“Yes, I got pregnant at 16. Now I’m 23 and I’m married and own a VERY successful company with my husband. Way to generalize and be totally ignorant. You’ve really offended me and your words disgust me. You’ve lost a subscriber. You’re a jerk!”
As you can see, yesterday’s post about teen pregnancy upset a number of readers. Early in the day I apologized for the poor way I expressed myself, but that didn’t stop comments like the one above from coming in. While I regret the way I expressed myself, I don’t regret the overall message that teen pregnancy is a very hard thing for young people to deal with, and that I am going to do my best to ensure that Annabel doesn’t have to walk that hard road. Obviously, however, my apology didn’t address everything that was upsetting some readers, and as the day went on there were a few things I felt I needed to address:
1. “Seriously…has anyone ever known anyone get pregnant that young and have things work out?”
As I said in my apology yesterday, this was a stupid thing to say because there obviously have been young people who have made it work. But I think this comment upset people more than just because it was an exaggeration. I think some people felt this comment was a slight to the children they had as teenagers. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Every child, no matter how he or she comes into this world, is beautiful and a gift. No decent person would regret having brought their child into the world. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t understand that the circumstances that brought their child into the world might not have been ideal. Teen parents must overcome a lot of challenges (completing education, financially supporting the child, dealing with the loss of typical teenage life) that older parents don’t.
Loving my child but regretting the circumstances that brought her into this world isn’t something that I am a stranger to. I love Annabel more than anything, but wish that she could have been brought into my life without having to have lost my sweet Maddie. I would hope that some of the most vitriolic commenters (like the one above) could be reflective enough to understand that while they love their child with all their heart, the circumstances that brought him or her to them made their life much more difficult than it otherwise would have been.
2. The allegation by a couple commenters that I am a misogynist.
A couple commenters said that they found this post misogynistic, which I found not only very off-base, but offensive. “Misogyny” is defined as a hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. First, this is not the kind of word that should be thrown around lightly, and perhaps the commenters didn’t fully understand its actual meaning. Regardless, I don’t understand how discussing the challenges of teenage pregnancy could be construed as anti-women. It takes two teenagers to make a baby, and both will see their lives changed dramatically when they become parents. Sadly, the boys often take off leaving the girl to handle the brunt of caring for the child. Rather than being misogynist, a call for less teenage pregnancy will actually lead to more opportunities for women.
One of the commenters went on to explain that it was the following that they found misogynist: “That’s why I’ll be bringing a shotgun to the door to meet every boy who comes to pick up Annie until she is well into her thirties.” I wrote that line not written out of hatred for women, but a love for my daughter. It is a father’s job to protect his daughter, and if that strikes you as misogynist, then you don’t understand a father’s job (or what teenage boys have in mind).
3. The suggestion that my frame of reference for this subject is only MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have quite a few family members who became parents as teenagers. That isn’t where my frame of reference ends, however. I used to work as a English teacher at an inner city high school. One year I had an extraordinary girl in my class whose family had escaped death in Hurricane Katrina and somehow managed to make a new home in South Los Angeles. For the first few weeks she was so full of life – thankful to have received a fresh start and excited about her future. She did all her homework and contributed lots of intelligent comments in classroom discussions. Then, suddenly, she became angry and sullen. She stopped doing her homework, stopped participating in class, and soon dropped out. I learned from a fellow teacher that the girl had left school because she was pregnant. This was a heartbreaking thing to see happen to a girl who had so much promise. She never did return to school.
One commenter made a great point as to why she took offense at my post. She said that I made it seem to teenagers that they would be doomed and have no chance for a good future if they got pregnant. I agree that is not a message we should send to teenagers, but neither is the message that teen pregnancy is anything but a very, very hard road to walk.
Holy great debate Batman! People need to relax. Your blog, your post, your opinion. End of story. What kind of society do we live in that we have to apologize for what we feel or think? One of my sisters got preggo at 16 and totally rocks went to college has an amazing job and my other sister got pregnant at 17 and is a total nut job. Why’d they end up so different? It’s all about making the best of a hard situation.
Amen Lisa! I totally couldn’t have said it any better.
I have a few family members that had their first at 17. They made their bed and they lay in it. They struggle and they manage. It’s the life they chose.
Mike you couldn’t have said it any better than this: “neither is the message that teen pregnancy is anything but a very, very hard road to walk.”
You know … The saddest thing to me about the last two posts that you have written Mike??? Is the fact that you have had to defend yourself … Give me a break … PEOPLE!! Sure, people get pregnant as teens .. But no one in there right mind can condone that. It may work because you have no choice so you make it work. But it’s not ideal .. Especially for the child. And to portray that crap on a tv show is exploitation in my mind. Thank you for sharing your feelings and don’t let those mean and irrational people bring you down.
Agree!! Well said!
He didn’t need to defend himself, no. I will admit I was happy to see the update though. I am a teen mom. I am one of the teen moms who made it work. I didn’t get financial help from family beyond a baby shower,nor did I rely on assistance. The father and I worked hard like every other parent. I can tell you that one of the hardest parts of being a teen mom was people constantly judging you. Those of us who make it work are tired of being grouped in with everyone else, and being looked down on. I think that’s where all the anger was coming from.
THANK YOU! I knew people would say that those of us that are upset would be overreacting, but everyone has their own things that offend them. I normally let bloggers, or anyone really, say what they want, but the post yesterday felt like it was condemning me and my life (as a teen mom) and my child. I felt like I was being told by yet another person that my having my daughter at 18 that I would never be good enough for her or raise her right or care for her properly. I’m sick of the stigma. Look at each case individually. Just because someone does a bad job doesn’t mean we all will.
Jessica Harrison says:
Mike, I read your post and thought it was very good. It’s your blog and you can talk about whatever you want! I thought it was very true…MOST girls that get pregnant at a young age do not finish school and aren’t financially stable. That’s just the cold hard truth. If they ARE able to do it, that’s GREAT! But, I’m sure it wasn’t easy!!
Kristy, I never got the impression that Mike was condemning teen moms (but since I am not a teen mom, I did not look at it from your perspective of course). However, wouldn’t you agree that although you love your girl very much and do a good job of raising her, your life would have been easier if she had come later in your life?
He wasn’t saying teen parents were going to be bad parents. At least, that wasn’t what I took away from that. What I saw is that he said it would be hard. He said teen parents face more challenges than those that wait. He said it was a crappy situation to be in.
I had my son when I was 17, and I gotta tell you. I think he’s right. I made it work. These days I’m happily married, freelancing for an industry I love and raising 2 more kids to go with my first. But I’ll never forget how scary it was to realize I was having a baby when I didn’t even have a home of my own, or a full time job that would pay the bills. I definitely haven’t forgotten how it felt to have my son’s father take off when he was 4 mos old, only 3 days after I was laid off from the job I managed to find.
And I would never, EVER want that for my kids. I’ve told them over and over again that even though we’ll love them no matter what, I want them to finish school and have some time to taste the joys of adulthood first before bringing someone else into the world. Which I believe is exactly what he was thinking when he wrote this post.
Sarah Graham says:
Good on you, Mike. I didn’t have a problem with what you said, and I haven’t found the arguments against you convincing. I love your posts, you’re a great writer and a sensitive, reflective person. The most upsetting thing for me is the strident, forceful way people disagree in blog comments. What happened to, “I respectfully disagree..”?
I found myself wondering what happened to “I respectfully disagree….”, too, Sarah.
I don’t think you are a jerk or a misogynist!!!!
Find me a Dad that doesn’t say something similar to what you said about the shotgun!! I know Heather has seen the movie Clueless “Anything happens to my daughter, I got a .45 and a shovel, I doubt anybody would miss you.”
Some say the best movie ever made!
Sid @ Fête Foreign says:
Seriously? People need to get some perspective! When I read your post I did think it would ruffle some feathers, but since you were contrasting the whole point with your experiences as a parent I could appreciate the hindsight age gives us all. Parenting, at any age, is an act of love, sheer grit and grace and the more life experience we have the better equipped we are to deal with a multitude of situations, tantrums included.
Time for people to stop being so trigger-happy with their soapboxes . . . .
Have a great day.
I’ve learned that by writing, people take something that you have a lighthearted approach to and can see it in such a different way that you never intended. They have that right but I would think if they’ve been reading for awhile or even if it was the first post they ever read from this site, they could see you weren’t being mean-spirited.
One of my best friends got pregnant at 15 and she had to give up so much. Luckily her parents were there to support her emotionally and finacially but it took years to get her life on the right track. Actually, I should say on the track that *SHE* wanted to be on.
Sorry you were so misunderstood. You must know how Charlie Sheen feels. I kid, I kid.
michelle in MO says:
I loved that post. I am a fan of the pregnant MTV shows and of this blog. I don’t think anything you said was out of line. I have very strong feelings about teen pregnancy. So much so, that members of my own family do not speak to me because they got their panties in a wad over how I feel about the subject. Anyone bothers you about your opinion on YOUR blog again, tell them to rub salt in their ass. (I learned that from an old boss.)
*much love to your family*
I had my first child at 25, dad was 21. We were TOO young and it didnt work out.
I ALWAYS say I was too young at 25 to have a child. Not because I wasnt responsible enough but because I lost out on opportunites the rest of my friends had.
I havent had lots of foreign holidays, had lots of weekends away, spent money on shoes and clothes and gigs without worry, had a stupid car and partied all night.
I struggled to finish my degree. I struggled to afford to live and look after a child on my own.
I am now married as are many of my friends and the advice I offer as the longest serving parent is well recieved but I’d still rather not have a teenager!
I do know people who had children young and stayed together. I know more people who had children young and ended up single (my mother included).
Personally I’d rather keep both my kids away from the opposite sex for most of their lives but I dont think I have much choice
I don’t think this is nearly as big of a deal as it’s being made out to be. I was one of the people who commented yesterday feeling offended, but I think just an “oops, brain fart post!” would have been a much more satisfying response. Trying to spin yesterdays post as a thoughtful but misread social commentary on the tribulations of teen pregnancy is a bit of a stretch. Let’s call it what it was: an I-just-watched-this-on-TV-isn’t-it-HILAR post, and one that hit too close to home for some people (myself included)! Oops! That’s it, that’s all.
I agree with you 100%, period.
I hope you don’t let those comments dissuade you from contributing! I enjoy reading your posts as much as Heather’s.
The thing is, and I know you and a lot of other people don’t want to hear this, it’s not always really, really hard. For us, truly, it wasn’t. We had a lot of financial help from our families, I understand that was an extraordinary sacrifice on their part, but as far as the parenting, and being marrying, and everything else? We loved it. We never palmed our child off on anyone else, he never spent a night away from us until our second child was born 8 years later. We rarely utilized a babysitter. We loved being parents, we loved being married, and it truly was an idealic part of our lives; one I’ve often wished we could go back to as life got more and more hectic down the road.
Elle P. says:
When I told my parents I was pregnant at 21, I was initially kicked out. Our families did not financially support us; we had to occasionally borrow money from them but were required to pay them back. Looking back, I appreciate the accountability, despite how hard it was. Of course we made the best of it for our child but it was FAR from ideal.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have strong financial or emotional support from their families. The fact is, you didn’t do it on your own, so where would you be without that support? Would you still look back on that as such a wonderful time?
You’re right, we didn’t do it on our own, but I know very few people who do, no matter what their age. When my son and daughter-in-law had their children they didn’t need financial help, but they did need emotional support and we were happy to be there for them, just as we will be for each of our children.
