Posts Tagged ‘dr. drew’

‘Teen Mom 2’ reunion special: Dr. Drew, WTF?

April 6, 2011

Oh, Dr. Drew. You never cease to amaze me with your analysis of the young women on 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom. On the reunion special for Teen Mom 2 last night, Dr. Drew — rather than try to force the women to admit their kids were mistakes — instead opted to side with the dads and chastise the teen moms whenever possible.

How dare you get cold feet before your wedding

As Leah’s wedding approached, in the last few episodes of the season she expressed doubt about whether they should be getting married at that moment. Baby Ali was being rushed around to different doctors, none of whom could tell Leah and Corey why Ali wasn’t developing as fast as she should be, and it was sinking in just how fast Leah and Corey had gone from broken up, to getting back together, to living together, and then to being engaged and getting married.

Dr. Drew addressed this on the show, asking why she questioned marrying Corey. She responded that she had cold feet, and that it seemed like Ali’s health problems should have taken priority. Then she explained that she was happy in her marriage, and Dr. Drew politely let her know: “You almost ruined that.”

Excuse you, Dr. Drew — there’s no need to shame Leah for thinking that her and Corey should put more attention into their child’s health than into a wedding. Actually, that’s pretty responsible, considering neither come cheap. And getting cold feet is normal, especially considering that her and Corey went from 0 to 60 in a matter of months when it came to being broken up and then engaged — marriage is intended to be a lifetime commitment, so let Leah have some room to play devil’s advocate and make sure she is making the right decision considering the somewhat rocky history she has with Corey.

Congrats on being OK with your child’s health problems

Does society set such a low standard for guys that we have to reward them and fawn over them for staying in their kids’ lives, especially when it comes to children with health problems? Dr. Drew spent some time fawning over Corey for being OK with dealing with Ali’s health problems — I know that teen fathers don’t always stick around, but the phrasing just seemed all wrong, and it seemed very weird to give Corey kudos for “dealing” with Ali’s illness. What else exactly are parents supposed to do when faced with their children’s health problems?

Verbal abuse is OK if the abuser feels “betrayed”

Joe doesn’t seem to be physically abusive to Kailyn, but he’s definitely verbally abusive and has a mean temper — he regularly called her a whore and a bitch on the show, and he was very aggressive and threatening — at one point threatening to take Kailyn to court for custody until she couldn’t pay for it anymore, a dig at Kailyn’s financial struggles. (Joe lives with his wealthy parents so fighting for custody would be on their dime.)

Yet Dr. Drew kept telling Kailyn that Joe was lashing out because he felt betrayed (Kailyn snuck around behind Joe’s back and dating someone else after they broke up but Kailyn was still living with Joe), essentially putting the blame on her and trying to excuse Joe’s inappropriate behavior. Dr. Drew also seemed to focus more on praising Joe, saying that it was cool that Joe loaned her the tuition money. Yeah very cool — especially when he wouldn’t stop yelling obscenities at her when she finally did pay him back in exchange to get back her stuff from his house.

What irked me was that Kailyn is an exceptionally ambitious and strong-willed person. Unlike the other teen moms, she really doesn’t have a support system that is concrete. Jenelle and her mom fight, but Jenelle knows that her mom will always take care of Jace. Chelsea’s dad is extremely helpful, even paying for her rent for many months after she had Aubree. Leah’s mom and step-dad are very hands-on, offering support and baby-sitting when they can. Kailyn has a mom who last season lived out of hotels and isn’t financially stable, and she has Joe’s family, who care about baby Isaac but with whom her relationship is tense because she isn’t dating Joe anymore and snuck around dating someone else while living there.

Kailyn works, goes to school, and pays to live in her own place now. You could see on the reunion show that she felt ganged up on, that she acknowledged sneaking around behind Joe’s back to date Jordan was wrong, but that she’d like some credit for everything she has accomplished. Dr. Drew wants to pat Joe on the back for loaning her tuition money and talk about how betrayed he is, yet Dr. Drew doesn’t spend as much time questioning Joe about Kailyn’s allegation that Joe cheated on her while she was pregnant.

How are you preventing another unplanned pregnancy?

