A Must-Read for All Who Care
about Young Girls Facing a Crisis Pregnancy
BY Joanna Andrusko
Standup Girl: Take Charge of Your Unexpected Pregnancy is written by Becky Fraser with the assistance of Linda Shands. This highly readable book is an extension of the hugely successful teenage crisis pregnancy web site of the same name.
If a young girl who is pregnant Googles "teenage pregnancy" or "abortion," the second link on the right is to www.standupgirl.com. Last year the web page received over 200,000 individual visits each month, with an average stay of 15 minutes.
On the surface this small book appears to be a "how-to" manual for dealing with an unexpected teen pregnancy delivered by a Christian girl in her 20s who writes from experience. Each step is highlighted with personal accounts sent anonymously by teenage girls to Becky's web site.
Standup Girl begins from the time when a girl discovers she is pregnant and then goes through all the options--keeping the baby, adoption, abortion. The book includes a very helpful discussion about telling one's parent, the baby's father, preparing for pregnancy, birth, and parenthood--and everything in between.
The book is written in a personal-narrated form, meaning that the author is talking directly to her readers who are presumed to be scared, pregnant teenage girls. But this book would benefit everyone.
It is so easy for some to pass judgment. Without realizing it, even some pro-lifers might do so. Dealing with an unexpected teen pregnancy, even today, involves some of the most stigmatized issues in our society. A terrified teen probably does not want to hear an adult who knows nothing about this experience, no matter how compassionate.
I imagine Standup Girl would be a special blessing to pregnant teenagers, but as an average reader what I took away from it was a blessing all my own. The book was written with a deep compassion for the girls that stems from Becky's own experience with having a baby as an unmarried student.
The advice is not propaganda, but kindly counsel from someone who survived this life-altering experience and who is trying to help. There is not a word of judgment or reprimand even in the chapter about abortion.
I could barely keep reading when they described what happens in an abortion, even though it was written in the most discrete manner possible. In the chapter about how abortions were performed and the girls who had gone through them, what stands out were the personal accounts of the girls who thought abortion was their refuge.
It takes everything you have not to cry when you read about the horror many of the young girls went through when they realized, too late, what they had done. You cannot help but be moved at the pages in the chapter dedicated at trying to help the girls forgive themselves, done in part by a girl who had turned back from having an abortion herself.
It could be so easy to criticize these girls. Instead, Standup Girl offers encouragement, hope, and inspiration, which is what these girls really need.
One girl who had an abortion recalled that she had no idea what really happened. She told Becky how she could not believe she would have done this. Along the way no one told her she could have this baby and go on with her life.
That is what this book sets out to do. Becky provides every resource, every insight, and, most importantly, every encouragement a pregnant teenager would need to have her baby, even in the worst-case scenarios where she is receiving no help at home.
Based on my experience, most teenage girls do not want to "get rid" of their babies. They just do not see how they could make it work. Becky shows them how.
In the struggle to prevent the 1.3 million abortions that take place each year, pro-lifers could use a lot more Beckys. They are the ones who have walked the walk. They know the terror that led them to consider having an abortion themselves, but instead decided to fight for the life of their unborn child.
Virtually all pro-lifers already know this but it is important to remind ourselves anyway. Our objective is to help both mother and child and it is not helpful if we are judgmental or threatening.
Our goal is to show them that their lives, however altered, do not have to be ruined, and that there are caring people, free of biases and scorn, eager to help them.
I would, of course, recommend Standup Girl to a friend in a crisis pregnancy (I already have). But I would also recommend it to a stranger I met on the street.
Offering solace and guilt-free sympathy are essential for everyone involved with unexpected teenage pregnancy, even those who cannot relate, and even more so for those who want to help these young girls.
Standup Girl: Take Charge of Your Unexpected Pregnancy can be purchased at www.amazon.com. Just type in Standup Girl.
Joanna Andrusko is a freshman at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.