I’m sorry that we had help seems to make you a bit bitter and angry. I’m thankful for the help we had, I acknowledge the help we had, and I’m grateful that I can look back and see it as a wonderful time. I work very hard every day of my life, to give to my children, all four of them, so that they too will look back on their lives, feel the love and support, and look forward to offering love and support to their children as well.
I’m sorry but your soap box is HIGH! Let me tell you something… you are the exception. Your situation is the exception, it isn’t the rule. No one is bitter because you had financial help but you’re refusing to understand that for a lot of teen parents, it’s HARD. Period. It’s not fun and a great time like it was for you. I had my son at 18 and got married, we were financially ok, we had help and worked ourselves. Would I do it that way again? HELL NO. It was hard work and at 18, I was not mentally or emotionally ready to take care of a child because I WAS STILL ONE MYSELF. But I did it, his dad did it. I’d never, ever wish that on anyone.
I’m curious to know if you would encourage or hope that any of your children (that you raised with no trouble whatsoever) would be teen parents. I’m not asking if you would help them, obviously you would. But would you wish that on them? Would you wish for your daughter to get pregnant and what if the father would abandon her? Would that emotionally be something you’d want your child to go through? Would you encourage her childhood be taken away because she was forced into maturity?
Because I never would want that for my children.
AMEN! You said it perfectly. I had my son at 19 and it was HARD! Do I want that life for my children..hell no. Am I bitter bc she had it so easy…nope. Good for her…she is one in a million.
Thank you. You’ve given me the push I needed to write about this myself. I’ve been debating it for a while.
While the outcome of your story is wonderful, the sad truth is that most don’t have all the assistance you did. Look at all of the families out of work, without homes. This country is overflowing with families (even non-teens) that are unable to take care of their kids and have to give them up to the system.
I don’t think Mike’s post was offensive. I think it’s a lot better to put the harsh reality out there instead of making it sound fun or glamorous. If a teen has a baby & it’s a wonderful, easy, supported experience – great! But… lots of times it’s not. What’s so wrong with being honest?
I couldn’t agree more. I’m 26, married, and my children are 9 and 7. I should also mention that I’m married to the father of my children, and have built a successful life together. We were fortunate coming from affluent families, but my parents’ help ended the minute I married and moved out. They have always been there, but we never ask for anything. I didn’t want anything from anyone, and we worked, went to college, and were parents. Good parents. I had to grow up quickly, and so did my husband, but we did it for our ourselves and our children. There is not one day that I wish I could go back and live the stage that people do in college, getting drunk every night and making horrible choices? Sounds like a fantastic stage. -note sarcasm-. The ones that had to skip stages were him and I, but we did it because we wanted to. We loved our family and our children more than anything else and saw that working hard could get us anywhere we wanted to go. It did.
Not to throw stones here, because I’m extremely glad you were able to have such a smooth slide into pregnancy and parenthood. The simple truth of the matter is that it’s often the practicalities that bring so much stress into the life of the average teenage parent. After I had my son at 17 I missed being able to go out on a whim from time to time, but really-being a parent was such an awesome experience that it worked out. And I never, ever take the beauty of being able to leave the kids with dad and go to the coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon for granted!
On the flip side, I didn’t have much by way of financial support. Yes, my parents helped out tremendously by letting us live with them rent-free, but the rest of the financial burden of raising a child and paying for daycare fell to me. And it wasn’t a “we loved it”; my son’s father took off when he was four months old, so it was just me. There was no one to watch him for ten minutes so I could run to the store, or sleep in in the morning, or take a shower in peace. No one to sit with me in the emergency room over and over again that first winter when he struggled with respiratory problems and ear infections and fevers that would climb over 109 and climb back down again. And while my parents were wonderful in watching him at night when they got home from work so I could go to night school, with the jobs I was able to get we still lived hand to mouth for a number of years.
I understand your side, but please understand how blessed you were. Your situation isn’t the one he was talking about here. And even though it was a wonderful experience for you, would you want that for your kids? Or would you like them to wait and see a little bit of the world first?
People are so sensitive. They let their own insecurities get them all worked up about silliness. You are a great writer. I like your article and although I don’t always agree with your views, who does? Until you call me out personally I’ll continue to read whatever you write!
You should NEVER have to defend yourself. I love you guys always and admire you 110% for sharing
Mike – you are absolutely correct. I was a young mother and took no offense to what you wrote. It’s very true: while you love the child and know you couldn’t have had *that* child at any other time, you can certainly wish the circumstances around her conception and birth were very different. Even though now, six years later, we’re living a great life, it was a long, hard road – and while she certainly didn’t suffer a moment, I know her life could’ve been a lot different from the start.
I understood exactly what you wrote. If people can’t understand generalizations and where you were coming from – screw em.
I have to say that I agree w/ you. I myself got pregnant at 16 (22 years ago) and despite the fact that I had the wonderful support of my family and friends it was still very, very hard! I gave up the best highschool years and prom and graduation and when I look back at that it still bothers me. Like you said, every child is a blessing and I don’t regret having him; I regret the timing. I have a wonderful life now but it took a lot of work to get here.
I thought all day yesterday about how to comment and just couldnt come up with a way…
I got what you were trying to say, first time around. I found what you wrote to be honest and coming from a good place. Not a hateful, misogonostic (is that even a word) place.
Its true, being a parent is hard, not every day, not everything you do, but none the less, its hard… to give up freedoms and ease, to have less money, less time to yourself, less time with your partner. I love being a parent and I wouldn’t change being one for anything (and I had my first at 25 in an ideal situation for us – home, career, married, etc), but that doesnt mean I want to paint the picture that its a life of roses and rainbows and everything nice. I can assure you, its not.
I think it takes a very big person to admit what you are saying, that its not the child they regret, but the situation the child came to them in. But when people are honest about it, it’s okay to admit that.
I got to make the choice when I would have a baby. I think about all the things I wouldn’t have been able to do had I made the choice while in high school, or worse, not made the choice and just had it happen. I learned some very valuable life lessons in those years and got to live a really exciting young life. This has shaped me into the person and mom that I am today… which is a pretty great one, if I do say so myself.
Love the last line Mike, and I agree 100% – while teen pregnancy may not be a life full of doom, it shouldnt be made into something other than very, very hard, just like being a parent at any time is.
Honestly, people are way too oversensitive. It is very obvious that your post was not meant to be hurtful to anyone. You were expressing an opinion about the hardships of teen pregnancy and using some light humor in there as well…as you always do.
I can’t believe some people actually stated that you hate women. Have they ever read you before? People need to get a life. Maybe they overreacted to it because it had a lot of truth in it that they don’t want to accept/face.
C Ramirez says:
I think it is just a sensitive subject – because parents whose children have children as teenagers have guilt over it. The teen’s parents probably feel they failed as parents when their teenager has a child. So, most of the comments you received were probably just built up anger at the commenterers (sp??) at themselves and felt they had a right to be angry at you. My dad felt guilty for my older sister becoming a teen parent – he felt he hadn’t raised her right or something for this to happen. I think I would feel the same way if my daughter became a teenage parent. So Mike, don’t feel bad about what you said because I am hoping my daughter does not become a teen parent – because that would mean I failed as a parent…
Agreed – the over-reaction that came come from blog reading never ceases to amaze me. When my (now hsuband) first came over to meet my parents at the age of 17, my dad was literally cleaning his rifle. It was hunting season in Virginia, but it’s still funny nonetheless…and that’s exactly what I took from your blog – a funny take on a serious issue. Sorry you got blasted – if it helps, I’m a woman and I wasn’t offended at all! (And my daughter, who is now 2, might also have a dad who brings a gun to the door when boys start to come over…LOL!)
Whoa, I wouldn’t have expected your post to get people all riled up (I’ve not read the comments, only this post discussing it). I don’t think you attacked any one parent or teenage moms. I read your message as it’s damn hard for anyone, let alone a young teenager, or their parents. And I agree.
cindy w says:
I missed the comments on yesterday’s post, but for the record, I happened to agree with your original point. Only we don’t have a gun, so Dave will be carrying a baseball bat to greet Catie’s future dates at the door. I think it’ll still get the message across pretty effectively.
Every child is a blessing, but you’re right… bringing a child in to less that ideal circumstances is often beyond our control
The reality is that a lot of teenagers get pregnant because they have uninvolved parents. It’s not always the case, but many times (especially on Teen Mom/Teen Mom2/16… and Pregnant) you can see where the parents are going horribly wrong. I think it’s easy to see where things went awry for Janelle, her mother in insane. Chealsea has a very supportive parent, but clearly never has had to take actual responsibility for her life, her Dad is indulgent and she may never truly grow up because of that. Kailyn, absent and irresponsible mother.
The problem with these shows as a representation of the teen mom population at large is that any parent who is a good, responsible and caring parent is less likely to allow or put their pregnant teenage daughter up on display like those on the show. It’s unlikely that any of the teens on a lot of these shows will be shining examples of the teen parents that do make it because they have a good support system and have a bit of a wake up call when a pregnancy occur.
What you said yesterday, you were right. Very few parents who start in their teens have a successful first few years with their children. It’s just the reality, it sucks but it’s true. One of my dearest friends has struggled her entire life. Pregnant at *14* because her mother was uninvolved and absent in her life… she’s not a grandmother of a 1 year old. She’s 32 yrs old for heaven’s sake. I find it hard to believe that life has been ideal all these years as she continues to struggle financially, academically (she went back to school but dropped out to help her child raise the baby so her 15 year old would have opportunities she didn’t.)
I have another friend who got pregnant at 17, her parents were involved and helped her along but made her take responsibility for her actions. She has had a pretty east go of it compared to other parents, but it doesn’t mean being 30 with a 12 year old hasn’t been hard. She’s always had to fight harder for things that parents in their 20’s and 30’s haven’t had to fight for (like respect from other parents.)
If my girls ever found themselves pregnant at 16 (I think I threw up a little in my mouth there) I would hope that I would have the brains to be supportive but not indulgent and continue to make sure they had access to education and success without losing all of their teens years. I also hope I raise the type of girls that have more respect for themselves then to jump into bed with some random boyfriend at 15 like I did. I am always thankful that I waited until I was 23/25 to have them, but looking back now I see that I was too young even then and I should have waited a few more years.
I hope people get over this and move on. There are greater things in the world to worry about. How about playing with their kid(s) today instead of spending a lot of time getting uppity about an opinion on a blog? Mine just woke up… so I’m off to make St Patrick’s day hats with them.
I don’t comment much, but I just wanted to let you know that I supported your last post Mike. I don’t think 16 and Pregnant is doing anything really positive for teenagers…it almost glorifies teen pregnancy (and yes I still watch that crap lol).
One of my best friends got pregnant the summer before she was supposed to start college and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl that March (now 5 years ago). She radically had to change her goals and plans for her life, and while she is very successful doing what she’s doing and has a beautiful, smart daughter to show for it, I remember how upset and scared and angry she was when it all happened. I realize that people can thrive as teen parents, but it’s obviously not the ideal environment to raise a child while you are still a child yourself (unless you are one of the lucky few who have a supportive and functional family unit to help you!)
Mike – It is really nice of you to explain yourself but I really don’t think you need to. People are so sensitive and get all uppidity over things so fast! It’s sortof like when you are driving and all of a sudden you see another car behind you and you think ‘where did that car come from’ and the person keeps riding your bumper but for whatever reason won’t go around you. Is it your responsibility to start driving faster because the person behind you is in a hurry? No, you just keep driving the speed your going because that’s what you were doing before you saw them. Anyway, I guess my point is, you might come across people who are in a hurry and riding your ass but really, why would you accommodate them? Who cares??? People who have read this blog for any length of time know your not a d-bag trying to offend people. I wonder why those commentors don’t go on Perez Hilton’s website and start gasping at all the things he does. At least it would make sense.