Maybe it’s just me reading into it too much, but it seemed like no one mentioned condoms as a form of contraception. Leah and Kailyn (and possibly Chelsea, I can’t remember) said they use IUDs now as birth control, but I don’t recall anyone mentioning condoms or Dr. Drew asking the guys how they are protecting themselves. Now Dr. Drew has been vocal about condoms in other related shows so I can’t criticize him too much, but it does speak to society’s larger expectation that women should take care of the contraception, ignoring that it takes two to make a baby.

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Dr. Drew also seemed especially frazzled toward the end of the show when he talked with Jenelle and her mom, Barbara. He seemed drained from the earlier teen mom interviews — his tactics to encourage marriage and togetherness seemed like bad ideas when it came to couples like Chelsea and Adam — where they fight constantly and Adam has admittedly cheated on her several times, and he also goes in and out of the picture — and Kailyn and Joe — who both have major trust issues with each other and fought so much on the reunion show that it was exhausting. Jenelle and Barbara have serious issues to work out, and it seemed like Dr. Drew couldn’t really handle them.

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MTV makes it tough for abortion special to reach viewers

December 30, 2010

If you haven’t seen the MTV half-hour documentary “No Easy Decision,” which follows 16 and Pregnant teen mom Markai through her decision to get an abortion, you’ll have to watch it online here — that’s because not only did MTV post the special at an 11:30 p.m. time slot on a Tuesday — well past the usual 16 and Pregnant 10 p.m. slot — but MTV won’t be airing the special again for at least another week, according to its own online TV schedule.

Initially I was going to write solely about the content of the special (read the live blog commentary here from Jessica Valenti, Shelby Knox, Jamia Wilson, Lynn Harris, and Steph Harold), but the lack of airtime caught my attention, and I think it sends a message about the extent of MTV’s progressiveness. This special is good. It’s important. It’s honest. It’s thought-provoking. And unfortunately, it’s only a half-hour long and runs not even one time again within the week of its premiere — because God knows we need to see a three-day marathon of Jersey Shore instead.

This documentary is not getting the airtime it deserves, and even though its being in existence is remarkable and a great step forward in furthering the abortion discussion, it can’t be ignored that MTV didn’t treat it equally in comparison with 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, which have never shown a teen mom getting an abortion and only have shown two of the three options when it comes to pregnancy — raising the baby or putting it up for adoption.

I think the lateness of its airing, the fact that it aired once on a channel where every new episode of any show is repeatedly played over and over again (16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom always aired again right after ending at 11 p.m. and always again the next day, usually around 8 or 9 p.m.), and the shortness of the episode itself only added to a stereotype that the special was trying to combat — that women who get abortions must think it’s just an in-and-out procedure and don’t even really think about all their options.

Obviously, getting an abortion is a time-sensitive decision, as 37 states have a restriction on abortions after a certain point in the pregnancy. But the special itself was only 20 minutes long, with about 10 minutes reserved for Dr. Drew interviewing Markai and her boyfriend, and then Dr. Drew interviewing Katie and Natalia, two women who also had abortions and who shared their experiences.

“There are just no easy decisions,” Dr. Drew concluded at the end of the special, which is a very true statement, but one that wasn’t conveyed as well as it could have been with a special that was an hour long and didn’t rush through the thought process, steps, and emotions that Markai (or Katie or Natalia) experienced in deciding to get an abortion.

I wish that the discussion that Dr. Drew was having with the three women after the special could have lasted longer, as those women had so many important things to say in respect to the discussion on abortion, and so many things that only a woman who has gotten an abortion can truly express.

“People assume that if you are having an abortion you are denying the fact that you’re a parent, but it’s not, it’s not at all,” Katie said. “Nobody wants to have an abortion,” Markai said. “In retrospect I’m not ashamed at all, I’m proud of what I did,” Natalia said. These are the statements that get drowned out — these are the honest, real accounts and thoughts that enrich a discourse on abortion, and that change the stereotypes people have about the “kind of person” who gets an abortion, or what goes through someone’s head when she decides to have an abortion.

