Category: 16 and Pregnant

'16 and Pregnant': Lizzie

Lizzie_summer 

Teens. Music. Pregnancy. If you managed to tear yourself away from that "other" show -- "Glee" -- and tuned in to MTV, the all-too-authentic reality of what can happen when a pregnancy intersects with teendom was unfolding.

In this week’s episode, we’re introduced to Lizzie of Smithfield, Va.  As required by her age group, she likes to party and have fun … and play the flute? That’s different. Seems Lizzie has aspirations of going to college and playing for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra one day.  But as a teen mother, can she fit quarter-notes and scales in with all the crying and diaper-changing?

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'16 and Pregnant': Leah

Leah I have four words: What was all that?

In Tuesday’s episode we’re introduced to 17-year-old Leah of Elkview, W.Va. A senior in high school, the former cheerleader finds herself pregnant with twins. If that wasn’t a double whammy, there’s also this: She had only known the father, Corey, a month before she got pregnant. Or as Leah might someday tell her kids: “We met at a party one night and one thing led to another.” Oy.

Trying to act responsibly, they decide they should move in together. Uh, did I mention they only knew each other a month before she got pregnant?  It was almost a setup for failure. And both seemed to acknowledge that they wouldn’t be together if it weren’t for the babies. Sure, they had there cute moments -- the moment Leah peed her pants, the moment of laughter they shared made me think there might be something there.  But that’s all it seemed to be for Leah: moments. When a friend asked if she was happy, her response said it all, “I am … I am. Or, at least, I’m really trying to be.” 

Once the babies arrived, it looked like Corey and Leah had a shot. They were a tag team when it came to parenting their children. But Leah wanted to reclaim her life pre-pregnancy. She scrunched her hair and went out with friends. And she clung to her ex-boyfriend, Robbie, while Corey was at home with the kids. As a result, her problems with Corey continued to escalate. They eventually broke up -- that scene in the car with Corey crying was so heart-wrenching -- -and Leah, who apparently lives in fantasy land, wanted to pursue a relationship with Robbie. Right. Cause he’s father material. Not. He did what we all knew he would: He stopped returning her calls. And when Leah learned Corey had moved on, she began to question her decision to ditch him. If she hadn’t constantly complained about how miserable she was while in the relationship, I might have believed that. But, really, she’s just sad that Robbie didn’t want her and now Corey didn’t either. 

In her closing summary, a crying Leah had this to say: “I hate my life. I really do.” 

Show Trackers, what did you think of this week’s episode?  Do you think forcing a relationship to be there just for the sake of the kids is the most responsible thing to do? Do you think Leah and Corey could have made it work?

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Leah with babies Aleeah and Aliannah. Credit: MTV

'16 and Pregnant': Nicole

Nicole_tyler1
In this week's episode, we're introduced to 16-year-old Nicole from Florida.  As has become a norm on the show, unprotected sex with her boyfriend Tyler, who barely turns 16 during filming, led to the pregnancy. That's right. No condoms. No birth control. But slightly more alarming than the sex free-for-all the two were having is one not-so-subtle detail about the teen father: Tyler dropped out of school when he was 13 and hadn't been back since. 

In an otherwise humdrum episode, the struggle Tyler faced to get his life back on track was just as captivating as the couple's attempt to ready themselves for a baby in the midst of mixed responses from their families. Realizing the responsibility he was about to face, Tyler enrolled in a program to get his GED. Sure, he waited to sign up a few days before his daughter, Brooklyn, was born ... but it's still a step, right? He even notified his instructor when he was absent.  And he tied his long, flowing hair back in a ponytail for a janitorial job at a nursing home. It's not quite like one of the careers he had hoped for -- a chef, mixed martial arts fighter or professional skateboader -- but it pays the bills. 

It was a welcomed sight given Tyler's hectic childhood. Tyler, who was also the product of a teenage mother, went to live with his grandmother when he was 11 because of his problematic relationship with his mom. And because of the extra time he had on his hands, he developed a close relationship with Nicole's mom. Despite his unstable life, he managed to be a nurturing father figure to his two younger sisters -- a small indication that he might be ready for the daunting task ahead. Heck, he even quit smoking. 

All seemed to be going well. But once the baby was born, the teenager in Nicole and Tyler came out to play. They played musical chairs when it came to baby Brooklyn. They shuttled her between Tyler's grandma's house, Tyler's mom's house and Nicole's mom's house. They often left her in the care of someone else while they went out. They eventually realized they had to learn to involve their daughter in their lives rather than let her be an afterthought. 

