When America first met Kailyn Lowry, she was 17 and giving birth to a son on MTV's 16 & Pregnant. Then came a starring role on the network's hit series, Teen Mom 2. But the mother of two is entering a new era: prepare to meet Kailyn Lowry, best-selling author.
In Pride Over Pity, her highly anticipated memoir, Kailyn breaks away from the story line fans have seen unfold on MTV and dives into her troubled childhood. Nothing is too tough for her to talk about -- from her alcoholic mother to an abortion at just 15 to a brutal rape after the birth of her first child, Isaac.
Many of the stories are shocking, but what may be even more shocking is that the reality star has been able to keep them under wraps for so long. The Stir sat down with Kailyn to find out why she's opened up her closet and brought out so many skeletons.
The Stir: The book was quite the emotional rollercoaster. What made you decide to be so open?
It’s been quite the journey.
I had a lot of things built up; there are so many people who just don’t understand. They’ll tweet me and go on and on about stuff. They really don’t understand who I am and why I am the way I am. I want to just give them more insight on my life. I’m not just some cold-hearted bitch that people think I am. I’ve been through things that have changed me and molded me into who I am today.
You touch on some pretty heavy topics -- rape, abortion. How do you expect your son, Isaac, to handle it when he reads this book?
I’m hoping that he will take it into consideration when he’s a teenager and be like, you know, my mom went through this. I would never want to go through this myself; I’d never want to put a girlfriend through this. I hope that he makes better decisions than I did.
A lot of this is new information. How were you able to keep some of this quiet with the tabloids always following you?
The abortion story, since 16 & Pregnant, I feared someone was going to sell me out at some point. That was one of my fears -- that someone was going to come out and try to sell it. I’m actually surprised that no one sold me out on that.
So you took ownership of it, being the one to bring it out?
Yeah. I wanted to be the one that could tell my story and my side of how everything went down before someone went and tried to make money off of it.
Did you do anything to prepare for this new attention you’re going to be getting? Maybe go for therapy?
You know, that’s so crazy you ask. Today I was thinking about it. I’ve always gone in and out of therapy. I would go. I would stop going when my schedule got busy. I think I need to make time for myself to go and do it. I think it could be really good for me; it’s really beneficial for everyone.
The rape is something you talk about, and that’s a really hard thing for any woman to talk about. What gave you the strength to talk about that?
I really just think that I’ve had so many demons, I guess you could call them, or skeletons in the closet, that I kind of wanted to get off my chest and not think about it.
The book and writing about them gave me the ability to write them down and just not think about them anymore. I told somebody -- the book was just therapy for me. Literally there are things in the book that I do not think about anymore. I didn’t forget about them, but they're not on my mind every day. You know, like there’s a task you always have to do and it’s always in the back of your mind, I know I have to do this. It’s kind of like that, where I have these things in the back of my mind and writing them down got them off my chest completely.
Do you think this book will change the way people look at Teen Mom stars in general?
I hope so. I hope people think about it twice before they say something about us. They know what they see in TV, but they don’t know what happened before the show was around or they don’t know what goes through our minds when the cameras stop rolling or when they take a break.
I’m hoping this changes the perspective of some people at least.
You’ve talked about how you did Teen Mom because you were able to talk about being a teen mother and make a difference. What’s the advantage to being a Teen Mom star & being able to put out this book?
I just feel like it’s a wider audience there, so maybe people who don’t watch the show will pick up the book and be like, OK, there’s actually some substance here, there’s a message. I hope they take away the right message.
We’ll see if that actually works out.
You didn’t talk much about actually filming in Pride Over Pity. Was that a conscious decision?
I didn’t really want my book to be around Teen Mom. When I go out in public, people are like, oh, are you Teen Mom? There’s more to me than just Teen Mom. There’s more to me than just what is on the show. I kind of wanted to give some history behind who I am and why I am who I am today.
What has been the best response you’ve gotten to Pride Over Pity?
This past week people have said they’ve picked up my book and haven’t put it down. The one girl said that her mom was an alcoholic and she went through a very similar situation. It makes me feel good that I’m not the only one that has gone through some of these things.
People that I’m friends with -- at least that I know -- haven’t gone through this, so they don’t understand. I can’t go and talk to them about it. So people who relate to me, I feel like we can empower and lift each other up.
Has your mother responded?
My mom texted me and she said she read my book and that she doesn’t want me to deny the good times that we had. I don’t. We did have some good times growing up.
She didn’t deny anything that I wrote in there. She didn’t try to deny anything that I had written or that she didn’t agree with. She just said that we did have good times, which we did.
But when you grow up the way I did, the worst memories stick out more than the good ones.
Do you have any advice for people who have dealt with crappy moms?
I guess take it and use it as an example of what you don’t want to be. Do everything better. My mom taught me the mom I don’t want to be, so I try to do everything that she didn’t do.
You don’t have to be a product of your environment. You can kind of figure it out on your own and be your own person.
Were you surprised no one sold Kailyn out before?
Images via Jeanne Sager; Post Hill Press