My oldest niece is taking a class in high school that involved her taking a baby doll home that attempts to simulate having an actual baby. It cries in the middle of the night, can be impossible to settle, has multiple needs that can be met- which the caretaker must guess at. Importantly (and unlike any real baby I know), it gets taken back to the teacher after one night. I have no idea if the exercise is mandatory or voluntary. I do know my sister and niece were awakened multiple times in the middle of the night, everyone is exhausted the night the 'baby' was at their house, and they agreed in the morning that nobody in their house ever wanted one of those things again.
Which of course made me ponder - is this even a remotely reasonable exercise?
No, is my conclusion.
The exercise operates on the assumption that teens are choosing to have babies, or are more careless about having protected sex than they otherwise would be if they knew how disruptive a baby is. Of course, we know that most teen pregnancies are not planned, and I'm betting money few teens decide to have protected sex or abstain from having sex because of a one night stand with a doll. To me, it seems a lot like an exercise in sleep deprivation with little to no benefit.
I told my sister I hoped her teen was not so tired the next day that she ended up having unprotected sex because she couldn't think straight.
I also wrote to my sister "Mark my words - if Helen brings one of those things home in her teen years, I'm sending a note back to the teacher letting her know we've discussed birth control and the "baby' is sleeping outside. This whole thing just sounds awful to me. I might also include a note to the teacher letting her know I have PTSD from a non-sleeping baby that was in my care."
And immediately, I recognized that statement as exactly what it was. A mom with a younger child who can't actually know what it's like to have a teen, saying something that would be forgotten as soon as the fake baby lands in her own home.
So I'm writing it down, just so my sister can make fun of me when I'm up all night with a fake baby!