A dose of reality: Real-life teen moms - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

A dose of reality: Real-life teen moms


MADISON (WKOW) -- Some are calling it a phenomenon, others call it a crisis.

The MTV show Teen Mom 2 got a record-setting 4 million viewers on its premiere night this season.

Some say the show glamorizes the idea of teens getting pregnant.

But teenagers in south central Wisconsin say if it happens to you, it's not glamorous... it's real life.

Teen Mom: the show seems relatively realistic, but these girls are making hundreds of thousands of dollars, they're on the cover of tabloids, all for showing the world what they're going through.

Amber Hanmer of Madison is 15, and pregnant.

She says, "They get paid for being on that show... we don't get paid for being pregnant. It's kind of like, not realistic at all."

Realistic or not, we found a few of our own teen moms, to tell us how life really is.

Amber is only 12 weeks along in her pregnancy.

Cortney Newberry is in her third trimester as an 18-year-old Madison high school student.

Annie Hargrove is an 18-year-old mom in Beloit to three-month-old Urijah.

Hargrove says, "Obviously I knew people could be pregnant. I just never thought it would happen to me."

Hargrove says, "I didn't want anybody to know at first. I was only 17. Nobody wants to be pregnant at 17."

Rolland Bell, Annie's boyfriend, says, "Once we found out, I was scared... instantly. I was thinking immediately... adoption... things like that."

Hargrove has support some moms do not, boyfriend Rolland has been with her every step of the way.

Rolland says, "It sounds stupid, but once he comes out, nothing else is above that."

Every day is different than before. Diapers need to be changed, Urijah needs to be fed. Going to the grocery store is more than just grabbing a jacket.

Hargrove adds, "Toward the end of my pregnancy, it was like, 'How am I going to do this? I can barely take care of myself.' It was hard at first but you get used to it."

And not everyone has support from the baby's father.

Amber Hanmer says, "It's hard, if you don't have someone to support you. I'm not with the baby's father." She adds, "I'm nervous; I still have a long way to go, then 18 years after the child is born to raise them, and take care of them."

After Amber got pregnant, she decided not to attend the same high school anymore.

She says, "It's harder there... everybody's talking about you. Not everybody there is pregnant."

Instead, she joined the Madison School District's School Age Parent Program known as SAPAR. It specifically caters to pregnant students.

Housed inside an elementary school, SAPAR gives around 60 pregnant students a year a chance to learn about parenting and to continue their normal studies at the same time.

Lesa Reisdorf, SAPAR Department Chairperson, says, "In regular school, there is lots of extra pressure... Here, a lot of their homework... is their baby."

Back to the question, do shows like MTV's Teen Mom encourage teens to get pregnant? These moms are torn, and the numbers... are inconclusive.

Dane County, Wisconsin and most states - saw the overall teen birth rate decline over the past twenty years, but saw an uptick in 2006 and 2007, the same time the teen pregnancy movie Juno came out.

But the latest details available in 2008 show another decline in teen pregnancy rates.

Those closest with teen pregnancies say, they're not buying it.

Reisdorf says, "The show itself, I don't think it glorifies it. I think it shows what's really happening."

The CDC reports there's no official report on why the numbers moved the way they did between 2006 and 2009.

Daniel Stattelman-Scanlan, with the Madison and Dane County Public Health Department says, "I think teen pregnancy is impacted by a whole number of different supports. One is education, another is access to healthcare."

Dane County health leaders are specifically focusing on the disparity in teen birth rates between African American, Latina, Native American teens, and white teens.

They say they will continue to make the issue a priority, because take it from these real-life teen moms: it's a lifetime of change, from just one act.

Cortney Newberry says, "It's scary knowing you're pregnant.. when you're young. You don't know what's going to happen." She adds, "Be careful of the choices you make. You have to pay for them further down the road if you're not."

The President of the United States started a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in 2010. It's designed to reduce teen pregnancy and address disparities in birth rates, specifically focusing on reaching African American and Latino youth.

The goal is to reduce teen pregnancy rates by at least 10-percent.

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