Sunday, January 20, 2013

Public Support vs Entertainment

      Before I read Wiley and Allen's Chapter 5, I quickly looked over the reading and noticed that many topics were going to be discussed. But after I finished a couple of pages, I quickly realized that there are many connections between each of the sections. One that I would like to address comes from a combination of this week's reading and my recent knowledge of a movie called The Pregnancy Pact about a girl who purposely becomes pregnant as a way to "keep the man she desperately loves." How does one react to movies like this and reality shows such as High School Moms, I'm Pregnant and…., My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I, 16 and Pregnant, Pregnant in Heels, and Teen Mom? TLC and MTV have been hard at work at showcasing the challenges of teen pregnancies! 

      Obviously the topic of pregnancy has been thoroughly exploited at this point but what worries me is when I start weighing out the influence of these shows on their viewers (mainly young adult females) and the research data that this week's reading points out. On one hand, these shows can teach young people how tough teen parenthood really is, but on the other, teenagers can glorify it by seeing the publicity and fame that comes with being on a pregnancy reality show. A similar issue comes into play when one analyzes research information that has been derived from our society. We live in a world where reproductive development is rapidly increasing among the younger generation which is linked to earlier menarche among girls.  But the long-term consequences of early menarche include both cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Wiley and Allen, 129) This can also explain Table 5.4 where it shows that if the child was born when the mother was around age 15, the probability of the mom being alive at the child's 20th birthday was much greater than if she waited until age 30. (Wiley and Allen, 130) More data is also available showing that birth weights were higher for the firstborn children of younger mothers than older mothers. (Wiley and Allen, 130) 

      At a biological standpoint, the younger you become pregnant, the better! On a social and economical perspective, however, there are too many girls these days who have unrealistic ideas about the life of a teen mother and the hardships that follow. It's a battle between public support and entertainment. But who will win?


  1. While I agree that shows like 16 and Pregnant may give pregnant teens their moment of fame, no one on that show is actually happy. From the few episodes that I have actually seen, the relationships between the young parents are fragile and the teenage mom now has to care for the child on her own and potentially drop out of school. Yes, some girls seem happy with their babies, but those girls usually have parents helping them. As stated in "When I was your age", people become adults when they need to, not before. If anything, the lack of prolonged childhood is punishment enough for the teenage moms.

    While it is better biologically for a woman to have her child younger, the child will suffer throughout childhood. Without an earning potential, the mother will be unable to adequately feed her baby, which will cause issues later in life. Older mothers are more able to care for their children after birth even if the pregnancy is harder. More recently, women have begun freezing their eggs. This would allow the child a better chance because the eggs are not as old as if the woman attempted a normal pregnancy at the age of forty. Personally, I believe that this is the best route because older parents tend to be in more stable relationships and are more financially independent so they are better able to care for a growing child.

  2. I found this section of the Chapter 5 reading very interesting because in the reading, it does basically give off the notion that having children at a younger age, a fifteen to twenty, is better than waiting until your thirties to have a child. The reason why I found this so interesting is because searching young adolescent pregnancies, now there are more risks of teenagers or young adults dying and their babies dying due large numbers of complications.

    In this web link,, it says that “Infants born to teens are 2-6 times more likely to have low birth weight than those born to mothers age 20 or older.” As well as, teen mothers are more likely to have unhealthy habits that place the infant at greater risk for inadequate growth, infection, or chemical independence.” This information proves that having children at a younger age can’t always be the better case biologically. The same amount of risk is still applicable to women who decide to have children at an older age and a younger age. It really doesn’t seem as if there is a biological better way of having a child at the ages that were listed.

    I do agree with Sarah on the fact that having a child older maybe a higher risk and more work, but it is definitely worth doing if you are able financially to take care of yourself and your baby. As well as that TV Shows don’t exactly really show all the difficulties and reality of having a child young. I never see anything with people who have really bad complications on shows teens watch or someone raising a child in environments that aren’t suitable, with little food or family to depend on; which happens more often.

  3. I felt as if this section of the reading was very controversial due to the pros and cons of reality television shows and real facts about having children at a certain age. I feel as if many young teens that have children at a younger age may have many financial and health difficulties compared to those who are older. But, going on what Sarah spoke of about women freezing their eggs being a better alternative than having a child at a younger might actually be worse. There have not been studies that show women freezing their eggs actually increasing the health of their children later in life better yet having less birth complications. That is because many issues related to a child’s health problems are because of the environment, nutrient, bacteria and genetics. While Anais and Sarah may agree that having children at the age of 40 is more reasonable due to financial stability it does not work the same for health. While looking at this from an Anthropology prospective women/men were evolved to reproduce at a age younger than 40. Women begin to stop producing hormones for pregnancy around their late 40s thus the reason menopause occurs so more of the energy would be focused on their own health so that less mutations occur and stop reproducing. Furthermore, I do not feel as if women should wait until they’re older to have children nor should they have them at an earlier age then 18 at most because the brain usually matures around the age of 20 and young girls at that age would make rational decisions.

  4. I also found this topic of teen pregnancy very interesting. It seems that these days there has been an increase in teen pregnancies, but also women are also marrying and getting pregnant at later ages such as 30+. Research shows that having children at a later age increases the chance of genetic birth defects such as down syndrome and also increases the change of miscarriage shown on this website-

    Even though having a baby in your teens might be the most healthy time to have a baby, it is probably not the most reasonable and right time to have a baby. Having a baby in the United States and especially in today’s culture/society, a woman needs to be financially stable, preferably have the father be the husband, and be in a good environment for the child to grow up in. While thinking about this topic, I questioned why there has been an increase in teen pregnancies. I came across an article titled “Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High” by Kathleen Kingsbury from Time Magazine(,9171,1816486,00.html). The article talked about how 17 girls at Gloucester High School were expecting babies in the summer of 2008. This number was “more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year” (Kingsbury). People were looking for the answer as to why this happened and adults blamed the media such as movies and TV shows popularizing pregnancy without marriage. Girls would go to the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant and the principal Joseph Sullivan reports that after hearing their results, “some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were” (Kingsbury). They found out after questioning these girls that they made a pact to get pregnant together and raise their babies together. It was also found out that one of the fathers was a 24 year old homeless man which shows that these pregnancies were because of boyfriends or girls thinking that they were in love, but because they truly just wanted to get pregnant. Maybe the reason for all these pregnancies is that because it is so acceptable in today’s society. High schools have evening schools and other programs for mothers who want to stay in school, sex-ed classes give out condoms rather than talking about abstinence, etc. Or maybe the reason, as thought by Ireland who also is a teen mom, is because “they’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally”(Kingsbury). Whatever the reason, I believe that teens should be taught that motherhood is not like caring for a puppy, but that when being a mom, there is another whole life you need to be responsible for.