It's time for another heart-breaking season of MTV's 16 & Pregnant (premiering Tuesday, Oct. 26, 10 p.m. ET). And once again, it's tough watching nine new girls grapple with such big responsibilities when they're clearly not ready for motherhood. Haven't they seen previous episodes of this cautionary tale of series? Some of this season's teens were probably conceiving their babies in mid-2009, just as MTV began airing episodes of Teen Mom about Maci and Amber and Catelynn. Did they see the show and think, "It could never happen to me?"
As in previous seasons, some of the girls have supportive parents and/or boyfriends, and some don't. A particularly cruel moment in the trailer comes when Megan, a baby-faced blond from Colorado, is talking to her boyfriend, Nathan. "So you realize that if we weren't having a baby, I wouldn't be here, right?" says Nathan, a guy with two lip rings and an extreme fondness for video games. "No, I didn't realize that," Megan says calmly. But she looks crushed.
Another teen, a Texan named Ashley, doesn't even mention the father in the preview clips. Apparently, he didn’t stick around long enough to be part of the show. While Ashley admits that giving the baby up for adoption is her best option, she struggles bitterly with the idea of letting her baby go. At least she has a supportive mom who cries along with her, but the situation is nothing short of tragic.
In some cases, though, the teens have marriage proposals from well-meaning boyfriends. "I mean, people used to get married when they were 13, 14 years old," says Daniel, an Alabama teen whose girlfriend Emily, 17, questions their decision to marry so young. And then there's Brooke, who lives in a suburb of Ft. Worth, Texas, and plans to marry her boyfriend, Cody. The couple is young and broke, but they've at least committed to support each other. Cody will graduate high school early while Brooke is pregnant; then he'll care for the baby while she finishes school. It's not a perfect arrangement, but they're trying.
As usual, this show will be hard to watch. But then, well-executed documentaries often are. And there's always the hope that high school girls will watch this installment, and avoid a similar fate.
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