Last night, TLC aired a reality special called My Teen's Pregnant and So Am I. The show features mothers and daughters who are pregnant at the same time. This concept, in and of itself, is somewhat disturbing. The fact that we're rewarding this phenomenon with a reality show is even worse.
My Teen's Pregnant and So Am I featured two mother daughter pairs, with each pair pregnant at the same time. In some cases, the show was heartwarming, as was the case with Kristen's stepfather. He defended and helped Kristen throughout her pregnancy, even after she returned after running away. He called Kristen his daughter and you could tell that he truly cared about her...
Both Kristen's mother Melissa and her stepfather clearly were not happy about Kristen's pregnancy, but they supported her. This family, despite Kristen being one of way too many kids (eight kids, after the baby was born), seemed relatively normal and moral. Even after Kristen's child's birth, her boyfriend wasn't allowed to sleep over because it would set a bad example for the younger children.
The more disturbing mother daughter pair was Ann and Liz. Ann was actually excited about Liz's pregnancy. She was a teen mom herself and was proud of the friendship she shared with Liz. She said that Liz and her boyfriend are practically married, so they were solid and prepared for a child. During the show, Liz was living with her boyfriend and his mother, showing that she too approved of their situation.
I do have to give credit where credit is due - Liz did seem responsible for her age. She worked (at Sonic, it seemed from the blurred out logo on her shirt) until she got fired for being late because she was taking care of the baby. Throughout the show, she took good care of her son, and she had plans to continue her schooling.
I found one scene between Liz and her mom particularly disturbing. Liz and her mom went out to eat, and they discussed Liz's situation as a teen mother. (Liz didn't realize it would be so tough, by the way.) Her mom turned to Liz's little sister, Arianna, and seemingly approvingly, said the family would deal with it when the time came. Liz, fortunately, recommended that Arianna and her new baby sister Victoria wait to have children until they're older.
While I don't think this show necessarily glamorizes teen pregnancy, I think it still paints a pretty picture about the situation. Both Kristen's boyfriend Derek and Liz's boyfriend Chris remain in their child's lives, which doesn't always happen in teen relationships. Plus, both girls had supportive families, and again, this isn't always the case.
If you haven't watched My Teen's Pregnant and So Am I, I recommend that you do. It's interesting to see the dynamics between the mother daughter pairs - the supportive moments, the angry moments, the happiness and the sadness. It provides a good look into an unlikely scenario. I warn you though - when you watch this, you'll cringe at times, and you may wish that you can reach through your television screen to shake these people until they realize that what's happening is kind of crazy, and that people under the age of 18 should seriously not try to get pregnant.
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