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Catelynn's Story: An Interview With One Of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" Teens

16_and_pregnant Last week, I wrote about MTV's show 16 and Pregnant. I talked about how, as someone who had a baby at a relatively young age, I related very much to the young parents featured on the show and that I thought that MTV made every effort to present the parents and the larger issue of teen pregnancy in a mature, realistic, non-judgmental, and responsible way.
The final episode of the series will air tomorrow night and follows a young Michigan woman named Catelynn. Her story differs from those of the other mothers on the show because she decides to give her baby up for adoption. As we see in the preview, her reasons are pretty simple: the adoptive couple can provide for the baby better than she can and Catelynn simply wants her daughter to have better than what she did.

I had the opportunity to speak with Catelynn yesterday. She is now 17 and her baby, who is now 8 weeks old, is doing well with her adoptive family.

MamaPop: How and when did you find out that you were pregnant?

Catelynn: Well, how I found out, I was really sick and I thought I had the flu. So, I went to the doctor and they tested me for everything. She came back and said, “Well, you’re pregnant.” I found out in August.

MP: What was your reaction?

C: It was a mix of emotions. I felt everything. I was mad, angry, sad, happy.

MP: What was your boyfriend’s reaction?

C: He was shocked. He just turned pure white when I told him.

MP: How did you guys tell your families?

C: Well, my mom was in the room when the doctor told me. She just cried and said she’d support me in any decision that I made. Tyler’s mom kind of guessed it. They were all very supportive of first. My dad just said that he couldn’t be a hypocrite because he had my brother when he was 17.

MP: So he had been through that experience…

C: Yeah, he couldn’t say much.

MP: Did you experience any judgment from people, friends or family members?

C: Um, all my friends were very supportive. I never had anybody say anything mean to me or any rumors or nothing like that.

MP: How did you reach your decision to continue the pregnancy and go the adoption route?

C: I’ve always believed in adoption. I always thought that a child deserves a chance at least. I just stuck it out because at first because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep her or not. The further down the road we got, we just totally decided that it would be the best thing. But I found out from Tyler’s sister, my boyfriend’s sister, about the adoption.

MP: Did you have a lot of support of that decision?

C: From Tyler’s side of the family, yes. But mine was totally against it.

MP: Why?

C: It was my mom, mostly. Just because she believes that you don’t give your family away.

MP: How did you get her to come around? Or has she come around?

C: No, she hasn’t come around. I couldn’t even talk to her to even make her come around so I just said whatever.

MP: are you guys talking now?

C: We’ere starting to. I’m going to go back home, actually.

MP: Where are you now?

C: I’m staying at Tyler’s house.

MP: Has the trouble with your mom made things more difficult?

C: It’s made it a lot more difficult because I always believed that my mom of all people would be there to support me. It made it harder but then I just got to the point where I didn’t care anymore.

MP: But you feel good about your decision?

C: Oh, 100%

MP: It’s impossible to go through any pregnancy without any kind of wild emotions, but I imagine with your circumstances you’ve really been on a roller coaster?

C: Oh, yes.

MP: So, how are you doing today?

C: Today I’m fine. I’m at peace with my decision and I know I did the right thing. So I’ve been totally fine.

MP: Was it really tough at first? Did you go through any rough days?

C: I have my days, still. Like, one day you just can’t get her off your mind. So that kind of bothers me sometimes. Or even if you see a little girl… So I have my days where it’s hard. But they’re rare now.

MP: Do you have support, people who are seeing you through this time?

C: My boyfriend and his mom are like my total support. They’ve been really helping me, pulling me back up and stuff.

MP: Has your boyfriend had any trouble coping with your decision?

C: No, he’s really good, too. But he has his days, too.

MP: Have you seen your episode of the show yet?

C: Yeah, I’ve seen it.

MP: Did you think it was a good portrayal of you? Do  you think they really covered all of the angles of your situation?

C: Yeah, they did.

MP: What do you think of the show in general? Do you think it’s doing a good job of examining the issue?