Keep writing-most of us love it.
I think people are being a little overly sensitive..16 and Pregnant is a trashy show and I think they chose their girls very carefully. The trashier the better. Obviously this does not mean all teen moms are doomed to fail. I think we all know it’s harder for a teenager in high school to raise a baby than it is for someone older with financial stability and a spouse. I had my daughter when I was 17 with no money, no diploma and no father. It was HARD. I now have a 10 year old and am working tword my Masters. If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change it because then I might not have my daughter but I can tell you this will NEVER happen to her. You are entitled to post your opinion on your blog I think some women need to lighten up.
MTV runs a public service announcement during Teen Mom….Teen Pregnancy is 100% preventable. It isn’t the ideal situation.
I think it was possible that people took what you said the wrong way, but I really don’t think you said anything horrible. It most certainly was NOT misogynistic. I think if you can’t admit that even if you DID have a baby at 16 and it DID work okay that you’re NOT the norm that you’re probably in denial.
People will always be offended at SOMEthing. Half my family felt the need to populate the earth before entering their twenties, and I still wasn’t offended by your statement –we love our babies, but damn, its a hard road to walk. I know that’s all you meant. Hope this didnt cause you too much drama
Everyone is entitled to voice their opinion as far as I am concerned. It’s your blog…and you can write what you want!
I would definately love to find a way to decrease the incidence of teen pregnancy. Being a labor and NICU nurse in a county hospital, catering mostly to indigent patients, I see a ton of teen pregnancies. Our youngest was 12! Not to mention that the majority of our teens are also drug addicted and/or homeless with pre-term, withdrawing babies to now care for.
Now that is not to say all are indigent and drug addicted for those that will no doubt take this the wrong way.
But it is certainly a rough road now matter what when you are just a child yourself having a baby.
One of the nurses I work with and look up to very much became a mother at 16, and is one that far exceeded the stereotypical teen mom. So, obviously each circumstance is different.
Everyone is entitled their opinion. As a women of a 16 year old now, I will be the first to tell you that I too want nothing more than to protect her from teenage pregnancy even if a small percentage can hadle the responsibilty without dropping the child off with the realtives to raise. I also have a relative (Male) who got a girl pregnant when he was 16 and she was 15 and he married her. Speed up to when his daughter turned 15 she turned out pregnant and he became a grandad at 31. The point is that when you have children young your kids tend to follow in your footsteps even when you try to teach them its tough but do able. If you have your child young and it worked I applaud you as you had it rough. I truly believe Mike meant nothing offensive just the show does protray all of these girls as doomed. Its sad when you see them on the magazines as with headlines of them loosing their child or signing their rights over. Just my thoughts….
People need to chill. This is just a blog, not the State of the Union address. I thought your post was funny and obviously poking fun of the ridiculousness of MTV’s show. Don’t let the haters get you down Mike, I think you and Heather are funny, and obviously very loving, kind-hearted people. Here’s some love from Deep in the Heart of Texas!
Wow! People are kind of ridiculous. I agree with you — having a baby as a teen would be hard. You have to dedicate your life to your child and how can you finish your life when you’re busy loving and caring for someone else? I totally agreed with your first post, but I haven’t read any of the comments. I just want you to know that I agree with you. I feel like anyone who would stop reading your blog because they overcame the odds is being dumb.
I certainly didn’t take the post yesterday as misogynist. All I wanted was to express that having a child young is not the end of the world.
Yes, we should discourage teen pregnancy. However, on the other side, we should do all we can to help these girls (often who don’t have a strong support network) to make good choices after the fact, so that they can have the same opportunities as their non-parenting counterparts.
As I stated yesterday, my daughter is now 20. She has always known that she was a surprise (I was on birth control, but admittedly knew the risks), not a mistake.
She also knows first-hand that we had financial challenges (not only due to age, but due to lack of good financial training all the way around). As a result, she does not want to have children. This may change, but I’m fine with it if it doesn’t.
All that to say that 1) it doesn’t have to be the start of a negative cycle. We’ve been through tough times, but never destitute; and 2) I took no offense to your post. You are the loving father of a daughter. It’s only natural that you are worried and protective.
As a mother, my suggestion is to arm Annie with information. Risks, how to protect herself, how to love and value herself. If you do that, along with fostering an independent spirit, she will be just fine and those boys won’t know what hit them (before you ever meet them!).
Annie is very lucky to have you.
>As a mother, my suggestion is to arm Annie with information. Risks, how to protect herself, how to love and value herself. If you do that, along with fostering an independent spirit, she will be just fine and those boys won’t know what hit them (before you ever meet them!).
Great comment! I’d much rather see this than a shotgun. Then Annie will know you trust her and her choices, and she’ll come to you instead of thinking you distrust and dislike her friends.
Of course, you could take the double-barrelled (cough) approach and do both.
There are people who are teen parents and are able to work it out and do well in life. But I’m pretty sure if you asked them “do you want your child to get pregnant as a teen?” they would say no.
I read your post yesterday and didn’t think it was bad…..and it certainly was not misogynistic in any way.
There’s always going to be someone getting pissed off at something you say–some people like to find fault with everything. For instance, I’m offended by the little stars over the “i”s in your title font.
I was a teen mom, as much as any of those girls on the show are, as I said yesterday. I wasn’t offended by what you said at all. I think that all parents worry about the possibility of their teenagers getting pregnant, or getting someone pregnant. If they don’t, they are foolish.
The best thing a parent can do is to be open and honest with their kids about sex, and in the case of their daughters, if they do end up having sex, go get those girls on some birthcontrol, and make sure they know how to use it. If your kids feel comfortable talking to you about everything, you are less likely to have issues come up later on down the road.
Great point. EDUCATE your kids, male or female. Before it becomes an issue.
In this day and age I would be seriously upset if any of my kids got pregnant as a teen or impregnated anyone so young. Yes, it might work out fine after a long rough road but that is NOT what I want and envision for my kids.
I want them to parent (if they wish to parent) when they are ready and able to do so. (A committed partner, the ability to financially afford a baby…)
I watched said show once with my 13 year old twin daughters and chimed in that I would HOPE neither of them would make their lives so difficult as to become pregnant during their teens or before they got their education and could support themselves AND a baby (or two! )
Everything you said in this post was spot on.
Alright, I was the first one to say that your POSTS and COMMENTS- not MIKE, are misogynistic. I would first like to make it clear that I like and respect Heather and Mike. I think he seems like an excellent, loving father and husband.
If I had known that my comments would be put on blast like this, I would have spent more time to express myself better. That being said, I absolutely stand by what I said.
I find it incredibly condescending that you’re implying that I don’t understand what misogyny means. Of course I understand it! I experience it every day!
Mike has given the narrowest definition of misogyny. In reality, misogyny is deeply ingrained in our society. Examples fall upon the spectrum from subtle to overt. The comments I was referring to in Mike’s post are examples of SUBTLE misogyny. I did not mean to imply that Mike actively hates women. Rather, these comments exhibit how he is a product of a male-dominated society that allows these ideas to be acceptable.
While a comment in the 16 and Pregnant post did bother me, the post that really raised the feminist alarm with me was one in which Mike and another dad talked about how one day, they’ll sit down with their daughters and explain why it’s wrong to wear a skimpy bikini. Uh, excuse me?
Because we live in a male-dominated, patriarchal society with systematic misogyny, it has become okay to “shame” girls based on what they wear, who they date and what they do. This phenomenon is perhaps better known as the sexual double standard or “sl-t shaming.” Sexual double standards damages our public perception and discourse regarding issues such as sexual harassment and rape. Ever read an article about a woman who was raped in which they make unnecessary references to her clothing or behavior? These comments imply that she “asked for it,” which is incredibly offensive and a complete misappropriation of blame – victim blaming.
Anyway, this is not that big of a deal. I just wanted to elaborate on all of my points for the commenters who said things like I’m the “kind of feminist who even annoys other women.” All I can say to that is educate yourself!
Mike, I’m extremely disappointed that you were so dismissive of my points. You came across as really condescending and patronizing. I hope you do some self-education on feminist issues and male privilege.
I think the problem is using the word “misogynist.” I assume that is a commonly used word in your academic circles and has shades of meaning there, but in the rest of the world it is understood as someone who hates women. If you had said my posts were chauvinistic or sexist I would not have been dismissive of your points.
As for the bikini/shotgun comments, it isn’t an attempt to “shame” Annabel for what she wears, does, or who she dates. These are just comments about parenting. If I had a son I would be just as concerned about what he wears (especially if he did that whole underwear hanging out of the jeans thing) and who he dates.
First and foremost, I became pregnant with twins at age 18 and I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote in your first post. I am not offended in the least bit! Why?
1.) Because my boyfriend had to join the US military and put his dreams of college on hold in order to support us.
2.) Because I got married in a huge muumuu dress while 8 months pregnant.
3.) Because I had to postpone college for a long time in order to raise my kids.
4.) Because I had to move from my home town to follow my husband’s military career.
5.) Because when I finally did go back to school, I had to stay up very late for nearly three years to get my homework done since I didn’t want to sacrifice good parenting in order to go back to school.
6.) Because when my child started kindergarten, I was 24, and not one single mother in the PTA would reach out to me and befriend me since I was at least 5 – 10 years younger than most of them. My kids were brilliant, well dressed, well mannered, well rounded kids but they still judged me and made me feel incompetent.
8.) Because I will be an “empty nester” at age 36 and it just doesn’t feel right or natural.
7.) Because Mike writes a blog which is an editorial piece, not a News headline, and he is entitled to his own opinion!
My husband and I made it through our twenties with our twins and are starting to knock out the 30’s. We have become quite successful and are doing better than everyone in our entire family. The twins gave us amazing determination and drive to accomplish what we have as early as we have but it was soooo hard and I would never want it for them! I wish for them to grow up, finish high school, go to college, graduate, start a career, fall in love, get married, and have kids. I want the traditional life for them.
As far as misogyny is concerned; this world is full of it. It’s enough to make even the most easy-going girl get upset when she hears about female circumcision being performed in different parts of the world still. When we see that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to vote or even drive for that matter, it makes our blood boil. Mike’s comment was reflective of a real paternal concern; young boys are horny. When they see a girl in a skimpy bathing suit, they are going to pursue her. Do they have the right to violate her? No. If they do, it’s most certainly not the girl’s fault. Mike just remembers what it was like being a boy with raging hormones. He also, no doubt, sees the same news that I view which is full of occurrences of violence towards women. His protective instinct (men are hardwired to be protectors and providers) is merely being expressed in his statement about swimsuits and shot guns.
I believe you are taking your anger at the many injustices towards women that are going on in the world and misdirecting it towards a dad with an amazing protective instinct for his family.
I don’t mean you any disrespect, but it seems like a little “mellowing out” could really be beneficial to you!
I am very well educated. Thank you very much. And I stand by my statement to YOU!
Amy Collen says:
Gee, sounds like I need to educate myself on male privilege as well. It will teach me to look for those subtle misogynistic undertones I just keep gosh darn missing.
What I do know? I am a mother of two boys and I am a librarian. Did you know that boys are behind in the reading level by TWO grades in elementary school? Did you know that boys are now doing worse on standardized tests than girls? How many times have you seen a commercial where there is a married couple and they are trying to figure out a problem. Who has the solution? The woman. The man is ridiculed and made to look like a fool. My two boys are subtly exposed to things like this all the time. It is part of society.
