Thursday, April 19, 2012

16 and Pregnant: Alex Tries to Make It

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

At the start of the episode, I was surprised to learn that Alex was already 37 weeks into her pregnancy. Then, I quickly noticed that this was a 90-minute episode, so I was really intrigued with what they were going to cover in so much time. Then, we meet Matt, who is one of those guys who epitomizes why you shouldn't have sex as a teenager. It takes Alex a LONG time to do so, but she finally calls him a dead-beat dad and distances herself from him. She's like a trainwreck, really... I don't want to keep watching her but I can't tear myself away. I think that it was a good episode to show teenagers, though - not only did Alex try living on her own and realize that she couldn't do it AND illustrate why you have to look ahead, but she also demonstrates how difficult it can be to give up a child, even when you would have been able to see her quite often and your friend's parents are the adoptive parents. The only part of this episode that I found truly strange was when Alex talked to her dance classes... they're paying to dance, not hear about the perils of unsafe sex.

16 and Pregnant "Alex" (S04E05): a 17-year-old HS senior living with her divorced mother and two younger siblings in Neffs, PA. [useless pet emphasis, but yay, Rita's!] She works at a fast food place a mile away and teaches dance - she even hopes to have her own studio someday. [not a bad ambition, though it's one I've never heard before.] BabyDaddy Matt is always in and out of trouble, and though they used the pill (her mother took her to get it) and condoms, there was "an oopsy." [what exactly does that mean? She doesn't act like it was all that much of a mistake... did she forget to take the pills AND the condom broke?] They talked about Plan B, but it's $50. [hahahaha. yeah, don't spend $50 now when you'll spend thousands later.]

June, 37 Weeks: Alex's mom said that she could give up the baby for adoption or move out. [why are they all sweaty?] Alex has been procrastinating about this decision all along, as she isn't sure if she can give up her daughter (plus, she wants more than just an open adoption), but she's even more scared of raising a child alone. [if that scares you more and you have no family or boyfriend support, you'd think she'd weigh the pros and cons differently...] Her siblings tell her how hard it will be to have a baby and be in school.
July, 39 Weeks: Matt is acting flaky and doesn't even show up to mini-golf. He's grumpy at an ultrasound but does manage to have a conversation about how Alex needs to put the baby first. One of her friends' moms offers to adopt the baby, and it doesn't have to be right away, either. [this could be a good solution to wanting more
Photo by MTV
than an open adoption...] Her friend's neighbor has a room for rent, which would be $260-$275/month. [in the photo, from the left, Briana's mother, Briana, Alex, the neighbor/landlady]
July, 40 Weeks: She moves some of her things into the open room, but goes into labor the following morning. Matt is difficult to reach, but the next thing you know, it's been eighteen hours and Arabella Elizabeth is born on July 18th.
2 Days Old: Alex can't imagine giving away the baby. When they leave the hospital they go to Matt's place, where Alex says that she doesn't want a broken family. Her mom doesn't understand how Alex will afford it, but she's determined to keep Arabella. But, she had hoped to return to work in just a few days and is unable to, so she's not going to have enough to cover her rent. [DAYS? Craziness!] Matt isn't helping much and says that he'll work on getting a factory job. [but he never does. of course.]  
2 Weeks Old: Matt hasn't given her any money and isn't helping with the baby. She ends up moving back in with her mom and doesn't feel like she owes anything to her landlord.[what?? she clearly just doesn't understand how anything works, huh?] Her mom throws together a welcome party, but during it Alex's landlord decides to kick her stuff to the curb. [if the party was spur-of-the-moment, how were there so many presents??] Alex leaves the event (against her mother's wishes) to go check things out, and all of her stuff is in the driveway. [eh. maybe tossing it the same day was a bit rough, but announcing you can't pay the rent via text is also inappropriate.] 
August, 3 Weeks Old: Her grandparents offer her a car to help her get to school and work, but she soon realizes that $167/week is going to be the cheapest childcare she can find, so she'll just have to finish high school online instead. 
September, 7 Weeks Old: Matt misses the bus and asks Alex to drive him to school. [not really noteworthy except for the fact that you would think he'd ask a friend who was already going to school to help him...]
September, 2 Months Old: She's back to both jobs but is losing her social life. [can't have it all, kid!] Matt agrees to watch Arabella so Alex can work, but then he doesn't show up. Alex has been repeatedly defending Matt to her mom (only because she doesn't want Arabella to grow up without a father like she had to), but he keeps saying that it's just too hard to be a teen parent. [well, yeah!] This just leads to a fight where he says that he won't come around or pay anything, as he'd rather see his friends. She calls him a dead-beat dad but keeps Arabella -  she still can't let go of her, but she doesn't want to let go of her dreams, either. [rough spot. you know how this could have been prevented? not having sex until you're ready for a baby.]
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