Sarah grew up without a dad and, while it’s been hard, she’s really close with her mom. Actually, the only person that Sarah’s closer with besides her mom is her boyfriend Blake, who she’s been dating on and off since 6th grade. Sarah wants to go to college and be a journalist, but Blake clearly doesn’t share her same goals for college since he dropped out of high school after getting bad grades. And between wanting to play video games and eventually move to southern Georgia to be a shrimp fisherman, Sarah’s not sure Blake will be there for the baby, Tinleigh, when she comes. Sarah’s mom, Tina, wants Blake to contribute time and money to helping Sarah take care of Tinleigh, but Blake hates living with them and tells his friend that he would rather “pay child support and get out of here.” The tension gets to an all-time high when Sarah runs out of her savings and can’t afford diapers and Blake buys brand new tires for his truck instead of helping Sarah out. After a fight, Blake leaves Sarah and Tinleigh and moves to southern Georgia. And if you’re thinking Blake is an unusually unhelpful guy, unfortunately, he’s in the vast majority since one of the 8 out of 10 teen fathers that don’t marry the mother of their child.
Without Blake in the picture, Sarah sleeps even less and is even more stressed out. Sarah had counted on having Blake around so she could continue going to school. But she’s determined not to give up all of her dreams of finishing high school and going to college but she knows it will have to be different. She opens up about the challenges of being a single teen mom saying that she “didn’t want a baby at 17 because there were a lot of things I wanted to do at 17 that are a lot a lot a lot harder with the baby.” She even says that if she had known having a baby was going to be so hard, she would have done everything she could have not to get pregnant, even if that meant waiting to have sex. Sarah gets straight to the point and explains that waiting “would have been the best thing.” After all, waiting to have sex is the only 100% effective method to prevent pregnancy. And did you know that 2 out of 3 teenagers wished they had waited to have sex? And if you’re waiting, you’re not alone– half of all teens in high school haven’t had sex. But whether you decide to wait or decide you’re ready to have sex, it’s YOUR decision to make. If you decide to have sex, make sure you know how to prevent pregnancy. Here’s what works and what doesn’t!
Lindsey is a cage fighter who is known for being tough, but being pregnant is by far her toughest battle yet. She and her on-and-off boyfriend of three years, Forrest, are back together and preparing for the baby that’s coming sooner than they expected. Lindsey and Forrest used birth control, but after forgetting a condom once and not getting pregnant, Lindsey thought she couldn’t get pregnant…and now she’s getting ready to be a teen mom. Many young people think they’re invincible to pregnancy, but did you know that 85% of couples who have sex but don’t use contraception will become pregnant within a year? And it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that means a lot of unplanned pregnancies! Get in the know and find the answers to common questions about preventing pregnancy here.
When Lindsey found out she was pregnant, she started working lots of hours at a fast food restaurant to prepare for the money she’ll need to spend on the baby, but after looking at her budget, she finds out that she’ll probably spend double what she expected just buying things like a crib, clothes, diapers, and a car seat. Babies are expensive–before and after they’re born– and the expenses keep coming. While part of being a teen is enjoying the freedom of only having to worry about yourself, being a parent means taking financial responsibility for a child. And that’s a HUGE commitment. And it’s not just about making financial sacrifices. After her baby is born, Lindsey struggles with staying home with the baby all day and being alone. She misses her old life hanging out with friends, partying, hunting, and training for cage fighting matches. When the baby is six weeks old, she plans to go back to work and back to training for cage fighting, but she knows finances are tight and she might have to make even more sacrifices. Want to avoid the worries of juggling different jobs to provide, leaving behind college plans or even giving up activities that you love to do? Then make a plan to avoid unintended pregnancy! Get started by checking out what works and what doesn’t to protect yourself against unintended pregnancy here.
