Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out! See you there:
My subject is "Think about a TV show you love to hate. Now imagine you've been cast on it..." It was submitted by Chantal over at Adventures In Hickey Land. She's pretty awesome, don't forget to check her out.
Even if you're not a big tv watcher, you've probably heard about the show "16 and Pregnant". It's a reality show on MTV documenting teen-age girls who find out they're pregnant, and following them through the birth of their babies. I love this show, but I hate it. I want to watch it, but I spend the whole hour muttering and sputtering and occasionally yelling at the tv. If I was cast on "16 and Pregnant", I would be one of the lead characters, one of the teenage mothers, because in real life I was one.
My episode would begin on Christmas morning of 1990. Bel Biv DeVoe was big, but my bangs were bigger. The camera crew comes into my room following my mom trying to wake me up to open presents. I have morning sickness. I don't want to get out of bed. My little sister is impatient so finally I gingerly make it downstairs and sit on the floor in front of the Christmas tree, hoping not to vomit. One of my gifts is a photo album. Because everybody who's going to have a baby needs a photo album. Other kids got cassette tapes and new basketball shoes and tickets to NKOTB. I was no longer like other kids.
Later, the producer tells me and my mom to discuss what it was like when my mom found out I was pregnant. My mom begins to cry. I, for the millionth time, feel like shit. My family was so incredibly supportive of me, but I knew I disappointed them.We talk about how nobody would've ever predicted it would be me to get pregnant sophomore year. I was quiet and shy, never ever got in trouble, was responsible, trustworthy and very smart. But I had an older boyfriend, got in over my head, and was ignorant. Lived in the land of 'that could never happen to me'. Well, it happened to me.
"How is school going?" The producer prompts.
"I can't go anymore," I respond with a quavering voice, "I'm sick all morning every morning, and well, I'm totally embarrassed and paranoid people are going to find out. I'm going to do homeschool for the rest of sophomore year. And finish right before the baby comes in May". I had been ranked 3rd in my class, was a top student. Now I was doing math on the couch in my pajamas with my Dad as my tutor.
The scene cuts to me preparing for the baby: going through boxes of hand-me-down maternity and baby clothes, cleaning a crib that belonged to my cousins 10 years before. Setting up a borrowed cradle against the wall of my bedroom, under the Donnie Wahlberg and Bobby Brown posters.
I do a voice-over, talking about how it was hard. It was lonely.And I was moody. Hoo Boy was I moody! Teen girls are moody, and pregnant women are moody, so combine the two and wowza! The camera zooms in on me throwing a bowl of applesauce across the kitchen. Because.... heck I was pregnant and 16, that's enough reason! But also, I talk about starting to get excited about the new little life growing inside of me. My parents were being very supportive, and while I knew they were disappointed in me and certainly didn't approve, they didn't throw that in my face. What was done was done and they hoped being upbeat about things would help to create a good atmosphere for their first grandchild to come into.
Sleepy camera men with coffee head to my house early on the morning of May 16. I'm having contractions. I think. It's rhythmic pains, spaced apart, but it's in my back. What the heck? Contractions are supposed to be in the FRONT, everybody knows that. And I'm not due for 8 days! I haven't finished my Geometry course! Or packed a hospital bag! What, a due date is a loose estimate? Huh? First baby, I'll probably be overdue right? Nope ,apparently not. The crew lounges around, panning in on me desperately trying to get comfortable, to no avail. I whine, and call my mom at work and whine more.
By early afternoon we head to the hospital and meet my boyfriend there. The camera crew is all up in my face, this is the pinnacle of the show, after all. I get checked in and banish MTV to the waiting room; some girls on the show do this, some don't. I have no idea what to expect about labor, and I'd rather not be worried about getting my 'good side' (you know, the side not showing my hoo-ha).
At 5:22 pm, after 8 hours of labor, my baby girl enters the world. I let the crew into the room and they capture her being weighed at 6 pounds 12 ounces and 18 inches long. She has a mass of dark hair, and a little smooshed up face. I fall in love instantly. "Looks like you did a good job," the producer tells me. Wearily I nod, amazed at what my body just went through. Amazed that this tiny person is mine. I'm not babysitting. They're sending her home with me, forever.
After a commercial break hawking Aqua Net hairspray and acid washed jeans, my episode closes with me at home, snuggling my baby, not caring about if there's a baseball game that night or who said what to who in the cafeteria. My friends were working on formulas in chemistry class, and I was mixing up formula for bottles. I look into the camera and tell the world that I may be only 16, but I love my new daughter with all my heart, and I'm going to enjoy her. All summer long.
And in the fall, start 11th grade....