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The Reality of Teen Moms
Aired May 4, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Tonight, it`s MTV`s teen moms, raw, unedited, and real conversations with the girls who star in a TV show about teen pregnancy. Their lives are not glamorous. We are not here to glorify them. We are here to tell the truth.
If you`re a parent or a teen, this may be one of the most important shows you will ever see. So let`s get started.
Welcome to a very important hour about something that is all too real. It is children having children.
Today is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which is why we`re here to address this problem.
Now, recognize this -- the U.S. has twice the teen pregnancy rate as Canada. Germany and France have a teen pregnancy rate that is four times lower than the U.S. Japan`s pregnancy is eight times lower than the United States.
We have got a serious problem in our country. We`ve had it for some time. And we need to do something about this.
To not talk about it, to not take risks with, say, doing shows where we portray what this thing actually is, teen pregnancy, I think, by sitting on our hands and playing it safe, we are going to continue to have a problem. So, for me, the fact that MTV chose to do a show like this I thought was very courageous and worth the risk.
And for people that say maybe MTV is not the place to be doing something like this, there`s so many teens there, where else are you going to do it? Where do you want to do this show? Do you want to do it on the -- I don`t know, on the cooking network or somewhere? I mean, we`ve got to do it where the kids are that are likely to be at risk for this.
And believe me, kids aren`t stupid. You will hear me say this over and over again tonight. You give them a relatable source, and they understand the message. And these ladies tonight are going to help you understand what their message is.
Now, you`ve heard about "Teen Mom," the show "Teen Mom." You know, it`s -- you particularly heard about it after one of the stars was thrown in jail after a violent backyard brawl. This was all caught on camera and we`re going to show you that. It went viral.
Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re such a stupid (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get inside the house! Get inside the house!
(END VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
A.J. HAMMER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Teen mom paid to fight? Unbelievable explosive reports today.
NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": -- the star of "16 and Pregnant."
HAMMER: A "Teen Mom" star faces the music after getting arrested on drug charges.
GRACE: Bombshell tonight.
PINSKY: Because God knows the networks make money off of it. A reality program is intended to be a cautionary tale.
PINSKY: There`s somebody talking some sense about this.
And, you know, I am sympathetic to my peers on HLN who were reporting this. I mean, it was a big story. But I want to get people to focus on what the issue is.
They have been looking at the wrong issue, which is, oh, my goodness, this reality show created a problem. No. Teen pregnancy unravels young lives, and you just happened to catch one unraveling. That`s the issue.
Now, you need to also know that since this show has been airing, teen pregnancy in the U.S. is actually down. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, but it is down. We`ll talk more about that as we go along.
Tonight, three of the stars of MTV`s "Teen Mom" are here, the original three. And we`re going to talk to them uncensored and uncut. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: MTV started following Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, and Catelynn Lowell on the show "16 and Pregnant." They were young, naive and pregnant.
They all faced different trials: absent and unsupportive partners, death of a loved one, and the struggle of choosing adoption. The show was a runaway hit, and the girls not only new mothers, they became instant celebrities.
They are here tonight to get real. Teen pregnancy isn`t glamorous. It`s been an uphill battle for each and every one of these young women.
I know them personally. I have worked with them on their struggles. Now they are sharing their painful and hopeful stories with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: You know them as Maci, Farrah, and Catelynn. It`s Maci Bookout, Farrah Abraham, and Catelynn Lowell. They are three of the four original "16 and Pregnant" girls and the original "Teen Mom." They join us tonight.
Now, Amber is somebody who I have worked with as well on this program, and we have only the best -- we wish her the best right now. She is the fourth cast member, and she wanted to be here but was unable to join us.
You can catch up on her story when the "Teen Mom" new season premieres. That will be on Tuesday, July 5th, at 10:00 p.m., on MTV.
So, ladies, it is good to see you again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to see you too.
PINSKY: Thank you for coming out here and being a part of this.
You know, you and I -- we just did -- had done some reunion shows together. And I know my viewers know this, that I have participated in this show since the beginning, meeting with these girls at the end of their seasons and sort of recapping what`s going on.
And let me just ask you first, how did you experience those reunion shows? And what did you think of me when I got involved with them? Was I a scary guy that was going to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You weren`t scary.
PINSKY: No? Maci thought I was scary.
MACI BOOKOUT, STAR, "TEEN MOM": Yes. No, at first -- I`m not one to really let my guard down that easy.
PINSKY: I noticed that.
BOOKOUT: And I could feel you, like, looking right through me. So I was just like, dang, he knows exactly what I`m thinking right now, and I`m going to have to tell him. So it was a little hard for me to get used to, but now I know you`re good for me. So it`s a much easier for me to talk to you.
PINSKY: Farrah, you too?
FARRAH ABRAHAM, STAR, "TEEN MOM": I hope you -- I thought that you helped us confront some of our, I guess, fears of growing up. So, with my mom`s relationship, I think you`ve helped that become stronger. So I don`t know if you`ve helped some of the other girls, but you have helped me confront some things I needed to change.