So despite MTV choosing to air reruns of Jersey Shore for three days straight instead of showing even one more time this special, the half-hour documentary still crams in a lot of important dialogue and information. Markai weighed all her options, called a clinic to get information on all the types of abortions and how they would affect her physically and emotionally (the live bloggers pointed out how (1) the counselor was extremely helpful and nice and (2) the clinic was legit), and looked to her boyfriend James and her mom for support and advice.

I also found it important that Markai’s story be highlighted for two reasons. One, someone obviously was not providing her with complete information about birth control, a sentiment repeated by Katie in the after-interview. Markai had no idea that the birth control immediately left her system if she was not up-to-date on her shots. Katie also said she wasn’t aware the side effects from her birth control — she would get physically ill and throw up the pill — would make it ineffective.

“I should’ve looked my birth control up on the Internet or something, you know, it’s my job to keep up with it,” Markai said. I completely disagree — you shouldn’t have to search the Internet for information on your birth control. You should ask your doctor, and your doctor should be providing information about side effects without you having to ask, just like any other medication.

Two, Markai got an abortion for the sake of her daughter. “If I didn’t have Za’karia I couldn’t do it, but I gotta think about my baby,” Markai said. I think this is especially necessary to highlight because Markai described her abortion as something she was sacrificing for her daughter — so that her and James could provide for their daughter without having to put her through the poverty, hunger, and sometimes neglect that both Markai and James experienced growing up. Anti-abortion activists want to call abortion selfish, though Markai proves it is quite the opposite, while also proving how complicated of a decision it is.

This topic gets me heated because these are important pieces of information that aren’t prevalent in the mainstream media. You don’t see resources for information on abortion (like here, here, or here); you don’t hear women who have had abortions as prominent voices in the discussion; and you don’t get a glimpse into the life of someone deciding to get an abortion as the decision is being made. Statistics and facts and figures aside, women struggle with the choice. There a multitude of reasons for making such a choice. And it’s important to listen to these stories and see that it’s not as easy as black and white, yes or no, right or wrong.

And because abortion is so complex, so sensitive a subject, so full of emotion, I think MTV did a real disservice to Markai, as well as Katie and Natalia, and the subject of abortion itself, because though it is one of the three main choices a pregnant woman can make, MTV seemingly makes its own judgment call on abortion by limiting how long the special is, when it is aired, and how little it is aired.

Again, it’s great the special aired, but people actually have to watch it in order to gain something from it, and that would mean MTV would actually have to air it more than once. Luckily it’s online, so again, go watch it.

Teen Mom: A hodgepodge of highlights from the finale special

October 20, 2010

The second season of Teen Mom wrapped this week with the “Check-in with Dr. Drew” finale episode, when Dr. Drew makes the teen moms feel uncomfortable and typically tries to get them to admit they regret having their children — though last night, Dr. Drew did a lot more counseling and offered a lot more sound advice than usual. Of course, he still made all the teen moms cry.

Most of the topics that the finale show covered are topics that I’ve discussed before, so I think instead I’ll highlight in snippets the good advice that Dr. Drew had and the telling statements that the teen moms made.

Idealizing a relationship

People often romanticize relationships that are or were not exactly great — the memories are skewed or selective, and this romanticizing keeps people connected to or in unhealthy relationships — but Farrah’s relationship with her ex, Derrick, is a lot more complicated than the typical scenario because Derrick passed away. Those memories are all she has left of Derrick, and it seems both her and her mom have different memories of their relationship.

Dr. Drew point blank asked if she was romanticizing the relationship, and she denied that, saying, “I’m not painting a picture that’s rosy, I know what the realistic picture was.” Obviously losing him, especially with his being the father of Sophia, has left her devastated and she only wants to remember him in a positive light — but perhaps being more open and willing to deal with all the aspects of their relationship might help her grieving process.

The art of mind reading

Dr. Drew asked Maci and Kyle to talk about why they liked each other, and he said they could either tell him directly or they could tell each other. Both agreed to tell Dr. Drew instead of each other, which prompted the obvious question of why they couldn’t just look at each other and say those things. “We like show each other how we feel, but we don’t talk about it,” Maci told Dr. Drew.

