Last night’s premiere of 16 & Pregnant’s fourth season gave viewers double the baby mama drama with two new episodes. The first episode introduces us to cheerleader Mackenzie Douthit and her bull riding beau Josh McKee from Oklahoma.
Mackenzie loves going to the rodeo with her friends to watch her boyfriend compete, only this time she’s got an extra person with her…in her belly. She’s a rising junior in high school, and Josh has graduated. Mackenzie doesn’t want to get too far behind with her cheerleading goals, so she still attends practices (to watch), and she plans to jump right back in to the tumbling and pom poms as soon as possible. Josh appears to be very supportive, and the couple seems to have fun together.
Mackenzie puts a lot of pressure on Josh to plan for their future, and her family doesn’t think that she realizes what a change this will be in her life. After her sisters plead with her not to name the poor child “Cowbell,” her mother inquires as to why she wasn’t more careful. Duh! As a cheerleader, she didn’t want to take the Pill and risk getting fat. Um…I don’t want to point out the obvious, but…
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This couple is cute, the families seem nice and stable, but we’re only ten minutes into the show and I am remembering exactly why I find it so disheartening. This girl thinks she is just going to pop out that baby and be back as a flier in the basket toss a few days later. It will only be more depressing when she’s on Teen Mom 4. Mackenzie is admirably trying to find a job to help out with expenses, but she’s having a difficult time finding an after school gig that wants to hire someone who is sixteen and seven months pregnant.
Mackenzie’s mom is concerned that couple has no plans, outside of naming their son – Gannon. She offers to allow Josh to move in to help take care of Gannon after his birth, but she is clear on two things: the couple will NOT be sharing a bedroom, and Mackenzie will be finishing high school. Through the magic of subtitles, we learn that Josh plans on supporting his young family with his rodeo winnings. Of course, with rodeos comes the fear of Josh’s safety.
A friend comes over to visit, and Mackenzie is thrilled that she all but fits (minus her 30 week preggers tummy) in her cheerleading uniform. She’ll be back at the top of that pyramid in no time! She and her father recycle cans for some extra cash, but it’s certainly not going to pay for diapers. Josh discusses his future with his friend Lane, who may or may not be twelve. He reveals that Mackenzie wants him to give up bronco riding due to her safety concerns. He understands her worries, but that would be like him asking her to give up cheerleading. Lane has clearly just watched 8 Seconds (never seen it? Rent it – Luke Perry at his finest!), and he advises his pal that she “can’t take away his rodeo.” Deep.
Even though she hates to think about Josh getting hurt, Mackenzie understands that Josh is bringing in some money with his rodeo riding. Perhaps soon, he’ll be able to afford some t-shirts with sleeves. Mackenzie and her friends go shopping for some staple items for her upcoming junior year, and she laments that she wishes Josh would attempt to find a real job. That evening, the couple had planned to research day care options. However, Mackenzie receives a frantic call from Josh’s mom and learns he has been in a car accident.
At the hospital, Josh is in the ICU for potential head and neck injuries after being rammed by a truck. He’s released to go home and rest, and he may need surgery in a few weeks. Mackenzie is happy that this will keep him from bull riding, at least in the short-term. However, that happiness is dashed when she realizes that he won’t be able to work, there will be no money for daycare, and she’ll have to drop out of school. Josh is too scared about his surgery to comfort Mackenzie.
Mackenzie’s sisters throw the couple a baby shower, and Josh is able to attend in his neck brace and–dun dun dun day!–a t-shirt with sleeves! If I learned anything from this shower, it’s that Gannon will be sporting a lot of camo. Mackenzie starts her junior year, but it is making her extremely exhausted. She feels really sick, and that night her contractions begin. Her mom takes her to the hospital at 3:30 in the morning. Mackenzie has been in labor for several hours, and she has her parents and Josh with her in the hospital. She learns that the baby is too big to be delivered naturally, so everyone prepares for a C-section. Holy crap, that is a GIANT baby to come out of such a tiny girl. He’s precious, but he is huge – nine pounds, seven ounces! Josh is immediately smitten with his new son. Mackenzie is in a lot of pain, but Josh is stepping up to the plate.
