16 and Pregnant Consequences
MTV’s 16 and Pregnant is back on the air and last week’s episode followed Brooke and Cody, a teen couple who had been dating for two years when Brooke found out she was pregnant. Not only did they choose to keep their baby, but Brooke and Cody also took their relationship to the next level by getting married. The episode took the audience through the beginning of Brooke’s pregnancy, the birth of Brooke and Cody’s son Brody, and what life was like for them after he was born. No offense to the couple, but as I was watching I couldn’t help but feel super relieved that I wasn’t living their life.
One thing the two have going for them is that their relationship seems pretty solid. Brooke told the audience that as soon as she found out she was pregnant, Cody suggested they get married. Brooke is lucky. As we’ve seen from past seasons of 16 and Pregnant, most teen dads don’t marry the mother of their baby. Throughout the episode, I never got the feeling that Cody wasn’t totally committed to Brooke and their baby—except when he was slacking on doing his homework—but I just couldn’t help feeling sad at how much of their own childhoods they had to give up by becoming teen parents. Between work, school, household chores, and the enormous responsibility of caring for a baby, there was little time left for the two of them to do anything fun together. Brooke looked like she was too tired to do much of anything except sleep, but after awhile that lack of freedom is going to take a serious toll on their relationship.
Another thing I thought was really interesting about the episode was that Brooke got an IUD, or intrauterine device. While IUDs are a great form of birth control, they don’t protect against STIs, and I’m not sure Brooke was taking that into consideration. That said, I couldn’t be happier that she was addressing contraception—particularly that she chose a long-acting method. Earlier in the episode, Brooke’s mom, Misty, talked about how she had shown her daughter how to use condoms, and even supplied them for her, yet Brooke still chose not to use them. What was she thinking?!
Do you watch 16 and Pregnant? Do you think Brooke and Cody have a good relationship? Do you think the stress of having a baby will destroy their relationship? And what about that whole birth control thing? Why do you think teens don’t use it, even when it’s readily available to them?
Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Michelle Hainer is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national publications including InStyle, The Washington Post, People, and Teen People. A former teen magazine editor, Michelle’s covered everything from pregnancy to peer pressure and is now covering all things relationship for Stay Teen. Have a question for Michelle? Send us an email!