'16 and Pregnant': Jamie Needs to Share Her Baby

Sasha Brown-Worsham

The third episode of 16 and Pregnant showed Jamie and Ryan, yet another couple who was way too young to be making adult decisions, turn into a bickering mess over the birth of their baby.

By now we should expect this. The show is practically formulaic. The "good girl" mom wishes her "bad boy" boyfriend was the father she never had (or just a decent guy, period). They fight through the pregnancy, but she still has hope and then as soon as she has the baby, he bails.

I could write the show! Oh wait, it's "reality TV" ... Jamie's story is, alas, no different. She is the mature one, the one able to handle the new responsibility. She is even nursing her baby daughter, which does add a new twist to the show. Good on her!

And yet, she still has some things to learn.

When Jamie first became pregnant, her mother tried to convince her to abort -- a tidbit I appreciated hearing because it's so rarely addressed on these shows. The fact is, a college-bound high school girl getting pregnant isn't good news, and any parent would be disappointed and willing (even wanting) to explore other options.

Jamie's father was a bit distant and she rarely saw him. But Jamie was determined to have her daughter. Luckily her mother got on board and was supporting her. Of course, Ryan was anything but helpful even though it was Ryan's parents who threw her the baby shower.

Though he almost missed the birth, he did make it ... and that is where the trouble started.

The filming of this episode happened last fall/winter. Now we know that Jamie is accusing Ryan of being a coke head addict who shouldn't be around their daughter. But on this episode, he was merely a way-too-young father trying to see his daughter. And his daughter's mom refused to let him.

Watching the show, it was obvious where Jamie was coming from. I would sooner leave my baby with a donkey than with that hot mess Ryan. But the fact is, he is her daughter's father. You can hate him all day long, but he has as much right to that baby as she does.

One of the things I never understand on these shows is that the mother is either complaining about her lot in life -- being left with a baby while the baby daddy parties -- or complaining that he wants to see the baby as if all decisions about where the baby goes are up to her. If it takes two people to make a baby, why does only one get to make any decisions?

Much as the baby daddies aren't owning up to their responsibilities, many of the teen moms aren't, either. They seem to want to blame him for everything that went wrong and play the martyr mommy replete with pity from everyone. It doesn't work that way.

Like it or not, 50 percent of the decision to have a baby was hers. In fact, once the pregnancy was there, 100 percent of the decision was hers. There is no "victim" other than maybe the baby. And Jamie needs to learn to share based on what was only in the episode. He isn't a great dad, by any means. But he is the man/boy she chose as the father of her baby. Now she needs to allow him to be a part of her daughter's life. 

Do you think Jamie was being immature about it?


Image via MTV

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