Bristol Palin. Juno. Jamie Lynn Spears. Teen pregnancy is an American obsession, and MTV’s new series 16 and Pregnant is satisfying our voyeuristic tendencies with a documentary-style approach to the lives of teen girls, their pregnancies and the aftermath (you know, the baby).
Babble sat down with one of the show’s teen moms, Ebony Jackson, who had daughter Jocelyn at seventeen. The Colorado teen, who has since turned eighteen, chatted frankly about the new ABCs: abstinence, birth control and finding a way to go to college. – Jeanne Sager
Can you tell our readers a little bit about your situation?
Well, I’m a senior in high school and I have a two-month-old little girl now. I first found out I was pregnant at the very beginning of my senior year, so it kind of caught me by surprise. Adoption and abortion were never an option for me, just because I couldn’t go through something for nine, ten months and then have to hand the baby over to somebody else.
When you got pregnant, was this with a steady boyfriend?
We were dating for about ten months when we found out that I was pregnant. He was really steady, and we were already talking about marriage even before she came along.
So what’s happened since?
We got married on June 25th.
Thank you. Josh is now going into the Air Force sometime in August. He’ll be leaving us for basic and tech school; he’ll be gone for close to a year.
What are you going to be doing in that time?
I’ll be going to college here in the fall. I’ll be getting my associate’s degree.
Did you get to finish your senior year?
I didn’t finish it. My doctor didn’t let me go back after she was born, because it was so close to the end of the school year and they didn’t want me stressing out. I was down four credits, and you’re only allowed to be down two in order to graduate. What they’re doing for me is I don’t have to go back next year. Instead I’m going to be going to college and taking my high school credits along with my college credits.
It sounds like you’ve got a lot figured out; did you ever expect to be in this position?
No, I really didn’t. I wasn’t expecting to have a kid this early. I was the farthest one that you could see being a mommy. I used to babysit and I had to deal with a four-year-old all the time, and I really didn’t like kids! I could deal with them, but I couldn’t see myself having one . . . until I started thinking about adoption and reading all the adoption stories and wanting to become a nurse. It kind of changed my views about it. When I was younger I couldn’t see myself being a mother, but now I am a really good mother – so my mom tells me.
Was it tough talking to your mom when you first found out you were pregnant?
No, she actually thought that she was pregnant first! We’re the only two in the house, so our cycles kind of bounce off of each other. It kind of threw off the hormones of the entire household when I got pregnant.
So what was her reaction when you actually broke down and said “Hey, mom . . .”?
She asked what I was going to do, and I said “I’m going to keep it,” and she said, “Well, if that’s what you want to do, that’s your choice, and I’ll help you any way that you can.” She wasn’t really as harsh as I thought she was going to be.
Were you scared to tell her?
I was a little afraid to tell her, but I knew I could talk to her about anything. She’s like my best friend.