Interview With A Teen Mom: 20-Year-Old Brianda Relates To Felicia's Story

Brianda, age 20, has a 4-year-old daughter. She and the father aren’t together--she lives with her daughter and her parents in California, where she is enrolled in community college.

We're always wanting to hear viewers' reactions to watching "16 and Pregnant," so this week we asked Brianda her thoughts on Felicia’s episode. Check out the interview:

Felicia said she thought having a baby would make Alex grow up. Did you have the same thought about your baby's father when you got pregnant?

Yes. In my case, my daughter’s father has two kids–-my daughter who is 4 and then a 3-year-old [with someone else]–-and he is about to turn 22. He still hasn’t grown up one bit. I admire Felicia’s patience with Alex, but I think there are only so many ways she can ask him to help. She might actually be better off asking her family for help since Alex still doesn’t seem to understand how important it is for him to spend more time with his daughter than with his friends.

Felicia and Alex seemed to be in love–-what do you think happened?

The baby happened! I think that the arguments and disagreements just became more stressful. There is a scene where Alex tells Felicia that she has changed, that everything changed when they moved in together. I think that before the baby they were only beginning to know each other more, and it was all hugs and kisses. But they had to grow up too soon and Felicia became disappointed in the person Alex was acting like.

Felicia was upset when Alex bought himself shoes instead of getting stuff for the baby. Could you relate?

It just broke my heart seeing the look of disappointment on Felicia’s face when she was only able to buy diapers because she didn’t have more money. I know how it feels to want to buy your daughter everything but not be able to. I understand that Alex may feel the need to reward himself with a pair of shoes since he works hard to earn that money, but I hope he realizes that it’s a bigger reward giving his daughter everything she needs.

Graduating from high school is a big challenge for Felicia. Were you in the same position?

Being a teen mom and trying to finish high school is one of the biggest challenges. It’s hard going to school and staying focused and awake when you had about three hours max of sleep the night before. Sometimes, on top of caring for the baby, you may also need to hold a job, and that becomes even more challenging. You also don’t count on the all the times your baby may get sick or have doctor appointments.

What surprised you the most about Felicia’s story? What could you see coming a mile away?

Felicia’s patience for sure was what most surprised me. She tolerated so much from Alex; she remained calm and there was no yelling or cursing. What didn’t surprise me at all was the lack of emotional support Alex gave to Felicia. I noticed that Alex really didn’t have a family for support or advice. He had his friends to talk to, but that wasn’t very helpful.

At the end of the episode Felicia says that her “teenage life is pretty much over”–-what did you think of that?

I said the same thing when I had my daughter at 16. Your life does come to a big stop when you have a child at such a young age. There is no more time for play, no more sleepovers at your friends’ houses. The hardest decision is no longer “What am I going to wear tomorrow?” Everything becomes about the baby. I felt like I was at some point trying to live a double life: the teenager at school, but the mom at home. Seeing Felicia struggle to get schoolwork done while trying to feed the baby really took me back to when I was doing the same.

Any advice for Felicia?

Remain strong and focused! You are one very mature and great mother. And if Alex becomes another stress and responsibility in your life, don’t stay in that relationship. I know it’s hard to think about being a single parent, but sometimes that turns out to be easier. You seem to have a great support system; always lean on them for help because if there’s something I’ve learned it's to never be afraid to ask for help. And don’t stop at the high school diploma, keep going!

--Interview by Amy Kramer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy