Money problems have been a constant source of arguments for many teen moms on 16 and Pregnant. And in tonight's episode, Aleah showed us just how difficult it is to save and plan for a baby when teenage expenses get in the way.
The 18-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, has been with her boyfriend, Shawn, for two years. They met in juvenile detention, after Aleah got into a bad fight with another girl. A couple years later, she got pregnant, moved in with Shawn and his parents, and now also cares for Shawn's other son, Noah.
And to make matters even more serious, Aleah recently found out that she has Type I diabetes, which complicates both her own health and can cause serious complications for her baby.
Shawn also has his own problems. He has a "lead foot," as he so aptly puts it, and has had countless speeding tickets, so the couple has had a tough time saving money for their baby. Luckily, Shawn works at a plastics factory (though not often, because it seems that his shifts have been getting cut) and Aleah attends school to be a medical assistant.
After yet another discussion about saving money and getting their own place, Aleah and Shawn seem to be in agreement about putting cash aside for their own expenses. But just as things start looking up, Shawn gets yet another speeding ticket. Yes, another.
As they continue to plan for the baby, Aleah finds that her medical condition can be very dangerous for her baby. A labor coach lets her know that with Type I diabetes, pregnant women are at risk for stillbirths, among many other serious dangers. And after a checkup, the doctors decide to deliver the baby three weeks early.
Aleah's daughter, Peyton Reianne, is born, and the little family grows by one. But the tiny tot has trouble breathing and has low blood sugar, so she's rushed to intensive care and put on IVs to stabilize her sugar levels. When they finally are able to leave, the family returns to Shawn's house, and the craziness begins yet again.
With three siblings, a son, and now a baby daughter, the couple is in some pretty crammed spaces. The situation makes Aleah even more adamant that they get their own place. But after having a very straightforward discussion, Shawn finally comes clear about his debts: he owes about $2,500 in fines for his speeding. According to him, though, "that's what tax time is for." As in "tax time" will solve all his money woes. Oy.
Thankfully, Aleah doesn't take the explanation lightly. The two argue loudly, Shawn's mom, Angie, interferes, and Aleah decides to leave for the night. But that's not before they have yet another disagreement about baby Peyton. Aleah wants to take her, but Shawn and his mother refuse. Outnumbered, Aleah leaves to spend the night at her mom's house and Peyton stays with Shawn.
After a night away, the two seem to patch things up and the week after the fight seems to be going well. Shawn has picked up more shifts, Aleah is caring for both Peyton and Noah, and the family is doing better. But things aren't as peachy keen for long.
That's right. You guessed it. Shawn gets yet another speeding ticket. He was driving 69 miles per hour in a 50 mph zone. Without hesitating, Aleah takes Peyton and heads back to her mom's house. This time, for good.
Soon after, the family decides to stay at different homes until Shawn is able to save enough money to get them a home of their own. As Aleah's mom puts it, you can't have "teenage problems when you're trying to be in an adult situation." And she couldn't have gotten it more correctly. Speeding tickets, "lead foot" or not, are nothing to ignore. But try explaining that to a reckless teenager who doesn't seem to understand the real risks.
Fortunately, Aleah seems to have her priorities straight. She understands what's best for her daughter and recognizes that there are plenty more problems they will face in the future. But lets hope Shawn catches on soon.
What did you think of Aleah's episode? Should she have left Shawn?
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