Having mushy discussions all the time about why you like each other is understandably something many couples avoid — but you can’t avoid it all the time. A lot of people in relationships expect that their partner will know they appreciate, care about, enjoy the company of the other person — but actually verbalizing those things can make a world of difference. Showing rather than telling is important, but if you assume the other person always knows how you feel, it can transcend to topics beyond just lovey-dovey things — you start to assume the other person knew you wanted them to clean the bathroom; you assume the other person knew you didn’t want to go to that restaurant, etc. Being able to verbalize feelings to the other person is essential in any relationship.

Abuse doesn’t have to be physical

Something Dr. Drew highlighted that I really liked was when Catelynn’s mom, April, was reacting to Catelynn saying she would treat Carly different than her mom treats her. Upon hearing Catelynn say this stuff, April started clapping for her and mimed a halo being over Catelynn’s head. “When you call somebody a bitch and it’s your daughter, or you demean them with the halo stuff, that’s called abuse — it’s emotional abuse,” Dr Drew told April.

I’m glad he pointed this out, because abuse so often is only taken seriously if it’s physical or extremely offensive verbally. People pay attention when April is calling her own daughter a bitch — they might not even flinch at April putting a halo over Catelynn’s head, though it’s still April trying to break down her daughter. This kind of bullying, the little comments and jabs that are often overlooked because they aren’t overt and obvious, might seem harmless, but enough of it can really take a toll on someone.

Like mother, like daughter

A few times, Dr. Drew brought up that the way parents act directly influences how their children act. “[April’s] aggression is damaging, and if Catelynn had become a mom, she wouldn’t have really known any other way of dealing with those feelings,” Dr. Drew said. Catelynn might’ve taken out her frustration on Carly just like April makes a habit of using Catelynn as her own personal verbal punching bag.

He said the same thing to Amber, when he discussed how Leah will be affected by her domestic violence. He reminded both Gary and Amber that they came from violent homes and that Amber likely learned this behavior growing up, and then discussed how Amber had to take care of herself growing up (was “paternalized”) because of the fighting. “Her seeing you guys fighting, feeling the chaos — is that what you were exposed to as a kid?” Dr. Drew asked Amber. “It’s like the cycle repeating itself, right?”

He reminded them that kids are perceptive, and they know what is going on. Leah even tries to separate Gary and Amber if she sees them hugging, because she has learned that as parents, they are not meant to be affectionate — they are meant to fight with each other. If the violence continues, she could easily be conditioned to think that Moms just hit Dads — that it’s normal and it’s perfectly acceptable to do.

Calling the cops on a companion

Dr. Drew brought up a very good point — why didn’t Gary ever call the police after Amber would hit him? “I don’t call the police because I don’t want to — I don’t want to get [Amber] in trouble,” Gary replied. Dr. Drew made one of the best points of the night when he explained that, even though you don’t want to get them in trouble, you need to change the behavior somehow — the person won’t change unless there are serious consequences to certain behaviors.

He likened it to drug addiction and when family and friends enable behavior by giving the addict a place to stay, giving the addict money, etc., and never going through with threats, e.g. to cut the person off financially if they don’t get clean. In much the same way, Amber will not be motivated to change her behavior unless there are serious consequences otherwise — Gary tries to use taking the baby or calling social services as a threat, but if Amber knows he won’t ever do those things, she is less likely to actually change her abusive behavior. Some might argue that you don’t do those things to someone you love, but doing those things will ideally help that person improve their quality of life — how is letting that person spiral out of control a better way to show your love?

Struggling with self-worth

Amber brought up an interesting point when it comes to her love life — which is that dating other people makes her feel less guilty about the way she treats Gary as long as those other people match her own view of herself — she thinks she is a bad person, therefore she dates not-so-great people. This self-image is something a lot of people struggle with, and it leaves people in unhealthy relationships because they convince themselves they don’t deserve any better. Perhaps this is why Amber is so degrading to Gary — she doesn’t want him to feel like he deserves any better, either.

“You’re a good guy so she feels bad, they are bad guys so she feels better,” Dr. Drew told Gary. But this mentality also keeps Amber from making any real efforts at changing — if she surrounds herself with people who aren’t great people, who is there to inspire or motivate or support her growth from an abusive and angry person into a nonabusive and calmer person? Who you surround yourself with really does have an effect on the choices you make.