PINSKY: Good. Nice. And you know I have great admiration for your mom. I know that you guys have been through a very tough situation, but she has been hanging in through all of this.
How are the babies? How`s Bentley?
BOOKOUT: He`s good.
PINSKY: I`m disappointed he wasn`t here. As you know, I wanted to see Bentley.
BOOKOUT: I know. He is so cool.
PINSKY: He is where now?
BOOKOUT: He is with Kyle at home.
PINSKY: And Sophia, where is she, Farrah?
ABRAHAM: With my mom.
PINSKY: And what about the latest on baby Carly?
CATELYNN LOWELL, STAR, "TEEN MOM": Oh, wow. She is starting to talk a lot. And Theresa (ph) told me she is starting to get a little bit aggressive. So, I think it`s a little bit of Tyler.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s about to turn 2, isn`t she?
LOWELL: Yes, she`s about to turn 2 on the 18th.
PINSKY: You have to listen carefully to what Catelynn said. It`s the terrible 2s, but she`s blaming Tyler for how she`s behaving.
PINSKY: And for people that don`t know, Catelynn gave her child up for adoption. It was a very difficult struggle, something that she still contends with to this day. And it`s been a very illustrative story for young people that are contemplating that.
I want to go to some Facebook questions here. This is Jen W. And she asks, "What do you think your kids will say when they look back one day and view the `Teen Mom` video series?"
Catelynn has something to say.
LOWELL: OK. Well, I think my number one thing is, is I really look forward to just sitting down all my children and showing them the whole show, because I feel like it will make them feel a little bit more comfortable to talk to me about having sex. And I think it will just all around help us talk to each other and --
PINSKY: And what will your message be to them when you have this conversation?
LOWELL: Well, I`m going to really stress on, you know, helping them find -- use condoms, talk about how to use them, birth control if I have a girl. You know, take her to go get birth control.
PINSKY: Would you encourage them to delay?
LOWELL: Yes, I will definitely encourage them to delay. But if they don`t and they --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Educate them.
LOWELL: Yes. Then I need to educate them and let them know what to use if you are going to have sex.
PINSKY: Farrah or Maci, do you have an answer to that question?
BOOKOUT: Well, for me, it`s kind of hard, because my struggle with Ryan, Bentley`s dad, is back and forth. And I don`t want Bentley to see that and judge either one of us from what we did when we were 16, 17 years old.
But I do know he`s going to see it. And I would much rather him see it with me and Ryan than see it somewhere else so that we can talk through the show.
PINSKY: That is a theme I want to get to tonight. Maybe not right at this moment, but as we go through the evening, which is you guys were kids when I first met you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PINSKY: Literally, yes. And now you are young women. And how you are -- not just how would your perspective change looking back on it with your kids much later, but how has your perspective changed now?
First, though, I want to go to another Facebook question. This is Tracy W. She asked, "What would you have been doing with your life had you not become pregnant at such a young age?"
Farrah, I think you have a lot to say about that one.
ABRAHAM: Well, I would have been moved away, you know, having my go- away experience at college. And, you know, come home and visit my parents and tell them what`s new with me, and just focus on my education. And that`s what I really missed.
I mean, I miss that opportunity when I wasn`t thinking about myself and my education. So I`m getting back on track, but it`s been a big delay. And I think we can all agree on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BOOKOUT: It`s a very big delay. I think for teenagers, yourself should be most important, because that`s what being a teenager is about. And for us, it all changed.
We`re no longer most important. Our education has been put on hold. Our careers have been put on hold. Our relationships have gone to pieces.
And, you know, now our children`s lives are, you know, at stake for that. Like, they are the ones paying for our mistake.
ABRAHAM: And that`s what hurts when you`re a parent and you`re growing into that responsibility.
BOOKOUT: And they didn`t ask for any of it.
PINSKY: All right.
Coming up next, the cautionary tales, as you`ve been hearing here, that every teen and every parent needs to hear. And please watch this with your kids. Talking about this openly is really the most important thing, as you`ve heard from these girls as well. Talk about it.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): We`ll talk to all of the girls one-on-one. Cameras caught Maci`s up-and-down relationship with her baby`s father. She moved on from that painful breakup to a new relationship, but still struggles reconciling the biological father with her new boyfriend.
Details you`ve never heard until now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This parenting plan is about Bentley and what`s best for Bentley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re already getting more than I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a two-week period right now he`s getting four nights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get, what, another 10 days? I don`t know how you don`t think that`s selfish.
BOOKOUT: OK. Well, we can -- you can have him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
PINSKY: The MTV viewers fell in love with Maci when she was just 16 and pregnant, living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Maci really struggled to try to make her relationship with her son`s biological father, Ryan, work for the sake of this little family and for the sake of the baby.
They discussed marriage, and then it was on again, it was off again. But as you see, things kind of spiraled out of control. Then Maci bounced back, and fans watched her meet someone, Kyle, and fall in love with him.
And I think people want to know, how are things going now, where is that relationship at, what are you doing with Ryan? Let`s give them a little update.
