Maci of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” Opens Up to Teen Mama

21 Feb

If you’ve ever watched MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom” — and if you’re reading this, you probably have — then you know Maci. You’ve seen her struggle to keep her relationship with her baby’s father, Ryan, afloat; you’ve seen her exhausted, finishing schoolwork late at night; you’ve seen her in labor. When she cries in front of the camera, you cry too. (It’s not just me, right? Right?)

So when I got an offer to interview Maci for Teen Mama, I jumped at the chance.

Alexandra: What sort of sex education do you think teens should get?

Maci: I guess it just depends on what you believe in and, to me, abstinence really doesn’t do any good because people are gonna have sex when they want to have sex and when they feel like they’re ready to, and so if you go the abstinence route you completely block off the whole safe sex route so that kids just never even learn about that, but if you go with safe sex, you can tap into abstinence and how it’s better to wait to have sex, but at the same time, you can tell them about safe sex and different options that they have so you’re kind of getting both at one time. But that’s just how I would do it.

Alexandra: Yes, I agree. And what sort of sex education did you get, and do you feel like there’s anything you should have been told differently or, looking back, that you wish could be changed?

Maci: I kind of realized that when I was in high school, my high school didn’t offer very much sex education at all. I can only remember talking about sex and safe sex and stuff like that in high school once — only one time — and I mean, just for a person like me, I feel like the more sex education I can get, the better off I hope I would have been. And then, besides that, I feel like… after the show, and when I got the feedback from it, and after I watched the show, I honestly would’ve — I think, if “16 and Pregnant” would have been on while I was in high school, I honestly think it would have made such a big impact on me that I would have changed my mind, and so “16 and Pregnant” was a big deal for me because, like I said, I felt like if I had seen “16 and Pregnant”, it would’ve made a huge difference in my decision to have sex, and so I hope that the show does its job in a way that can inform people about sex and teen pregnancy and stuff like that.

Alexandra: A lot of people say that shows like “16 and Pregnant” glamorize teen pregnancy. How do you feel about that claim?

Maci: You know, I definitely think that that is false. I think “16 and Pregnant” — the producers and editors did a really good job of putting our stories out there like they really are, and all the girls on “16 and Pregnant” have really done a good job about stepping up and taking care of their responsibilities, so the only reason I think that they would feel it was being glamorized is because the girls that are on the show have just stepped up and been responsible and that they make it look good because we’re all doing a good job. So I don’t think it glamorizes it at all.

Alexandra: Yeah, I know what you mean. Teen moms aren’t allowed to be happy or do a good job.

Maci: Exactly. We’re not allowed to do schoolwork or take care of our babies or anything like that, and since we all are trying to do our best, I think people are seeing a different side of the stereotype of a teen mom, and so then they’re thinking that the show is being glamorizing, and it’s not.

Alexandra: Yeah, before interviewing you I asked a few people what I should ask you, and they were mostly like, “Oh, I don’t know, but she’s so responsible,” — that’s what they kept saying, so, I mean the show really does show the reality of it, but some people are angry when teen moms don’t do a bad job.

Anyway, did you ever consider abortion or adoption?

Maci: No. Everyone asks me that, and when I was pregnant, neither one of those options crossed my mind. I just felt like — I mean adoption’s just not for me. I felt like I was strong enough and I had a good support system to keep my baby, and abortion just really isn’t for me. Yeah, that’s something that I never even thought about. No, I didn’t, not at all.

Alexandra: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?

Maci: I don’t really know. I say this all the time, but I don’t like to have a plan — I just like to see how things happen and I just try my best at everything and, you know, whatever comes my way will come my way, and I’ll just make the decisions then. Hopefully, I mean I’m majoring in journalism, so hopefully I’ll be able to write a book, and I want to write it about being sixteen and pregnant and…

Alexandra: I’ll buy it.

Maci: Yeah — and that’s really it. I want to have a career that I enjoy and be a good mom.

Alexandra: How are you doing in school? Is it difficult to keep up with your schoolwork?

Maci: It’s very difficult. You’ll see that more throughout the season of “Teen Mom” cause it follows me in college and stuff, and, you know, in high school I made all As and Bs — I was always on top of my school work, and in college it’s so hard to make time to study and go to school full time and have a job. It’s definitely difficult, but as long as I stay in school and I’m passing my classes and stuff, I think I’ll be fine, and that’s just what I want to do. I mean I have other things to worry about and so as long as I’m keeping up with my schoolwork and passing my classes, then I think it’s fine. But it is definitely way harder for me to do my schoolwork than someone that doesn’t have a baby.

Alexandra: How have “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” affected your life? Do you feel like it’s been a good opportunity?

Maci:
I definitely think it’s been a good opportunity. Whenever I was thinking about doing “16 and Pregnant”, I honestly just wanted to get my message across about how hard it is to be a teen mom and how you can protect yourself from becoming a parent when you’re a teenager. And I also wanted people to see that there are girls out there that take the responsibility on, and we don’t put our kids on our parents, and we do go to college, and we do finish high school, and we do take care of our babies. And I wanted girls to see that there are options and that it is possible because I saw so many girls in high school that dropped out when they had their baby and stuff, and I wanted them to know that there are options out there. There are tons of options for daycare and, you know, at my college there are tons of things for teen moms, or just moms period, to help you out, and I want people that do get pregnant to see that there are options out there for you to finish school and go to college and get a job and stuff.

Alexandra: I think it was awesome how you finished high school early instead of dropping out. You did the opposite of what a lot of teen moms do.

Maci:
Yeah, I mean that was really awesome because if I hadn’t graduated early, it would’ve been really hard for me to figure out how I was gonna graduate, so I had to take some of my senior courses over the summer while I was pregnant, and then I finished my senior year when I got to deliver, so that was hard too, but it was much better than graduating on time. Graduating early was my only option to graduate, so I did it that way.

Alexandra:
What would you tell other teen girls about how to handle their relationship with the baby’s father, from your experience with Ryan?

Maci: You know, every relationship is different, so it’s hard to give people advice if you don’t know the relationship, but the only thing I can say is that you have to be patient and you just have to be happy. The baby needs to be around a healthy environment and if it’s not healthy and you’re not happy, then your baby’s not gonna be happy. You have to do whatever you can do for yourself to be happy so that you can be a good mom, and if your relationship gets in the way of that then I think they need to move on, but if they can work it out, then they need to try their hardest to work it out also.

Alexandra: My last question — how’s Bentley doing?

Maci:
We’re doing great.

Alexandra: Well, he’s a lucky baby.

With that, I’d exhausted my supply of questions; Maci wished me happy holidays and went off to continue being the supermom she is.

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