5 adolescent shows & films depicting teen pregnancy
Teen pregnancy is a tricky topic to talk about. What used to be considered taboo and unheard of turned into a pop culture sensation as MTV released series and Hollywood produced movies depicting teen pregnancy. How accurate are these representations? Are they appropriate for your teen to be watching? Is the moral of the story harmful or helpful?
We've gathered 5 TV shows and movies surrounding the topic of teen pregnancy:
1. Juno (PG-13)
Juno was released in 2007 and centers around the story of two high school best friends Juno and Bleaker. After having sex, Juno becomes pregnant and comes to the decision to give the baby up for adoption. This movie is a great example of showing the different options of teenage pregnancy and highlights a healthy relationship between Juno and Bleaker as they go through this difficult journey together. The feel-good humor isn't too over-the-top or lewd. This is a great film with honest dialogue and a believable story.
2. 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom
These MTV reality shows may be what first come to mind when thinking of teen pregnancy on TV. The show first premiered in 2009 and ran for 6 seasons. The success of the series lead to a multitude of spin-off shows followed, including Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2, Teen Mom 3, and Young and Pregnant. The show was met with controversy as some believed it glorified and encouraged teen pregnancy, but its popularity sky-rocketed, nonetheless. The episodes feature an array of difficult challenges and triumphs for each girl, from family problems, financial issues, relationship troubles, legal battles, and more.
3. Unexpected (R)
The basic premise of this movie is that a teacher finds out she is pregnant at the same time that one of the most promising students becomes pregnant as well. They form an unbreakable bond as they go through their pregnancies together and their unlikely friendship blossoms on the screen. The 2015 film shows the impending conflict of life with a baby and the decision to attend college, a very real situation teen mothers are put in. Unexpected is rated R, so it may not be suitable for children under 17.
4. The Secret Life of the American Teenager (TV-14)
This show follows the stereotypical character arch of many others: freshman girl meets older boy, girl loses virginity and gets pregnant, girl and boy get engaged to become a happy family. While the series may center around a cliche, the interwoven relationships of these teenagers tackle a lot of topics about teen pregnancy. As other characters also become pregnant, adoption, stillborn, cheating scandals, and financial troubles all come into play. The Secret Life of the American Teenager gives us a glimpse at the reality of high school students and the various options for teen pregnancy.
5. The Pregnancy Pact (PG)
This TV film originally aired on the Lifetime Movie Network in 2010. The premise of the movie is based on a real story from 2008 when a group of teenage girls agreed to get pregnant and raise their babies together. These girls fantasize about becoming mothers and getting married to their high school sweethearts and encourage all of their friends to do the same. This movie shows how the teens were not prepared for the harsh reality of pregnancy and the difficulties of labor.
Teen pregnancy is not just a subject for fictional movies or reality TV. It is a very real occurrence and should be treated with seriousness and care for the pregnant teen. If you or someone you know is in need of extra support during their pregnancy, Acenda offers specialized programs for new and expectant parents.
For more information about Acenda's Maternal Health services and to speak with on of our motherhood advocates, please call 856-431-4180.