BOOKOUT: Well, me and Kyle are still together. It`s going good.
He has definitely stepped up and is honestly everything I could want in a partner for me and a father figure for Bentley. And I think he is happy. And me and Ryan are doing good. Things have been pretty smooth for the past month or so, which to some people may seem like a very short amount of time, but it definitely seems like it`s a good start.
PINSKY: And I have to ask about this, because I think people have seen Ryan talk disparagingly about Kyle, call him slow.
PINSKY: And the two of them nearly came to blows, right? They nearly got in a fight?
PINSKY: Did they nearly get in a fight at one point? Or sort of that kind of feeling was flying around?
BOOKOUT: Right. Yes. They were very unhappy with each other.
PINSKY: And how did they get through that?
BOOKOUT: Basically, I`m the middle man, and I told Ryan that the things he was saying -- it was very immature of him. And, you know, he needed to think about Bentley. And that if he wants someone to be there for Bentley when he can`t, that Kyle was that person, and he needs to get along with him.
PINSKY: Did he respond to that?
PINSKY: And a lot of people I think kind of unfairly -- but you know as well as I do -- a lot of people hate Ryan.
PINSKY: He gets a lot of negative stuff. And by the way, he didn`t ask to be on this show. And he sort of feels bad about that, too. You guys, at the beginning, had no idea what you were getting into.
BOOKOUT: No. We had no clue.
PINSKY: You were -- so it wasn`t like you intended to glamorize yourself. It was just --
BOOKOUT: No, we had no idea. And honestly, at first, it was something that I think neither one of us wanted to do.
And I was 16. I was pregnant. And I had nowhere to go.
You know, I had -- I didn`t know what I was going to do with my life. And this kind of jumped in. And I was like, I`m just going to take the chance and see what I can do, what kind of purpose this brings me.
And it has. I mean, now I can talk to kids and teenagers and mothers about teen pregnancy.
PINSKY: Do you feel that your story and telling it on television like this has made a difference to other teenagers?
BOOKOUT: I definitely do.
PINSKY: Would it have made a difference to you had you seen it when you were 15 and not pregnant?
BOOKOUT: Yes. If I had seen the show, if "16 and Pregnant" was on when I was 14, 15, 16, I would not be a mother today.
PINSKY: Why? How? Explain that to people.
BOOKOUT: Because it put a face to an issue that I think people were hiding from. Obviously, I knew people can get pregnant. But I had no idea what the risks were, how high they were, and that it could happen to me, because I never -- I`m not going to get pregnant. You know, I`m not sleeping around. It`s not going to happen to me.
But it can. And it put a face to the issue. It would have for me. And if I could have watched six girls through a six-week period go through the struggles that the original "16 and Pregnant" girls went through, it definitely would have kept me from having sex, period.
PINSKY: It`s interesting. People don`t really understand that so much about adolescence, that if they have a relatable face, as you say, it really delivers a message that they hear.
PINSKY: I want to go to a Facebook question. This is from Marie G. She has this question: "Did you ever want to quit the show because you thought you were glorifying being a teen mom?"
Is there any point when that crossed your mind?
BOOKOUT: No, because I don`t believe anything about my life is glamorous. I`m obviously happy, and I love Bentley, and I`m happy with Kyle. But every single day is a struggle emotionally, like physically, financially. Every single day is a struggle and there`s constantly roadblocks.
And yes, I have thought many times about quitting the show because filming is so stressful and puts so much more stress on me and Bentley, and there`s cameras, and you have to open up to the world. But once I started getting the feedback from teenagers and mothers talking about how it`s helped them, how it`s opened up conversation, how it`s prevented girls from having sex, that`s when I knew that I had a purpose now and I had a platform to continue to help prevent this from happening.
PINSKY: I want to just try to paraphrase what you just said. So, this being of service through this program has created a real meaning for you and a purpose?
PINSKY: And your life, as a result of this, even though you come and do TV shows and stuff, when you go back to Chattanooga, things have not changed very much?
BOOKOUT: No. It`s all the same. I mean, I flew here last night. I fly home. And I have finals in college tomorrow morning.
PINSKY: And how about people that say this is glamorizing teen pregnancy? What do you say to them?
BOOKOUT: I don`t think anybody that says that has sat down and watched a full episode of the show, because in every single episode, one of us is crying, one of us has no money, one of us is struggling with our children and how to teach them and cope with the struggles that being a parent takes. One of us is, you know, a broken home. Some of us are giving our children away because we don`t have the stability for them to stay with us.
There`s nothing glamorous about it.
PINSKY: How about the money issue? People take aim at the show for paying you guys. What do you say about that?
BOOKOUT: This is my job. This is what I do. I help prevent teen pregnancy.
I share my life. Every inch of privacy that I ever had is gone to help prevent this from happening. And that just -- some of the things people say just blow my mind.
PINSKY: What are you thinking? What are you laughing about?
BOOKOUT: Just like paying us to do the show. Like, I don`t -- I have no privacy. I have no -- like, there`s no guard anymore for me. And it`s just like, how can any part of it be glamorous? I`m doing it to help.
