Wednesday, April 4, 2012

16 and Pregnant: Briana Made the Wrong Choice

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I thought that the dynamic between sisters who became pregnant around the same time but made different choices (Brittany chose abortion while Briana chose parenting) would be more interesting. Perhaps MTV did, too, as it's clear a few scenes were set-up to examine that relationship, but it ultimately didn't really interest me. It was shocking, however, to hear Briana admit that, if she could go back, she'd probably abort Nova, knowing how her life would go in comparison to her sister's. Let's hope that little daughter never sees that. But let's back up... she shared the news of her pregnancy by passing a note to her mother... I completely believe that she may not have been able to verbally express her announcement, but the retelling of the story kinda fell flat. The episode definitely paints Devoin in a really poor light, too, possibly one of the worse teenage father on this series.

16 and Pregnant "Briana" (S04E01): Briana is 17 and lives in Orlando with her mom and older sister, Brittany. She graduated high school a year early and is pregnant by her ex-boyfriend, Devoin. They never really used protection because she wasn't comfortable asking him to wear a condom. [there's a flashing neon sign for you! If you're not comfortable talking about protection, you're not ready to have sex.]

August, 35 weeks: Briana and her mom put together the crib, and Briana unknowingly cuts her foot, bleeding on the carpet. [this was a strange scene to include, but it's the earliest moment we have in an otherwise late-starting episode.] Brittany sometimes wishes she could take back having an abortion.
August, 36 weeks: We learn that Devoin was initially supportive of Briana and the baby, but things have gone downhill since then, and he hasn't responded to Briana in a month. She wants him to be there for the baby, including stay up at night when needed. [doesn't seem likely when the two of you aren't really speaking...] Her mom will allow him to stay over a few nights a week, but he doesn't have a job or a driver's license, so he can't contribute all that much. [what's with all these teenage fathers not being able to drive? How do you even get a girlfriend if you can't take her out on a date?] Briana decides to pick a name without him, though her mom helps. Devoin meets Briana when she tells him that she wants to name the baby "Nova." He asks about Nova's last name, and she says she's only willing to give Nova his surname if he'll prove he wants to support them. [I don't know how thought-out that plan was, but it wasn't a bad idea.] 
37 weeks: she wants to start school in January, and her mom said that she'll help pay tuition until the baby is two years old. [if she graduated a year early, you'd think she'd have a high enough GPA that she'd get a free ride at a local community college...] Brittany is upset that their mother cooks whatever Briana wants. [eh. I understand that Brittany thinks it isn't fair, but I didn't exactly hear Brittany expressing food desires, either.] 
September, 39 weeks: She and her friends go to a haunted house. Her stomach hurts and she feels nauseous, and when the pain increases, she calls Devoin and then heads to the hospital. [was she hoping to go into labor by going to the haunted house?] 
4 hours in: she's in a lot of pain and asks for an epidural.
7 hours in: she's pushing, though still in a lot of pain. Nova Star is born September 10th at 8 pounds. ["Nova Star" ?? almost redundant, no? Also, I had been wondering if she asked for the epidural too early, but only seven hours total is pretty quick!]
1 Day Old: Devoin leaves the hospital to play basketball with his friends, so she doesn't put his name on the birth certificate. [I don't blame her... what a jerk thing to do!] He is really mad later when he finds out. When she gets home, she's soon overwhelmed, but luckily her sister and mother help her out. [I was surprised at how well Brittany took to the baby.] 
1 Week Old: Devoin is still ignoring them. Briana starts on some formula in addition to breastfeeding.
3 Weeks Old: Devoin texts, asking to see the baby. He comes over with a friend. [to each their own, but how well does she know that friend of his? The baby is still pretty young...] Devoin is afraid to feed or burp Nova, and types away on his phone when Briana's mom tries to talk to them. [I'll agree that the first time you burp a baby, it's a bit scary... you think you need to be uber-gentle so burping seems to go against that advice... but feeding? Easy peasy. It's not like this child has reflux issues or something. Man up!] 
1 Month Old: While visiting Valencia Community College, she learns that they don't have changing racks in the restrooms. [I never realized this before, but no, most college restrooms I've been in don't have that apparatus.] Luckily, she makes do with her mother's help.
Photo by MTV
6 Weeks Old: She's sad that she has to stay home with the baby on Halloween. [while that is a bummer, she did go to a haunted house a month earlier, so at least she had a little holiday celebration.] She's not enjoying being a mother because it isn't how she wanted it to be. To make matters worse, Devoin stands her up when he asks to meet, so she no longer wants anything to do with him. [can't blame her!] The next day, she tells Brittany that she would've aborted if she knew how it would turn out, then gives the audience the advice to "never make a permanent decision on temporary feelings." [truth.]
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