Briana and her sister Brittany have a lot in common but finding out they were both pregnant was not something they counted on. While Brittany recently decided to have an abortion, Briana has chosen to keep the baby. Briana thought she could count on her boyfriend Devoine’s support during the pregnancy, but after the first few weeks he’s not interested in helping Briana with the pregnancy or the baby. Without Devoine in the picture, Briana needs more help from her family and friends. Briana tells her friend that she and Devoine only used protection once or twice because she thought it would be awkward talking to him about it. It can be hard to talk to your partner about birth control but talking about tough issues is the REAL DEAL.
Briana is overwhelmed with everything she has to deal with after Nova is born. She has learned a lot since becoming a mom and even opens up to say that she’s learned “not to make permanent decisions on temporary feelings” because her life has changed with Nova in ways she didn’t expect. Juggling Nova, enrolling in college, and her fading relationship with Devoine is hard but Briana looks to her mom as her role model. Babies are a lot of work and Briana wishes that she could enjoy being a teenager instead of having an unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy continues to affect a lot of teenagers BUT it’s preventable. Get the answers to your questions about preventing pregnancy here!
This week’s episode featured Kailyn’s decision to use a different method of protection. First off, major props to Kailyn for talking with her health care provider about the best method of protection for her. It’s important to know that while birth control methods protect against unintended pregnancy (like the IUD that Kailyn chooses), the only method that protects against unintended pregnancy AND STDs is using condoms correctly, each and every time you have sex. For more information about What Works and What Doesn’t to prevent unintended pregnancy, click here.
And besides taking control and bringing up using protection with her doctor, Kailyn also brought up the conversation of safe sex and preventing unintended pregnancy with Jordan too. This Teen Mom knows how to speak up for herself- she’s firm about her decision to use protection, she wants to be responsible after already having one child, and she knows it’s important to be open and honest with Jordan. Even though Jordan has a hard time talking about it, he eventually comes around and tells Kailyn how much he respects her for taking the lead and that he appreciates her looking out for the oth of them. So when you think that you or your partner might not be able to handle the awkwardness of a conversation, just remember: there is nothing more awkward than silence. For tips on how to talk to your partner about using protection, click here.
One of the highlights of the third episode of Teen Mom 2 was Leah’s conversation with her friend about how she wishes she had waited. Although she loves her twin girls, Leah knows her relationship with Corey moved way more quickly than she would have wanted because they became parents. And she playfully admits that in many ways, she’s still a kid herself. When you’re living young and wild and free (in the wise words of Snoop Dog and Wiz Khalifa), it’s hard to imagine having to take on adult responsibilities, but think about how an unintended pregnancy would affect your life—your relationships, your career dreams, your academic goals, and more. How would you have to “grow up”? But more than dwelling on how her life has changed even though she wasn’t necessarily ready for it, Leah’s reflects on the topic of WAITING. Whether you think you’re ready or whether you think you want to wait, either way it’s YOUR decision. So be sure that you’re comfortable with your decision and know that you have plenty of time to make that decision. For tips on talking to your partner about waiting, click here.
Last night’s episode of Teen Mom 2 included some of the usual themes: dealing with providing for a child under tight resources, having communication in different relationship with boyfriends, parents and friends, and the pressure of trying to figure out and do what’s best for a child. But this episode also brought to light another important issue: intimate partner violence. Janelle and her boyfriend Kieffer have been living in her car after Janelle is kicked out of her mom’s house. Their relationship has been tense for a while, but their situation really escalates when they get into a fight and shouting turns into physical pushing and shoving. Even when under stress of financial troubles and relationship woes, or whatever other circumstances, it is never okay to resort to violence. Everyone deserves to be in a safe relationship. But unfortunately, dating abuse is on the rise, and this is an issue that’s really affecting young people. In fact, 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of intimate partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. For more of the latest facts on dating abuse, check out the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here. And to learn more about how to prevent, recognize and escape unhealthy relationships, online and off, or if you or someone you know might be experiencing sating abuse, visit LOVEISRESPECT.org.