PINSKY: How about the other -- there have been three other subsequent seasons of "16 and Pregnant," and some of the girls have shown up on the covers of magazines and things. Are you worried that they are getting sort of too into the paparazzi aspect of this?
BOOKOUT: I don`t think so, because I know how this show works. And none of us -- I know we did put ourselves on television. But none of us asked to be the story on a tabloid. And they are obviously not saying nice things.
PINSKY: And they don`t pay you.
PINSKY: And then you go right back to Chattanooga.
PINSKY: And you`re just there. You`re --
BOOKOUT: And I`m there, being a mom and a student.
PINSKY: All right. I`ve just got a couple of seconds left with you.
Give us some little piece of dirt or something that we don`t know from watching the show.
BOOKOUT: I moved.
PINSKY: You`re going to move?
BOOKOUT: Yes, but I`m not saying where.
PINSKY: OK. And Kyle has Bentley right now?
PINSKY: And those of you that know the show know Bentley, for sure. Bentley is just this incredible boy. And even though he is a product of -- it`s some of the ambivalence about this show. I mean, he`s the product of this.
I want to talk to you later when I get all the girls together about how much your life has been accelerated. You sort of told me once you were feeling like a 28-year-old instead of a 19-year-old.
PINSKY: So we`ll talk about that.
And coming up next, the impact of the fame on these young moms. Stay me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Paparazzi, magazine covers, money. How has the overnight celebrity affected the girls? Does the show glamorize teen pregnancy?
I`m going to tell you why I think the answer is no when we come back.
But first, I`m answering your questions about teen moms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No passes (ph).
BOOKOUT: No passes (ph). I mean it. Like, you can`t even use them in an emergency situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "TEEN MOM")
PINSKY: Maci, Farrah and Catelynn are still standing by, but first it is time for your calls. So let`s get right to them.
This is Heather in Washington.
Heather, what`s going on?
HEATHER, WASHINGTON: Hi, Dr. Drew. How are you?
HEATHER: Good. I just wanted to give some quick input on some of my own experiences with teen pregnancy.
I have seen people try to get pregnant on purpose because they never felt the love from a parent. And I feel as though it`s very common among young adults.
HEATHER: I can`t help but feel sorry for a lot of these children, because parents can sometimes be unaware of their own issues first before choosing to conceive.
Christi in Pennsylvania.
What`s up there?
CHRISTI, PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I just want to give a little piece of advice to teens. I say hang on to the time you have and embrace and enjoy your freedom. There`s plenty of time for having babies later on, but your youth belongs to you.
PINSKY: Well said.
Jessica, in West Virginia.
What do you want to add here?
JESSICA, WEST VIRGINIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
I just wanted to add that I`m so proud of every single teen mom that`s out there. Not just teen mom, but teen parents.
And being a parent early in life is very hard and challenging at times. But, you know, these girls have really pulled together and weathered (ph) the storms in their lives, and they`re doing what`s best for their children now.
PINSKY: Again, well said.
Stephanie, in Washington.
What`s on your mind?
STEPHANIE, WASHINGTON: I just want to say that girls should wait until they`re finished with school and are with a guy who is not only financially supportive, but emotionally supportive as well. Because, Dr. Drew, it`s hard being a teen mom.
PINSKY: Oh, boy, you got that right.
I mean, that`s the whole point of what this conversation is about tonight and what these girls are here telling you guys, is that lives unravel. It is extremely stressful. It`s nothing like what they thought about it was going to be.
However, our first caller there brings up a really interesting point, and that is -- and we don`t talk much about that, and we probably won`t talk about it much more than right here tonight. But a lot of teenagers get pregnant because they intend to, because they need something to love. The pregnancy is going to solve problems in their life.
It is a massive problem, and it`s so unfair to the children when kids think that way. Address it with your kids. Make sure they understand this is another life they`re talking about, and it`s not OK to exploit that life for you to feel better about your own life.
I have got Brenda on a Facebook question. She says, "I am 13 and in love with my boyfriend. He wants to have sex. What should I do?"
Brenda, I`m going to make this quick and short. Please, no. Please, no. Not one more statistic. Please, no.
OK. All right.
Amanda, here we go. We`ve got another Facebook question. She says, "Shouldn`t we be tougher on the teen dads? They seem to get off too easy."
I absolutely agree with her. In fact, we have been talking about doing a teen dad show. I have done some segments on the teen dads.
It`s exceedingly unusual for a teen dad to stick around and be the father over time with these children. That`s the other thing you learn over and over again from these teen mom programs, is that the fantasy about having the biological mom together when people conceive as teens is just that, it is fantasy.
And these poor young women cling to that fantasy. They believe they can make it work no matter what, and they usually put themselves through unbelievable misery as a result. I think you`ll see that if you watch the series.
