Sunday, July 19, 2009
16 and Pregnant- Always in my heart
The show, not my daughter! She's only 15 but she loves 16 and Pregnant on MTV. She's always asking me if I saw this episode or that one even though I keep telling her I don't watch it. Well, yesterday, while sick in bed I watched one episode. How coincidental that it was the one where the couple decide to give their baby up for adoption? As an adoptee, I cried through most of it. To view the episode, click here.
Catelynn and Tyler were both high school juniors and like many teens today found themselves pregnant (apparently the condom Tyler used had gone through the washing machine). Not long into her pregnancy Catelynn decided she and Tyler were not ready to be parents. They wanted their child to have a good life, one much better than either of them had. Catelynn moved thirteen times in her life and Tyler's dad spent 10 years in prison. In an unusual twist, Catelynn's mom and Tyler's dad fell in love and got married (after Catelynn and Tyler started dating).
I was angry with Tyler's dad, Butch, who told Tyler he wasn't "manning up to his responsibility." Butch also said, "All a baby needs is love." Tyler argued back, "That's not all a baby needs!" Tyler stated he didn't care if their families didn't back them up. This decision was between him and Catelynn. Both teens, in my opinion, were being very responsible after making an irresponsible decision. They wanted their baby to live in a stable home with parents who were well educated and could provide her with dance lessons, cheerleading lessons, etc. They visited an adoption agency and were given several folders of potential adoptive parents. The agent told them they needed to "come to a place to make the decision that's best for you." She also told them the best thing for them was to "be selfless and let go. It doesn't mean it's easy, doesn't mean it's not without grief, without loss. This will be the hardest thing you'll have to do in your life."
Bio Mom has told me more than once that giving me up was the hardest thing she ever had to do. I've always been grateful for her selfless decision and the happiness it brought my parents. It amazed me how much these two young people understood what the agent told them. They knew that they didn't have good upbringings and wanted more for their daughter. Without help from their families and friends, they still were able to make the decision that was best for their daughter.
Tyler's support for Catelynn was tremendous and amazing. It made me sad that my biological mom didn't have that support from my biological dad. But, I know that Bio Dad isn't proud of who he was back then or how he acted. Throughout the show, Tyler backed up every decision Catelynn made. He was there for every doctor appointment, the adoption agency appointments, and was by her side as they looked through the prospective adoption parents. It was wonderful to see them adamently agree on the same couple, Brandon and Theresa.
Just before the baby was due, Tyler wrote a beautiful letter to their daughter. I thought about sharing what he wrote but decided against it. Even though millions of people heard what he'd written, that letter is between him and his daughter. No one will remember what he wrote but his little girl will have his words with her forever.
On the day of delivery, Tyler held one of Catelynn's legs as she pushed. Tears rolled down his face as he watched the birth of his daughter. After baby Carly was out, the doctor and both mothers tried to get Catelynn to look at her new little girl. Tyler covered her face with his and held her tight. They both repeated, "We can do this." "We can do this." "This is all for her." "We can do this." "She's going to have such a good life." I remember Tyler hurting for Catelynn as he asked, "Why is she still in here?" as Carly was cleaned and weighed.
For months Catelynn said she didn't want to see or hold her baby. She was afraid if she did, she wouldn't be able to let go. A few hours after giving birth,? Catelynn changed her mind and wanted to be the first to hold her baby girl. Catelynn and Tyler both took turns holding their daughter and crying. Their family took several pictures. Finally, Carly's new parents came in to see her. Theresa bought the most beautiful gift and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes again. She bought three silver bracelets with a heart charm inscribed with the words "Always in my heart." Theresa explained one was for her which she would wear always, one was for Catelynn, and one was for Carly when she got older. Catelynn said she, too, would wear hers always. This was very touching as they all cried...I was bawling!
Unsupportive down to the last minute, Catelynn's mom refused to sign the adoption papers which meant the hand off could not take place on hospital grounds. It was heart wrenching seeing Catelynn and Tyler crying in each others arms standing on the sidewalk after Brandon and Theresa drove away.
The show ended with Catelynn saying, "I think one day Carly's going to come to me and Tyler and say 'Thank you.' I'm at peace with my decision."
In my search for Bio Mom, that was one of the things I wanted so badly to tell her. I knew that neither she nor I would have had a good life had she kept me. Being able to thank her last March was something I never thought I'd be able to do. I now know that I was always in her heart just as she was in mine. I hope Carly understands the immense sacrifice her parents made so she could have a better life.