MTV’s "Teen Mom 2," which concludes its season with a reunion show tonight, is must-see TV.
The plot is pretty basic: Cameras follow teen moms so the world can watch their lives unravel as they stumble through parenthood. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare played out for the country to see.
Even so, every teenager should witness the ugly, brutal truth of having a baby too soon: midnight feedings, diaper changes and colic are rude wake-up calls, not to mention the relationships that fracture from the stress of parenthood. The first time I watched it, I sat in disbelief at the lives these girls were leading: juggling feedings, visits to the pediatrician, studying for the GED, working, going to school. All the while, their lives seemed to fall apart around them. Boyfriends and friends disappeared. All the fathers, except for one, emotionally abuse the young moms.
It’s a pretty ugly show, and it’s actually kind of hard to stomach. I can’t help but wonder how any of them will survive as whole, emotionally intact human beings.
It’s also pretty easy to judge these girls. They make the same mistakes over and over again. But these moms are all missing the same thing: Someone to mentor them, love them and actually teach them how to parent. And this is exactly where pro-life Christians should stand in the gap.
What would happen if teen moms weren't judged for their past mistakes? What if Christians helped young moms make better choices for their future?
It’s easy for Christians to claim that they are pro-life. It’s easy to spout the Christianese that every life is valuable. Truly pro-life Christians must be active in adoption and also willing to love and support teen moms who choose to parent.
I’ll admit, when I watched these moms fumble through motherhood, I thought adoption would have been a better choice for all of them. In fact, one of them did place their child for adoption in "16 and Pregnant," the show that preceded "Teen Mom." Cameras followed Ashley Salazar, a 17-year-old, as she first tried to parent her daughter, then made the painful decision to place her child for adoption. She is no longer followed on "Teen Mom 2."
But Ashley has continued her story on her blog. There she honestly talks about the pain, regret and joy of placing her daughter.
Adoption is indeed a brave and difficult choice and it is appropriate in many cases. But adoption isn’t the answer for everyone. There are lifelong consequences for both the birth mother and the child. Family preservation should always be the first choice.
Take away the cameras and sensationalism of MTV. Take away the fact that this is a reality show and these girls (and their babies) are being exploited. I wonder how I would react to a pregnant teen if she walked through the doors of my church. Would she be welcomed? If she chose to parent, how would the Christian community react to her? Would she find support? Or simply judgment?
(Photo courtesy of MTV.)