We are going to continue the conversation about teen pregnancy and have the girls back out here. So you`ll want to stay with us.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): We`re bringing all three girls together. But next, perhaps the most heart-wrenching story next -- a single teen mom, a tragic accident, and a dark secret changed her life forever. Farrah will tell us how physical violence with her mom helped start a new chapter in her life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And we are back talking to the stars of MTV`s "Teen Moms." Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): We`ve been talking to teens who became moms while still children themselves, now reflecting back as young women, struggling to cope, misrepresented by the media, misunderstood by the public. Our next two stories add to that. The shock of sudden death, the trauma of physical violence, and the gut wrenching decision to give up a baby for adoption. And what you can do about the epidemic of teen pregnancy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): There`s been a lot of criticism about "Teen Moms." People say it glamorizes teen pregnancy. People say it encourages teens to get pregnant just to get on TV. Well, let me just point out, the stats, I promised you these stats, and they tell a different story. According to the Centers for Disease Control, teen birthrates are decreasing rather rapidly in this country, although, we`re still doing poorly.
But here`s the data, in 1991, 61 teen girls out of 1,000 became pregnant. In 2009, the number dropped to only 39 teen girls out of 1,000. That is a 37 percent abrupt and precipitous drop. Now, you could say that that was a coincidence, and that had nothing to do with this conversation that has been prompted as a result of this program. I would say that`s not true. I would say the fact is that, as you heard from some of these women so far tonight, that had they been 16, they were only three years out of it now, this kind of thing would have a dramatic impact on them.
And let me tell you, I`ve been doing a radio program where I talk to young adolescence, and I`ve been doing it for nearly 30 years, and the model I use has always been the same, which is if a kid, if a young person has a story they`re telling that another young person can hear and we make sense up for them and teach with, that gets through to them. Me sitting here talking like this, telling teens not to do something, waste of time. Useless.
I can tell you guys, the adults, what to do, and that`s what I`m hopefully doing here tonight, but for teens, that kind of approach does not work. Now, paparazzis got a hold of my next guest, Farrah Abraham, on the beach. She`s been splashed on the cover of tons of magazines. Critics say the show glamorizes teen pregnancy. TMZ even reported that one cast member of one of the subsequent "16 and Pregnant" shows may have gotten pregnant just to be on the show.
And let me just stop, take a bit right there before I welcome Farrah to the program. If a kid is doing that, if a child is getting pregnant to be on TV, that child is already at severe, severe, severe risk. Mental health wise. To be making a choice like that. Because the healthier kids get the message.
Farrah, I want to welcome you to the show. I also want to welcome Marisa Nightingale. She is with the National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy. So, Farrah, I want to start with you. Do you think that girls want to get pregnant just to gain the kind of celebrity that you seem to have from this program?
ABRAHAM: I feel that no young teenage women that I see are wanting to get pregnant to be on TV. That`s what I see in my hometown.
ABRAHAM: And I would hope that no other young teenage women would want to do that to their bodies at a young age, before they have their education, before they have their own independence of being their own adult. And I hope for me being on the show it, you know, helps other young girls, you know, rationalize that in their mind, because I`m not worried about -- I`m not worried about those things.
Like I went into doing this because I thought I hope I help somebody else who is in the same position as I am, struggling. I mean, everything came to me as a shock that I was pregnant. Like, I was on birth control. And my mistake was I didn`t understand how birth control became ineffective.
And that`s what I, you know, really work hard in doing now, is educating myself about all contraceptives, because there`s newer, you know, science of all the contraceptives now, and I just really work hard on that keeping up with that.
PINSKY: Do you think moms out there should be having those conversations with their teen girls, A, and, B, is there an age, appropriate age, and at any point, are you encouraging girls to have sex by having that conversation?
ABRAHAM: By no means would I, you know, feel that it`s encouraging us to have sex when we`re talking about sex. I feel like educating, you know, younger girls, younger men, about the awareness of what happens when you engage yourself with another person before you`re ready to, there`s going to be problems. For your actions. And I feel from doing this show, my parents and I can talk about sex more openly.
PINSKY: Well, and that`s part of the -- one of the things I want to talk to you about is you and your mom had a very contentious (ph) relationship, and we`ve talked about that before on some of the reunion shows. I`m going to get to that in a second, but first, I want to talk to Marisa Nightingale from the National Campaign. Do you feel, does your organization feel that this program has had the sort of desired impact?
NIGHTINGALE: Oh, we at the campaign feel it`s had a tremendous impact, and we`ve been at this for about 15 years and have never seen this kind of programming that goes on for an hour, you know, over and over each day, and it gives you a real inside look. It`s not a 15-second ad. It is a true hour-long in depth look at what it`s really like for these young women.
PINSKY: Now, Marisa, there`s a full disclosure. You actually consult for the MTV programs. What is that role of consulting you guys do for the show?
NIGHTINGALE: Well, the idea for the show was all MTV`s, and they reached out to us to make sure from the very beginning that they were getting the facts straight, and that we could provide some insight to the producers just to make sure that some issues that we thought were really relevant and important, that they were including, but it`s a reality show. It`s totally unscripted.
So, they may have our messages and our prevention themes in the back of their heads, but these girls` lives are playing out on camera, and this is real. And I think that`s the magic of the show is it`s real life and it`s what real teens can relate to.