So Show Trackers, what did you think of the episode? How would you rate Tyler compared to other teen fathers featured in the series?

— Yvonne Villarreal


Photo: Tyler (holding Brooklyn) and Nicole. Credit: MTV

'16 and Pregnant': Samantha

Samantha
 

If you're like me, you probably thought Tuesday night's episode of "16 and Pregnant" was the "Scared Straight" edition. And it worked. I. Was. Scared. I may have cried while watching Lori's story, but Tuesday night I cringed. I used my "mute" button. I even left the room. More on that later. 

In Tuesday's episode, we're introduced to Samantha from Rosenberg, Texas. She finds herself pregnant --or as her younger brother so eloquently calls it, "the shortest fat person in school" -- with her boyfriend Eric's baby. They appear to have a somewhat healthy relationship -- if that's even possible as teens. There's no yelling. No angry texts or Facebook blasts. 

And although there's the requisite scene in which the teens discuss pregnancy prevention (uh, can someone please line up a sex-ed class for the girl who said there's no real way to prevent pregnancy), there's more to the couple's story. Samantha is the product of teen parents. So when her mother, Soledad, found out she was having sex, she made her switch schools and move in with her father in an attempt to prevent history from repeating itself. But Eric's mom would help the teens sneak around. And now Samantha finds herself responsible for something other than her hamster. 

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'16 and Pregnant': Lori, Cory and a heart-wrenching decision

Loricorybaby
MTV pulled a fast one on me. I’m used to being annoyed or irritated by the girls featured on “16 and Pregnant.” Sometimes indifferent. Always dumbfounded — even by those who aren’t teen parents-to-be. Exhibit A: The dude earlier this season who referred to a paternity test as a “faternity test.” But I’m almost 100% sure I’ve never cried while watching the program. That all changed when I watched Tuesday’s episode

We’re introduced to 17-year-old Lori from a small town in northern Kentucky.  Lori was given up for adoption when she was a baby by her teen mother. Now she too finds herself a pregnant teen with a difficult decision to make. For her adoptive parents, the decision seems easy: Give the baby up for adoption. And it’s the only option they’re pushing for. Really pushing for. Perhaps pushing for it a little too much? But it’s not so black and white for Lori. She struggles with her options, longing for that blood bond she never had. 

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'16 and Pregnant': Chelsea

Aubree
I was waiting for it all season: the moment when I would finally admire one of the dads. And it happened after Tuesday's episode ... too bad it wasn't the teen dad-to-be. 

In this week's episode we're introduced to Chelsea. The teen from Vermillion, S.D. is all about "having fun." She's about to have a baby with her boyfriend Adam -- he's the kind of guy who calls his girlfriend a "whore" on his Facebook status updates. Charming, right? It's no wonder Chelsea's dad, Randy, whom she mostly lives with now that her parents are divorced, doesn't exactly like the dude. That and, well, the guy got his little girl pregnant.

As he's folding laundry, Randy and Chelsea recall the moment when he found out she was pregnant. He questioned why she didn't use birth control. Her answer? "I can't even take regular medicine." Um, what?

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'16 and Pregnant': Valerie

Valerie matt

This week we're introduced to Valerie. At 15, she finds herself pregnant after -- surprise! -- having unprotected sex with her beat-boxing boyfriend Matt. Seriously? What fantasy world are these gals living in that they think they're immune to the consequences of unprotected sex? "I didn't really use condoms ... because I was dumb," she tells a friend. If you're like me, it's at that moment that you yelled, "Of course!"

But there's more to her story.

Valerie comes from a special family. She and eight of her 11 brothers and sisters were adopted. And over the years, her parents have housed 98 foster children (never more than two or three at a time). Eyes popping out? Mine did too. And like most children struggling for some attention, Valerie "hung out with the wrong crowd at the wrong time of night." In the process, she found herself pregnant and home-schooled after skipping too many classes.

Then there's Matt. He, of course, is jobless and, well, kind of clueless. He's hesitant about owning up to his responsibilities even telling his sidekick, Eddie, that he was considering getting a paternity test. That's when I got really worried. Not for the baby. But for Eddie. Did he really just say "fraternity test"? Oh. Boy. But back to Matt. He has an aloof attitude. He will speak to Valerie only if it's about the baby -- "Hey, I was just calling to see if you were in labor and all that. So if the baby ain't born, don't even bother calling me back. Ain't no point cause I don't want anything to do with you. OK? Bye." (Gee, how charming.) And then there's the beat-boxing. Despite all those flaws, Valerie decides early on against giving her baby up for adoption. As an adopted child herself, Valerie wants the mother-daughter connection that she never had with her real mom. I'm no Dr. Phil, but even I saw that one coming.

