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 16 & Pregnant: Kristina 

Kristina is 16 and super involved in school activities, including getting straight A’s.  She didn’t plan on getting pregnant so young, but when she told her boyfriend, Todd, he was really supportive. And pregnancy wasn’t the only life challenge confronting Kristina– she faces an extreme tragedy when Todd drowned while they were at the beach together.  After such a devastating experience, Kristina has so much grief that she doesn’t really seem excited, or nervous or even stressed about the baby, since she’s already dealing with so many emotions. Even though it was hard for her to open up at first, she starts leaning on her family and friends for support.  Everyone responds to loss differently, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone– there are people around you, like family, friends, and counselors, or support groups, or even online communities that are there to help you as you take time to grieve.  Make sure that you’re being honest with yourself about your experience and that you’re communicating your feelings with people you trust.   If you’re trying to cope during a time of grief, visit this site for some information to help you as you work through the loss of someone close to you.

 

 16 & Pregnant: Sabrina 

Sabrina is 17 years old and just moved from LA to Tennessee to live with her mom.  When Sabrina goes to the doctor for a check-up before the baby comes, she and her mom talk about her getting on birth control after the baby comes. They talk about the IUD, which is a t-shaped device that goes in the uterus and is one method that is super effective for preventing pregnancy.  Taking control of your sex life is all about being proactive to preventing pregnancy, and Sabrina is on the right track to avoid a second pregnancy after Audrey is born. Want to know more about the IUD or other methods that work for preventing pregnancy? Get all the info you need here!

Once Audrey comes, Sabrina is really stressed out since her boyfriend, Iman, is still living in LA, and she isn’t sure if he’ll move across the country to help out with the baby.  But just when Sabrina gave up on Iman, he surprises her in Tennessee.  Even with Iman helping, Sabrina knows finishing high school is going to be difficult with a baby, but she stays committed to finishing high school, going to college, and making sure Audrey is happy. Are you committed to finishing high school and going to college like Sabrina? Don’t want having a baby to decrease your odds of achieving your goals?  Then make a plan to protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy.  Get started by talking about protection with your partner.  It might sound uncomfortable, but nothing is more awkward than silence. Check out these tips to help you get the conversation started.

 16 & Pregnant: Sarah 

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!

 16 & Pregnant: Hope 

Hope just graduated high school and loves hanging out with her friends.  She had never had a boyfriend and didn’t plan on having sex so she didn’t think about birth control. She met Ben at a party, and when they had sex for the first time, Ben didn’t have a condom so they decided he would pull out and everything would be fine. Ben and Hope only had sex a few times, but a few weeks later Hope found out she was pregnant. “If he pulls out, I won’t get pregnant (or an STD)” is one of the most common, but outrageous Sex Myths, so to set the record straight: withdrawal–or pulling out–is NOT an effective means of preventing pregnancy, HIV or other STDs.

Now as a teen mom, Hope feels isolated from her friends and family, and can no longer attend college in the fall. No one wants to or should have to give up on their college dreams, so take a lesson from Hope and be firm: no condom = no sex.  It might seem like in the heat of the moment it’s hard to say no, and that’s why it’s important to read up now and know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to preventing pregnancy so that you’ll can be prepared and protected when you do decide to have sex.

 

 16 & Pregnant: Myranda 

Myranda is an honor student who loves playing sports and going out with her friends. She and her boyfriend Eric love playing catch and video games, but they’re realizing that having a baby is going to be more than a game they can just pause or stop.  Myranda needs to think about all the responsibilities of being a mom AND focus on studying for her GED so she can go to college when the Kaylee is older. Talk about stressful! Most teen moms don’t graduate high school and only 2 out of 100 earn a college degree by the time they’re 30. We’re hoping Myranda is one of those 2, but it doesn’t seem like the odds are ever in her favor. Check out more of the REAL DEAL about teen pregnancy here.