PINSKY: Thanks, Marisa. And now, I`m going to go back to Farrah. Now, back to your mom. Your mom, like Ryan, is one of the people that got sucked along with this program. And your relationship with her broke down to violence. Where is it now, and does she blame you for outing her like that on TV?
ABRAHAM: I think we`ve gotten past the point of how we blew up and how we both acted towards each other. Whether or not she may, you know, blame me for my attitude, getting the best of me, or my anger getting the best of me when I was going through a hard time. And I would take the responsibility for that argument or fight erupting like it did, but I never want --
PINSKY: I want to make sure I heard you right. That was your fault, that fight? I`ve never heard you say that before, so I make sure I heard you right.
ABRAHAM: I felt like I would rather just take the blame over fighting back and forth over something that doesn`t matter to me anymore.
ABRAHAM: But our relationship now is good. We try not to fight. But I feel like, at my age, when I`m trying to be so independent, it`s hard for me to be OK with my parents treating me like, you know, like their baby or their daughter still.
PINSKY: And you actually went into therapy, right? You`re seeing a therapist. And that`s been very helpful for you.
ABRAHAM: Yes. For me and my parents. And that`s why I`m saying we can relate to each other better. We can talk about sex. I can talk about if I`m dating somebody or we can just talk about their relationship, which I always seem to be, you know, caught in the middle of, because, you know, Sophia is always with them because they`re helping me a lot. So --
PINSKY: That`s the reality. I mean, a lot of these girls, I don`t know where they would have been if it were not for their families of origin. And the families of origin have their own issues always, but boy, some of these grandparents have really stepped up.
Coming up next, we have story of torment for one young mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): She gave up her baby for adoption and struggles with that decision every day of her life. One year after meeting her baby girl for the first time, Catelynn is talking about the trauma of giving birth and going home without her baby.
Then, some surprising final lessons from all three girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She scrunches up her nose a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to do that when I was little. All the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have so many pictures of her like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what I used to do. That`s weird. Isn`t that weird?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn`t that funny?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What else do you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to get a picture of the two of you doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): That was Catelynn Lowell seeing her daughter for the first time since she gave birth. Even though, her mom disapproved, Catelynn and her boyfriend, Tyler, who you saw there in that footage decided to give the baby up for adoption. That was Baby Carlie. Now, before I go on to talk about Catelynn`s story, I want to just point out for a second that while the girls I`m talking here today are in pretty good shape, you`ve got to remember, they went through some very difficult and dark times.
And those of you that have followed the series know exactly what I`m talking about, and I have met with these girls on three separate occasions for reunion programs where there were a lot of tears and a lot of struggles and a lot of really serious, serious issues played out that are doing well today. But this show took some huge risks. I mean, let`s be realistic about this. The risks are that it adversely impacted on these kids that we`re watching.
And I`ve got to tell you, when I watch season two of "16 and Pregnant," I got depressed. When I watched season three, because I`ve been watching (ph) the series to get ready for the reunion shows, I was actually frightened. I was actually scared for these girls. So, it`s a serious issue. These are very difficult issues we`re watching people go through. The experience has suggested that doing it in front of other people has not harmed anybody and has created, in this case, women who want to be an inspiration to others.
It appears that it`s not encouraging anybody to get pregnant, and in fact, having the desired impact as we heard from the National Campaign to prevent unwanted and teen pregnancy, but it`s a serious business. And Catelynn is one of those stories. Catelynn had a really difficult struggle. They wanted to give the child up for adoption. Their parents, Tyler and Catelynn`s parents, who are involved in a strange way -- your mom and his dad are married now, right?
PINSKY: Whatever. Their kids had kids at young age and most of them got caught up in drugs, and now, they`re in recovery. So, let`s talk about Butch -- Catelynn, first of all, welcome to the program.
LOWELL: Yes, thanks for having me.
PINSKY: I want to talk about Butch and April. You know, they`re my favorite topic.
PINSKY: April, when I last saw her seemed a lot better.
LOWELL: She`s doing really good.
PINSKY: She had made -- she touched based with some people in the recovery program and seemed really to be blossoming in recovery.
LOWELL: I think just her finding friends finally because my mom never had friends.
PINSKY: Well, that`s the --
PINSKY: You know, Farrah mentioned this to me, too, during the break that the ability to tolerate real closeness is what feels people and causes them to make better choices and not make desperate choices like getting pregnant, whatever. OK. And Butch, you texted me -- or you or Tyler texted me --
LOWELL: I texted you.
PINSKY: And said that Butch wants to put him on "Celebrity Rehab."
LOWELL: "Celebrity Rehab," yes. He is just -- I don`t know. I mean, but he`s always - he`s always -- he`s gone millions of different rehabs, and it`s never worked. So --
PINSKY: You`ve got to want to do it.
LOWELL: Exactly. I totally agree. I feel like, you know, Pearl forces him to go to rehab, and I feel like you shouldn`t force anybody until they want to go because it`s not going to work.
PINSKY: Yes. You can get them to go until they want to go sometimes.
