Friday, May 17, 2013

Prom Talk

I've been trying to think about what I want to say in this post about my Prom Talk.  I've been having a hard time figuring out how to do it justice and make it interesting for everyone here.  To be honest, I've had a hard time knowing what to blog about lately in general.  My life feels pretty boring to me.  Right now I am going to work, then going to softball practice or a game, come home, get ready for work the next day, give myself a Lupron injection, go to bed way too late, and repeat the next day.  In between all that, I am trying to catch up on everyone else's blogs, in which I am WAY behind.  Ahhh!  I'm not really feeling overwhelmed.  I'm in a good place.  I just have very little time in my day.

Anyway, the Prom Talk.  For those of you that may not know, I coach softball.  Prom falls during the middle of our season, so every year I talk to the girls about making good choices and not getting into trouble.  I am well known in our small community for the "Prom Talk."  I remind them about the drug and alcohol policies for student athletes and what they need to do if they find themselves in a compromising situation.  I talk to them about driving safely, and we talk about sex.

Prom is an exciting night and something that the girls look forward to.  For weeks, I hear about who's asked who to the dance, and HOW they were asked.  Boys don't simply ask girls to go to Prom anymore.  It is a major production now, kind of like you would envision for an elaborate marriage proposal.  It's sweet and a little ridiculous all at the same time.  They talk about their prom dresses, how they are going to do their hair, and they get awful spray tans.

But while Prom is so exciting for these girls, it is scary for me.  Our season could be over in the blink of an eye if a group of my players get caught at a party.  Worse than that, I would be devastated if one of them were to get killed in a car accident.  Or if one of them ended up pregnant.

It is not uncommon to read in the paper or see on the news about a kid that was killed in a car accident the night of their prom.  It has happened many times over the years.  It's not always due to drinking and driving.  Sometimes it's simply because they are driving with a group of friends and are distracted.

It's not uncommon for a girl to have a baby approximately 9 months after prom.  My best friend from high school was one of those girls.  She was a freshman and went with her senior boyfriend to prom.  She had sex one time, and it resulted in her having a baby at 15.  The high school I coach at has the highest rate of pregnancy in the state of Oregon.

Each year my Prom Talk is different.  Sometimes it's just a general talk that covers all topics.  A few years ago, I didn't even have to give the talk.  The girls did it for me because they had heard it so many times!  That was a great year, listening to their perspective.  Last year my focus was on drugs.  I gave my personal testament about growing up with drugs and alcohol in my family.

This year the focus of the Prom Talk was about sex.  I told them that I knew it can be an embarrassing topic, but one that is important to talk about.  I told them I knew some of them have already been sexually active (of course I didn't say who).  I know that a lot of times it is easy to look at adults, especially their parents, and think that they "just don't understand" or that "things have changed since you were in school."  I shared with them that I've had sex with two guys in my life, and that in my opinion it was one too many.  I also shared with them that I have a 79 year old client that I can talk about anything with, and that this older gal had sex when she was in high school too.  Those types of pressures haven't changed, they have simply become more acceptable.  We HAVE been in their shoes and we DO understand how hard it is. 

I shared that in high school, I had sex with a boy I had gone out with for a year and a half.  I thought he was "the one."  I was convinced I was going to marry him.  When you're in high school, it's easy to convince yourself you are going to be together forever, but the truth is that doesn't always happen.  In some circumstances it does, but it is not typical.  A lot of head shaking and nods from the girls.

One of my assistant coaches shared her high school experience.  She started dating her soon to be husband when she was in the 8th grade and they have been together for 9 years, both graduating college this year.  He is a year older than her and was a tough guy on the football team in high school.  They both got a lot of pressure from their peers in high school to have sex, but she had made the decision to not have sex while still in high school.  If the community viewed her as a kid still, then she wasn't going to have sex, because kids shouldn't be having sex.  Through 4 years of high school, she had to fight the battle of giving in.  She almost caved the night of prom.  She almost gave in when her boyfriend was gone to his first year of college.  But she didn't.  She also explained to the girls that this was HER goal, it wasn't her boyfriend's goal, which did make it harder.