Yet, men in society have certain expectations placed on them. Regardless of what ANYONE says about ANYTHING feminist or otherwise the expectations are still there. Just ask any NICU dad. When my twins were born at 25 weeks (and my sweet Noah died 6 days later) I could hide myself from the rest of the world and not talk to anyone. My husband on the other hand fielded all phone calls, called my work and got me on maternity leave, took all calls from the NICU, arranged Noah’s funeral, etc. All the while he was told by the men in his life (his father mostly) to stay strong and hold things together for me. Where the hell is the male privilege in that?
I will give you another example, if a male and a female were both applying for a job at a preschool, who do you think would get the job?Male privilege here? I don’t think so.
Also, what are we always told as kids (and tell our kids) when we’re lost? Ask a woman for help. The man? He could be a child molester or serial killer.
Maybe you should educate yourself a bit on misandry and the presumption of male guilt.
Very well said, Amy
You ARE missing the misogyny when you repeat the myth of “boys in crisis”. While this link is an opinion piece, it does break out the statistics and give sources for the studies: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/07/AR2006040702025.html.
It’s hard to believe that any woman can look around this world and not perceive that (white) males are the most privileged group there is. Personal experience notwithstanding, most men earn more than women, gain economic and political power more than women, get and keep more promotions than women, perform less housework and child care duties than women…the list goes on and on. Privilege has long-lasting effects and we need to be aware of them. That’s not blaming or hating men, it’s just a fact.
My son is a feminist and is proud to call himself such. He is aware of the privilege that his gender, ethnicity, and sexuality give him and he attempts to NOT use that privilege, thereby empowering others. We have to teach our kids to be more egalitarian.
Amy Collen says:
So now, bringing up the presumption of male guilt is misogynistic also? Yawn. Okay, I’m done. You win. You have your beliefs and I have mine, I can respect that.
What?? I didn’t say anything about male guilt.
Amy Collen says:
Okay, Wendy, okay. That one was more for Jamie. So to you I say, bringing up the concept of boys doing poorer academically is misogynistic also?
Like I said you have your opinions and I have mine. While I definitely do acknowledge that around the world there are horrible atrocities done to women, I do not agree with lumping Mike (or any decent man regardless of race) into that.
This argument is like beating a dead horse. We are not going to convince each other of one another’s argument. We can quote news articles and statistics until we are blue in the face.
So, I’m done with it.
Jamie, your idea of feminism is a hijacked version now extolled by various so called “womens” groups that have done very little good for women kind.
If you want respect, be respectable – dress appropriately. If you are dressed respectably, be prepared for disrespectful comments and even actions.
The “feminist movement” has taken the true ideals of feminism out of the conversation, and out of society. A man setting rules for his daughter is only being a good father. I am a mom, but I would NEVER let my daughters, no matter what their age, leave my home in clothing I considered disrespectful to her person and you can believe my husband would not either. Modern feminism has eradicated so much respect for women. Men treat you as you demand to be treated, in most cases. If fathers were allowed, encouraged, and even forced or demanded to do their jobs as fathers, rather than constantly being berated, told they are stupid, that they are misogynistic in any capacity, then there would be far fewer teen pregnancies.
I mean *not* dressed respectably.
I never comment here, but wanted to let you know that I agree with you, Jamie, and appreciate your comments. I like this blog, but that post was offensive, for the reasons your originally described (and clarified here). I don’t see anyone accusing Mike of being oversensitive in becoming defensive about his earlier post.
As a young woman and mother, and someone who was active on my local school board and education committees, I have experienced overt and covert misogyny. It’s out there, all around us — sometimes we see it and sometimes we don’t.
Misogyny means a hatred, dislike, or MISTRUST of women (emphasis mine). Not trusting a young woman to make appropriate choices about whom she dates or what she wears is misogyny.
Mike, your daughter needs your protection, yes, but telling her at any age that her clothing is “wrong” is not productive. Talking to her (as I know you will) about how she is more than her body/outward appearance, and showing her that you trust her judgment and support her independence/agency will go a long way towards helping her to see that she doesn’t need to care about capturing male attention (and we’re all assuming she’s going to be heterosexual, of course, which is whole ‘NOTHER can of worms) with what she wears or how she looks.
I’m sorry, but I very much doubt you’d have the same concerns about a son’s clothing. It’s just not the same, and you know it.
This parenting thing is a journey, and we all learn things and our views evolve. My 5 kids (3 of them steps, but I helped raise them) are ages 17-27, and I’ve changed a lot of my views and beliefs from the time I was a 15-year-old pregnant teen to present time, when I can enjoy my adult children and admire the way they are living their lives.
Peace to all!
Hey Mike! You’re misogynistic!
Peace to you though.
Give me a break. I see all these comments like this, where it’s like “here’s my credentials, now let me insult you with more weight since I gave myself the authority to.” Just like “I have 4 phD’s and I was a teen parent so here’s why you’re a jerk!”
Mike, you’re one of the kindest people I know. You are not what all these women are assuming you to be. But you know that. You gotta love the internet, it brings us friends and sometimes way too many opinions.
Amy Collen says:
I agree with Miss!
My left misogynistic pinkie toe is still having some issues though.
I was a teen parent who made it work, but it was HARD!!! My husband and I always say we would love to still have had her (obviously), but just be able to postpone WHEN we had her, lol.
Now I’m 30 years old and HAVE a teenage daughter, and I will do EVERYTHING to educate her on all of the reasons why she NEVER wants to become a teenage parent!
Yes, people can make it work. No, it’s not ideal. Not even close. Not for the parents, and not for the child. It’s just not.
I don’t think you needed to defend your posts at all. As an above commenter said, it’s YOUR blog and your opinion. People who choose to read your blog CHOOSE to read it. No one is forcing them to.
Also, I’ve watched that show and it’s awful (and strangely addicting! lol) and they really do seem to follow the stereotypical loser teen-parents. The thing is, that IS the majority of teen parents. Not trying to be mean here, but I was in a teen mom support group (in a ritzy suburb of LA) and MOST of the “parents” were just like the kids in that show. (Because…they’re just KIDS.)
Becoming a parent as a teenager helped me become the person I am today and happened to change my life for the positive but not without a TON of heartache and hard work and many sacrifices. Yes, it can be done successfully but I would NEVER wish it upon any of my own children.
I for one, see where you are coming from. It seems like you can’t make a strong statement anymore, you have to water it down because you’ll offend SOMEBODY. And you just told it how it is, nothing more.
I think people are over reacting. Statistically teen moms struggle and that’s not your fault for calling it like you see it.
Jeez-Laweez…. I’m sorry YOUR blog was blasted when you simply stated YOUR opionion…
Im a chick – Im not pissed or angry or calling you names. You had a point. And a good one.
This is why I quit blogging. All the over-sensitivity. Mike is being called a misogynist for saying that teen pregnancy should be presented as a bad idea? Mike has had to issue TWO mea culpas on his own blog? I didn’t comment yesterday because I didn’t feel like being the downer voice in a comment thread full of “Well I was a teen mom and my life rocks!!!!” but after hearing about all the crap Mike is taking, I will voice my downerism.
Being a teen mom is a bad idea. I wish I’d done things differently. My own life, as well as my child’s life, would have been a lot brighter, a lot easier, and a lot happier if I had gone to college, if I had waited to marry until I was with the right man, instead of the man who knocked me up. I would have not been in a situation where both he and I discovered we were completely different people at 28 than we were at 18–in his case, the different person was cruel, manipulative and abusive. In mine, the different person was someone who discovered she really should have remained childless, because as much as I love my children, I don’t love being a mother. I should say, I didn’t love it. I like it more now. My kids are 16 and 11, and things are good now, but it was tough when they were little and I was resentful and sad and (surprise, surprise) immature.
All of you “teen pregnancy isn’t always bad, look how well it worked for me!” people ask yourselves this: If your sixteen year old came to you and said “I’m pregnant/My girlfriend’s pregnant,” would you be happy, excited, and thrilled? Or would you be worried, disappointed, and sad?
And one more thing…this is a personal blog. It exists solely for Mike and Heather to voice their personal opinions and feelings. They have absolutely no obligation to alter, water down, or rephrase their personal opinions because it might offend YOU. Get over yourselves.
Well, I was the one who said some of the POSTS are misogynistic- not MIKE. I would first like to point out that I like and respect both Heather and Mike. As far as I can tell, he seems like an excellent, loving father and husband.
I wrote a longer response but it seems to have disappeared. Mike, I think it’s really condescending for you to imply that I don’t understand misogynism. Of course I understand it! I experience it every day!
What you need to understand is that misogynism in society falls upon a spectrum of overt examples to subtle examples. Your comments are examples of subtle misogyny. I don’t think you actively hate women. I think your comments indicate that you’re a product of your society. You probably see nothing wrong with your comments because we live in a male-dominated society in which these attitudes are, unfortunately, acceptable.
I think you would really benefit from doing some personal research on male privilege, sexual double standards and systematic misogyny. Mike, I am disappointed that you are being so dismissive of my comments. It’s like you don’t even care to acknowledge your own privileg
I feel like if you really did like and respect both Mike and Heather, you would have kept such a comment to yourself.
seriously?! you are probably one of those that blames your problems on “society” too. GAG
hi mike! thank you for responding to readers that feel the same way as jamie (including me!). saying that certain comments of yours can come off as a little misogynistic is a heavy thing -but please take it in the most positive, constructive light! i honestly think everyone (including the beloved males in my own life) could take a step back and see how our male-dominated society has affected them and try to be aware of it in their every day decisions and comments. but PLEASE don’t dismiss intelligent statements such as jamie’s -that is not going to help anyone!
also -i feel like i needed to say that to defend jamie and myself but i also wanted to say that this is your own personal blog and you DO NOT need to apologize for what you wrote. none of us are perfect and if you tried to only write stuff that offended no-one you would be boring as hell. so don’t apologize and write on! and consider the haters’ comments -but don’t let them upset you! holla!
I really don’t see what the big deal is over your post. I have the same thought while watching 16 and Pregnant. A lot of those girls seem to come from poor family environments, where the parents are either absent or not involved.
Why can’t we all agree that preventing teen pregnancies should be the goal? Yes, some teenage moms can make it work, but some can’t. When House Republicans vote to defund Title X family planning funds and funds that prevent teenage pregnancy, my blood boils. THAT’s how you’re going to save money???
My sister-in-law had her daughter when she was 17 (she’s the same age as I am). Thankfully, she already had graduated from high school, but I wonder what would have happened had she not? And she’s struggled ever since. She never finished her degree, although she’s working on it now. Her daughter is very much loved, but hasn’t had the same opportunities that our daughter will have.
So people need to lighten up. I’m glad YOU, a teenaged mom and commenter out there, made it work out, but most don’t. Look at the statistics. We should be focusing on sex education, making birth control readily available without the stigmas attached, etc.
I’m with you on this one Mike. Why should they care what you say if their life is so good after having a baby as a teenager. Do they have jobs to care for their baby or do their families end up footing the bill or welfare which we end up footing their bill. They need to shut up, grow up and take responsibility for their night in the back of a car! Tired of paying for the children’s children.
I had a respectful reply to Mike’s last post (I was not calling him sexist or get all bent out of shape) but this comment right here gets to the point of what I think people were trying to say. Please don’t lump every teen mother into one stereotypical group. You did not pay for my child. My parents never cared for my child. Her father and I did that. We both worked hard, and now my husband is a captain in the Army, and I promise you that my family has not been any kind of drain on you; rather the opposite, in fact.
The point is this kind of language and and stereotyping is not helpful AT ALL, nor is always fair.
I didn’t read your original blog and I think we can all agree that getting pregnant as a teenager isn’t necessarily a path of doom in every single person’s case but, I think you were correct, in that in MOST cases, it is.
