16 and Pregnant

Melissa DeCicco
2979 days ago.

The newest season of 16 and Pregnant just wrapped up last week on MTV and this week starts the final season of Teen Mom. I am going to admit publicly here that I am addicted to watching these shows and I am not certain why. I am clearly too old to be that intrigued by pregnant teenagers.

I find myself yelling at the television and wishing I could change things for these girls. What is it really? Low self esteem? Poor parenting? Lack of information? Many of them say they don’t want their child to be in a broken home like they were but they are literally almost guaranteeing that it will happen by not waiting until they are mature enough to handle a relationship on that level. My husband always says ‘I can’t believe the guys in the show are such a mess’ and I have to remind him that they are only 16 years old. How many people really marry their high school sweetheart that young and actually make it to ‘forever’? I am guessing the number is small and the ones that do last probably wait to marry until several years after high school (oh, and they don’t have a child). Dr. Drew often skirts around the issue (although I love how blunt he is with everyone) but let me clear a few things up.

1. There is about a 99.5% chance that your relationship with your boyfriend at 16 with a child will not work out. Would you bet on those odds at a casino? If not, probably not a good idea in life either.

2. Even if you finish high school, you will for sure struggle as a single mom for a very long time – physically, emotionally, and financially. Think about it. Everyone else your age is carefree and not tied down by anyone. It will be a long time before those boys/men are ready to settle down with a child.

3. The baby daddy will still have all the freedom in the world and you will be eternally bitter.  Maybe you think he will step up to the plate and I hope he does, but don’t be mad when he doesn’t meet your expectations of a dad. He is even less mature than you right now so again probably not going to win Dad of the Year.

4. One of the hardest parts is watching all your friends achieve great things all the while knowing that you will have to wait to make your dreams happen because now your priority is making sure your son/daughter achieves all his/her dreams.

5. Daycare is ridiculously expensive. On average in the Midwest it costs around $300 A WEEK – it just gets worse as you head East and West.  So, unless your parents have a ton of free time your paycheck will be paying for daycare. And you will probably end up like the girl in Sweet Home Alabama who brings her baby to the bar (a bar is NO place for a baby so please refrain from this) – your nights out are pretty much gone and you can’t even legally drink yet.

6. Consider adoption. If you do become pregnant this is the least selfish option out there. I know it is the hardest thing in the world to do. I am adopted and I will be eternally grateful that I was given a better life. I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish all that I have had my young mom decided to raise me alone. Because remember – if you are struggling to make it with a baby, your baby will have to struggle as well. And as Dr. Drew always says, babies of teen moms are much more likely to become teen moms themselves.

I often think back on my teen years and I am 100% certain that I was not ready for a child and a husband (no matter what my 16 year old mind thought) but all these girls think they have to hurry and have the perceived fairy-tale life of people much older than them. I waited until 30 to get married and I think back to old relationships and think how blessed I am to have waited as I would have been miserable and divorced from each one of them.  It is certainly worth the wait and much more fun along the way to experience life and know who you really are before becoming a ‘we’.

My plea to young women: Think about your goals in life. This is the time to be completely selfish and create a life for yourself that you can be proud of all on your own. And trust me, there will come a time when you are ready (emotionally and financially) to have a child with someone who is just as excited as you. It is worth the wait and you deserve it.

My plea to everyone else: Let’s stop glamorizing sex and marriage at such a young age and start focusing on showing young people that being successful and proud of accomplishments is much more fulfilling and exciting.

Lots of good information for young people here. Also, the final season of Teen Mom premieres tomorrow night (6/12) – interested to see how things turn out!

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Melissa DeCicco

Melissa is a wiz at crazy facial expressions, golfs at every chance possible, and loves super uncomfortable shoes. A dedicated Dolly Parton fan, she purchased Dollywood season passes several years in a row (it’s 500 miles away) and finally met her in 2004 – she ROCKS!

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