In this week’s episode of Our America with Lisa Ling, viewers embark on a journey to better understand the circumstances that led many young girls to become teen moms. Fast tracking to adulthood, each mom’s story has a common thread. The reality was bigger than they could have imagined.
With nearly one in three young girls getting pregnant in their teens, it is clear that teen pregnancy is an issue. One that we need to be talking about. It is easy to see how a young girl could be enchanted by the idea of having a child who will love them, especially at a time when so many teens feel alienated from their parents. We understand how love, infatuation and insecurities can lead you to make choices that you are not ready to make. Not only the messages they receive from their peers, but the messages from the media make a huge impact. We live in a society that seduces and pressures young teens from a very early age. We can’t force them to be responsible, but we can educate our kids. It is vital that we have these conversations with young men and women now.
Lisa Ling spoke to several teen moms, including a pair of sisters…one of which who got pregnant at the age of 14. Their mother, who was a teen mom herself, was unable to take care of all of them. The new moms were forced to grow up fast and find a way to make it in the world. As the oldest girls boyfriend struggled to work and make enough money to support them all, it was obvious the reality had set in. As Lisa listened to their story, we heard the reasoning that landed them in their situation. Thier concerns of not taking birth control because they were told it would make them fat. Didn’t they realize that pregnancy makes them fatter? Watching all along as the youngest sister, Jasmine, carries her backpack, diaper bag and child in her car seat into school after hours looking for help to finish high school.
We were then introduced to Sophie, a 16-year-old mom, who had all the support she could ask for. However she made the difficult and selfless choice to enter into an open adoption with her son. “You know it was one slip up and that was it. You never think that is going to happen to you. You under-estimate the possibility of getting pregnant” But all it takes is one hormonal moment to change your life forever. Still part of her son’s life, it was unclear how these new uncharted boundaries would hold up. But she has a tremendous amount of support.
After highlighting teen moms and dads, our attention was turned to outreach programs that focused on ending the cycle of teen pregnancies. While young girls spent a restless weekend with crying baby dolls, boys listened intently to the preacher standing before them. For the boys, the message was clear. Be prepared that sex will equal babies. The hope was to open the conversation. And as Lisa Ling brought us a glimpse of into the lives of these teen parents, we were reminded of how important it is to open up the conversation about sex and the reality of pregnancy and parenthood with kids today. The show was both eye-opening and touched on a much deeper topic….the conversation and society’s views of sex. We need to have these conversations. Because right now, the media and society are having them with our kids. We must be active in this conversation. Who cares how uncomfortable it may be at first. It is better to have the conversation now, than to find you are too late.
Hopefully you caught the show. OWN shared a couple of the deleted scenes and we included them below. If you missed it, the episode reairs Monday morning at 2AM on OWN.
Teen moms and open adoption.
Pregnancy prevention geared towards boys.