It is very hard to climb out of that vicious cycle. It makes everything in your life a million times harder than it needs to be and you have the same stress that most parents have only with less coping skills to deal with them.
Stats on your side here, Mike.
I agree wholeheartedly. I thought your post was right on, and I’m right in the middle of it right now… my stepdaughter turned 15 last June and had her son in August. She’s dealing with custody issues, providing for the baby, and trying to go to school. It’s not a great situation. We have 3 more daughters to raise, and having them experience this is not an option.
Count me in with those who feel that you had NO NEED to apologize for stating your opinion. Sure it was nice that you updated/clarified your position, but in the grand scheme of things that should have been totally unnecessary.
I think the people that were offended missed the big picture. As parents we (most of us) would do ANYTHING for our children…no sacrifice too big…we’d lay down & die if necessary. So I’m sure that those who had a baby as a teenager certainly wouldn’t regret the choices they had to make for things to work out and would NEVER regret having the child. HOWEVER…would THEY want their child to become a teen parent? I’m sure they would do whatever it took to support them, but deep-down would that be their desire? Honestly?? So you don’t want Annie to become a teen mom…neither do I! Will you love/support her if she does? I have no doubt.
I love the way you write — I have since I first found your blog about a month after you started it. NEVER have I found you to be “anti-female”…not one little bit! xoxo
Well said, Mike. Well said. I thought you made a very valid point in yesterday’s post, and you continue to do so today.
I generally think teens should stay away from sex, full stop. I live in a country that has one of the highest climbing HIV rates in the world. I work with small children. I have to be careful when they skin their knees, I have to wear gloves, because you never know if one of them is infected – or honestly if you are either. Everyone knows someone with the virus, and unfortunately it’s the younger generation. People aged 16-25 are more commonly infected, and it’s very frequently women. These women get pregnant, have children who, if they’re lucky enough to be born negative, will be 11 years old and supporting a family of younger siblings when their parents die.
People throw sex around too casually these days. For some, it means a drastic life change, for others it’s a death sentence.
You did not say ALL teenage mothers and children are doomed. Just like any other situation in life, there will be exceptions!
However, most teens drop out of school after having their babies. A majority eventually get a job and try to support themselves. They soon find they can’t make enough to pay for childcare, rent and purchase groceries. Especially if they are single parents.
The real kicker is that our government basically gives these young women two choices. The can survive on welfare or they can survive by working in addition to government assistance. When they get to the point where they make a little extra and can breathe easier, the government says they make too much for government assistance and they are back to scraping to make ends meet. The government expects these young women to make ends meet with approximately $18,000 per year.
Teach your children about birth control. Give them the facts. Teenagers are old enough to have sex and handle the facts. A majority of teen moms don’t have a family to support them emotionally let alone financially.
If you are a teen mom who was successful, pull your panties out of the bunch and be proud. But know you are an exception to a pretty awful rule.
Mike I think this is the first time I’ve ever commented on one of your posts. But I felt inclined to inform the readers (and some posters) on how your original perspective was correct….
At 16 I became pregnant by my 21 year old boyfriend. My family was generally low middle class.
I dropped out of high school, moved I to a tiny efficiency apartment got on state help (medical,check and food stamps) I struggled every single day!
I had my first child at the age of 17, got pregnant again at 18 had my 2nd child at 19 then at 20 pregnant again and at 21 had my twin babies and final.
I did go on to get my GED and I tried collage but with a job and a drug addicted husband it became to much!
I ended up constantly moving from house to house, unable to keep paying bills so my electric and water was off more times then It was on.
I was a frequent flyer of food pantries, half the time I never had food on the table!
Being 21 with 4 babies was to hard, I would run out of basics diapers, formula, food etc.
I myself fell into drugs and drinking dropping my kids off with family here and there. Borrowing money all the time.
I became a horrible mother who was struggling and wondering…WHY DIDN’T MY DAD HAVE A SHOTGUN WAITING WHEN I BROUGHT HIM HOME?
18 1/2 years later…..I left my first husband, married a wonderful man who loves my children, I have been drug free now for 8 years!
But I still get assistance medical and food. But my new husband works hard every single day literally at his job. He is on call 24/7 I won’t say what his job is but it’s a good one.
But regardless we still struggle every day. The only comfort I can take out of this is my 4 children have seen this struggle and realize how hard it was and have done better in there life and all have vowed to wait till marriage for even a simple kiss and at the ages of 18 1/2, 17, 15 & 15 they have all so far kept that promise!
So Mike you are correct for a large portion of teen pregnancy it’s horrid, it’s a struggle every single day and you better be cleaning a shotgun the day Annie brings home her first boyfriend or I will personally come to LA (an that idea scares the poot out of me) and kick your tushie lol.
And for the small portion of teen pregnancies that do work out well good for you (them) your a lucky group!
And for me I wish I could do it all over again but this time wait! I had dreams of being a pediatric doctor that flew out the window the day that test came back positive!
Instead of being a doctor I’m a poor mother of 4 so far in debt that I will never get ahead in life. And my health is so poor it’s not funny, I can’t afford basics like dental or getting a checkup.
8 years ago I had a test come back positive for a cancer, and still yet to have a follow up or a treatment because we struggle, recently I got the swine flu and now I have hospital bills outta my ears and can’t do the follow up appointments and struggling with lung issues that was a result of the flu!
Can’t help but think got pregnant young and will most likely pass young!
So lesson teen pregnancy BAD, it is hard and shows like teen mom (that is my guilty pleasure) only show the easier sides of it. My life was nowhere near as good as any of there lives then or now!
Hey Mike I am proud to say my husband and I are a success story. I got preg, married and gave birth all in 79. And we just celebrated our 32nd anniversay. I pray everyone could be so lucky.
A loyal reader!
i’m with the “RELAX, PEOPLE” camp. 16 and pregnant is an awesome trainwreck of a show for a reason.
Seriously, Mike – you shouldn’t have to defend yourself for expressing your own opinions. They are YOUR opinions, and I certainly didn’t take yesterday’s post as a bad thing. They’re your thoughts and I believe that lots of people overreacted.
First, thank you for the definition of misogyny. It didn’t seem the right thing to be labeling you, but I wasn’t certain the actual definition. Second, my husband owns a hearse and frequently says that before any boy can date our girls (currently a month shy of 6 and a month shy of 1) he will have to take a ride with Daddy in the hearse. It is truly a father’s instinct to try to protect their children, especially their little girls. Thank you for your contributions to this blog. I really enjoy reading your posts.
I can see how your wording on this sensitive topic could have offended some people and I commend you for clarifying. I don’t think anyone could argue that teen pregnancy is a difficult situation for everyone involved. My fiance got his high school girlfriend pregnant, and his daughter was born 1 month after he graduated. He has had full custody of his daughter since she was 3 months old, and while it was a hard road, his road has actually turned out pretty well.
I think my frustration is less with your comments, because most of your amended comments were pretty spot on. My frustration is more with the fact that such a show as 16 and Pregnant even exists. I don’t think those tough situations should be on display. I have never seen the show, myself, but I do wish that the positive outcomes would be highlighted more in the media or news.
As many others have said, this being your blog means you can write whatever you think/feel/believe. No one has to like it or agree with it. I personally both like it and agree with it
As the mother of 2 girls, ages 4 and almost-6, I personally hope that neither one finds herself “16 and Pregnant.” Of course, if it does happen, I’ll be supportive and do what I can to help out in whatever way they want/need/request. The fact is that raising kids is hard, no matter what age the parents are–but I think it’s even harder when you’re a younger parent. Not only that, but it is wrong of me to want much more for them than their being teenage mothers?
At the same time, and not to sound hypocritical, but if they come to us/me and say they want to be a mom and nothing more, then it is what it is and we’ll support their decision(s) wholeheartedly. I do, however, know that my husband is of the same mindset that you are: all boys who come over to date/hang out with our girls will be seeing firsthand the contents of dad’s gun safe as he cleans his weaponry
OMG, do I ever know how you feel! I have made big, bold statements like you made (“doomed”) and have had some serious backlash for it. The thing is, people assume ignorance behind it. I am quite sure that you know there are at least some teen parents for whom things did work out (and a few more who will in the future). The point is, those stories are the exception and not the rule. Just because a few teen parents made it work, doesn’t mean we should stop telling teens not to get pregnant! Why on earth would you want to take the risk ? Most do not work out! For the people in that situation though, most of them just don’t want to hear it. They take it too personally and I have found out the hard way that some parents don’t want to hear anything that might make even the slightest assumption they are anything less than a fantastic parent… even if it is useful advice. I have a friend who got divorced last year. She started dating a new guy the same weekend her husband moved out. He moved in with her only 3 or 4 months later. She has 2 kids, 9 and 10 years old. She didn’t want to hear anything like, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? That might not be good for the kids.” She would jump to the defense, “He is a fabulous man and my kids are happy and they love him and I know what’s best for them, etc…” What she ignores is the fact that I, as her friend, can see that the guy is a good guy and they are happy… but still, I wouldn’t recommend taking such a risk with your kids! Even if you feel with every ounce of your being that the relationship will work and the guy is good, there is still the chance that it might end, the kids might get hurt, or he might bring something hurtful into their lives. Even if it’s a very slight chance… why take the risk?? You’re not a misogynist or a jerk or completely… you were just making a relevant observation. I get it. Others here get it. I will definitely tell my children in the most thoughtful way I can, that teenage pregnancy is not an option! And if it happens, I will support them through it. Big “IF” there!
I was a teen mom (17). I don’t take offense to what you were saying, and as a mom of a daughter (the result of my teenage pregnancy), I also understand your wanting to protect her from having to walk that hard road. It is NOT easy, married, teen, or otherwise. Those teen moms who say they had no choice have forgotten that they DO have a choice: adoption. Nobody is forcing them to raise their child.
The choice to raise the baby isn’t an easy one, and is one where, oftentimes, the implications of the choice can be difficult to understand at such a young age.
I made it work, but if I could have waited I would have. I could have provided a MUCH DIFFERENT childhood beginning for my daughter than the one she had. My son (born when I was 23) has had a completely different start in life, and my daughter has witnessed this first hand.
The biggest challenge I faced didn’t come when my daughter was a wee baby, or even a toddler; it came when I realized I hadn’t even figured out who *I* was and here I was in the position where I had to help HER figure it out for herself, how to teach her right from wrong, social skills, the value of a dollar, manners, etc., when I had only just begun to figure out my own place in this world. What others thought of me was the *last* thing on my mind (as it should have been).
I worry each and every day if I should have done something different than what I did, but I learned from my mistakes and changed who I was and what kind of a mother I am because of them. But, although I survived and have a healthy, well-adjusted almost-teen daughter myself, I never, ever, ever, ever want her to take the same path I did. As a mother, I wish for her to be able to live independently for a few years after high school, find out who she is, and be able to enter into parenthood through careful consideration and making the choice BEFORE she gets pregnant. I want her to be 100% positive that this is what she wants without it being thrust at her unexpectedly.
Thank you for highlighting this very sensitive and provocative subject and for having the courage to stand up for your own viewpoints. The world needs less “celebrity teen moms” and more sound voices of reason.
