Chelsea Handler has always proven herself to be a brave and hilarious comedian, unafraid of offending people or turning them off with her "this is me, deal with it" brand of humor. But she took that to a whole other level this week when she went on the Rosie O'Donnell Show and admitted -- with no apology or remorse -- that she had an abortion at 16 and had no regrets. It was brave and smart and highly commendable. Those people who regularly watch Teen Mom on MTV could also learn a few things from it.
The fact is, there ARE other choices out there and if MTV does not show them, then it is good someone else does.
Even more shocking, though, was her admission that SHE wanted the baby and that it was, in fact, her parents who talked some sense into her. She explained:
I was trying to argue with them and they were like, 'You don't understand. You're throwing your entire life away. You're not having a child right now. This is not what our family's about. You know, you're supposed to create a life for yourself, and we want you to enjoy your life and not be raising a child. And we're certainly not going to raise it for you.'
It's the kind of parenting that is completely absent from shows like Teen Mom and is hugely inspiring.
If I were the parent of a teen, I would deeply struggle if my teenage daughter wanted to keep a baby. MTV's Teen Mom shows the perils of teenage parenthood, but not the alternatives. The girls seem to exist in a world where there are only two choices. But that's no true. Being a teen mom is a long, lonely road and even parents who do it well have still missed some of the best parts of life.
It is not the life most would would want for their child and to many parents like Handler's -- educated, affluent, older -- it would be a tragedy to see their child go down that path. And so they were honest with their daughter, even as she was making her choice. They were not going to enable her to ruin her life.
For Chelsea to talk about this is very brave. There will likely be a lot of backlash and hate. But she is right. Her life has been very successful and she has gone on to really make something of herself and the reality is, none of that would have happened if she had been saddled with a baby. Why should she apologize for that? She made the right choice.
By being honest about her choice, she is putting it out into the media, to teen girls and to parents of teen girls. It's OK to make the choice that is RIGHT for you. Who cares if someone says you are selfish. Being called "selfish" is much better than ruining your life. And in the end, most of us want to raise children who have ambition and who see themselves as something other than parents.
Her bravery in telling this story is inspiring and her parent's attitude is equally so. It is the reality for many families and something that is entirely absent from the media portrayal of teen pregnancy. Not everyone loves being a teen mom and views it as a gift and there are other choices to be made.
Many will disagree with her parents, but their honesty is refreshing. They did not make parenthood schmaltzy or overblown. It's hard and if you do it too young, you ruin something very special. Good for them.
Do you disagree with the media portrays teen pregnancy?
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