It’s been awhile since The Ashley has done a 16 & Pregnant recap. Don’t worry, kids, she didn’t go out and get herself a life or anything–she’s just been occupying her time with other craptastic shows! (Those damn gypsy weddings are addicting!) However, she felt that the time had come to take another look into the world of teenage pregnancy.
This week we met Hope, a 17-year-old from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She is the typical teenage girl: she hangs out with her friends, works at a coffee house and enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Ben. Of course, I use the term “boyfriend” loosely, as Ben was uneasy about settling down and being in a relationship. In fact, it took a least five rounds of sex and (wait for it) an unplanned pregnancy to finally get him to quit his partying ways and become Hope’s boyfriend.
Of course, I’m skipping ahead in the story a bit. From what Hope tells us in her voice-over, she and Ben were party pals (re: hooking up after having a few too many Smirnoff Ices). They weren’t really dating, but one day Hope decided to let Ben have her “special flower.” After a few rounds of sexy time, (shockingly) the pull-out method failed and, whoops, Hope got pregnant.
Even though they weren’t really dating, Hope had to call Ben and convince him that she was actually with child and not just trying to woo him back.
Anyway, when Ben found out Hope was preggo, he pulled an “Adam” (of Teen Mom 2 fame) and bailed on Hope, saying he didn’t want anything to do with Hope or their bundle of (surprise) joy. Hope’s mom, Betsey, is shocked that her daughter got pregnant to begin with, since she was apparently unaware of her daughter’s after-work partying sessions.
Anyway, for the first few months of Hope’s pregnancy, Ben was missing-in-action and refused to answer any of Hope’s texts. Even her friends tried texting him to let him know they all think he’s a piece of crap for ditching her but he still refuses to respond.
Then, all of a sudden, Hope receives a call from Ben, who tells her that he has had a change of heart and wants to be in the baby’s life. Not only that, but he wants Hope to be his girlfriend and move in with him.
Whooooa…..let’s hold up here for a second. What spurred Benny’s sudden change of heart? Clearly one of two things happened here. Either he really did feel bad for being a creepnozzle to Hope, or he heard that MTV was coming to film Hope’s pregnancy and realized that unless he stepped up, all his family and friends were going to see what a sleaze he had been. Either way, Hope wins!
Since Ben lives an hour away from Hope, together they decide that Hope and the baby should move in with Ben. Moving in with a guy that wouldn’t speak to you just weeks ago is probably something The Ashley would advise against, but, hey, to each their own.
We also find out that Ben has never had the pleasure of meeting Betsey, her blue eyeshadow, or Hope’s family. For whatever the reason, he’s afraid to meet them. He comes to Hope’s house while the family is away to discuss her moving into his apartment. They have this discussion over Otter Pops, naturally.
OK, kids, if you’re having an important conversation about life-changing events and you’re doing it while eating a Popsicle with a cartoon muppet on the front of it, you’re probably too young to be having said important conversation. Just saying…
Later, while having lunch with a friend, Hope explains that her unplanned pregnancy has all but shattered her hopes of going to college. We find out that Hope was hoping (pun intended) to go to Arizona State University because it’s the #1 party school in America. (Deep…breaths…must…not…comment…on…this…)
Now that Hope’s dream of a frat-party-filled college experience has been dashed, it’s hard for her to watch her friends make plans for college. It’s also hard because none of Hope’s friends will hang out with her now because she’s pregnant. (Preggo bellies cramp your style in ‘da club!’) Couldn’t she at least be their designated driver?
Anyway, Hope’s mother is surprised to hear that her underage daughter is moving in with some random guy that she’s never met. She’s also scared that Hope is going to make her shell out cash to pay for the baby. Betsey tells Hope that she’s not going to be able to finance the baby and that ol’ Benny better start saving his allowance!
I’ve got to hand it to Hope: she’s really trying to be responsible. She continues to work at the coffee shop even though she’s super-pregnant and in a lot of pain from being on her feet all day. In addition, she’s already graduated from high school and seems to have a good head on her shoulders (I’ll let that ‘party college’ thing slide…)
Hope’s legs are swollen so she goes to see her doctor to see if he can help her. Dr. Chang (who awesomely requires subtitles during the entire visit) tells her that she shouldn’t be working anymore. Hope tells the doctor that she can’t stop working because her mother can’t help pay for the baby. Dr. Chang side-eyes Hope’s mom and gives her a disapproving look. Yeah…that scene wasn’t awkward at all.
