I don’t usually do movie reviews. In fact, I’ve never done one before and I don’t expect to be doing many more, but I watched a movie last week that I just can’t get out of my mind.
I got pregnant when I was 15 and became a mommy for the first time a few months after I turned 16. I knew right away that I would keep my baby. I actually didn’t even put much thought into the future and what having a baby would mean-one of the benefits/downfalls of being young and stupid. My boyfriend wanted to keep the baby as well, although his dad was ready to take me to the clinic and pay for an abortion, and I know there were many people in our lives that thought that would be the best option. Luckily my mom was adamant that abortion was evil and didn’t even consider it as an option, although she wasn’t thrilled that I was going to have a baby at such a young age.
I know of at least 3 other girls that got pregnant in high school around the same time, and they all had abortions. It wasn’t ever talked about and just kind of swept under the rug, and I wonder if that is what they wanted or if they felt they didn’t have a choice. I wonder if they regret their decision now that they are adults with families of their own. No matter what anyone tries to make you believe, there is fall-out after abortion. Women are left with deep psychological scars for the rest of their lives, and sometimes permanent physical damage as well. Abortion isn’t a magic button that you can push to erase the past.
I think my past with teen pregnancy is the reason this movie resonated with me like it did. In this movie, titled “Gimme Shelter,” a young girl from an abusive background discovers she is pregnant as she is trying to escape her past. It is based on a true story. The movie begins by showing her running away from her abusive mother and trying to reconnect with her father, who has never been in her life. While at her father’s house just a few days, she discovers she is pregnant and is pressured into having an abortion by her father and his wife. At the clinic they give her a printout of her ultrasound pictures, and you can tell that when she see’s the pictures, she wants to be a mom to her baby. Still, she is pressured to go through with it, but ends up running away from the clinic right before the doctor comes in.
She lives on the streets, breaking into cars to keep warm at night and eating out of garbage cans. She ends up stealing a car to escape from a street thug, probably a pimp, and crashes it. This lands her in the hospital where a priest encourages her to go live in a shelter for pregnant teen girls. Through all this there are a few abusive scenes between her and her mother, who wants her back so she can continue to collect welfare money for her. There are also a few instances of strong language, so keep that in mind if you are considering watching it, although it is only a couple times.
This movie shows that a girl can become a mother and can change her circumstances for the better if she really wants to. By all “logical” accounts, she should have had an abortion. She was too young, there was no father in the picture, she was from an abusive background, and she was homeless. But because of the love she had for her baby, she did what it took to make her life better. I think there should be more movies like this, instead of what we usually see. Contrast this to another movie I watched recently, where a college bound athlete got a girl pregnant and when she ended up having an abortion, they portrayed it as better for everyone. It’s not. And I don’t mean more shows like “16 and pregnant” that sensationalize teen pregnancy, but shows that let pregnant girls know there is hope. It is never an ideal situation to be pregnant so young, but it does happen and when it does, girls need to know that they have options and they can succeed.
Have you seen “Gimme Shelter”? What did you think? Share your reaction in the comments.