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'16 and Pregnant': Nikkole

Nikkole
 

In this week's episode we're introduced to Nikkole of Monroe, Mich.

At 15 (at the time of pregnancy), the Paris Hilton-lookalike is about to begin her junior year of high school.  We learn she's a cheerleader who considers toilet papering people's houses one of her favorite pastimes ... and she's skilled at squashing those pesky yellow cones during driving tests. Viewers also learn that when it comes to protected sex, Nikkole gets an F, revealing that she and on-again, off-again boyfriend Josh have never used condoms. Never? Not even once? That is a big fail. So it's no surprise that their latex-free relationship would eventually produce a child.

Josh, she says, dealt with the situation by suggesting abortion and later breaking up with her. Rikki, Nikkole's mom (wow, that was a lot of Ks), kicked the teen out for a day.

But things between mother and daughter have cooled. Nikkole is back at home. And Rikki has accepted the situation. And in a rare moment in the series, we see mother and daughter communicate--without screaming fits and slamming doors. Rikki shared how she initially feared what people would think of her as a mother when seeing her pregnant teen daughter. And she shared her disappointment in Nikkole for getting herself in the predicament. But Rikki also vowed to walk her daughter through the journey.

A good thing, since Nikkole is definitely still a child--sharing her disgust of the whole birthing process. And how did Josh demonstrate that he's still in need of timeouts?

Oh, let me count the ways.

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'16 and Pregnant': Jenelle

16 and pregnant
It's the show that spawned MTV's reality hit "Teen Mom": "16 and Pregnant." The docu-series, which follows teens on their road to motherhood, is back for its second season. And it's expected to have some intense story lines: This season will feature a girl who gives birth to twins and another whose child has health problems.

In the "16 and Pregnant" season premiere, we're introduced to 16-year-old Jenelle Evans, from Oak Island, N.C. (Never heard of it? It's "where the surf is good and the fishing is even better.") She and long-distance boyfriend Andrew, a former model (for what, I'm not sure I want to know), are about to be young parents. To put their age into perspective, the reaction by friends wasn't "Congratulations!" it was, "Like, oh my gosh, Jenelle is pregnant? Like, oh my God, is she really pregnant? Like, no!" Yes, yes she is. News flash: Having unprotected sex (while not on birth control) can, in fact, lead to a pregnancy ... no matter how many times you've done it before without the same result. Thank you, Lauren (Jenelle's friend), for saying what I was thinking: "Were you just not thinking about everything you learned in sex ed?"

In any case, it's a moot point. The deed is done. The problem is getting these two immature parents-to-be ready for their parental duties. Andrew is jobless -- seems posing for a camera makes him "overqualified" to work at McDonald's. ... OK ... sure. But I'm also sure there are other places of employment aside from the golden arches, right? And I was waiting to hear the other places he might have applied to. But he didn't. So I thought he would redeem himself in another way. But he didn't.

Instead, the charming dude had this reassurance to offer the mother of his child: "It's not like we're going to split up any time soon." Ah, the 11 words every girl dreams of hearing. Jenelle thought he was going to have a job. She thought he would move out of his parents' house. She thought he would have a car. It all turned out to be wishful thinking.

But rather than use his lack of responsibility as motivation on her road to motherhood, Jenelle used it as an excuse to ... go out with her friends: "Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I have to stop going out." Was I the only one with a question mark over my head? Because, dang gone, I thought that's exactly what it meant ... at least, when you're 16. Jenelle seems to be taking a cue from last season's party princess, Farrah, because once baby Jayce is born, she leaves most of the parenting to her overworked mother.

It's Jenelle's mom, Barbara, who is seen getting up at all hours. It's Barbara rocking the baby to sleep. It's Barbara changing the diapers. Guess we should have seen that coming when Jenelle proclaimed early on in the episode that she would opt to stay home and watch a movie with the baby by her side rather than going out. Right.

And when she tried justifying her actions, it was nice to see her friends, Lauren and Amber, actually offer her some good advice: Stay home and prove to everyone that you can raise a baby. That seemed to provide an "aha!" moment for the teen mom, and it wasn't long before she vowed to change her ways ... before her mother got up again to change Jayce's diaper.

Show Trackers, what did you think of the episode? Do you think Jenelle has actually changed her partying ways? What thoughts popped up for you during the episode?

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Jenelle and baby Jayce. Credit: MTV

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