Baby Class Teaches Challenges of Motherhood

Baby Class Teaches Challenges of Motherhood
By: Wendy Ray

People say your life totally changes after you have a child, but it's hard to really take that in if you're not a parent. A class at Bell City High School is teaching young girls it's not easy to be a mom.

A 25 pound empathy belly is giving 17-year old Andrea Wondel just a glimpse of what it would feel like to be pregnant. All the teen girls in the child development class at Bell City High School will get a chance to wear the belly, but as Tom Roy with the Stoddard County Health Department tells them, the extra weight is only one part of pregnancy. "I can't really show you what it's like to have morning sickness," Roy says. Or swollen ankles or weight in other areas of your body; the list can go on and on.

The students are also learning that after nine months you have a baby, that cries and needs constant attention. 16 year old Linsey Daniels says it would be hard to be a mom at her age. "We've had the babies the last week and it's hard to get your homework done. It's hard to help around the house because they keep you up at night, you're tired when you get to school the next morning," Linsey says.

School nurse Pam Lape says you can show them statistics in text books, but nothing compares to the hands on experience the girls are getting. Lape adds that teen pregnancy continues to be an issue. "Missouri is a state with a high teen pregnancy rate, but southeast Missouri, that includes the bootheel, is the highest of all the state," Lape says.

The class has changed Linsey's perspective on when she wants to become a mom. "I want to wait until I'm 30," Linsey says.

The pregnancy class also includes trips to local hospitals so students can see the process pregnant women go through before delivery. They check in, look at fetal monitors, and tour birthing rooms.