16&P: Sneaky moms, hereditary teen pregnancy, and innocence

In last night’s episode of 16 and Pregnant, we met Samantha, a high school senior who got pregnant with her boyfriend, Eric. They had been dating for two years, and Samantha’s mom — who was a teen mom herself — tried everything to keep them apart, but Eric’s mom actually helped them sneak around and see each other.

This episode had a lot of interesting themes: mothers who facilitate teen sex, the trend of teen moms’ children becoming teen moms, teen views on pregnancy prevention, and the thought that innocent girls don’t have sex. Let’s look at these separately:

1. Mothers who facilitate teen sex. Last night, we discovered that Eric’s mom, Estrella, actually would help them see each other behind Samantha’s mom, Soledad’s, back. Samantha’s mom was a teen mom herself, so it’s understandable why she was trying to prevent her own daughter from following in her footsteps. In fact, Soledad actually made her change schools so she wouldn’t be around Eric — she meant business, and I’m not sure how Estrella didn’t see that dramatic act as a sign that she needed to back off.

I think Estrella helped them sneak around for two reasons: Eric is a man, and Eric is 18. She said that she felt bad for Eric because he would cry every night when he didn’t see her, but she not only helped them spend time together, but she obviously helped them spend alone time together — they weren’t shacking up at her house, so they were having sex either at Eric’s house or thanks to Estrella helping them sneak around together.

Eric is a man, so as a mother, she indirectly had to prepare for the pregnancy. It wasn’t her child that was going to be pregnant, and maybe if Eric was Eric-a, she would have a whole different set of rules. Eric is also 18 and works a full-time job, and I assume he graduated from high school. In Estrella’s eyes, a pregnancy isn’t going to ruin his life because he has already graduated — except she neglects to think about Samantha, who has yet to graduate and will have about six months of school left after her baby Jordynn is born.

Maybe she thought she was being the cool mom, but I think it’s a lesson in respecting the wishes of your peer parents. If your son’s girlfriend’s mom doesn’t want them to see each other, respect her wishes or at least talk to her about it — Eric’s mom was under the impression they just didn’t like Eric, but she didn’t realize the history of teen pregnancy that ran through the family. Communication is key.

2. Children of teen moms becoming teen moms. On his reunion specials, Dr. Drew always makes a point to remind his teen mom guests that their kids are more likely to be teen parents because they were the product of a teen pregnancy. Studies have shown this to be true, and the daughters of teen moms especially are more likely to be teen parents themselves. Soledad didn’t want her to go through the same struggles she did being pregnant at 16, and it’s unfortunate that Estrella facilitated the sexual relationship of the two.

3. Teen views on pregnancy prevention. I just about had a heart attack when one of Samantha’s friends, in one of the opening scenes, said something along the lines of, “You can’t prevent pregnancy.” Some of her other friends laughed and responded, “Well, you don’t have to have sex,” and the girl simply said something like, “Well once you have sex you can’t prevent it.” My friend suggested that maybe she meant once you are pregnant you can’t do anything about it, but I contend that this girl is ridiculously ignorant.

It scares me to think that these are the thoughts that go through teen girls’ minds. It’s scary that they think sex just happens and sometimes you get pregnant, but it’s scarier to think that they almost think of sex as a necessity — like, of course they have sex, why would they abstain, they had no choice but to have sex with each other?

Part of me hopes that the girl was referring to the fact that condoms and birth control aren’t 100 percent effective, so there isn’t a way to have sex and completely prevent pregnancy at the same time, short of someone getting rid of their reproductive parts.

4. Innocent girls don’t have sex. Something that troubled me was that, at the end of the episode, Samantha was something along the lines of, “I’m an innocent girl, no one expected me to do this” or something that suggested that she was innocent in nature and shouldn’t have been having sex. I can’t access the MTV Web site to view the clip right now, but the idea that kept surfing my brain was “innocent girls don’t have sex.”

Or better, “Girls who get good grades and do well in school don’t have sex,” which also implies that “girls who get bad grades and do bad in school do have sex.” It applies pressure to the “innocent” girls, as being a goody-goody or a bookworm often has a negative connotation in high school, and having sex is a way to counteract that image; it applies pressure to the “not so innocent” girls, as being a bad or indifferent student brings expections of rebellion.

So not only are girls pigeon-holed into either being a “good girl” or a “bad girl,” but girls who are seen as innocent might either get less adult supervision or seem so pure that they don’t need sexual education from parents — I mean, their little angel is such a good student and wholesome child, why would they need to taint her brilliant mind with thoughts of condoms, birth control, or the morning-after pill?

If parents delude themselves into thinking that their child needs less discipline simply because they are book smart, then they might get a rude awakening when they discover that their teenager is sexually active. For all teenagers, male or female, getting straight A’s doesn’t deplete the raging hormones that surge through teenagers’ veins; yeah, they do well in thermochemistry, and they also think about sex all day long. They still need boundaries, and they still need the sex talk.


I’m curious if Samantha and Eric used protection though, as I see Samantha’s mom, Soledad, as someone who would be educating her about sex from an early age, trying to deter her from having sex until she at least finished high school. If Samantha didn’t use any protection, then I’d be curious what kind of influence Eric had on her to not use anything. Then it raises questions about how what your boyfriend says can completely erase all logical sex education you’ve received, etc.

And, although Eric and Samantha had some trouble after the birth, I think their relationship is relatively tame compared to episodes past. There was unforeseen tension though, because Eric worked all day and then wanted to relax, and Samantha stayed home all day for six weeks and wanted a break from taking care of Jordynn when Eric got home. Samantha eventually got to leave the house and go to school during the day, but as we’ve seen especially with Amber, it can be emotionally draining to take care of a baby all day and also feel so secluded inside.

Sidenote, Samantha also taught us that labor can be hella painful, as I think my ovaries started to ache listening to her screaming during contractions.


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One Response to “16&P: Sneaky moms, hereditary teen pregnancy, and innocence”

  1. dabbed Says:

    I would like to point out that it was the ginger girl who said you can’t prevent pregnancy. Don’t listen to gingers! Actually better yet, listen to a well informed sex education program (though I feel like they are trying to make this a rarity).

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