What a silly post to need to defend. As parents I think it our dream that our children get to grow up and enjoy prom, graduation, college, a wedding…you know the fairytale stuff without having to worry about getting a babysitter to go to prom. Swinging by the grocery store to buy diapers on the way to graduation or GED test and getting married and then having a baby! Can anyone do it and be successful, heck ya but would it be sad if a parent didn’t have high hopes for their children? I know it may seem selfish but I want my daughter to be able to travel and see the world without the worries of who is watching her child or can she even afford to do it because she had a child before she was ready. I did not take yesterdays post as you poo-pooing anyone who has done it, successful or not but a nod to the fact that THIS is what is on tv today, remember when married couples couldn’t even sleep in the same bed on tv? I think we are more accepting of so many things because we see it on tv and that doesn’t make it right. CHeers to those who have made it work! But I want better for my own children!
I think people should’ve given you the benefit of the doubt–you haven’t really come off as a bad guy at all (IMO), and I thought that while the wording of your message was kind of generalizing, you were just talking casually, the way one would in conversation in person with someone else.
And once again, that’s the problem of the internet; they can’t hear the tone of voice, have you instantly clarify what you mean in just a few words, etc.
I think people need to take that into consideration; that we sometimes write the way we talk, and that can cause some misunderstandings sometimes, so take a moment before you criticize Mike harshly.
Anywho. I’m the person who discouraged the whole ‘shotgun to the door’ idea for any future boyfriends; my father never had that kind of attitude toward the people my siblings dated, ever. It wouldn’t have done any good if he had, they would have just snuck around behind his back. He was there for them if they needed him, but otherwise, he let them make their own choices. I’m glad he did that, because I’m more open with him than I would have been if he had word his protective-fatherly-instinct on his sleeve all the time.
*worn his instinct on his sleeve, rather Argh. Spelling.
Trisha Vargas says:
You can’t please everyone Mike.
I am a living example of a teen mom making it. I had my first daughter at 16 and my second at 17. I have what I’d like to consider a successful life now. I have a husband, a career, two more daughters and a lot of happiness. Parenting is never easy, but I think had I had all those things before becoming a mother, it might have all flowed along a less bumpy road.
I don’t like my older girls watching Teen Mom and Pregnant & 16 because of the sensationalism the show makes of teen pregnancy. I am honest with my girls about how hard it was and still is to be a mom, and I encourage them at 15 and almost 17 to wait to have sex. Knowing that abstinence is not realistic for most teens and having not practiced it myself, I also power them with the knowledge of protection. I do not want the same for my girls as I had and I don’t think there’s any shame in that. It was hard to be that girl and I want to protect them at any cost from going through it. I totally get it.
You spoke your mind and opinion yesterday on your blog, totally cool by me. The oozing negativity and insults on both you and Heather’s blog entries the past couple days really blows my mind. Not everyone is going to always share the same opinion as you guys, but really is name calling and all the crappiness really needed? Makes me shake my head.
I agree with Lisa…Calm down people…Jeez!!! I also got pregnant at 16, had my child at 17 and read Mike’s blog yesterday. I was not offended at all. It is what it is people!! Very hard to have a baby, finish school, get a job, take care of the child etc. when you are young. Unless you have family to help you, it is nearly impossible to have a healthy lifestyle. I am now 47 and my child is (oh man this is hard to say) almost 30 years old…whew…got that out! I have loved this child since the day he was born and could not fanthom not having him in my life. Did I do everything that I dreamed of before I was pregnant…No, it was not possible but I made the decision that I did and I survived. One more note, When my son was born, my parents made it perfectly clear…This is your child, you will take care of him. Sure, they helped when they could but they had jobs and lives too so mostly it was up to me. If more parents would say to their children….This is YOUR child, YOU will be the one responsible for this child I think things would be different. So many babies having babies and parents taking over the parenting so that the child can go back to being a “teenager” again…HUGE MISTAKE!! Be accountable for your actions! Ok…I am getting off my soap box, just wanted to let you know what was on my mind… And Mike….great job!!
kati butler says:
totally agree Mike yes there are few exceptions when & if there is a strong support system in place. Sadly there are girls now becoming pregnant in an effort to make it onto the show..with little thought to what comes after.
Add me to the list of people who think it’s ridiculous that you have to try and defend a very valid, completely UNmisogynistic opinion. My best friend is pregnant for the first time at 27 and SHE’s freaking out – excited, yes, but also scared. Teens are generally not equipped to handle something that life-changing. Some handle it admirably, and I’m not trying to take anything away from their successes/ accomplishments. That’s why it’s called a generalization. People need to relax. I think most people, even those with success stories, would agree that teen pregnancy is never ideal. There is simply no way I was mature enough at that age to be responsible for a baby. I don’t find it difficult to admit that.
There are some teenage parents that do go out and triumph, but let’s be realistic the percentage is very low and a lot of the times those that do is because they had some help. If they were fortunate then good for them, but most of the time that’s not the case.
People get offended like getting pregnant at an early age is something to be proud of, it’s not and this show 16 and Pregnant is just glorifying this fact.
You can’t make everyone happy, Mike. I think the original post was great. It’s your blog and you have the right to state your opinions. Maybe some people didn’t get that a few of those comments were SUPPOSE to be a bit off-base (I don’t want to say light-hearted, but I saw where you were going with it). Teen pregnancy is extremely common in my family. In fact, I am the only one on my mother’s side that hasn’t gotten pregnant by the time they’re 19. I’m now 25, engaged and put myself through college and graduate school for Psychology and Marketing (a few more firsts for my family). And many are or have been on assistance at some point. My mom has been married several times and I’ve lived in a handful of different states and gone to almost a dozen different schools. It’s truly fantastic that some of the commenters have had their personal situation turn out well – it’s great to hear from women who have overcome the hardships of teenage pregnancy – my mother is one of them. But the only one that I know personally. I think it’s important to remember that teenage pregnancies which do not result in additional hardship are the minority in respect to teen pregnancy statistics. While people may know several others who have had a positive outcome, it doesn’t mean that teenage pregnancy turned out as well for the majority of others, or that it wasn’t much harder to get there had teenage pregnancy not been involved. So I think you were spot on with the overall theme of the post – that teenage pregnancy is hard and will not be encouraged in your home. I doubt anyone would want to encourage that.
Although I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, I’ve never commented until now. I don’t think there should be as much backlash as there was. I think there was some misunderstandings due to word choice. It happens. Life goes on. I’ll continue reading. And I think the majority (<—read, majority lol) of readers who saw your follow ups and apologies will understand. Kudos. But it did spur some interesting comments – it's always nice to hear about women who have done so well for themselves. Kudos to you ladies as well!
Chantel @knowmeloveme says:
Mike you have no reason to explain yourself. I didn’t take offense at your post(s) at all. I had my son when I was 20 and my daughter when I was 25. It was incredibly hard at 20 with an baby. I’m in a great relationship, have a good job, my kids are healthy and happy. 13 years later I barely remember the struggle.
My issue with 16 and Pregnant is that the show glamorizes teen pregnancy. While the girls have different levels of family support, support from the father, a good head on their shoulders etc… the media turns them into celebrities! These teenagers shouldn’t be on the cover of US Weekly magazine! Girls are getting pregnant in hopes of being on the show now! They want the fame.
Having a child at any age is hard as hell. Having a child while you are still one yourself? Been there, done that! Don’t recommend it.
I agree… The one episode I watched did not glamorize the teen mom and her situation at ALL. It was downright depressing and sad to see a 16 year old girl be in such a situation (no support, baby to raise, still a child herself). However in the grocery stores I see front pages of magazines promoting these women and their trials. Celebrities?
On the bright side, watching that one episode with my girls did wonders in opening up communication of WHY I hoped they never became pregnant young and before they were ready for them.
Will I watch it again? No.
Tabitha Cobb says:
Good for you, Mike. We all have strong opinions on things and are often too afraid of this kind of judgment to speak out about them. So many teenage girls do get pregnant and find it really hard to handle. Yes, there are the rare exceptions who are able to make the best of the situation and I say they should all be thankful that they didn’t have it any harder. Being a parent at any age is tough and I applaud you for wanting to give Annie the best options for her future that she could possibly have. I have more respect for a dad with a shotgun than one who doesn’t know what his kids are out there doing!
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
I agree with Mike’s post and feel no apology was needed. Teen pregnancy=children having children. Period. I doubt that anyone can say that having a baby at 15 or 16 is ideal. So why defend it? Why be “insulted” if it is spoken out against? I mean, come on…if it wasn’t such a taboo subject, it wouldn’t have been made into a tv reality show.
Of course there are success stories. Of course there are a few who have made it work. Of course babies are beautiful gifts. Of course. But that doesn’t make the situation IDEAL or even RIGHT for that matter. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of married men and women who TRY to start families. Most of the teen pregnancies that occur are NOT planned. Why? Because it’s not an ideal situation. They are not READY to be parents when they are still in SCHOOL and living at home with their own parents.
To those who got offended by Mike’s post…now that you are parents and have a child of your own….would you encourage YOUR child to get pregnant and become a parent as a teenager? If you answered NO, then why would you be so upset at Mike’s post?
I agree with the people that say you didn’t need to apologize. It really was just a silly post with nothing in it that intended to offend anyone. People are overreacting.
And I agree. Teen moms can work hard and some make it work and are successful. Doesn’t mean it was easy and it doesn’t mean that we need to advertise those success stories to teenagers. They need to know about the hardships and the difficult times and about the ones that DON’T make it. At least before they get pregnant. If they do it anyway, then we can tell them how to succeed.
They need to be scared straight!
I thought it was a great post Mike and when I was reading it, I thought of my husbands anthem when it comes to our little girl. I’m sure he will be doing this exact same thing when some guy comes to pick her up on any date until she’s well into her 30’s
My husbands anthem……..Rodney Atkins Just Cleaning My Gun
How do I approach this without ticking someone off…First and foremost I was not offended AT ALL…Teen pregnancy is a growing problem. These girls have no clue what they are getting themselves into. Yes they can have a good life…it will be rough..but they can reach all their goals and be very successful. I am proof of that. I got pregnant at 18, and had my son 2 months after I turned 19. My son’s father was never around and my mother passed away when my son was 1. So I had NO HELP. But I managed just fine. Would I recommend it, um no. Is this the way I thought my life would be, no, but I made the best of it and did the best I could for my son.
I have a lot of respect for Mike and Heather both, and I don’t think Mike was trying to offend anyone, nor do I think Heather would let him.
Woah, people need to chill. In my experience, you don’t get crazy defensive if you have nothing to be defensive about…. I had my first daughter at 18. I married her father. It didn’t work out. Suprise, surprise. I am now remarried and have two more daughters and life is great. But just because it worked out doesn’t mean it was ideal. It was hard. It still is hard, now that I’m back in school working towards a teaching degree. If I could have finished school and grown up a little first and then my daughter, would I choose that path? Of course, I don’t know anyone that would say otherwise. And, as a former teen mom, I must say, stereotypes are usually stereotypes for a reason… I know a lot of crappy teen moms, teens just aren’t meant to be mothers.
Sorry this is going to be a long post but I have to tell y’all how much I agree and how I find it ridiculous that you have to defend yourself Mike, people need to drop their pitch forks and be quiet for a hot minute. I will admit that when I first read the post I found myself a little on both sides for several reasons and decided not to comment because I felt it wouldn’t be clear but seeing how everyone has thrown their opinions out there I wanna say mine, starting with the fact that I come from a teenage pregnancy family and in some ways it worked out amazingly, my parents developed a successful business with one another but grew to hate each other in the process, they married because “he was a good catholic boy,” and it was the wrong decision. Although through it I came into this world, I wish that it hadn’t happened to them sometimes and their story is one that affected me and made me choose not to put myself in the position to be a teenage mom, something I will always be glad of (and yes, I realize that not everyone had that choice or accidents happen but I still stand by my choices and feelings regarding it.)
