I've taken to staring at watermelons in the supermarket.
I don't have some watermelon fetish where I bulk buy those green beauties and bathe in their ruby juices. I like them because they remind me of my friend; when she told me she was pregnant we both immediately quoted comedian Dylan Moran's description of childbirth: "IMAGINE A MELON! Coming through your FACE!"
The image had stuck with me because I remembered when a family friend conceived, her partner's kids joked she'd swallowed a watermelon seed. Those cunning green orbs get around.
The melons got me thinking about the two occasions, and how differently people reacted to them. People cooed over my family friend, who was in her mid-30s, and sighed over my other friend, who was 19.
Georgia Hageman's open letter last Saturday sparked intense deja vu in me. More intense than even the operatic greeting between two completely unconnected Spanish families on the Eurostar yesterday.
With my 19-year-old friend, of course there were lovely people who bought baby things, cake and support. But, like with Georgia and "the stares, the whispering, and the disgusted looks", the pregnancy dragged out grimy attitudes we thought long dead.
It's a blistering wake-up call. How progressive are we really?
When my friend got pregnant I started hearing things like (a) what a slut, (b) how stupid to keep the baby, and (c) oh, but she could have been something. Not only are these responses wrong. They're also dangerous.
My objection to the first response is that it's a touch unrealistic. Teenagers have sex. They do. There's no way of ignoring that. So when a girl gets pregnant, she's done what 90 per cent of teenagers do, except she was the unlucky one whose contraception failed. There's no whore-Madonna complex, there's just a hole in the latex.
Is teenage sex wrong? Even if, like me, you don't think casual sex is wrong, you can't say Georgia was doing that. She said she'd followed her health teacher's advice, and had sex with someone she loved. That qualification is the yardstick we are taught to judge sexual morality by. She played by the rules.
The getting pregnant is the unfortunate part, but everyone makes mistakes. Faulty contraception is not indicative of having the morality of Vlad the Impaler.
So what about response two — the teenage mother is stupid to keep the baby.
A conversation I had after my friend's pregnancy went something like "you'd get an abortion if it happened to you, right?" There seems to be a common undercurrent in our discussions about pregnancy that keeping a child is wrong.
When we have conversations like that, we undermine the thought the mother has put into her situation by simply saying it's a mistake. Abortion is a complex decision. Keeping the child is also a complex one. It's wrong to dismiss someone who has decided that keeping it is right. It's also wrong to dismiss someone who's chosen abortion as the right thing to do.
I think that unless you're the one with a melon of cells constantly pressing your bladder, you don't understand the situation fully. So maybe we should not say anything.
I understand some of where those pro-abortion people can come from though. It's tied up with the last response; that keeping the child means she's wasted her life.
It was funny how people would talk about my friend in past tense, like she was great Aunt Doris, who used to be a lawn bowls champion in '53. Again and again you'd hear people say that my friend was never going to do anything with her life now.
If this is the attitude we take to teenage mothers, then I'm not surprised by the statistics. Because if everyone expects you to be something, you're much more likely to be it. Psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson found that when groups were reminded of a stereotype that affected them, the stereotype then disrupted performance.
So if we emphasise that teenage mothers will do badly in life, they are far more likely to. Instead of judging them, we need to be supportive and encouraging. That's how they'll go on to reverse statistics.
Georgia's case dragged out our outdated prejudices towards single mothers. It's not just an ugly reflection, but it poses a sinister risk to these teens. We share a responsibility for their future we can't ignore.
My friend's had her beautiful baby. As far as I know, Lucifer hasn't arrived and she hasn't been dragged to the innermost circle of hell. Unless you count nocturnal nappy changes ...