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Country doing little for teenage moms


What are the two hardest jobs in the world? The first is to put your thoughts into another person’s head, and the other is to get money out of someone else’s pocket. The first job is carried out by teachers, while businessmen are good at the latter. And there are people who are good at both: wives, according to a joke I heard recently.

However, women are not just wives, but daughters, mothers and grandmothers. Research shows that pregnancy and motherhood greatly enhances women’s capabilities.

A University of Richmond research team compared the brain activities of female rats before and after giving birth and saw obvious changes. After giving birth, the mother rats became five times faster than the other rats at catching food and had enhanced spatial memory.

Pregnancy and motherhood “reconstruct” the brain’s activities to make women braver and sharper. After all, a woman may be weak, but a mother is strong.

A few days ago, a tragic fire in an apartment in Busan killed a 33-year-old mother and her three children, aged 9, 8 and 1. When firefighters arrived at the scene, the 8-year-old daughter was in the room closest to the door while the mother and her two other children were on the balcony.

The mother had her two children in her arms, while their whole bodies were burned. It was apparent that the son was in her left arm and the daughter in her right arm. I was already choking up even before the scene was conjured in my mind. Detective Je Yun-ho of Bukbu Police Precinct in Busan said, “It was so sad and tragic.”

Two days before the fire, another tragedy had occurred in Busan. A 17-year-old single mother left her 4-month-old son in a motel room to go out with a friend all night. In the early morning, she went to another motel to drink and slept there, claiming that she didn’t want to wake her child up. The abandoned baby was found dead when the motel owner checked the room.

Is it too much to ask a 17-year-old girl to be a responsible mother when she is going through adolescence? There is more to the case of the baby left to die in the motel room than to just blame the single mother. The father is also 17 years old and has been in a juvenile detention center. The teen girl’s mother was also a single mom, and she has never seen her father. Her mother left her, and her grandmother, who had raised her, died.

We cannot just criticize the girl. I cannot throw a stone at her and accuse her of not being fully responsible for her baby. When a young, single mother struggles with being a girl and a mother, what has the country done for her?

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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