PINSKY: How is Tyler?
LOWELL: He`s doing really good.
PINSKY: Is he.
PINSKY: One of the things about Tyler I didn`t know that I learned the last time we were all together is he had a really rough childhood, early childhood. He seems like such a together young man.
PINSKY: He was actually in a therapeutic school for a long time.
PINSKY: He had criminal problems.
PINSKY: So, he was at risk to be a teen dad. I mean, let`s face it.
LOWELL: He was, yes.
PINSKY: And any of that still surfacing?
LOWELL: Oh, no. Tyler -- I don`t know. He`s totally grown up and a matured a lot, you know?
PINSKY: Are you guys still going to get married?
LOWELL: Yes, we are going to get married, but there is no date, and we`re not doing it until we`re older.
PINSKY: Thank you. You don`t want to be another statistic.
PINSKY: He is like every young man going through a little ambivalence about that.
PINSKY: Is he not? Do you smack today? Set him straight?
LOWELL: Yes, I have to set him straight. You know, I got to make things straight. No, I`m kidding, but -- no. He knows now -- I mean, he`s been going to counseling and stuff, and he knows that he wants to be with me, and he knows that he wants to marry me.
PINSKY: One of the things we heard from all the girls tonight, at least, you and Farrah, is that mental health services have played a role in you doing well.
PINSKY: Has MTV provided you with those services or have the funds from working on this show given you that freedom?
LOWELL: No. Actually, a therapist that I go to, we don`t even have to pay her. She does it out of the kindness of her heart for people that, you know -- but me and Tyler, you know, we`ll give her like $10 here and there whenever, you know, because that`s her job. So, no, we just -- I think, though, that they were helping us find a counselor that was kind of, you know, good, because we wanted a good one. We didn`t want to just go to somebody that we didn`t click with, you know?
PINSKY: How has the show changed your life?
LOWELL: The show has changed my life by -- it`s actually helped me help other women that want to choose adoption.
PINSKY: Are we being Pollyannaish, Catelynn, because you`ve always been a straight shooter.
PINSKY: Are we giving too sort of kind a brush with this program by saying, oh, you know, it`s changed my life, and it`s made me feel good because I`m of service to women? Has it had any negative effect on you?
LOWELL: Well, like me said earlier, having no privacy, and everybody knowing what`s going on in your life like, you know, the season that me and Tyler got that huge fight we broke up, I did not want to do the show because I was like, I don`t want to do that. I don`t want to, you know? I guess, I was kind of afraid of what people would think and stuff. But then, I realized, we`re normal. And me and Tyler aren`t this just total 100 percent happy couple. So --
PINSKY: Do you get bullied online? As a result of having a public life?
LOWELL: I mean, I`ve had maybe five people say bad, negative things about me. You know, you paid to give your kid away or I got paid to give Carlie to Brandon and Theresa and just really stuff that they don`t know what they`re talking about.
PINSKY: And I notice even watching over the footage of Carlie there at that reunion, it`s still very emotional for you. It`s a very, very difficult decision for you.
LOWELL: Yes, it was. And, I mean, it still is to this day. So, I mean, that never changes.
PINSKY: Do you feel sad or grief? What do you feel?
LOWELL: I don`t feel grief, but yes, sometimes, I feel sad, because it`s like --
PINSKY: Right now, do you feel sad?
LOWELL: A little bit, but I mean, I would love to have her around, sometimes. You know, I miss -- I guess I get sad of missing out on things that she does, like, just her first words and just being there, just having her in my presence, I guess, I miss.
PINSKY: But even though you knew you made the right choice, you knew you weren`t ready to raise a child, you didn`t to want to do what Butch and April did or April and Butch (ph), did, I guess, right?
LOWELL: Oh, yes. My mom, too, because my mom was a teen mom.
PINSKY: You didn`t want to sort of reenact the cycle. You wanted to break the cycle. Still sad, still difficult.
LOWELL: Well, yes, it`s still sad because I mean, I`m not her mom, but that`s still my child. You know, I still have that connection with her. So -- but she`s still little.
PINSKY: But it makes you sad?
LOWELL: Well, yes. It makes me sad, because, I mean, like -- I always think about it. Sometimes, I`m like, man, I wonder what it would be like if she was here, you know? Like, what would she be doing or -- but then, again, I always have to make myself think positively, like --
PINSKY: Do you think young women carry a special burden with teen pregnancy?
LOWELL: What do you mean?
PINSKY: Well, I`m not sure Tyler feels quite as sad as you. I know he`s a very thoughtful and caring young man, but I think the girls carry a special burden, don`t they?
LOWELL: Yes, I think so. I always say it`s my mother instinct or something. It`s like that. I don`t know. You just get a bond with a child that you can`t even explain. So, when she`s not around, it`s like you miss her and you want her around.
PINSKY: So, no matter what the choice you make with a teen pregnancy, it has a dramatic effect on you?
LOWELL: Yes. I mean, I had depression, and my child wasn`t even there. So, you know, I can`t imagine having my child there and having depression, because Carlie wasn`t around, and I was still depressed and sad all the time. Never wanted to go anywhere. And she wasn`t even there.
