So as I stated on Friday, today I was going to do a weekly review of Teen Mom episode 10. But upon further consideration I’ve decided that rather than rehash the episode, which has been reviewed by several different websites/blogs–that I’d rather focus on how much the girls have changed since they first started on 16 and pregnant, and where they are now. By doing so this will hopefully help me(and several others) understand MTV’s purpose in creating this show for our teens to watch. So here goes:
Maci- On 16 and Pregnant Maci was this darling, cute southern girl who enjoyed dirt bike riding and who admits to getting pregnant from the first time she ever had sex. From the beginning Maci had a positive attitude about it, and seemed to handle the pregnancy with maturity and grace. Her parents and friends were equally supportive. And Ryan, her boyfriend at the time, seemed indifferent, annoyed and immature.At the end of 16 and Pregnant Maci had delivered the baby and was going through a ton of relationship issues with Ryan as well as adjusting to her new role as a mother–she handled motherhood with incredible maturity, but seemed to have issues handling her relationship with Ryan. Now we fast forward to where Maci is now: she’s 19, Bentley is just about 2, Ryan is no longer her boyfriend, and Maci is working and juggling college to be a journalist. In these last two seasons of Teen MOM, Maci has proved to be an excellent mother–from her general perspective on parenting, to the way she handles Bentley and the issues that arise because she has Bentley. It’s easy to tell that she is in love with her son, and has the same attitude of MOST good mothers–no matter the age–her child comes first. But one thing that has remained the same is her relationship challenges. In what–many consider an irrational decision-Macy picked up Bentley and moved all the way to Nashville(largely based on her relationship with Kyle). Needless to say I recently read a magazine article that stated that Maci had to return home due to the fact that she did not get into the college in Nashville and that her and Kyle broke up. So now Maci is 19, in college part time, working part time, back in her home town, having an “on and off” relationship with Kyle, and still having custody issues with Ryan. She’s doing okay, overall.
Catelynn- On 16 and Pregnant Catelynn was a working class young girl with a very difficult family background. Add that to her boyfriend’s in-and-out-of jail father and his rough childhood, it just made sense that they put their daughter up for her adoption. They went through a ton of scrutiny from family, they went through a really rough emotional journey for 9 months, and once they gave the baby up–as expected–they went through more grief. Throughout both seasons they’ve struggled with their decision to give up Carly, their issues with their parents, and figuring out their future together. Season one, we really saw them mourn the adoption, we also saw that their relationship appeared to be mature and loving. It was in this season-season two-that the codependency between the two became very apparent–that and the fact that they both were probably too serious for their ages. We’ve also seen that while they’ve come to terms and don’t regret their decision to adopt, they are still facing issues with their parents, and their future. One thing that is for sure, is that one has to wonder if these two will go on to college and beat the odds. While we want to believe they will–when you take into account their grades, their inability to be without each other, and their backgrounds(and the environment they grew up in) it’s really difficult to see these two making it “out” and graduating from college. Hopefully they do.
Amber-She is by far the most controversial figure within the show. On 16 and pregnant, we sort of saw a foreshadow of events to come. Amber and Gary already seemed to have a shaky relationship. Amber definitely seemed as though she was prone to depression, she also seemed immature and as though motherhood would prove to be difficult for her. Despite this, they were engaged to be married, and though the first few months were difficult, Amber was able to be a SAHM, Gary worked, and it seemed like the marriage was going to occur. But during season one(of Teen Mom), Amber went through bouts of depression, and it was during these bouts that she became abusive to Gary, a bit neglectful with Leah, and extremely pessimistic about her future and her GED. We watched her cry, yell, fight, and it all boiled down to what appears to be immense regret at getting pregnant at 16 and at being pregnant by Gary. Now on this season, her attitude has remained the same–she is still angry, depressed, and abusive. Matter of fact it’s gotten worse, and the only thing that actually seemed to be “positive” about Amber is her weight loss. But reports indicate that she is already beginning to gain the weight back that she lost. Reports also state that due to her behavior on Teen mom, she is being investigated by CPS. So now with no GED, in a very abusive relationship, and with the possibility of losing her child–Amber is NOT doing well at all.
Farrah–Out of all of the girls, she’s made the best transformation. On 16 and Pregnant she was a popular cheerleader with a dysfunctional relationship with her mother. She seemed to be a party-girl, and didn’t seem ready for motherhood. And in fact once she had her baby, her mother assumed most of the care-taking. We also never heard a mention of the father. On Teen Mom season one, Farrah was either partying or trying to find a father for Sophia, and still arguing and fighting with her mother. Matter of fact the only way that she could be described as responsible is the fact that she worked and went to school. Though by the end of season one, it seemed that she starting to come to terms with motherhood. So one can only assume that she was simply a “late bloomer”. What I can say about Farrah now is that she has stepped up the plate. She has her own place, a job, going to school and taking care of Sophia. She finally is opening up about Sophia’s father, and she is in counseling working on her relationship with her mother. While Farrah still has bouts of complete bratty behavior, and immaturity, overall she’s come along way, and seems to be making a lot of great progress. So it appears–that so far Maci and Farrah are doing decently and probably will continue to do decently despite their teen pregnancies.
So what does this say about the reality of teen moms? That few actually beat the odds and do well. That most will struggle, change, and will find that education, career, relationships, and even family relationships will change dramatically once a baby is born. We’re also seeing that the teen moms with support systems (family and friends) and within certain backgrounds (upper middle class) tend to be the teen moms that are able to beat the odds and do well. Overall I think that if we look at the transformations that have taken place, and consider how each girl is doing NOW, we can see that being a teen parent is not desirable and certainly isn’t easy.
What are your thoughts? Is this show, so far, a good representation of the reality of teen parenting? Is the show fulfilling it’s purpose in painting what it’s like to be a Teen mom?