Eric is working and going to community college so, even though he’s helping as much as he can, Myranda still can’t get more than 3 hours of sleep a night when Kaylee comes. As she puts it, she’s going “stir crazy” being alone in the house when she misses her friends and being in school.  She even admits she would take all of this back if she could and opens up to say that she thought it would be easier when Kaylee was born. She wishes that she would have waited to have sex so that she could give Kaylee a better life than she can right now. And Myranda isn’t alone. Did you know that almost 2 out of 3 teenagers who have had sex wish they’d waited and that half of all teens in high school have never had sex? Here are ways to talk about waiting to have sex until you’re ready.

And how did this all happen? Well, Myranda decided that she was going to go off the pill for a month because she ran out and didn’t think she would get pregnant. The pill only works when you take it correctly and consistently– that means EVERY DAY. And what about Eric? He tells his friends that he didn’t wear a condom because he was thinking about himself and not about everything else that could happen.  But thinking pregnancy won’t happen to you doesn’t protect you. So, what does work for preventing pregnancy? Find out here!

 16 & Pregnant: Jordan 

Jordan is a junior in high school who loves hanging out with her friends and Tyler, her boyfriend, even though her friends and family don’t understand why she’s with him. Jordan was always defending Tyler to her mom and everyone else that she spent more time protecting her relationship than actually protecting herself, so now they have a new challenge to face together: being teen parents.  Jordan loves Tyler and never doubts that he’ll be a good dad, but there’s definitely tension between Tyler and Jordan’s mom. Jordan’s mom finally comes around and allows Tyler into her home. Jordan is really excited that she can have both her mom and Tyler there to support her and the baby, but after Chase is born, Tyler visits less and less. Jordan learns that having a baby means more than buying food, clothes, and a crib…it’s making sure Chase is taken care of.  And that means making tough sacrifices. Without Tyler around, Jordan realizes that she can’t handle both finishing high school and taking care of Chase so she decides to drop out of school. She always planned on going to school to be a dental hygienist, but now she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to get back on track. But get this: Jordan’s situation actually represents the majority of teen moms, since less than half of teen moms ever graduate from high school.  If you decide you’re ready to have sex, it’s important to make sure you’re ready with a pregnancy prevention now so that you don’t have to let go of your plans for the future.  Start taking control by finding out what works and what doesn’t to protect against pregnancy here.

 16 & Pregnant: Alex 

Between two jobs and school, Alex is used to balancing a lot, but being pregnant, she’s going to have to balance a lot more.  Throughout her pregnancy, Alex struggles with deciding between adoption and keeping the baby. She feels a connection with the baby and wants to keep it, but she also listens to her boyfriend, Matt, and her mom that adoption may be the best option. She knows that another family could provide her baby with more opportunities than she could since Alex and Matt are still in school. After thinking about the decision for weeks, Alex ultimately decides to keep the baby even though her friend’s parents offer to adopt the baby in an open adoption.   But when she does, all her worst fears about Matt not stepping up when the baby arrives all come true since he is MIA all the time.

How did it get to this point?  Well, props to Alex and Matt for being on the right track and using condoms.  When used correctly and consistently, each and every time, from start to finish, condoms are the only method that protect against both unintended pregnancy and STDs.  But the key is correct and consistent use every time.  When a condom broke one night, Alex and Matt again were on the right track, since went to buy emergency contraception, they thought it was too expensive so they didn’t buy it.  While it’s so important to have a plan to prevent pregnancy, it’s just as important to actually follow through on that plan.  Now, Alex is figuring out how expensive having a baby is between diapers, day care, clothes, and bottles. Protecting against pregnancy is all about making sure you’re covered all the time. When there is a one-time slip up, emergency contraception is very effective at reducing the risk of unintended pregnancy and costs $50 at pharmacies- a lot cheaper than having a baby.  So take control, make a plan, and act on it!  Get started by checking our what works and what doesn’t for preventing pregnancy here!

 

 16 & Pregnant: Lindsey 

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.

 

 16 & Pregnant: Briana 

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!

