>Teen Mom.Posted: March 21, 2011
>I am kind of obsessed with watching this show. Along with 16 and Pregnant. I know I’m not the only one who is. I know I’m not the only thirty-something that is. I’ve thought so much about this, and about writing this post, because on so many levels I have been in most of those girl’s shoes in one way or another.
When I got pregnant with Mack, I was seventeen. It was right after school started my senior year of high school. I was in denial for a long time about the fact that I even was or could be pregnant. When I told her biological father, he said he’d “help” but that his new girlfriend was also pregnant. Due only two months behind me. I just pretty much at that point decided to do everything on my own. I also still didn’t know for sure what I was doing. I thought about adoption. A lot. Towards my sixth month, I just decided I couldn’t do it.
The good thing is that my parents were supportive of me and my decision, whatever decision I made. They said they would do what ever I needed them to do. When I decided to parent, we built a nursery off of my bedroom, we planned a baby shower, and that was it. I’m sure they were freaking out, but they were always supportive of me.
Most of my friends went by the wayside. My best friend at that point was pissed. The plan had been that when I graduated and turned 18, we were getting an apartment together. She knew that with Mack coming it wasn’t going to happen. She was too crazy. No where with her would have been a great environment for raising a kid. The night Mack was born at 11:50 PM, she showed up at 2 AM after having been at the bar and was so drunk she could barely stand up. I was not very happy. I was out of it, I was really tired, I had lost a ton of blood, and here she is slurring all over me and my new baby. Not a good way to come say “Hi.” Not to mention the fact that she never came back up there.
After Mack was born I kind of became a bit of a shut-in. I didn’t want to be with any of my friends, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I just wanted to stay home with my baby. My mom made me a movie date with a few of my friends and forced me out of the house when Mack was about 4 months old.
Sometimes, when I am watching these shows, it brings just huge floods of emotion rolling at me. I remember what it was like to want to have that “family.” I remember what it was like hoping that Mack’s dad would just pull his shit together and be a good dad to her. I remember thinking that I would never find anyone to love me again. Most of all, I just remember being so scared. Of everything. I had friends who did help me, I had a male friend (who was just a friend) who took me to a couple of Lamaze classes (even the scary birth video class), picked me up from work several times a week, made me go on a “date” night every now and then so I was getting out of the house towards the end. He asked me to marry him, so that my baby would have a name. Probably one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.
I worked hard to make things with Mack pretty easy. Let’s get this straight though, easy for her, not for me. At one point I worked three jobs, all at the same time. I needed to. You just have to do the things you have to do. Sometimes these “Teen Moms” look like it’s all pretty easy. They get paid pretty good money to be on this show ($60-$65k per season) which is 3 times more then I made when I was nineteen with 3 jobs, and it really kind of glamorizes the whole thing. I can only imagine what a show like this would have been like, nineteen years ago. Can you even imagine? It wouldn’t have been on long. If you think about it the first “Real World” hit MTV in 1992, the same year Mack was born. It was so much tamer then any of the “Real World’s” on MTV now.
It would have been thrown off TV for promoting teen pregnancy. In many ways, I wonder if it is promoting teen pregnancy. I can watch it, and see what those girls are going through. Can the average teenager watch these shows and actually see how hard it is? See that it is a bad idea? See that they are giving up their youth? See what needs to be given up in order to put your baby in diapers, and make sure he/she has formula to drink? They don’t show these girls standing in line at the WIC office, or scrapping pennies out from underneath the seats of their cars or from under couch cushions to buy diapers, or going to the local health department to get immunizations since insurance may or may not cover their children.
Then again, maybe since they are making all this money they don’t need to do any of this? Most likely they wouldn’t qualify for anything because of the money. So why did the one girl need to borrow money from her baby’s dad to go to school? Why did the other girl need to take out a loan at all? My guess would be that when you give a child $60-$65k, and they don’t know how to handle it, and it’s gone in short time. I hope that there is some loophole in the contract that makes them put it into trust or something, so they can use it when they are old enough to understand how money really works.
Anyway, I could probably ramble on and on about this. I just know that it’s hard. I feel for these girls, I do. You could lecture them, and tell them they are stupid for getting pregnant in the first place, but that doesn’t fix anything. Teaching them how to make a better situation for themselves and their children is what should be happening, and I hope for their sakes someone is helping them with this lesson.