This coach also shared a story about one of her good friends that had made the decision to wait until she was married to have sex.  It was really important to this friend to be intimate with one man in her lifetime.  This friend got engaged and was planning her wedding.  Just a few months before their wedding, they did end up having sex.  Then, the guy left her and the friend was devastated.

We both stressed that if the guy truly is the one, he should respect them enough to wait until they are ready.  I told the girls that having sex is the most intimate thing you can do with a person.  Don't put yourself in a position that you will someday look back on with regrets, because at some point in time, you will have to share your history with your future husband.  Be okay will what you have to tell him.

I decided early on in the season that I would share with my team about my infertility and everything that we have been through to that point.  Last year during softball season was my first IVF.  Some of the players were on the team last year, and could now put the pieces together.  Such as the day of retrieval.  All they knew was that Hubby ran practice that day because I had a minor surgery for some female issues.  I shared with them about all the injections.  I even took the needles so they could visually see what it was I was telling them.  There were a few gasps when they saw the PIO needle.  The girls could remember the phone calls I received during practice that I had to take.  They could remember the day I got the phone call letting me know about my chemical pregnancy.  All I had told them last year was that I had gotten very bad news.

I told the girls about my pregnancy at the start of the year, and that I almost wasn't going to coach them this season because I would have been pregnant and didn't want to take any chances by being out on the softball field and putting the pregnancy at risk.  I told them about my miscarriage.  On the day I found out we had lost the baby, we had open hitting and I had to meet a few of their dad's who were helping me on the softball field.  I told them how I had sobbed leaving the appointment, but then pulled myself together so I could open the batting cages for them and meet their parents for the field work.  As much as I love being their coach, I do wish I still had a very good reason for not being out there this year.

I don't think this group of girls have ever been so quiet.  All 24 girls listened very intently, and a number of them were very teary.  I told them that I shared my story with them not only because I want them to learn from it, but because I consider them family and several of them had been indirectly affected by it last year as I went through it during softball season.

I tied in the whole sex talk with my IF talk by telling them I don't know what I would have done if I had gotten pregnant in high school.  I don't really believe in abortions, but I can't say for certain that I wouldn't have had one if I had gotten pregnant in high school.  I didn't really have the home life that would have supported me having a baby so young.  I don't know what I would have done.  But I am very grateful now, especially knowing we can't have kids, that I don't have something like that to regret because it would be very devastating.  I reminded them that they needed to think about the choices they make, because they have to be ready for the potential outcomes/consequences of their actions. 

Of course I finished by wishing them a wonderful Prom night!  Have fun, make good choices, and I would see them at our next practice.  The only thing I wish I had also remembered to touch on was STD's, as obviously that can be another consequence to being sexually active.

I had one mom tell me about her conversation with her daughter following our talk.  Her daughter is one that still hasn't had sex.  She asked her daughter if the Talk helped her to think twice about having sex.  The answer was a definite yes.  Phew!  Ultimately, if I can inspire even just a few of these girls to wait until after high school, I will consider that a success.

40 comments:

  1. AWE! You are such a great coach and role model! Those girls are so lucky to have you and you them. I can only imagine what an impact that story had on them. Kudos for sharing and caring!

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    1. Thank you! I can only hope that I have as much as an impact on them as they do on me.

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  2. Every clinic I've worked at orders more pregnancy tests at this time, as in June we anticipate the "Post Prom Pregnancy Test Rush". You can set your watch by it. Hope your talk prevents your girls from being another statistic!

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    1. Isn't that sad? Makes me hope that I make an impact on these girls all the more.

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  3. You are one hell of a woman, Amber!!!!! I could not be more proud of you!!!!
    Like I have said before, you are loved by many and a hero to many! I'm sending so many warm thoughts, prayers and wishes your way this week!!!
    I LOVE YOU!!! Auntie

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    1. Awww, thanks Aunt D. I love you too!