Luckily, Ben works as a bartender (um..how old is this kid?!) so he will be able to pay for “food and baby stuff.” Since Hope is nearly seven months along, and will soon be shacking up with Ben, the couple decides it’s time for Ben to meet Betsy and the fam, which also includes Betsey’s boyfriend (who kept his face in the shadows as much as possible. I guess being on a MTV reality show about pregnant teens would hurt his street cred?)
Ben also meets Hope’s siblings, Freedom and Chance. Yes. Those are their names. Betsey named her children Hope, Freedom and Chance. It sounds like a weird motivational saying some girl would get tattooed on her foot or something, no? I have a feeling that Betsey is going to try to get Hope to name her kid “Believe” or “Dream” or something.
Later, Hope’s mother says she is concerned that Hope will be so far away once she moves. She informs her daughter that she can’t rely on Ben to be there because, basically, “men suck.” (I’d bet my right arm that Betsey totally has a bumper sticker on her car that says that, right next to the one that says “S**t Happens!” Betsey just seems like that kind of broad.)
Finally, it’s moving day, and Hope’s family arrives to help her get settled into Ben’s apartment. Betsey is less-than-impressed with Ben’s humble abode, what with all the dead bugs in the entry way and the yucky floor. Betsey says the place is “disgusting.” I think she’s overreacting; the place looks decent to me. I’ve seen the kids on this show move into places far worse than this apartment! (Does the barn from Season 2 ring a bell?!) This place looks fine to me!
Finally, it’s time to let her daughter go. Betsey whispers encouraging words into Ben’s ear (I’m pretty sure she said “Take care of her or I’ll kill you.” Awww….) and bids them farewell.
A few days later, Hope heads to the doctor to see if she can be induced because she is really uncomfortable. Dr. Chang is MIA, so some other lady examines Hope and tells her that her cervix is soft (ewww) and that she can be induced next week.
The morning of the induction comes, and Hope is more than ready to get her labor on! After a few shots of Pitocin and the breaking of her water (that’ll wake ya up!) Hope is ready for the baby to be born. Unfortunately, after 10 hours, not much has changed with Hope and her soft cervix, so Dr. Chang (who has miraculously reappeared, yay!) decides Hope needs to have a C-section.
They take her into the operating room and at this point, I’m expecting to see the cute little cartoon characters typically used on ’16 & Pregnant’ to illustrate stuff not shown on camera.
Um, no. That’s not what happens at all. We get to see Dr. Chang literally slit open her stomach, stick a vacuum in there and dig out the baby! Blood, guts and baby juice are shooting everywhere.
Anyway, baby Tristan finally arrives. (Kudos to Hope for giving her child a normal name. Most of the kids from this season of ’16 & Pregnant’ have been saddled with ridiculous names, so her child got lucky!)
I must say that I’m kind of falling in love with Ben. I had my doubts about him in the beginning, but he was by Hope’s side during the delivery and was super-sweet in the days following Tristan’s birth, getting up in the middle of the night to take care of his son. (In the ’16 & Pregnant’ world that’s practically unheard of!)
Eventually, Ben has to go back to work, leaving Hope stuck in the house. To make things worse, all of her friends are living it up at the college dorms. Hope decides to get a job so that she can get out of the house, and Ben agrees to watch the baby while she’s at work. Seriously, this may be one of the best baby-daddies we’ve seen in two seasons!
Later, Hope goes to visit her friend, Elaine, who now lives in a college dorm. I can smell the stench of cheap beer and regret on Elaine even through the television screen. Elaine regales Hope of her tales of college life: frat parties everywhere, new [boy]friends..oh, and school and stuff. Elaine, who seems hungover the entire time she’s on camera, is basically rubbing it in poor Hope’s face that her life is way crappier because she’s not in college.
In the end, Hope and Ben seem to be working together to raise the baby. Hope’s episode wasn’t the most dramatic but it was very realistic. I think her story is similar to that of a lot of real-life teen mothers.
Next week we meet Sarah, who is dating a disgruntled redhead with an attitude! Sounds like a party!