Not All Teen Moms Are Like Amber Portwood, Thank God

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baby and soccer ballThere’s never been much glory in becoming a mother before becoming an adult, and teenage motherhood isn't getting any more palatable to the general public, thanks to few of the young mothers on Teen Mom. I mean, honestly: who among us thinks Amber Portwood should be nominated for any “Best Mama Under the Sun” awards?

Still, there are modern-day, feel-good tales to celebrate out there, like the story of Zuleyni Huizache and Sulma Plancarte, two young women who could’ve easily been written off as damaged goods or lost causes by their coach, their parents, and the rest of the world because each had a child before she was 16. Instead, their talent and love for the game of soccer have led their San Jose, California-area team to an 18-0-2 record of victory.

Amber, my dear, take notes.

Zuleyni Huizache and Sulma Plancarte gave their teen parenting challenges a swift kick in the cojones to become the first and second lead scorers on their team respectively, which is a heck of a lot more admirable than, say, stripping down to flesh and bone to pose for nudie shots. I mean, I get the whole rebellion, acting out thing. Take the enormous responsibility of motherhood -- the lack of sleep, the overwhelming number of worries, the constant need for cash, and oh, the lack of sleep -- and multiply that by the issues that naturally coincide with being a teenager still in high school, and I can almost empathize with Amber and her crew of fellow teen mothers.

But seeing Amber Portwood stroll the red carpet at the Oscars, even if it was fake, and stopping for paparazzi shots makes me pause: she’s not notable because she’s an awesome actress or a gifted singer or even a brand ambassador like that chick from the Progressive commercials. She’s a girl who got knocked up before she graduated high school and did a reality TV show about it. Glamorous? Not so much.

This ain’t the 1950s when pregnancy was all very hush-hush and mysterious. With all the education that parents, schools, the government, and public health organizations have pressed upon our kids about the dangers of unprotected sex and HIV/AIDS and STIs and abstinence and condom usage, any teenager who finds herself with child despite all of the resources and education being thrown at her is willfully being reckless. I might even venture to call it stupid. I know that willful stupidity of being a teenage mother all too well because I was one of them.

But I can at least respect young moms like Huizache and Plancarte for being role models for their kids by staying in school, pursuing their positive passions for soccer, and admitting how hard the teen mom life actually is for them. Their experiences will leave a far more positive impression on their kids’ futures than capitalizing on their poor decision-making with headline-making shenanigans on TMZ. Amber’s antics might make teenage motherhood entertaining, but shouldn’t we be giving more props to the real-life girls who are balancing the challenges without the glitz of camera time?

Are we sensationalizing teen motherhood in the wrong way?

 

Image via mistermundo/Flickr

16 & pregnant, teen mom, reality tv, soccer