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  4. Wow you are an amazing coach and an amazing female role model for these girls! It shows how much you care about them by giving so much of your time and your heart to them year after year. I'm sure in all the years you've been giving "the talk" you've impacted many girls. I hope if I have a daughter someday she could have someone like you in her life. xo

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    1. I sure do hope I have made as much of an impact on them as they have on me. And to think that I almost wasn't going to coach this year. I'm so glad that I did.

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  5. I so admire you for having this talk with them! How important and it might be the only time they ever hear it!! Awesome stuff!

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  6. What a memorable talk. I bet it will stick with those girls forever. I'm so glad that you're in these girls' lives, and I wish more of us had role models like you to look up to when we were younger.

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    1. I know what you mean! I'm so glad that I have had the opportunity to have THEM in MY life :)

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  7. So glad your talked helped them.

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    1. I hope it helped them anyway :)

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  8. You are such an amazing role model to those girls! They are so lucky to have you, and so are their parents. It takes a lot to be able to talk so openly with teenager about such taboo topics as sex, and you do it with grace and style. I hope they listen! How can they not?

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    1. Aww, thank you so much Aramis. That really means a lot to hear.

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  9. You're amazing! I wish I had someone like you in my life when I was an impressionable teen.

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  10. Sounds like a great talk from a great coach.

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  11. Wow! Sounds like an amazing talk! You are a great role-model for these girls. Here's hoping that they listen and make good choices at prom!

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    1. I surely do hope that they listened and took something away from our talk.

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  12. Your girls are lucky to have you. Great job, coach. :)

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  13. Wow, that's so amazing that you have (and take) this wonderful opportunity to potentially change the path of one (or more) of these girls. I hope they listened and really took to heart what you shared with them.

    Hope all is well as you're barreling forward to next Friday!

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    1. Thanks Shelley. You girls are giving me a big head here! haha!

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  14. I too feel like I don't have all that much to blog about these days. Great job on the Prom Talk, that is a huge thing you have taken on and it sounds like you are really making a difference in these girls lives :)

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    1. The funny thing is, that I pretty much enjoy whatever topic anyone else happens to talk about, regardless of what it is. I wonder why we don't ever think our own lives are as interesting?

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  15. You put so much of your heart into coaching...not just softball but....also LIFE! It sounds like a total SUCCESS!

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    1. Thank you so much. Your words mean a lot to me.

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  16. Wow! You are way brave and I am super impressed!

    Oh, and hi from ICLW! :)

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  17. How brave of you to share so much personal information and to help these girls in the decisions they will be making.

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    1. I don't consider myself brave, but thank you for thinking so :) I'm just doing my job, trying to be the best role model I can be to help these girls be the best THEY can be!

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  18. I think it's absolutely amazing that you give this talk every year and I am blown away by how open and honest you were about everything you've gone through. Kudos

    ICLW #30

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    1. I think it's so important that these kids have someone they know will tell them the truth, and be open and honest. How can they feel comfortable talking about these things if we aren't willing to go there ourselves?

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  19. Hi from ICLW! You sound like a great coach and role model! I'm sure there are many who wouldn't have the courage to do what you do!

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    1. Hi Jenni! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words.

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  20. Here from the Stirrup Queen's Friday Roundup... I am so impressed!! I'm sure those girls appreciate your honesty and caring -- and I sure hope their parents do too. I wish people had talked the same way to me & my peers when we were teenagers, but that was (gulp) more than 30 years ago, when it was hard enough to get through a couple of sessions in biology class on the human reproductive system, let alone true sex education & frank conversations. There weren't any pregnancies among my classmates the year I graduated -- but the next year, when my sister graduated, she had two classmates pregnant at grad, and two in every grade below them. The following year, the administration allowed Planned Parenthood to put up posters in the school. I wonder if they could do that today??

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    1. Oh my goodness! I'm in the Friday Roundup??? I hadn't read it yet! Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I wish I'd had someone talk to me more directly about this in high school too. I love coaching these girls, and I just feel like it is important that they have someone they know they can talk to about these things.

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