Wednesday, March 28, 2012

16 & Pregnant: Mackenzie & Katie

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Yep, this show is back again, even opening with two episodes. Neither of the girls were all that interesting, though their lives are very different - one graduated from high school shortly before having her baby while the other hadn't even started her junior year when she became pregnant. One had to give up her dreams of going to an out-of-state college while the other sits on the sidelines while her cheerleading friends tumble without her. Both have babydaddies who stick around but don't bring in much money. Overall, their experiences were interesting enough to warrant airing, but not intriguing enough to really enjoy.

16 and Pregnant: "Mackenzie" (S04E01): She's a 16-year-old competitive cheerleader and horseback rider in Oklahoma. She has both parents and three siblings. She didn't want to take birth control because it makes you gain weight, so her boyfriend, Josh, got her pregnant. [I loved that her mom laughed at her when she explained "how it happened."]
May, 24 weeks: "summer's almost over" so she goes with her friends to a rodeo. [well, that was clearly a mistake by MTV, whom you may remember is notorious for getting the dating wrong with this show.] Josh has been entering rodeos to make money. [he's graduated but has no real job, it seems.] Mackenzie knows that they need to get jobs and settle down to afford the baby, but her family doesn't think she's planning enough.
July, 28 weeks
: She calls around to look for a job but doesn't get far. [one place did tell her to come down and fill out an application - I guess she didn't do that, tho?] Mackenzie talks about not wanting to miss much school but she doesn't have money to afford daycare, either. Josh is only planning on doing rodeos, even if he gets injured. She tries on her cheerleading outfit for fun. [I don't really understand why you'd want to try on old clothes when you're seven months pregnant, but maybe that's just me?]
30 weeks
: Mackenzie and her dad recycle cans to earn a little money. [where are they getting these cans, exactly?]
August, 33 weeks
: She goes back-to-school shopping with her friends. Josh and Mackenzie are supposed to look at daycare options together but he's in a bad car accident and suffered neck and head injuries. His concern, tho? Not being able to ride again, especially if he is paralyzed in a possible upcoming surgery. [I can understand wanting to be a professional rider, but it doesn't really seem like this kid trains or anything - he just does it. either be serious or make it a hobby - it's not just a casual job.] Mackenzie tells him that she doesn't want to have to drop out of high school, but she might have to if they can't afford day care. Her sisters throw her a shower. [big party!]
35 weeks: She starts her junior year of HS. She can't get her jeans zipped. [no maternity clothes for this kid, huh?]
36 weeks: Her stomach hurts one night but she isn't sure if it's contractions.They head to the hospital anyway, and she's admitted. Seven hours into labor, the baby is too big and she needs a c-section. She still experiences some pain, but Gannon is born 9 lbs, 7 oz on September 12th. [that IS a big baby! was she not having regular prenatal care? Shouldn't they have known that the baby was measuring big?]
3 days old: They go back to Mackenzie's house, where Josh will stay, too. Her mom takes a week off from work to help Mackenzie (who is breastfeeding and pumping) manage things. [She seems very comfortable around the baby. but why show us a dirty diaper??] 
October, 5 weeks old: things have been exhausting. Josh will watch Gannon when Mackenzie is at school and then she'll watch him at night. [decent compromise. not bringing in money, but at least she can go to school.] Josh tries to sell some old rodeo gear for money. 
6 weeks old: Mackenzie goes back to school.
7 weeks old: she goes to tumbling, bringing Gannon with her. She stretches and then does a few moves, but she's in pain and struggling. [I bet!] They go to a rodeo while Josh's mom watches Gannon. Josh wants to ride, but they end up leaving instead. [has he not ridden in one since the accident?] Mackenzie calls him the next day and asks him to stop doing rodeos, and he says he doesn't care if it ruins their relationship. [cliffhanger ending. of course. I don't want to follow her in the future, though...]

16 and Pregnant: "Katie" (S04E02): She is 17, lives in Wyoming, has divorced parents, and lives with her boyfriend, Joey, and his family (mom, stepdad, and two younger siblings). She was hoping to move to Denver for college, then go on to graduate school in psychology, but she got pregnant. Her main problem? She wants to get her own place with Joey, but he thinks they won't be able to afford it.
April, 26 weeks: We learn that they were using condoms for protection. We learn that her best friend is still moving to Denver for school. Her mom is disappointed and doesn't have anything positive to say. [maybe she shouldn't have allowed her to live with Joey, huh? Maybe she should have talked to her about safe sex.]
May, 28 weeks: She's been working on weekends at a baby supply store. [good for her!] Joey got his GED and now works at a tractor shop but is trying to get into mining. [you know, every teenage father's goal on this show.] Joey's mom suggests they apply for income-based housing, though they can continue to live there if they want. [it'll be crowded, but it's nice to be offered.] Katie goes to the Prom with her friends but doesn't have energy to "go out" after the event. [did she really just try on everyone's dresses? do teens no longer get their hair done for Prom?? where do kids "go out" in the middle of Wyoming? They already said that there isn't much to do there besides ride four-wheelers...]
30 weeks: They start applying for income-based housing.
June, 31 weeks: She graduates, then talks to a college counselor about doing online classes for a year, then transition into local courses. [probably a decent plan.]
32 weeks: [she has a lot of stretch marks!] We learn that Katie wants to have the baby naturally with no drugs. [interesting. I wonder if that choice had anything to do with the cost the drugs? She doesn't say much about her reasoning, so it's unclear if she's being pushed to do it that way or anything.] She goes to visit her friend in Denver, and when she comes home she and Joey head out to look at apartments. [they didn't do the math on what they can afford before they look at places? How do you know what to look at?]
July, 34 weeks: She calls around and realizes that they can't afford $699/month. [holymoly! Wyoming is CHEAP!] Joey is going to spend the weekend with his dad, which makes her feel unloved, so she goes to stay at her mom's. Joey later reminds Katie that his parents love her and that they can stay with them. [I thought that was a good thing for Joey to do, though Katie doesn't see it that way. The girl simply wants space of her own and that's all there is to it.]
August, 38 weeks: She hasn't seen Joey since the fight, but when she feels weird and heads to the hospital, she lets him know. [he's "Joseph" in her phone??]  Katie keeps saying she doesn't want an epidural, though she starts experiencing pain three hours into labor. After six hours, she's 3cm dilated. Twelve hours in, she's at 8cm. fourteen hours in, she's pushing, and Molli is born 7 pounds, 2 oz, on August 18th. Veronica (the friend who moved to Denver) makes it in time for the birth.
Photo by MTV
1 Day: Because she had no drugs, she can go home to Joey's place pretty quickly.
1 Week: She starts online classes. [wow! a week after delivering a baby! good for her!] 
3 Weeks: Joey gets a job in the mines, so they immediately look at places to live, apply, and get approved. They move in and Katie keeps talking about how they're a family. [I don't think she ever understood that there's not one way to "make" a family...]
1 Month: Joey works the night shift, leaving Katie alone with Molli often. Molli is getting bottles and breastfeeding. They talk about how, in two years, Joey doesn't want to leave the mines, so Katie might have to move to Denver alone if that's what she wants. [this girl just doesn't want anything to sidetrack her personal plan...]
6 Weeks: She doesn't want to become a housewife. [which is good, because she manages to burn scrambled eggs.] But, she's lonely and it "doesn't feel like she's a person anymore." her episode ends with an explanation about her struggle to take timed exams with a crying baby. [yeah, well, that's why you finish school before you have a child. or you figure out a way to pay for childcare when you're doing important things like taking tests.] 
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