Saturday, July 25, 2009

MTV Finally Got It Right

I have gone against my principles and started watching 16 and Pregnant and today I even auto tuned my TV to view "Life after Labor", the reunion show. I'm glad this show exists because it puts a more realistic, less romanticized view of parenthood before teenagers. Maybe it will help prevent unwanted pregnancies before they happen (an effort I don't believe we are realistically actively engaged in as a nation).

Part of the realism is the toll pregnancy and parenthood takes on one's relationship. I remember thinking as a teenager how wonderful it would be to marry my then-boyfriend and have a baby. That was foolish; it would be awful and hard and considering the fact that I didn't marry my then-boyfriend (we actually broke up before dating a year), lonely and heartbreaking. Those issues come out on the show.

In a more trivial, but still real instance, one of the young moms-to-be was trying to decide when to take her senior pictures and her mother told her she would be all puffy after the birth. The girl said she didn't plan to be puffy. Because she didn't know; in the romantic version of pregnancy (even for non-teenagers), you're beautiful and glow-ey as a pregnant woman/new mom. Yeah, but in real life, that ain't true and she was puffy. So, the show is good in revealing some of the truth about pregnancy.

I know you have discussed these issues before, SM, but I was so moved by one of the hard truths demonstrated in the series through the story of Catelynn that I had to write about it as well. Her story broke my heart. She and her boyfriend made the heart wrenching decision to give their baby up for adoption. It was an incredibly mature and--as they said 12,000 times in the reunion show--brave decision to make. I cried as I watched those kids give up their baby. In the abstract you think, this will be a good thing because they can go on with their lives and the baby will be happy and etcetera etcetera. But watching Catelynn go through the birth and her boyfriend sob afterward because he had to hand over his daughter to virtually strangers, you recognize that there are no easy choices in this situation. I was especially moved by this story, in part because I put myself and our Popcorn in their place and it was unbearable. My heart goes out to Catelynn and anyone who makes the difficult choice to give a baby up for adoption.

Having a baby is more than a notion, man. . . .


The Steel Magnolia said...

The girl you referenced, who didn't "plan" to be puffy, "planned" a lot of things. She was hard-headed in general. And you are so right about Catelynn and her boyfriend. I was also very moved by their story. And they handled it all with grace.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the program was quite good seeing that they had words of caution on having baby at a really young age. I agree with you that parenthood is not a joke and a 16 year old is no were near enough to care for a kid.

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Ink said...

You're right -- we need more shows like these!

I always said to my husband that if high school students were subjected to the sleep deprivation of the first six months, they might think twice, too... ;)

The Diva said...

Yeah, as a new parent, I keep saying I can't believe teenagers don't do EVERYTHING possible not to get pregnant!