This is going to be a long one, folks. First, let me make sure you know this is my opinion. Just in case anyone from the show sees this and feels the need to defend the show or the people in it. I am one among many people, all of whom will have their own opinion. Second, I'm referring to MTV's show 16 & Pregnant, brought to my attention by Watch with Kristin over at E!. I was curious after reading her article and watched two episodes of the show.
The first show I watched featured Ebony and Josh. Both are seventeen year old high school seniors and military brats who were looking forward to joining the air force until getting pregnant derailed their plans. However, I think the only one whose plans were destroyed was Ebony. She had to grow up really fast. It's sort of what you hope will happen so she won't think of doing this again so soon, but Josh gets off scott free. Ebony grew up (from what I could tell) in a single parent household, Josh gets both parents. Ebony takes school seriously and wants to graduate, Josh has skipped 216 days (or classes?) at school and is in danger of not graduating. Josh strikes me right away as being a 5 year old in a 17 year old body.
The two of them are encouraged to think about their future in the air force by Ebony's mom. So they head to the offices there and ask about their future, with Ebony thinking she can join after the baby is 6 months old. Unfortunately, due to their dependent, they can't both join. Ebony gives up her dream, relying on Josh to enlist and be the breadwinner.
Because Josh has missed so much school, he will have to attend every class for the remainder of the school year or not graduate. Not graduating means not going into the air force. Which I'm thinking might give Ebony an opportunity. He could take care of the baby! But Ebony makes another sacrifice. She originally plans to have Josh take care of the baby at night so she can finish school. She can graduate if she gets 2 more credits. But Josh wants to go out with friends, falls asleep, and doesn't do the work required to take care of the baby. She ends up doing it all. Ebony watches him graduate while she's in the stands.
Josh went off to the air force at the end of the show, leaving Ebony with no high school diploma and no job. He's supposed to bring her or support her somehow. I have relatives who've just enlisted in the past couple of years. Their nights are filled with relaxation - nights out with their buds. Josh, who hasn't thus far demonstrated much responsibility, isn't likely to have done much growing up while Ebony hasn't been right there to remind him.
It makes me sad. I feel so bad for Ebony, who realizes now what she's had to sacrifice. I feel frustrated at Ebony for not seeing that Josh was not father material, that he was far too immature. I'm angry with Josh (who at one point gets angry at Ebony for being mad at him all the time because he fell asleep instead of feeding the baby and taking out the trash, telling her that she has to make sacrifices.)
I know you think I should get over it. These people have nothing to do with me. But I have two children, and I worry every day that I'm doing the right thing. If they were ever in Ebony's situation I don't know what I'd do.
Maybe these episodes will be available when my kids are older, and I can use them as a teaching tool. Ebony's tears are heartbreaking.
The second episode I watched had a spoiled only child get pregnant by her already working boyfriend. I felt sorry for him. She spent most of the time sleeping. Granted she had a c-section, but even when she was better, he did most of the feeding, changing, and getting up in the middle of the night.
Since preparing this post, I've watched the follow-up special (all of the first season episodes are available for viewing at 16 and Pregnant at MTV). I was happy to see that Josh stepped up and is helping Ebony with the baby... and that all of the teens are now using birth control. The spoiled little girl has had to grow up as well. Their son has medical issues. I wouldn't wish that on any parent.