By Amy Kramer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
As this season of "Teen Mom 3" draws to a close, the babies have all celebrated their first birthdays -- three of them on last night's finale -- and the moms are all getting the hang of parenting, but it hasn't been an easy year. Let's take a look back at some of the major lessons we learned:
Relationships are hard, but being a teen parent makes them harder.
While Katie and Joey and Briana and Devoin seem to have finally started working on their communication skills despite no longer being romantically involved, Mackenzie and Josh have hit an all-time low. Alex is clearly over Matt, but he's still disappointing her with broken promises. None of the ladies found happily ever after with their babies' fathers, and it doesn't look to be an easy road ahead in terms of co-parenting.
Family support makes all the difference.
All of the girls' families play a pivotal role in their babies' upbringings, and their parents' help is especially crucial. Can you imagine if any of the four teen moms didn't have their own mom and/or dad to help them with the ups and downs of early motherhood? They're all extremely fortunate in that department, and it makes a huge difference in their lives and the lives of their babies.
Babies may give unconditional love, but they require even more.
There's no question these girls love their children, and they've sacrificed a lot for them already. But as Alex's mom said in the finale, "It's not going to get easier." The responsibilities of being a parent only get bigger over time. Being a parent means putting your child's needs before your own, and starting down that path as a teenager can feel very limiting.
So, what's going to stick with you from "Teen Mom 3"? Has the show made you think more about your own future? Tell us in the comments, and for information on how you can take control of your own sex life and postpone parenthood until you're ready, go to MTV's It's Your Sex Life website.
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