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?