On this week’s episode of 16 and Pregnant, sixteen-year-old Danielle Cunningham of Columbus, Ohio finds herself pregnant with boyfriend Jamie Alderman, a high school drop-out, after only a few months of dating. I fancy myself to be devoid of most human emotion (kidding…kind of), but this installment was heartbreaking to me.
We learn early on that Danielle had aspirations of becoming a lawyer which were quickly curbed by her partying ways. Her mother Casey, who gave birth to Danielle at sixteen, sends her wild daughter to live with her grandmother (Casey’s mother) forty-five minutes away, which is where Danielle meets Jamie. Once pregnant, Danielle moves back in with her mom, who feels overwhelming guilt for putting her daughter in the same situation she was in as a high schooler. Jamie, looking forward to fatherhood, visits his girlfriend often (thanks to the help of friends and family, as he has lost his drivers’ license–prerequisite for being on this show??). He reveals that he likes Danielle because they have “actual conversations;” however, if these awkward talks are what the young folk are deeming “actual conversations” then most of the chatty people I know are extreme over-achievers in the verbal world.
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Danielle, like almost every other young girl this season thus far, wasn’t on birth control. Her mother is devastated that her daughter is following in her footsteps and feels like she failed her first-born. I want to hug Casey. She is younger than I am and is about to become a grandmother. Danielle tells her friend how odd it is to know that when she can legally drink, her son will be in kindergarten. That is pretty sobering, I’d say (no pun intended). She also says that she thinks that she and Jamie wouldn’t have lasted had she not become pregnant.
Danielle tries to create a budget with Jamie, but he is headstrong that they will have enough diapers and wipes to last a few months, thus buying them some time, money-wise. While this may be the doucheiest (is that even a word?) statement uttered so far this season, I think he’s just clueless and trying to help relieve some of Danielle’s (warranted and) mounting stress. As dads go this season, Jamie is nothing but diplomatic when speaking to his girlfriend’s mother. The couple is divided as to where to live but have support from all sides. Sidebar (and the only thing slightly humorous about the episode), we find out Danielle has been craving
pickles chalk throughout her pregnancy.
While helping her friends bake brownies, Danielle is clearly in labor, no matter how much she tries to ignore those “lightning bolt pains.” After her mom tells her she’s having contractions, they head to the hospital where Jamie arrives to coach her through the birth. After her epidural, the plethora of machines hooked up to Danielle alert the hospital that the baby has stopped breathing, and her son must be delivered in an emergency procedure. New grandmother Casey and new dad Jamie share an emotional moment as the new family rejoices in the birth of a healthy Jamie Paul, Jr.
Danielle wants to move in with Jamie’s dad, feeling as if she is too mature to be living with her mom. It’s a sad realization, knowing what a God send her mom has been so far. Jamie is a surprisingly hand-on dad, but sadly loses his job at a fast food restaurant for missing too many shifts. The young couple show how naive they are when talking about being new parents. Danielle can’t understand why her mom is upset with her move, seeing as she “knows how to do everything” as a new mom, and Jamie responds, “Yeah, it’s pretty self-explanatory.” Again, as much as I want to knock their heads together in a Flinstone moment, I just really feel for them.
Casey brings her daughter her report card, and Danielle finds out she is way more behind in school than she thought…she has the credits of a freshman. Casey calls it like it is and tells Danielle that her education is a must, asking, for Jamie, Jr., “do you want good shoes or nasty shoes?” Please know I am not at all being sarcastic when I say I think that should be a tag-line for some sort of teen pregnancy prevention program, because she’s right. Actually, that advice runs the gamut for anyone who needs self-motivation. I think most people would want to work for good shoes.
Danielle knows she needs to step up the studying, but it’s hard without her mom’s help and with Jamie working around the clock. The couple disagrees on putting their newborn in daycare, and they both make valid points. Constantly fighting, the couple realizes that they have the same gripes, reservations and worries when living with the other’s parents. They cannot find common ground, and Danielle moves back in with her mom. Seriously, I want to choose a side here, but it’s next to impossible. Seeing Casey’s face and knowing that with every word and thought she’s wishing her daughter wasn’t walking in her high school shoes is really hard to watch, but I do feel as if Jamie, Jr. has an amazing support system from all sides.
On mtv’s aftershow, Danielle admits that she was more afraid of losing her teenage years and experiences than she was about being in labor. She talks about how she lost a lot a friends and can now relate to her mom more than she could have imagined. She reveals that as of a half hour before filming the aftershow, they couple was “on” but they continue to be fight constantly. While their relationship is a question mark, she is the first to admit that Jamie is a wonderful and committed dad who was totally changed by the birth of their child. That, at least, is a positive ending (beginning) to this young couple’s story.