Thank you for being a friend — NOT

There’s a time and a place for parents and their kids to be friends, and during their high school years is not the time for that. Catelynn and Tyler somehow got to be extremely mature growing up with April and Butch (Tyler’s dad and April’s husband) — likely forced to by the circumstances of their upbringing (Catelynn’s mom is an alcoholic, Tyler’s dad is a cocaine addict who has been in jail most of Tyler’s life). Last night Catelynn and Tyler both expressed concern over how April didn’t have many friends and how sad it made them.

“They’re kids, they need a mom — they can’t be your friends,” Dr. Drew told April. Going along with the previous entry about how you are motivated by the people you surround yourself with, Dr. Drew suggested she go to treatment or a 12-step program where she could meet friends who understand the struggles April is facing in fighting alcoholism and who will support her, not enable her. Kids can’t offer adults that kind of support, especially when they are equally in need of support and guidance from their parents.

Teen Mom: Season 2 recaps, wrap-ups, and lessons learned

October 13, 2010

This week marked the final episode of this season of Teen Mom — let’s see what everyone’s actions in this episode say about what they’ve learned/how they’ve grown since the beginning of the season, shall we?

1. Farrah

The season began with Farrah calling the cops on her mother, who had hit Farrah in the face after a verbal altercation. Farrah moved into the guest house, then into an apartment, and she was struggling to pay bills, got scammed out of $3,000, and was finally dealing with and grieving the death of Sophia’s father with the help of a therapist. She also had therapy sessions with her mom, which was helping them communicate better.

And then, this week, old Farrah was back! Snotty, demanding, and completely hypocritical, Farrah was back to argue with her mom — who also is now her landlord. Farrah lamented that she wanted to sign a contract with her mom so her mom would respect her privacy and treat her like any other tenant — except she also wants special treatment in the form of moving in early, not paying prorated rent, and getting discounted rent because she wanted to move in early and the place wasn’t move-in ready yet.

Her mom tries going over the procedure with Farrah and tries to treat her like a normal tenant, but Farrah only wants to be a tenant on her own terms — she wants the huge house (for which she pays only $500 rent) and privacy, but she also wants her mom to discount her rent even further because Farrah is struggling and, as a mom, she wants her empathy and she wants to be taken care of. Suddenly, when her mom agrees to knock $100 off that month’s rent, Farrah is super happy with her mom again!

Farrah has definitely progressed, as she isn’t as outlandishly ridiculous toward her mom, but I think she could very easily devolve into her immature self if enabled by her parents. This week’s episode was one example of how far Farrah still has to go — you can’t ask to be treated like an adult while simultaneously demanding the perks you’d get as a kid.

2. Catelynn and Tyler

Catelynn and Tyler went through a lot this season — Tyler was still very distraught about the adoption, they nearly broke up because of Catelynn’s lying about her past with an ex, Tyler’s dad went back to jail, and Catelynn’s relationship with her mom continued to be rocky because of the adoption. Neither had enough credits to graduate with their high school class, but both remained positive about their futures and their decision to put Carly up for adoption.

This episode, they got to see Carly for the first time in a year. They were actually very calm and mature about the entire thing — no tears, no resentment, only happiness to see Carly and the realization that they were not and still are not ready to raise a child. It was great that the meeting didn’t bring any negative feelings back to the surface, and the positive experience is a sign that the open adoption can work for both Catelynn and Tyler and Brandon and Teresa.

Catelynn discussed her mom issues with Teresa, saying, “I think she wanted [the adoption] to rip me apart.” As Catelynn has said many times before, she wanted Catelynn to agree with her, and when Catelynn decided to do the adoption against her mom’s advice, she felt slighted and wanted Catelynn to see that not listening to her was a mistake. Rather, she sees that Catelynn is happy with her decision, and it only makes her mom more frustrated and angry.