Back at home, everyone plans to pitch in to help with Gannon. Josh is pretty good at changing diapers, and he awakens with Mackenzie for feedings. The couple finds out quickly just how much time and effort a newborn requires. After a few weeks of adjustment, the pair is sleep deprived. Because he can’t work, Josh is selling some rodeo supplies in an effort to make a little money for his family. While his neck surgery hasn’t been ruled out, he is feeling well enough to watch Gannon so that Mackenzie can go back to school. In the library, Mackenzie and her friend have the obligatory “I’m so busy and tired and I hate being away from my baby, but hate being so removed from my friends” discussion.
After seven weeks, Mackenzie takes Gannon to tumbling practice. Didn’t this chick just have a C-section? Oh, the resilient bodies of teenagers. She’s stunting up a storm for someone with a brand new baby mere feet from the gym mat. Knowing Josh has been stressed about his possible surgery and being a full-time dad, Mackenzie takes him to the rodeo. He tells his friends he wants to ask if he can bull ride. Mackenzie stays quiet, and Lane reminds Josh that he hasn’t even been released by his doctor yet. Heck, Mr. “Don’t let her take your rodeo” Lane is more vocal than Mackenzie regarding Josh’s bravado. Lane’s sense wins out, and the group heads home sans bull riding.
Mackenzie tells Josh that he needs to stop with his rodeo dreams because she is far too concerned about his safety. She is worried that his decision to keep riding will ruin them as a couple. He doesn’t care. He is going to be a bull rider. She forbids him from bull riding if he wants to stay with her. Mackenzie can’t believe she’s fallen for a cowboy. She is thankful for the support of both of their families, and she hopes they will be able to work through their issues while following their dreams and maintaining their own family.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE SEASON PREMIERE? WILL JOSH CONTINUE BULL RIDING? WILL THE YOUNG COUPLE LAST?
Katie Yeager is the second pregnant teen highlighted in the new season. She’s an intelligent high school senior from Wyoming with dreams of getting a Masters in Psychology. She has been living with her boyfriend Joey Maes and his family, with the blessing of her divorced parents. The pair loved to party, and they talk candidly about their haphazard approach to birth control. Katie seems to be shocked at how supportive Joey has been since learning of the pregnancy.
Katie is sad to watch her best friend go off to college, as they had planned to room together at school – pre-pregnancy. Katie and Joey have dinner with her family, and her mother reminds her of all the schools to which she was accepted while telling the young couple how difficult it will be to have a new baby. Katie can’t help but cry hearing her mother’s lecture, and she wishes her mother could still be proud of her.
In an effort to prove herself to her mom, Katie is studying extra hard and working part-time at a baby supply store. Joey has obtained his GED and has a job at a tractor rental store. Both are hoping he’ll be able to get a much more lucrative job in the mines. Katie would love to get their own place, but Joey wants the couple to stay at his parents’ house to save money. Joey’s step-dad wants to know the pair’s plan, although they are welcome to stay as needed. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Team Joey’s step-dad! He asks the hard questions. Katie wishes Joey would be more proactive about looking for housing.
Even though she has missed out on a lot of fun with her friends recently, Katie is determined to go to her prom, baby bump and all. Her friends make it into a girls’ night, but it’s not the fairytale she had always envisioned. Katie didn’t count on the swollen feet, the judgmental stares of classmates, and the extreme exhaustion. Joey and Katie decide to start applying for income based housing in hopes that they will have new digs before their daughter Molli is born.
For pregnant teens, Katie reaches a major milestone – she is able to graduate from high school with her class. She meets with a college counselor and plans to take classes online at community college in hopes of transferring to a university in Denver after two years. Katie reveals to the counselor that she never planned on getting married or having children, but she is happy to alter her previous plan to be a wonderful example to Molli.
