By Paige Whipple of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
We’ve watched a lot of the Teen Mom’s ups and downs over the years, and we especially like to witness their triumphs. During this week's "Teen Mom OG" episode -- before Catelynn and Tyler said "I do" -- Maci and Amber showcased their booming businesses (a t-shirt line and flipping houses, respectively).
These accomplishments are particularly noteworthy because Maci and Amber were teen mothers, which can force a lot of plans and dreams to be put on hold. When you have a baby, it’s hard to continue taking classes and finishing homework: Only 38% of teen moms graduate from high school, and less than 2% of teen moms get a college degree by age 30. This usually affects earning potential for years, if not forever.
Graduating from college is an amazing feat, and owning a house and earning a stable income (two things that both Maci and Amber talk about in this episode) are also huge accomplishments for young moms (or anyone!). In many cases, young moms can’t afford to take care of their kids: 67% of teen moms who live on their own live below the poverty level, and more than half of teen moms rely on public benefits within a year of giving birth. Not to mention the help many young moms are lucky enough to get from their own parents.
The truth is simple: Raising a baby isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. And now that the Teen Mom kids are growing up, we’re seeing that this journey can get more complicated over time.
The Teen Mom cast really has accomplished a lot in the seven years we’ve known them: They’ve overcome a lot of trials in their lives in addition to being teen parents -- specifically, losing loved ones, struggling with everything from sobriety to fighting with parents and exes, plus more. But they are also building a financially stable future for their children -- and this is extremely important. Be sure to keep watching their stories every Monday on "Teen Mom OG" at 10/9c.