Catelynn and Tyler are more mature than both their parents, and it’s shocking to see how clearly they think considering how irrational their parents are. It really comes down to wanting Carly to have better than they had, as Tyler summarized best when he talked about how happy he was that Carly had a father like Brandon. “I wish I could have a dad that would take me to the park when I was a little kid,” he said in regard to seeing Brandon push Carly on the swings. Their unstable parents are a constant reminder that they made the right decision.

3. Amber and Gary

Amber and Gary have had quite the roller coaster of a relationship this season — they exemplified the “on again, off again” relationship, with Gary moving in and out of the apartment and the two of them getting back together, breaking up, getting engaged, and breaking up again. Plus, Amber took her aggression to the new level by punching Gary in the face. Gary moved out, Amber met someone new, and they were trying to take care of Leah while dealing with their own problems with each other.

This week though, I actually felt a little bad for Amber.  Generally I think she is abusive and needs help beyond antidepressants, but Gary is being overly possessive of Leah and using her way too much to threaten Amber and get what he wants. Whereas Amber uses verbal and physical abuse, Gary is mastering psychological abuse.

When trying to discuss the schedule for taking care of Leah, first Gary and Amber were fighting on the phone, then Amber drove to his mom’s house to find him and talk in person, and then Gary sped off in his car when he saw Amber pulling up. This is interesting because at this time, he didn’t have any leverage — he already had Leah, so how could he further threaten to take her away? Even he laughed about it when he recalled the story to a friend — it made no sense, and it illustrated either 1) how afraid he is of Amber or 2) how he can’t communicate with Amber unless he has something to threaten her with, e.g. “If you don’t let me talk, I’m leaving and taking Leah with me.”

Then he found out that Amber’s new boyfriend changed Leah’s diaper, and he was enraged. “No guy is going to change my daughter. That’s your responsibility,” Gary said. “If you let him change her one more time, I’m going to take her away.” This is a ridiculous request. If you, as parents, are separated, you have to accept the fact that someone else might change that baby’s diaper. Is Gary feeling resentful about being replaced as a boyfriend? Yep. Does he need to learn to separate those feelings from parenting? Yep. These two could really benefit from counseling — I’m not sure they learned anything this season.

4. Maci

Maci’s had an interesting season, too — she started dating Kyle, she had to learn to co-parent with Ryan, she moved to Nashville to be closer to Kyle, and then her and Kyle broke up after dating for a few months. She resolved to stay in Nashville because she enjoyed the independence and not relying on her family so much for support.

I’ve talked at length about Maci and she wasn’t featured much in the finale episode, but custody was again a hot topic this week. It seems that Ryan only saw Bentley four days every two weeks, and he wanted one more day with him, which would bump the total to five days every two weeks. They met with a mediator, and Maci had a breakdown when Ryan asked for the extra day.

This is a normal setup. For parents who don’t live near each other, the nonprimary parent seeing the child on weekends is the rule, not the exception. So it’s not unusual for the nonprimary parent to see the child four, five, or even six days every two weeks. Regardless of his intentions (Maci thinks his parents, rather than Ryan, want to see Bentley more), the fact is that Ryan is not asking for an extraordinary amount of visitation.

Ryan asked Maci at the end of the episode if he thought they should be together for Bentley, and they both agreed they shouldn’t because they wouldn’t be happy. This is a very mature response, and one that I have wholeheartedly agreed with in the past — the convenience you gain by living in the same house and not needing to develop a visitation schedule is not worth the happiness and quality of life you and the child lose by choosing a living situation in which the parents can’t stand each other.

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Don’t forget, next week is my favorite episode of all — the reunion special with Dr. Drew! Will he finally get the teen moms to admit their children are mistakes and they wish they’d never been born?! We shall see!

16&P (pt.2): Plan B, dads, escalating emotional abuse

April 27, 2010

The 16 and Pregnant “Life after Labor” special wasn’t as good as last season — with 10 people to interview this season, as opposed to six last season, the interviews were mostly superficial, short and left a lot to be desired. Although, with the shorter interviews, Dr. Drew had less time for his usual “get-the-teen-moms-to-admit-they-live-awful-lives-now” routine.

Because a lot of the interviews reiterated themes and topics mentioned throughout the season, a lot of the show content has already been discussed. But a few points that are worth mentioning are the morning-after pill, pregnant teens and biological fathers, the risks that follow going back to emotionally abusive partners.