Now I know many teenage moms like my family members where everything went horribly, they didn’t know the dad, didn’t finish school and are barely able to make it. Things like that sadden me but that is the choice she made and they are living with it everyday. But some are like sorority sister, Danielle and many of the readers here. Danielle, who became pregnant at 16 and still graduated high school with a 4.0, was cheerleading captain, class president, yearbook editor and joined a sorority and became the chapter president…all with a beautiful, loved and healthy toddler who now has 85 mothers from her sisters. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but Mike, YOU are entitled to say whatever you want, it’s y’alls blog – and anyone who throws the major fits (i.e. Tara and the others who quit subscribing) are clearly too sensitive to handle anything out here on the internet and just need to crawl back into their caves and chill out until their feelings aren’t hurt anymore.
Hmmn, I didn’t read yesterday’s blog though I will be sure to now after I get home from work. My personal experience with this topic, however, is my best friend who, at the age of 17, purposefully got pregnant to save her relationship with an abusive man 7 years older than her. She experienced a terrible pregnancy, wound up with kidney issues and her son was born three-months premature. This poor health on her part had a lot to do with her being forced to hold down two jobs whilst pregnant, being emotionally and physically abused and inadequate nutrition.
(I should point out that the severity of this was not evident until much later when she finally opened up. She had moved away and I didn’t have face-to-face contact with her for months so couldn’t see what was going on. Many regrets.)
At any rate, that awful relationship lasted until the boy was two years old, during which he had also been subjected to mistreatment by his father, (such as holding his head under water to stop him crying), and to this day he is understandably terrified of water and refuses to go near it. She then bounced around for a while from hard situation to hard situation and has even lost another child due to poor health and non-conducive living arrangements. She always battled through, always worked when she could and always made sure her son had food, clothes and toys and plenty of love but she did it rough.
My friend is 33 years old now, her son is 16. She has since taken herself back to school, become an enrolled nurse, bought a block of land and built a lovely house for the two of them. Her son is well-adjusted, bright and happy. She made it work and she, of course, wouldn’t trade him for the world. That doesn’t detract from the hell she had to go through to get there and even though it’s an absolute credit to both of them that they made it to the other side triumphant, there were so many times through those 16 years where it could have gone the other way. She herself is now very open with him about teen pregnancy and is taking great pains to educate him so that he won’t have to tread the same path, not because she doesn’t cherish him but because, as his mother, she never wants him to have to suffer the sheer amount of treacherous risks she had to in order to get them to safety.
All I’m saying is Annie is getting an IUD as soon as she gets her period.
Amanda M. says:
I was not expecting that–now there’s water spittle all down my front. Ha!
Good for you. I can’t even convince my sixteen-year-old sister to take any birth control because all of her friends (several of which have kids) keep telling her it’ll make her fat!
people in my office are trying to figure out who just snorted! That’s cute
I freaking love you, Heather Spohr!
And Mike, I loved your post and thought it was spot on. I am 22 with a college degree and a fiancé and I realize that if I were to get pregnant at this moment in time, it would not be an ideal situation…I am just not ready for that! If I’m not, then a 15 yr old girl in high school is DEFINITELY not!
Although… the pictures of Annie and Maddie make my biological clock go crazy! (But then I hear screaming children at Target and want to tie my own tubes, so it all evens out.)
I’m pretty sure that’s SUBTLE misogyny. Right?
Mama Bub says:
I took yesterday’s post in the spirit in which it was written: While teen parents can go on to live happy, successful, fulfilled lives, teen pregnancy is something we should do our VERY FREAKING BEST to prevent. The end.
Amanda M. says:
The way people have responded to your post was ridiculous. “I had a kid at sixteen and things are great now therefore you are a jerk!” Way to miss the point.
Good for you for sticking up for yourself, Mike. The idea that someone can jump down your throat for saying having kids while you’re still a kid isn’t a good idea and say “you need to think before you speak” in the same breath should really take their own advice.
I was a teen mom and I am totally NOT offended by your post! Looking back, would I ever choose to do again…heck NO! It was one of the most difficult things ever to happen in my life. The relationship didn’t last…my kids got shuffled from parent to parent. School was hard (but I finished college by age 22!). For several years, the jobs didn’t provide enough money to pay the bills. There was nothing glorious about it. I do love my children very, very much. They truly are my life. I just wish I could have made better choices to spare them the hardships that MY decisions caused our family. Teen pregnancy sucks!! You tell ’em Mike!
No matter how well it turns out, NO ONE in 2011 should have a baby at 16. period. There is no defensible position otherwise, I am sorry. Yes, people can grow and learn and struggle and fight and in the end make it all just fine. My very own family had a pregnancy at 15. Things worked out , but it still should not have happened.
Didn’t read the original post or any of the comments, but wanted to chime in that I had my daughter when I was 22 and single. I was 6 years older than the age frame you referenced and will be the first to admit things haven’t been ideal. I think trying to define if someone is successful as a parent at any age would be impossible to do though. Kids have the same basic needs, but each child has different strengths and weaknesses. If you applied the same set of parenting ideologies to my daughter that you do to yours, you’d probably miss something important. Or, if (hypothetically) you and your wife were to fight in front of your child all the time, who’s to say your child wouldn’t be better off with a 16 year old who may not be in a volatile relationship (and I’m in no way implying that…just using an example. You’re great parents). I do agree though that there are serious disadvantages to having kids when you’re so young or single (or both) and I’m sure the kids in the program you referenced aren’t the most stellar examples.
I think people were offended for a few reasons.
1. You assumed all teen pregnancies end in a bad situation.
2. You based your opinions off of a TV show that runs once a week for 60 minutes.
3. You’re not a woman
4. You’re not usually one to write about controversial subjects.
Did it offend me? Not really, but I’m not easily offended. I did feel initially it was a pretty blanket statement, but whatever. And I don’t think you should let the comments get your down or under your skin like a lot of tell Heather. This is YOUR blog and you have the right to write about any topic you choose to.
Oh Geez! Get over it people. I say its your blog and you can say what you want without apology! I have a quote I live by, by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I know for a fact that anyone who has gone through this would not CHOOSE it again knowing what they now know, nor would they choose it for their children – at least if they are in their right mind they would not. Please don’t mask your true feelings for people who disagree, this is what makes you – you. Don’t apologize for being you. Take care!
saying that being a teen parent is difficult and not ideal is NOT the same thing as saying a teen can’t be a good parent, or have a happy child, or a happy life.
the vast majority of people that have taken issue with your post seem to have missed that.
let’s face it… parenting requires a huge sacrifice of time and freedom. it’s a HUGE responsibility for anyone of any age. the vast majority of teenagers are just getting a taste of independence… working first jobs… driving… dating… etc. it’s exciting to have those freedoms, and the teen that says they don’t want to go out with their friends, drive their cars, date, etc., but would rather juggle school, a job that pays enough to diaper/feed/house a baby, and then come home to try to find time to share love, milestones, and the major blessings of parenthood while juggling laundry, feedings, bathing, diaper changes, etc., not to mention the emotional stress that comes from teen relationship where you just got to start sharing your freedom and now are ambushed with responsibilities, sleeplessness, financial stress, etc? if people can’t see how that is not ideal, or think that is an easy road, they come from a far different reality from mine.
i think parents want their children to be safe and be happy & to enjoy the new freedoms that they achieve in young adulthood. to spread their wings and learn how to fly with it and have fun. then, when they have the hang of it and have had a chance to get past primary schooling, into the workforce, and make stable foundations… THEN have kids. doesn’t mean there are no other possible ways to be a good parent and raise a good child at all. just means you get to enjoy your new found freedoms first.
As far as I could tell, the original post started with the perspective Mike and Heather got from watching 16 and pregnant and it was a comment on what always inevitably happened with those couples. I am not a teen mom and thank goodness I wasn’t, because I’m going to venture out and say that few teenagers are cut out to be parents. For those who did make it work, I’m happy for you because I can’t imagine how hard it must have been, but for each of the success stories there are a hundred more stories of heartbreak and failure. Teenagers don’t have the mental capacity to fully understand the consequences of their actions and multiple studies into brain development has shown that reasoning ability only fully develops as the brain matures, around age 21. How can anyone expect someone whose brain isn’t even mature enough to realize the impact big decisions will have on their lives to successfully parent a child? In my own family there are so many teenagers who fell pregnant and none of them have success stories, which is why I made my statement earlier. YOU may have a success story, which is why you are here, on the internet, reading blogs and commenting. Even throwing around words like misogynistic and male privilege. But can you think beyond your own scope of life and realize that there are thousands and thousands of teens who don’t make it as parents? And can you put on your big girl panties and start taking responsibility for societal problems instead of always jumping back to the old scape coats? Someday, everyone will have to wake up and realize that society is what we make it today. Always blaming men and the weather for what’s wrong isn’t going to fly forever.
I will admit I haven’t read every one of the comments, so hopefully this is not redundant. I completely agree with your assessment of teen pregnancy, and also that of course there are some who have turned it into a positive situation … but what I want to say is in response to the father-with-a-shotgun scenario.
I am parent of two now-adult daughters. Our older is 29 years old, a high school teacher, and the married mother of two (one ages 3 yrs and the other 7months). Our younger daughter is 25 years old, working as a paralegal and in a committed long-term relationship, no children yet.
I believe one of the most important things my husband and I did for our girls was to talk about teen pregnancy … very early on. Also the value of education, a committed partner, and financial stability as prerequisites to parenthood. We were very open about the difficulties some of our daughters’ friends faced who were children of very young and single moms. And about how much the moms had given up in the way of freedom and educational opportunities when they became mothers in their teens. We did not make judgments on their moral choices, but rather acknowledged what life was like for them, versus what our daughters said they wanted for themselves … all the way from early days when they wanted to be ballerinas or even fairy princesses through their adolescence and young adulthood, as their goals changed to more mature ideals.
(Of course we also talked about self respect and choices and lots of other good stuff, too.)
We didn’t really ever have to have dad-with-a-shotgun — the girls were pretty protective of themselves. I have always felt a little weird about the dad and shotgun scenario — what does that say about a young woman’s ability to take care of herself?
Better, I think, to arm your daughter with her own “shotgun” — in the form of self confidence and lots of information!
Being a teen mom is challenging. The most challenging part for me was not having any friends who could relate to what I was going through and not having much of a support system. Now that I am 28 and pregnant, I have much more support.
I totally agree that this is Heather and Mike’s blog and thus THEIR opinion and what they say doesn’t have to be something you totally agree 100% with, but also it doesn’t need to be something you get all high up on your soapbox and wave your “shame on you” finger at them either.
I took zero offense to the post and while I was not a teen mom (I had my oldest when I was 23 and had been married for 2yrs) I was still scared to death at what I was doing. I remember myself at 16 and hubby at 18 as a matter of fact cause we were together and we were NO way ready to have a baby.
Even though I was not a teen mom I very well could have been, what I see is a vicious cycle- teen mom has baby and when she is a teen she has a baby-why I know this isn’t the case for everyone you will see it happens alot. My mom was a teen mom, my older sister (the one she had young) was a teen mom and then her daughter also was a teen mom. when my sister got pregnant my mom took me to get on BC which is the main reason I didn’t end up 16 and pregnant!
oh and Mike you totally show up at your door with a gun when a guy comes to pick her up. hubby says you just got to scare the first couple and get the word out that Annie’s dad is a whack job and he will straight up shoot you if you hurt her and all will be good. he also says he’s not afraid to carry one off into the woods and show him a big hole he has predug
Reading your first updated post, and this one made me groan. Why? Because of the overreaction of the offended commenters. I feel like I completely understood where you were coming from and your heart. I think sometimes people are quick to look for offense, and malice when there isn’t any. I heard a news report on teenagers that were TRYING to get pregnant just so they could get on that show. A few family members got pregnant when they were young teens intentionally because it was “cool”. There children have basically been left for grandma to raise, and are used as the “cute accessory”. One infact signed over parental rights to the baby daddy because it was “too hard” and she wanted to “still be able to party”. Thankfully the baby daddy is responsible and is taking good care of their son. Being a parent is rewarding beyond measure, but it’s also the HARDEST job there is. I think lack of education leads to teen pregnancy and the belief that it’s easy. Truth is, it’s not! Completely agree with your posts Mike. Both of them. I was pickin’ up what you were layin’ down from the get-go. I think avid readers of this blog would know your heart, and get it as well.
