being a mom

The Horrifying Case Of Cassidy Goodison Proves Kids Need Sex Ed

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Cassidy Goodison, a fourteen-year-old child, secretly gave birth in the family bathroom with a pair of scissors and strangled the baby to death before hiding the body in a shoebox. The amount of tragedy in this story has me reeling because it just proves that everyone; parents, doctors, schools, need to be more actively involved in our kid’s sexual education and sexual realities. The GA Daily News reports:

Goodison went into labor in her home in Greenbrier Village, Florida on September 19 and instead of calling for help, disguised her screams of pain by running the tap and gripping a towel between her teeth as she sat on the toilet.

We read terrible stories like this weekly. In the United States we have 750,000 teens who get pregnant every year. Goodson explained the reasoning behind her decision to hide the pregnancy from her parents:

she was motivated to hide her pregnancy and choke the baby ‘to stop him from breathing,’ by the fear that her relationship with her parents would change if they found out the truth.

I don’t have a quote from Cassidy Goodison’s parents, but I’m sure they would give anything at this point to turn back time in order for their own baby not to kill her baby and face being charged with Premeditated First Degree Murder, a capital felony and Aggravated Child Abuse, a first degree felony.* Their baby’s life is over. Their baby’s baby’s life is over

I consider myself a “good mother” because I talk to my kids. I talk to my eldest son about sex and teen pregnancy. My younger kids aren’t quite at the age where I feel I need to worry about birth control but stories like this make me realize it will be a topic I need to discuss with them sooner than I may want to. I’m sure Cassidy Goodison’s mom thought she was a “good mother” too. Every day good mothers have daughters who have unplanned pregnancies. These things happen. We may not want them to. Even under the best good mom circumstances, even if we educate our kids and talk to our kids and have open relationships with our kids. Even if we discuss abstinence or take them at age twelve and get them on birth control. Teen pregnancies still happen. Yes, birth control does protect against unwanted pregnancies but sometimes even extremely effective methods of birth control can fail.

I’m sick and disheartened by stories like Cassidy Goodison’s. I’m sad at all of the young girls who get pregnant who don’t want to be, who get pregnant and haven’t even started their own lives yet. I realize that in some cases these teen pregnancies work out and there are many very young moms in the world who are excellent parents and who realize their potential despite having a child to care for. And there are also cases like Cassidy Goodison. And my heart breaks for her, for her parents, for her dead son.

In a perfect world, none of our kids have sex until they are emotionally, financially, and sexually ready. They have sex filled with fun and love and joy. Sex doesn’t result in abortions, because even though I think abortions should be safe, legal and rare, I don’t want teenagers to go through them. Sex doesn’t result in fear and humiliation and shame and the murder of babies in family bathrooms.

I don’t know how we make our kids stop getting pregnant. I know talking to them, preparing them, educating them,  watching them, policing them, getting all over their asses helps, as well as making sure they have access to safe, reliable birth control. I will do anything to keep my daughter from getting pregnant before she is ready and for my sons not to impregnate anyone before they are ready. I just really hope it’s enough.

*edited/grammar

(Photo: Anna Azimi /Shutterstock)