A Dash of SaLT Podcast: Fresh discussions on Society and Learning Today. Seasoned with just the right touch of experts in education, and a dash of sociological imagination.
Ep 7: Let’s Talk About Teenagers and Sex: Finding a way to promote a socially literate approach to consent, sex, pregnancy loss, abortion and reproductive education in adolescence and beyond.
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The content of this discussion is sensitive and may have a trigger effect for you. Topics discussed:
- pregnancy loss
- post-traumatic stress
- forced medical and community interventions
- historical societal interactions around sex education and baby loss
Please take a moment to consider opting out if you think this topic may negatively affect you.
In this episode, Caroline Lloyd, a PhD candidate in her final year at Trinity College Dublin, joins me to discuss her research on adolescent development and the impact that baby loss has on young women across their lifespan. Her previous employment background was in corporate business environments, counseling,and she has significant experience as a volunteer, particularly with cancer and bereavement charities. As a bereavement counsellor and facilitator of bereavement support groups, Caroline saw a real dearth of information on baby losses, miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal losses and the level of affect it has on women across their life span which is what inspired her research.
We talk about how her research evolved from just looking at the emotional response to baby loss and grief, to the socio-historical and cultural factors of how others interacted with women after their loss. Retrospectively, how were they treated by their parents, medical professionals, other students, and teachers. The blaming, shaming and the lack of agency and voice adolescent girls have. Caroline also discusses the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of sex education as formal part of learning in school and the lack of counseling or mental health care available for these young women.
We discuss post-traumatic growth after experiences such as this, why sensitivity matters in these situations, the way someone is treated, and how words spoken can impact how girls think about themselves throughout their life. Caroline discusses productive equality, how boys and girls are socialized, and the way that society treats boys and girls differently when it comes to sex and reproductive education. We discuss the importance of continued research and how crucial it is to get findings like hers out to educate wider society because knowledge is power.
While great strides have been made in sex education, proper education is important for educators, medical doctors, political figures and governmental bodies on enacting proper sex education that is not shame based or ambiguous. We question who is teaching sex education and consent, how are they teaching it, and what messages are going out to children? Sex education should not come from friends and porn. Sex and reproductive education needs to be presented with competence, frankness, honesty, and without shame or sex shaming.
You can find Caroline’s book on Amazon and all booksellers online.
Grief Demystified: An Introduction by Caroline Lloyd
Her book has a whole section at the end signposting to reputable organisations globally.