This week on 16 and Pregnant, we have Autumn, from Richmond, Virginia. You can watch the whole episode here.
Megan: I just need to announce to the blog that I am 50% done with my MSW as of one hour ago and thus am depending on Chanel to carry this summary through.
Chanel: Whee!! Congratulations! I will begin by sharing the vital information that everyone in this episode so far has very shiny hair.
M: Also, they are really into camouflage.
C: I checked with someone who’s actually Southern, and it’s a thing, apparently.
Um…Dustin doesn’t believe in pregnancy tests? Cool.
M: It must be so tough to have you and your partner be in such different places and with drastically different interpretations and expectations for what is going to happen when the baby is born.
I love this mom, “Cool, but weird.” That seems like an accurate way to describe your 16 year old getting pregnant.
C: I get supporting your kid, but this is not the best situation.
M: Yeah, I guess because it was in reference to both doing activities together? Like, they have this thing to bond over.
C: So again this week there’s no discussion of whether or not people considered abortion or adoption. It’s making me uncomfortable that we’re not seeing that, because I think we should see that giving birth and raising the kid is a choice that was deliberately made, not the default. But we know Autumn was on birth control, although she wasn’t taking it correctly. That’s important. It basically doesn’t count unless you take it correctly.
M: I hear about the weight gain fears all the time from my patients when talking to them about contraception! It is such a pervasive and persistent worry for folks thinking about birth control options, but it’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently to different methods and will need to test out options to find out what works best for them. (Check out more info on this from Bedsider.)
C: Dustin’s mom: “YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ME GET LOUD IN THIS RESTAURANT!”
M: While I agree that the situation dictates that Dustin will need to take more responsibility, it’s also not helpful to shame him for his decisions at this point. I’m wondering what’s going on with him that he feels the need to say that he can’t stop smoking.
C: I was thinking that too. I mean, is this an addiction issue?
Unrelatedly, Autumn just used the term “nutsack.”
M: Most importantly, is Drake an appropriate baby name these days given the superstar?
C: I didn’t even know about the rapper. My first thought was about cake.
M: OK, well, I didn’t know about that, so we’re even.
C: “Man up” is one of my least favorite expressions on earth. (Along with “awesomesauce” and “amazeballs.”)
I’m not sure how to process this “calling the cops on your kid” thing. Maybe it’s because I am skeptical of law enforcement, you know, given all the bullshit. By the way, if anyone wants weigh in on facts about cyber school and graduation for teen parents, we would appreciate it.
M: Also about whether these OTC drug tests work.
C: I did not need to see Dustin’s cup of pee, MTV. THANKS.
I seriously do not even believe that anyone is ever “ready” for fatherhood, or motherhood, or parenthood, I don’t care how old you are. People need to stop acting like that’s a thing you can be. The whole idea is a trap, it sets people up to be shamed.
M: My favorite part of this episode so far is when Dustin called the doctor, “dog”. My heart went out to him though when he said that this was the first drug test he had ever passed.
C: Annnddd Drake has been birthed.
M: People had better not be taking pictures of my vag when I give birth.
C: I am sad that that is a thing that has to be said.
M: Although that scene for some reason got my cat’s attention.
(this cat’s name is Bruizer)
C: Because of the screaming?
M: He just is mesmerized by the miracle of life. He’s very spiritual in that way.
insert photo of Bruizer.
M: I feel so sad for the mom who has to support both of her daughter’s babies. She is taking it so well. It must be such a stressful financial situation.
C: Oh, Autumn. Don’t set the bar so low. You and Drake “Maybe Named After Delicious Pastries But Probably Not” deserve so much more than a bag of diapers a week.
M: Yeah, the question is what is he currently spending the money on?
C: I think we know.
M: Yeah. It’s sad when someone who could be suffering and hurting is treated just like it’s an issue of “teenage irresponsibility”, though. I think it’s interesting that he keeps bringing up the drug use on his own too, by saying the $40 he makes could buy weed, etc. Seems like it could be a cry for help to me. But I am a social work student so I’m into pathologizing everyone.
C: Now would be a great time to remind the universe that doing drugs doesn’t not make you a bad person, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an addiction (which also doesn’t make you a bad person). Of course, it depends on who’s doing the drugs. The consequences are different for rich white kids versus for everyone else.
M: It comes down to if it’s impairing or distressing you in your daily life. And it could definitely be the case for Dustin if he sees no other option than to spend all of his earnings on marijuana. But we are just seeing what MTV wants us to see! You are also right that smoking doesn’t necessarily imply addiction or that it’s a morally bad thing to do.
C: Which reminds me of something my therapist is always telling me that she doesn’t believe laziness is a thing- that it’s actually always about something else, usually fear. I think that’s a worthy frame for this show.
M: I agree.
C: Autumn’s mom is a boss. I’m so glad she’s pushing for child support. This episode is another reminder of the fact that a baby plus parents doesn’t necessarily equal a family.
M: Oh, this girl needs a hug. We are sending you a virtual hug, Autumn! You are so brave!