 16 & Pregnant Season 4: Katie 

16 & Pregnant is back this spring, featuring new moms as they letting us in their complicated lives of trying to balance a pregnancy with the everyday challenges of being a teenager.  From feeling alone, to relying on her boyfriend’s parents for support, to trying to find a prom dress that Katie deals with the physical, emotional, financial and social changes that come along with a pregnancy.  But perhaps the biggest change comes after their daughter, Mollie is born.   Even though Katie can depend on her boyfriend Joey, who has been working to support them and also spending time with their baby, Katie finds herself acting more like astay-at-home mom rather than the ambitious student she always was.  Instead of focusing on college life, like picking new classes and making friends in the dorm, Katie is spending her time taking care of Mollie, cooking and cleaning.  And that’s a lot to do—as we saw with the burnt eggs situation—to take on the responsibilities of caring for herself AND a child, and all while sacrificing her dream of going to college.   Do you have college plans?  Career goals?  Determined to make it through high school?  All of these are so achievable—and even more so if you have a plan to protect yourself.  Find out about What Works and What Doesn’t here.

Check out Katie talking more about what she’s had to give up and the changes in her life in this interview:

 16 & Pregnant: Mackenzie 

From cartwheels to changing diapers.  WOAH.  That’s the life of Mackenzie, profiled in the season premiere of 16 and Pregnant.  As a competitive cheerleader, Mackenzie was used to a challenge.  But being pregnant AND having to find out that her boyfriend had a serious neck injury from a car accident, trying to find a job, and trying to keep up with school was an extreme challenge.  Even though she and her boyfriend, Josh disagree about whether Josh should go back to rodeo riding, she does have his support when it comes to taking care of their baby boy, Gannon, while she’s at school.  When Mackenzie opens up to her mom about being pregnant, she tells her she wasn’t on birth control because she didn’t want to get fat.  Let’s set the record straight here: there are many methods to prevent pregnancy, and if you’re having sex, it’s your responsibility to find a method that works best for you.  It’s  YOUR sex  life, so start taking control by checking out What Works and What Doesn’t here.

Watch the full episode of the 16 and Pregnant premiere with Mackenzie here.

 16 & Pregnant Season 3: Where are they now? 

The girls from 16 & Pregnant Season 3 have experienced a lot of ups and downs since the cameras stopped rolling last year. On last night’s “Where are they now?” special we got to catch up their lives and saw just how challenging raising a baby at a young age can be.

Three of the teen moms’ stories stood out in particular:

-Kianna is now raising her son alone because her boyfriend Zak was sentenced to 15 years in jail for burglary. She is determined to wait for him to be released so they can be a family, but recognizes that her son will basically have to grow up without a father figure.

Kianna is attending community college and thinking about being a counselor, but she is sad she had to give up her big dreams and her plans to go to a four year university to raise her baby. Money is also a huge struggle: she tells Zak’s mom they are always running out of basics they need, like diapers.

- Jordan, who has a twin sister, has made a lot of life changes. She married her son’s father, and moved to California with him when he joined the military. But she got pregnant a second time because she wasn’t using protection or birth control and now has two babies she has to care for. It’s clear the stress of handling the kids, alone, while her husband is at training, is taking its toll on her. When she Skype’s with her sister we hear that Jordan hopes someday to go back to school, but can’t make any plans for that now.

-Izabella is still in high school and dreaming of going to college and becoming a doctor. She and Jairo are still working out the balance of their relationship, but he does seem committed to trying to help her reach her goals.

All the 16 & Pregnant girls expressed a strong need for time on their own, time to feel like teens and said they think that opportunity is gone for them now. But you still have that chance, and you CAN take control of your own health and future. Did you know that 3 in 10 teen girls in the US will get pregnant at least once before age 20? Get in the know and learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to preventing pregnancy.

If you are having sex, make a plan for protecting yourself against unintended pregnancy and STDs. Remember that condoms protect you against both pregnancy AND STDs. They are the only method that does both.