Totally agree with this.
Shelli Genris says:
Mike and Heather,
First of all, I have cried for you over the loss of Maddie (I have my own Madi(son) who is turning 11 today. I want to comment on teen pregnancy, I am the product of teen pregnancy, and it is glamorized. First of all I was born in 1969, things are so much easier now than they were for my mom. Society has accepted teen pregnancy, my mom was kicked out of school. Now we allow young women to take their babies to school. My life as a result of teen parents had its ups and downs, my parent tried to make things work but it didn’t and since they were young and my dad couldn’t handle the pressure that being a teen parent brings on I learned what an alcoholic is, I learned what adultery was, I also learned many great lessons in life but maybe had all of this pressure not been on my parents one of them wouldn’t have faulted on their vows. I was also taught that commitment is only out of convience, my parents separated over and over again and even after they divorced got back together to fail again. Leaving my sister and I confused over and over again. Neither one of us had the understanding of how marriages really work. I married out of high school to a man who was 6 years older and cheated on me more than 20 times and I would still be with him and putting up with it had he not gotten someone younger than me pregnant. My life has been tough, we had hot dogs or beans everynight. My dad couldn’t hold down a job to help my mom after they divorced. There were not government programs back then, you got married and you had to pay bills and make it work, as your parents were not going to raise your baby for you. I did remarry and have 4 kids, 19, 16, 15 and 11 and my husband is also from young parents and their marriage also failed and he saw more than me, his did beat his mom and they did drugs in front of him. He moved 17 times in 18 years. So Mike, I applaud you for taking your stand as you are right in so many ways. I am sure that their are many success stories but none in my family or my husbands.
I love reading about your family and will continue to do so…..
Love from Texas
As a teen mom I agree with what Mike said in his original post. It is hard no matter what. As a teenager you should not have to be working your ass off to raise and support a baby. That being said, I would never change anything about my life. I wouldn’t want to have had a child at a later age because if that would have been the case my daughter wouldn’t be who she is and that is not something I can say that I would have wanted.
I just wanted to say I agree with what you wrote. I can’t imagine having a baby at 16. I was 25 when I had my daughter and that was hard enough. I can’t imagine trying to finish high school and then attend college. It seems impossible, but it does happens. My cousin got pregnant at 14 (yes, you read that right) and was mature enough to realize that she could not handle the responsibilites of a child. So, she made a couples dream come true by giving them the best gift ever- a baby girl. There is a happy ending to this story, the little girl is happy, spoiled rotten and couldn’t hav better, more loving or appreciative parents. My cousin is now in college and on the honor roll. It’s an open adoption she gets to see the little girl all the time & they have a very special relationship (obviously). I know these stories are probably few & far between, but I wanted to share a good one.
Oh- and 16 & Pregnant/Teen Mom is my guilty pleasure….although my husband hates watching it with me because it is SO white trash. lol…….
I truly enjoy reading your posts just as much as Heather’s. Please don’t stop.
There is NOTHING wrong with what you wrote. It’s the truth. Raising a child is hard. Period. Raising one while YOU are a child yourself makes it even harder. Impossible? No. But, hard nonetheless.
Don’t let this get you down. It’s lame that people (even all these teen moms on here) can’t just admit that you’re right. It’s very simple.
Jill (mrschaos) says:
I guess I was lucky that I was 19 and pregnant because your post didn’t offend me at all.
I have never watched that show, but I don’t think it is any accident that MTV seems to portray more train-wrecks than not. Batshit crazy sells.
No, of course not all teenage pregnancies are like what is shown on TV. My husband and I have been married for 13+ years and our 13 year old daughter and her 8 year old sister are such blessings in my life. No way around that.
But not everyone experiences or sees the same outcome. I don’t blame you for not wanting that for Annie. Life’s hard enough.
I understand being offended by this. It’s not because you’re not allowed to have an opinion, but because it really comes across as a half-considered opinion. There are, believe it or not, benefits to having babies very young. Sure the downsides are huge, but to only focus on them leaves the people who have done an amazing job with their kids feeling like the downsides are all people see.
I also think that the commenters who are complaining about people expressing their negative opinion of your opinion are being a little silly. Either opinions are sacrosanct or they aren’t. (They aren’t)
I’m sorry, Mike, but it’s your blog. Say what you want to say. And people can get pissed off about it if they want, but really, you’ve got a good point. The statistics are behind you. And there are TONS of parents out there who had their children while they were young, and they are doing a fabulous job.
But I’m 32 and sometime miss the life I had before kids, when I could travel without worrying about having a kid in tow, or enough diapers, or naptimes, or all the things that come with having kids. And I LOVE my kids, they’re the light of my life. But come ON, people.
Misogynist…haha, heehee, haha…gasp…hahahahaha. My parents divorced when I was fourteen, and I decided to live with my father, who had…let’s say “Issues”. I was treated to a daily litany on how women were horrible, cheating, lying bitches, couldn’t be trusted, no-good whores…I think you get the picture. I did read the commentor who tried to qualify why she called you that, but really, come on. Mike, Heather wouldn’t be with you if you were anything close to being a misogynist.
As for the rest, I got pregnant at twenty, it was planned, I was stupid. I have had many loooong discussions with my now seventeen year old regarding birth control, both to prevent pregnancies, and to prevent STD’s, starting from the first time she questioned sex and what it was. Educate, educate, educate!
Another alternative to the shotgun, daughter’s boyfriend had to take step-dad on a date first, just to prove that he knew how to behave. Mostly, the thought process was, if he really liked our daughter, then he’d do whatever was required to be able to go out with her, if not, then he wasn’t worthy.
I have to admit, although I would never comment negatively on someone’s blog – I read the post, and have to admit, I was a bit offended. I’m 32 now, happily married to my high school sweetheart – 3 kids, a farmhouse near Boston, college – educated…ect….but..I was a teen mom at 17. We worked hard, and never received any help, other than love and acceptance from our families. There are many, many successful former teen moms out there – we just don’t act crazy enough to get our own reality show. As many others commented, the stereotyping I received was the hardest thing I had to deal with. I greatly appreciate your apology!
One more thing – one of the most frustrating comments I have ever heard is, “Don’t you think life would have been easier if you waited?” I cannot imagine asking a 42 year old women, “Don’t you think life would have been easier if you had children earlier?” It’s a personal, offensive question. Children are a gift, and I would not change one second of my life – I truly believe everything happens for a reason!
Anyways, that’s my two cents…
Thanks for the follow-up post. I think the first was written thoughtlessly, if innocently, and this goes a long way towards moving everyone along to a more civil discussion. Teen pregnancy often doesn’t end in disaster or ruin. Mm, think Barack Obama. Obviously it makes life harder, but it makes some people work harder than they would have otherwise. In the end a majority of people have the same feeling on this–postpone the family for another decade–and hopefully that means a lot more frank discussions and proper education for teens.
As the daughter of a once-teenage mom, I think there’s some truth and some un-truth to your post. I have always stayed away from reality shows about pregnant teens, but I assume they are really sticking to the script and, like any other reality show, relying on heavy editing to tell a story.
My experience and my mother’s experience was not like the stereotype in some ways, and just like you mentioned in others. My parents stayed together, through thick and thin, until my dad passed away. They never pawned us off or mooched off our family– we were poor but I had a happy childhood for the most part and had no idea. My mom eventually went back to school and picked up her GED, which eventually led her to a decent career. That said, she didn’t want to end up an office manager at an accounting firm when she was 17, she wanted to go to art school, and her pregnancy prevented her from realizing her dream and amazing talent– though she did get to raise three daughters, attend all of their college graduations, and see one (myself, the one that held her back) turn into a successful working artist. I really respect the choice that she made back then, and even though I’m a product of it, I’m not sure I would have gone down the same road. She missed out on a lot, and while I’m grateful for her love and she (contrary to popular opinion and stereotypes) was a wonderful and loving mom from the beginning– I do feel bad for the things she (and my dad) had to give up. My dad ended up sowing his wild oats on and off throughout our childhood, but my mom was a rock through and through. I admire her so much, and I’m grateful for all of the things she gave up in order to bring me into the world and make a family at such a young age. I think the outcomes in teen pregnancy has a lot to do with the teenagers parents– what they know and are coming from.
I don’t even know what you said. However, you should know that most (about 90%) teenage mothers live the rest of their lives in poverty. Not because they don’t love their children, but because most do have a support system to help them get their education. Those girls love their children, and will kill for them. I know you agree with that.
But it is an unfortunate reality that most teenage mothers do not become successful business owners, they are working 3 jobs just to keep the lights on.
(And for all the haters…. I worked for the Dept. of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement. I’ve seen it first hand.)
You can’t please everyone, and opinions are like a-holes, everyone has one… and they all stink.
Mike, you are DA BOMB! Anyone who read your post and took offense needs to lighten up. 16 and Pregnant glorifies teen pregnancy. And giving those parents TV interviews and magazine covers only makes it worse. THOSE were the teens you were obviously talking about. There have been several posts on here from teen moms who were 18 when they had their babies. Eighteen is a FAR cry from 15. I work in OB as an RN and I have seen so many teen moms. Very few have had an ideal situation. Most are emotionally immature, financially unstable, and don’t even know where to start to look for assistance. It’s very sad for everyone involved. Statistically these babies are at higher risk for childhood obesity, poor health care, and abuse only from lack of parental knowledge. There are always exceptions to everything. I have a friend myself who had 29 week twins when she was 16. Her mother was an alcoholic and divorced from her father. She actually finished school and went to college and she is very successful. Her twins are now 18 and she fought every day of their high school years to keep them from having to take the hard road she took. She never called them a mistake, but she knows that her outcome is not the norm. Keep writing. PEOPLE, CHILL OUT!!
I know this is so last week, but I meant to comment on this when you posted it, and time just got in the way.
Anyway, Mike, I totally don’t think anything you said was out of line. You apologized for some of your comments, but again, your thoughts are your own, and you shouldn’t have to apologize for that.
The problem with these shows, like 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom, is that they are, in a way, glamorizing teenage pregnancy and motherhood. Like you said, every single episode is kind of the same. Girl has a boyfriend, gets pregnant, lives in this delusional world that her asshole boyfriend (and I know that not all of them were assholes, either, some were good hearted and had every intention of accepting their consequences) would all of a sudden come around and man up. And when it didn’t happen, they were disappointed and now living with a baby that they didn’t plan for, and realizing that they weren’t just some cute accessory, but actually work.
And yet, teenagers are watching this show, and thinking that having a baby is a good idea. Or worse they think that being on a reality show about teenage pregnancy is a good idea. MTV is doing nothing to foster the idea that teenage pregnancy is not a wise choice. Then you see these kids in the tabloids for bad parenting. I’m sorry, but at 16, you’re not only still a kid, but largely selfish.
Take that time to grow, learn about yourself, and for god’s sake, sleep in!
This recent article reminded me of your post…don’t feel bad!