1. The morning-after pill. When Dr. Drew asked Nicole and Tyler if they were using contraception, they said they were only using condoms. When Dr. Drew asked if they had emergency contraception — the morning-after pill — Nicole responded that she thought the morning-after pill was like abortion. It’s a common misconception that the morning-after is an abortion pill, so let’s clear it up right now.

The morning-after pill is NOT an abortion pill. If the sperm has fertilized to the egg and already attached itself to the uterine wall, the pill can’t do anything about that. The morning-after pill is different from the abortion pill, RU-486 or mifepristone, which prevents the hormone progesterone from being made and consequently causes the uterine line to break down, which ends the pregnancy.

UPDATE/FYI: The abortion pill is not a single-dose treatment — you take the mifepristone, and then you take misoprostol within three days of the first pill to empty the uterus, followed by a check-up with your doctor. Without ensuring the uterus is empty, bacterial infections and subsequently death can occur, as was the case with four women in California who did not take the second pill, which is the course of treatment approved by the FDA.

The morning after pill works in a few ways to prevent egg fertilization — its first method of defense is to prevent ovulation so that an egg isn’t released; its second method is to thicken the mucus lining of the cervix so that it’s more difficult for the sperm to get through and meet with the egg; its third method is to thin the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for the egg to attach to the uterine wall.

You can get the morning after pill over the counter; you cannot get the abortion pill over the counter. Emergency contraception, like they say in the commercials, isn’t meant to end a pregnancy that has already started — it’s purpose is to make fertilization more difficult and prevent a pregnancy from starting. If you think birth control is inherently abortion, like some antiabortion-believers do, than I understand why it would be associated with abortion.

Nicole was planning on starting birth control, so I don’t think she’d fall into the “every-type-of-birth-control-is-abortion-because-eggs-and-sperm-are-people-too” category.

2. Pregnant teens and biological fathers. I felt uneasy when Dr. Drew asked everyone who had a biological father in their lives to raise their hand — not only because it singled out those whose dads had left their families, but it singled out the two adopted teens who both had adoptive fathers. It begs the question of whether you need a biological father or just a father figure.

It also begs the question of whether it matters how you lost your father. The first assumption would be that the fathers walked out on their families — but this isn’t the case with all the girls who are without a father. For instance, Nicole’s father died when she was two years old. So if you take out of the equation the girls who had adoptive fathers and the girl whose father died, then you are left with only four out of the 10 whose fathers walked out on them.

I only highlight this because I think Dr. Drew was trying to insinuate that all these girls — by not having their biological fathers in their lives — shared a similar experience. Yes, technically seven of the girls are without biological fathers, but it’s slightly skewed if you don’t take into account that three of those seven don’t fall into the perceived “dad abandoned them” category.

3. Emotionally abusive partners. Another thing that made me uneasy was how many of the teens continued to get back together with their babies’ fathers, even though the relationships were toxic and emotionally abusive. Both Chelsea and Nikkole admitted that they continued to go back with their babies’ fathers even though the guys were emotionally abusive.

Chelsea’s ex sent her degrading text messages all the time, and the worst one on the show was this:

no i want u to feel like the most worthless stupid **** in the world u better beleive [sic] its so over for the rest of ourlives ya fat stretch mark bitch tell me where and wen [sic] to sign the papers over for that mistake

Chelsea admitted that this text wasn’t even the worst of the abuse, which is really frightening. After he sent her this text, she continued to try to make things work despite continual break-ups. Finally, she said she was through with him and that they didn’t talk anymore.

Nikkole, despite the fact that her ex Josh was controlling, immature, manipulative, and broke up with her specifically to be with other girls, still wanted to make it work. When Jenelle asked her why she wanted to make it work, Nikkole didn’t have that inspiring of a response. On the special, Josh was visibily still immature and rude. But, Dr. Drew made an interesting point — emotional (including verbal) abuse can often turn into physical abuse.