PINSKY: Let`s take a Facebook question. This is Liz D. She has this question. Is this a fair statement? "A teen mother, even with the best of intentions, cannot give a child all that it really needs." What do you think?
LOWELL: All right. A teen mother, even with all the best intentions --
PINSKY: In other words. Is any teen mom capable of being a mom?
LOWELL: I mean, yes. I mean, I`ve seen some really good moms on the show. Like Maci and Farrah. They do what they need to do. You know, they work and they buy everything that that the child needs, and --
PINSKY: Well, I think one of the things we see with particularly folks like Farrah and Maci is when they have a supportive family of origin.
LOWELL: Yes. I totally agree with that.
PINSKY: The grandparents were essential in them being able to do their job as teen moms.
LOWELL: Yes, that`s totally true.
PINSKY: And one thing we haven`t gotten that is the teen dads. I mean, these teen dads rarely stick around, and so, the women are left. I mean, you got Tyler still around, but even he`s been in and out a little bit, people are going to learn more about that, I guess, as the new season emerges, yes?
PINSKY: That`s when he does some of that stuff?
LOWELL: You`ll have to see.
PINSKY: The truth about teen pregnancy has not sunk in, there is still more in store.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ever since I got pregnant, all I want to do is to go to college so when I have kids, I`m ready.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I would have waited at least a good 10 more years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love Bentley, but I would not wish a teen pregnancy on anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could have waited.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For more information on how to protect yourself --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Visit it`syoursexlife.org.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, HOST, "JOY BEHAR SHOW": Check out my show tonight, Drew. A priest, a rabbi, and an imam are here to talk about whether there`s a hell or not. And if there isn`t, then where the hell is Osama Bin Laden?
PINSKY: We`re back here with Maci, Farrah, and Catelynn, not to be confused with an imam, a priest, and a rabbi. They are teen moms who know first hand the hardships of having a baby at such a young age. Now, I want to ask each of them to give me and my viewers some important information, but before I do, I want to pay out something I talked about earlier, which was Farrah`s issue with a dark secret that she didn`t have a chance to really reveal to her biological father of the baby before he died and how you dealt with that grief.
ABRAHAM: By going through grief.
PINSKY: Did you do it with grief management or grief therapy?
ABRAHAM: Therapy and just holding it in. And that`s what led to me, you know, going into depression and other things. And so, now, I deal with it by counseling.
PINSKY: OK. So, the message there is, even though, you`ve had grief and shame and ambivalence because you held this thing in, walking through the grief was so important and you got help to do that.
ABRAHAM: Yes, I did.
PINSKY: All right. Now, I want to go to each of my guest. First of all, I want to thank you for being here and participating. I really do appreciate it. I want you to give, direct to camera, to each of my viewers the single most important piece of advice about being a teen mom, this is for teenagers or moms, and what you learned from that and what they can learn from you. Maci, I`ll start with you.
MACI BOOKOUT, STAR, MTV`S "TEEN MOM": I think that mothers should -- I think that mothers should use our program for -- to open the conversation about sex, because it`s going to be much easier to have the hard conversation of sex than to have a very, very hard conversation in nine months.
PINSKY: Excellent. Farrah.
ABRAHAM: I`m urging mothers and dads who have teen parents right now or teens parents, teens, before they become parents to watch this show, our "16 and Pregnant" and our "Teen Mom" shows to help open up the conversation so that they can prevent their teens, you know, getting in relationships and then ending up with a child while they`re still a child. I can`t even talk.
PINSKY: Well said, though. Catelynn.
LOWELL: My number one thing would be for parents also is to teach your kids how to use protection if they are having sex and just try to be open with them and talk about everything. You know, if they`re having sex, if they`re using protection, and, you know, if they`re not having sex, I also feel like you should still teach your kids about condoms and birth control, even if they`re not having sex.
PINSKY: And by the way, let`s make this clear to parents out there. It is OK to tell your kids not to have sex.
PINSKY: And I would encourage you to do so. Delaying is the goal here. That one of the big problems here, kids are having sexual relations before they are biologically, emotionally ready to manage this both from standpoint of planning the consequences and from dealing with all that ensues. You guys agree with me on that?
LOWELL: Yes, I agree.
PINSKY: All right. Listen, I just want to wrap up with a couple of points. First of all, thank you, Maci, Farrah, and Catelynn for joining us. Great to see you guys as always. Take care of those kids. Sophia and Bentley. I need to see that Bentley boy soon, too.
Now, my intention is not to demonize teen mothers but rather present the realities of children having children. It`s tough, and it will be for a long time. Having a child is a life altering event for anyone, especially a teenager. Parents, as we`ve said, please talk to your children about having babies and about physical relationships. It`s a conversation you will not regret. Kids, stop and think hard about what you`re doing. That`s the purpose of this day.
It`s not just your life that will be impacted. Another person, a child`s, will too. Thank you for watching. Go to CNN.com for my take on tonight`s show, and you can comment there, too. See you.