This week, we replaced the 16 and Pregnant graphic with this one, from No Teen Shame, a movement led by young mothers, dedicated to moving the conversation around young parenting away from shame and stigma. You can follow them on Twitter .
This episode of 16 and Pregnant is about Millina, who’s from Harrison Township, Michigan (near Detroit). You can watch the whole episode here.
Chanel: Okay, that bear heartbeat thing SCARES me. It seems like a CPC (crisis pregnancy center) move.
Megan: Yeah, where did she get that? Is that a thing that people do nowadays?
C: I don’t know. Pregnant people, feel free to tell us your tales of acquiring stuffed animals at your ultrasound.
Okay, so Millina was against being on birth control. When she says, “all the things I could have done differently”- is this an abbreviation for other parenting choices she could have made? Are we just not never going to have that conversation?
M: I also wonder what “against being on birth control” means? Especially since it seems like she has changed her mind about that. How has her environment influenced her? Peers?
C: MTV doesn’t want us to think too hard about certain things, I think.
M: I have to say something here about Tina’s health condition. It seems like there’s a lot of stuff going on with her besides the physical symptoms, but I do want to plug that people with epilepsy and neurological illnesses can be loving and capable parents (and should check out Girls with Nerve. )
I wonder at what age Millina was removed from her mom’s custody. It is such a traumatic experience for kids, and you can tell from the way she talks about it how much it is still impacting her and her anxiety about having her own children. She’s used to talking about it. She’s probably had to talk to a lot of people about it over a long period of time.
C: “I’ve learned to fake a smile and tell people I’m okay.”
M: I also wonder how much of that is because she has a younger brother (who seems a lot younger) and feeling like she has to take care of him and be the adult.
C: I also wonder if having the baby is part of starting over for her. But again, MTV doesn’t seem to want to deal with the reasons why she’s choosing to raise Kayden.
M: Did her dad just say just keep the baby away from the adults in her life? Millina and Trevor need the support from others to be able to raise the baby, but they can’t trust most of the adults in their life. I can’t imagine the stress that that must cause.
C: I think his leather jacket said that, yes.
M: Millina’s attitude and grown-up way of being also says to me that she’s had to grow up too fast. She speaks like an adult. “I’m trying to talk to you.” She is so mature. I can’t get over it. She is so calm.
C: She has that “I have to parent my parent” tone.
M: Exactly. She is used to having to be the adult.
C: I’m glad to hear M say, “I’m done trying to get her to like me.” That’s a hard thing to say no matter how old you are.
M: “A vagina to Stargate” OMG. Most accurate way to describe the miracle of life?
C: I forgive your mustache, Trevor. For now.
M: She is so good at telling her mom that she loves her, and forgives her, but also that she needs her to change.
C: I hate how she has to parent the adults in her life.I hate it so much I’m mentioning it again.
M: With most of the teens on this show, we see them trying to grow up and be adults and figure out how to do that quickly. But for Milina, I’m feeling the opposite. She’s already there, and I’m wondering if she’s ever gotten a chance to be a kid, and if she’ll ever have the chance now that she has a baby.
C: It’s awesome how this judge thinks that keeping someone in jail because they had a drug problem is going to make them better at life when they get out AND STILL HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM. There is a lot to pay attention to here about criminalizing drug use and how it hurts everyone.
Ugh, cue handwringing from viewers freaking out because Milina referred to her baby as an “uh oh.” I remember when Briana in season 4 said she would have made a different decision about having her daughter if she could have. Because people don’t have complicated feelings.
M: Do you know who this is not about? Tina. This girl is taking care of this baby by herself, none of the adults are helping her, and now they are all shaming her for her parenting? Are you fucking kidding me?
C: I’m glad M is clear on the fact that all of this is completely bat shit.
M: Yeah. I would like to validate that they were in fact all ganging up on you, Millina!
C: Trevor, dude, the problem is that you’re trying to make everybody happy. You have to make a decision.
M: Also making Millina feel bad when she brings the baby to see you isn’t going to make her want to do it again.
C: Oh, Kayden’s baby mohawk, you are enjoyable.
M: I like that this recap and summary shows that having a baby can have a strong positive impact for some teens. Usually the teens talk about how bad their choice was and how sad they are in the summary, but I’m glad that Millina talks about how she feels like having a baby has made her see her life differently and make different choices.
We will end as always by sending lots of love to Millina, Trevor, and Kayden!