I started watching the show on MTV, Teen Mom online a few months ago. As a former teen mom, I was intrigued that such a show existed. What? Talking about the realities of teen parents?! Yes, please.
Backup. I got pregnant December of 2000, my senior year of high school. I turned 18 a few months before. The dad was 17. I gave birth to my daughter on September 25, 2001 at the age of 19. Her dad was 18, just got out of jail for selling drugs, and I seriously had no fucking idea what I was doing.
So ... since watching the show, I started reflecting on my own experiences. This show has brought up a lot of pain I went through as a mother. Struggling between the roles of teenage-hood and motherhood was FUCKING hard. And now at age 28, I realized that I DID miss out on being a young adult, a young 20's something independent woman. Because I was a mom. I went from high school to mom. I felt like a freak when I was pregnant, I hid from everyone. People talk shit when girls in high school are pregnant. Never did I want to be one of those girls. But I was.
In season one, Farrah struggles between being a teenager and a mom. FUCK, I totally can identify. I feel that way at times, still. I am envious of my non-parent friends, who literally can go to the store, no questions asked. My friends who can leave their homes whenever to do whatever. I never experienced that because I have been a mom since I was a teenager.
Maci struggles with it, too. She is really grounded in being a really good mom, too. She wants to make Bently's life as good as she can make it. I can totally identify with that, too. When my daughter was 4, I cut her dad out of our lives. He was abusive and neglectful. This reflected on my daughter, that was not fair for her. It's taken me 4.5 years to work through the shit I went through with him and I am STILL going through it. Like, only recently I realized it is NOT my responsibility to make her dad know her school schedule. That is HIS responsibility, he needs to call me or the school and figure out when parent/teacher conferences are. Honestly, I can't imagine not knowing who my kid's teacher was. While I can see parrallel's in my baby-daddy and Ryan, they do not have tools on how to be a parent. Ryan is way better than my baby-daddy, but it's similar, as well.
Amber needs to have her child taken away. She reminds me of my ex. She is putting HER shit on Gary and Gary, as the abused survivor, in the relationship reminds me of myself when I was with my ex. He apologizes to her for "everyone" he's done. While, of course, he has made his mistakes, he is not abusing her like she is. Gary is the sane parent in the situation, just as I was for my daughter. I've taken responsibility for many of my choices, have gone to counseling and got sober, went to parenting classes, and so on. I can see Gary benefitting from a lot of the same thing while being a single dad.
Finally, Catelynn. She's very mature and comes from a shitty family. Her mom is an alcoholic, I do not know where her dad is, and her boyfriend's mom seems to be the sane parent out of all of them. I feel for her and Tyler's pain. The whole show and their role in it is how much they miss their daughter. The feelings of giving her to the adopted parents seem to relive every time they see Carly or hear from. While I understand their intent completely, I think it will be something so painful they will deal with for the rest of their lives. I looked into adoption when I was pregnant, and while I had a lot of shame for that - I am glad I chose to keep my daughter.
I have been on some sort of welfare ever since my daughter was born. She is 9 years old now. I am still one of the youngest moms of the kids her age. I am still thought to be her sister or an aunt. Being in poverty has gotten so old and no matter how much I make, I seem to not be able to get ahead. Having a high school diploma is hardly enough to get a job to survive on. It's SO FUCKING hard with a kid.
Last night I was watching the check-up with Dr. Drew for season 1. Dr. Drew stated that 2% of teen moms graduate college before they are 30. And I am one of those 2%. 2 fucking %. I cannot believe it. I did it. At the age of 27, I graduated with a 3.533 GPA from a university with a BA in sociology and feminist, women, and queer studies. Within a month, I was accepted into a Master's of Arts counseling program, and started that this past August. This made me reflect on how fucking hard I have worked, how much sacrifice I have made, and how it was not easy. I have faced many barriers head on and I fucking did it. WTF? Seriously I hardly believe it.
I'm hoping this show continues. While I may get sucked into the drama, this show contains the true realities of teen moms. It's SO FUCKING HARD. I do not suggest becoming a teen mom but I also want there to be support and encouragement for teen moms. I would LOVE to work with teen moms to support and encourage them, but to also talk about the realities of it and how hard it really is.
The show has really opened my eyes to my own experiences and other's. I want to support and encourage, and I also want to present the real realities of the situation.