This is an extremely important piece of information, especially for teenage girls — who are young, naive, and impressionable — to know. It is especially concerning because emotional abusers often use taking away children as a powerful form of emotional abuse. Emotional abusers seek control and power, and inviting them repeatedly back into your life is trouble, and they will use your child as a pawn to get what they want. In a way, Jenelle is emotionally abusive to her mother because she constantly threatens to take the baby away and never come back if her mother doesn’t do what she says.

Though they are just teenagers now, trying to keep the toxic relationship alive will get more dangerous as time goes on. The abuse will get worse, and it often escalates into physical violence. Every time that guy does something terrible and still is wanted by that teen mom, he gets more and more power and will feel able to do worse and worse things without repercussion.

Also, I could see how the abusive relationships could be construed as these girls clinging to a male figure, but Chelsea has a very prominent male figure in her life. Her (biological, no less) dad plays a very important role in her life. It’s not as easy as saying their actions are symptomatic of single parenting or growing up without a male role model or something along those lines.

Dr. Drew sends questionable messages on ‘Teen Mom’

February 3, 2010

Dr. Drew is the resident psychiatrist of Hollywood, but some of his assertions on the reunion show for MTV’s Teen Mom made me wonder where he got his degree.

In case you don’t breathe MTV reality shows like I do, Teen Mom follows four women from the pilot show 16 and Pregnant, where six teenagers were followed during their pregnancies and deliveries. The four women from Teen Mom are Maci, Farrah, Amber, and Catelynn, each with a different perspective on mothering, from single motherhood to adoption.

The four women reunited Tuesday night to discuss the season and their own personal problems with Dr. Drew. I remember being slightly annoyed at the reunion special for 16 and Pregnant because Dr. Drew was trying to get these teenagers to tell the audience how horrible their lives are and how regretful they were about having unprotected sex. But many of the teenagers pushed back because, although their lives were hard and they urged other teens to wait and use protection, they didn’t want to submit to Drew’s insistance that they regretted having their children because, in fact, they all loved their children despite the hardship.

Dr. Drew’s leading questions were evident on this last reunion show as well, as he was obviously trying to steer the women into answering questions with the answers he wanted. Most of the time it was understandable — domestic violence is unacceptable no matter who commits it, having a baby means giving up some of the “normal teenager” life, etc. His assertions with Maci, however, where really off-base.

Here’s Maci’s back story: She got pregnant during her senior year of high school with her boyfriend, Ryan. Her boyfriend is uninvolved, detached, and lazy. He has told her multiple times that they wouldn’t be together if it weren’t for Bentley, their son. They briefly lived together and were engaged, but Maci broke off the engagement and moved out because he was uninterested with spending time with her or Bentley, preferring to hang out with friends instead. They tried getting back together once more, went to a relationship counselor, but now are broken up for good because they have communication and commitment issues.

The first thing that really irked me was how flabbergasted he was that they both admitted they would have tried to work things out more had they been married. Dr. Drew kept trying to tell them how they should try to make things work, how he didn’t get how marriage made a difference. Marriage, though, is a larger commitment to each other and therefore should take a larger amount of energy to keep together. They couldn’t even stand to be around each other long enough to get married — I don’t see their breaking up as them not trying, I see it as a sign that they are not on the same page.

I felt like this was a larger assertion by Dr. Drew that staying married and being miserable is preferable to being apart and being happy. Being in a marriage yet hating each other brings about fighting, cheating, lying, and depression. Why would someone want to have their child in that environment, as opposed to still having two parents who don’t live in the same house but are not unhappy and miserable all the time?

The second thing that Dr. Drew tried to convince Maci was that guys love their children differently. Although he claimed he wasn’t condoning Ryan’s behavior, he said the love was different than a mother’s love. Although that may be true, Ryan showed barely any interest in taking care of or being around Bentley. I don’t think this is specific to men, I think this is specific to Ryan and other fathers who aren’t excited or interested in being dads. Watching the other men on the show, it’s evident that they don’t all act unresponsive or uninterested in their children.

Now, this account is based on what I see on TV, and I don’t know these people personally. But I was sitting there watching the reunion thinking, “A doctor is telling people that they should be married and try to make things work even if they are miserable and hate each other, and he’s also saying it’s OK that a father is somewhat neglectful because guys just love differently.” I disagree.