Joey has spent all of his free time with his friends. Katie can’t help but think he’s trying to avoid finding his family a place to live. She goes to visit her best friend at her new apartment in Denver. Katie wants to live vicariously through Veronica, and she is excited about the prospect of moving her family to Denver in a few years. After a discussion with Joey, they realize that affording their own place will be next to impossible. Katie hates feeling so unprepared. She wanted Molli to have a nursery ready long before her arrival. Joey grows very impatient with her attempts at discussing grown up topics.
Katie is working overtime to try to find a home for her growing family. Joey is becoming more and more distant. During a phone call with Veronica, Katie reveals that Joey just ignores her, and she is incredibly lonely. Katie tries to express these feelings to Joey, but he is going to visit his dad. When she threatens not to be home when he returns, he doesn’t really seem that bothered. Katie decides to go stay at her mom’s house for a while. Her mom wants her to be patient. Does her mom seem a little off, or is it just me? After a night at her mom’s, Joey wants to talk things over with Katie. He doesn’t understand what he’s doing wrong in their relationship. Joey is angry, and he doesn’t understand that Katie feels like she’s taking so much from his parents without being able to do anything in return. He doesn’t get that she doesn’t want to burden his folks. In Joey’s mind, that is what parents are supposed to do. He storms off, leaving Katie upset.
With just two weeks to go until her due date, Katie hasn’t seen Joey since their fight. They couple continues to argue over text message until Katie goes into labor. Girlfriend doesn’t want any drugs during her childbirth. Joey arrives and things are pretty awkward. However, the more pain Katie is in, the more helpful he becomes. She has a midwife leading her through the delivery, and after ten hours of labor, Joey’s attitude is gone. He is totally focused on helping Katie bring Molli into the world. Upon her delivery, Joey is moved to tears. Veronica arrives from Denver in time to share in the celebration.
The following day, Katie and Molli are released from the hospital, and Joey seems happy when Katie says she wants to go to his mom’s house. She just wants them to be together as a family, regardless of where they are. Joey’s much younger siblings are already proving to be great future baby-sitters, and he has arranged their basement space to make more room for Molli. Katie starts her online classes, and Joey’s little brother wants to know why she isn’t going to a real college. Soon the couple gets a much-needed break, and Joey is hired to work in the mines. They are finally able to look for apartments. The couple receives the good news that they can move in to a place of their own. Joey really seems to be stepping up to the plate.
When he begins his new job, Joey must work the night shift. Katie is left taking care of Molli all day while he sleeps. On Joey’s night off, Katie’s mom takes the new family out to dinner. Katie reveals that in two years they will be moving to Denver. Her mom wants to know what coal mine Joey will be working at in Denver. This comment sparks an argument between the couple, as Joey doesn’t think that he needs to give up a high paying job and benefits that support his family so that Katie can go to college. Katie’s mom tells them that they will both be making sacrifices for the rest of their lives. Both of them must give up things they want.
Katie is concerned that Denver may be a more than just a few years in her future. She never pictured herself as a housewife with no degree. Katie catches up with her friends and reveals that keeping up with online classes is difficult. Basically, she realizes that she is getting all of the college education, with none of the college experience. She gets no dorm life, no friends, no human interaction. Katie admits to Joey that she is lonely living in their new place. Joey assures her that his life isn’t any better. Katie hates thinking about all the things she gave up, but Joey reminds her that he gave up just as much. It’s much harder doing it all than she ever could have ever imagined. While they still have their arguments, Katie knows that Joey works extremely hard to provide for them, and he is a good dad. She went from being a child to having a child.
THOUGHTS ON THE SECOND EPISODE? WERE YOU SURPRISED TO SEE JOEY STEP UP TO THE PLATE? WILL KATIE EVERY FULFILL HER DREAMS OF GOING TO COLLEGE IN DENVER?