OK, let’s be honest here:
I am a reality TV junkie. And it isn’t even good reality TV; I love the vH1 and the MTV and the Bravo. May God and Nielsen Ratings forgive my TV sins…
And one of my very favorite guilty (and I do mean horrendously guilty) pleasures is “16 and Pregnant”/”Teen Mom”. As someone raised in a hub of procreating teenagers, I honestly see some validity to both of these shows; shocking as it may seem to some of us, there are a huge amount of teenagers and younger out there who don’t think of protection, which is scary on a health level as well as a reproductive level, and a lot in the same age range who also think it would be fun to have a baby. (Doubt me if you will, but I have a little cred as someone from the county with the highest teen pregs rate in the NATION and a mom who used to counsel middle schoolers who were knocked up- I didn’t live it, but I promise on my life it exists.) So I think the show does give an idea of what happens to you as a teen mother, and how your life will change; on that same note, though, it says volumes about the individuals it showcases. Example: I love the hell out of Maci (even if I think her baby daddy is a jerk) for refusing to settle for unhappiness, and for refusing to surrender getting an education; and I want to adopt both Catelynn and Tyler, the ones who gave their kid up for adoption, and put them through college and pay for everything for them for the next few years. I feel horrible for those two; they made the most responsible choice teenagers in their situation could, and they got attacked by their parents (who have married EACH OTHER since Catelynn and Tyler started dating, lets all ponder that) for making that decision. If any teenage relationship is genuine, it’s those two, who really seem dedicated to one another. I like to think I was a decently mature teenager, but those two are a whole other level; they are the rare definition of children raising themselves and coming out better for it in the end. (Addendum: Tyler’s mother seems to be a solid parent. His dad, however- well, watch fro yourself. And Catelynn’s dad in nonexistent, and her mother- again, watch for yourself. More power to you, Catelynn- you’re a little bit of a hero in my book for becoming an amazingly mature 16 year old without too much outside guidance.) Additionally, oh LORD, genetics should really somehow know that it is VERY not ok to let Amber have kids; and Farrah needs to grow up, but she isn’t too bad in general; she just hasn’t matured, but there’s hope for that.
I think part of the reason I’m so engrossed in this show is that “16 and Pregnant” debuted around the time I decided I did for sure want to be a mom someday. And I like that this show actually shows the ugly (or ugliest) side of parenting. MTV, you do so much wrong, but this show really is an amazing study on a demographic that really gets ignored once they cease to be pregnant and instead become mothers.
And on that note- at least the babies are adorable. And may God bless those babies- some of them really might need it, because their parents don’t have the easiest road ahead.