C: I believe that it’s going to make a lot of girls think about what they’re doing. And hopefully it’ll make them all want to put on birth control at least or something.

MP: Do you think people who get pregnant at a young age are treated too harshly in the media and just by society in general?

C: Oh, yeah, because they like to call us names and stuff and sometimes it just happens on accident. Like my whole thing was a total accident. I think they do and I think it really sucks because sometimes it’s not their fault.

MP: Did you guys arrange for an open adoption?

C: Yeah, our adoption is open.

MP: What do you anticipate that being like?

C: We get pictures all the time. They send us pictures like every two weeks. We get phone calls, emails, and we get to go have face-to-face visits at least twice a year.

MP: What are your plans for yourself now that life is moving forward?

C: I want to go to college after I finish high school. I want to go to college for criminal law. I want to be a K-9. Yeah, I want to be a cop.

MP: Did living out the experience in front of cameras make it weird?

C: Actually having the cameras around and stuff, it wasn’t hard at all. You had moments where you just wanted them to go away. But if anything it helped a lot. You express your feelings more, and what you’re thinking. It helped me get all the stuff off that I had on my chest. I really enjoyed having them around.

MP: Can you think of an example of something that you got off your chest that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

C: I like to keep things inside myself, like all my feelings and stuff. But ever since this experience I’ve been actually telling people how I feel and what I’m thinking. It helps a lot.

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Great interview, Kelly.

Catelynn's last response, how she now feels able to open up about her feelings, made my heart glad. She sounds so strong both before and after having gone through the adoption process. I hope that she and her mom are able to grow closer, and I really hope that she continues to believe that she can share/confide/discuss her feelings, because no one deserves to think that he or she has to stifle feelings and emotions. All my best to Catelynn.


Great interview. My first child was conceived when I was 18 (she's ten years old now), and all her life I've dealt with close-minded assumptions that I'm unintelligent, immature or incapable because I'm a young mom. You know, "Hey, she was dumb and loose enough to get knocked up..."

Sometimes TV shows and magazine articles feed those ridiculous assumptions (Hello, Secret Life of the American Teenager! I'm looking at you!), so I'm really happy to see your interview that proves that a young mom has the wisdom and maturity and strength to make a very difficult decision because it's in the best interest of her child. Kudos to Catelynn!


I actually had a friend who went through an open adoption at the age of 21. She was mentally and physically capable of taking care of her daughter, but the baby's father had been abusive and she didn't want herself or her daughter to have any connection to him for the rest of their lives. Watching her go through that I think I saw true selflessness for the first time. Women like my friend and Catelynn who are strong enough to do what is best for their children even when it breaks their hearts are my hero.


God, this is awesome.

Kelly, I'm so glad you did this interview. I was interested in how the women felt they were portrayed on the show. I really hope the other women feel the same way as Catelynn.

Good luck and happiness to Catelynn in the future.


what a great interview. also, bravo to mtv for spotlighting a teen who puts the baby up for adoption. bravo to her! it takes a lot of courage to do that. i am proud of her and i don't even know her.

Samantha L.

I've now seen all the episodes of this show (except this one) and they all break my heart. I agree with your original review, that it really shows the teens in an honest, respectful light. Good for Catelynn and her boyfriend in making such a difficult, selfless decision. She should be very proud of herself for listening to her heart, even if her mom didn't support her.


I was 21 when I found out I was pregnant, and I thought I was too young. I can't even imagine going through that at 16 - I'd like to believe that I would have coped at least half as well as these young women. I've only seen a couple episodes, but "Bravo MTV!" With all the trashy shows that are out there, this one could easily have gone that route, but they really did portray these teens in an honest light.


Coming back to say that I caught this episode last night, and it made me bawl. Catelynn and Tyler are some of the most mature, responsible, selfless people I've ever seen on tv, no exaggeration. Tyler continually impressed me with his ability to stand up to his father and be supportive of his girlfriend; he showed compassion and love far beyond men twice his age.

I suppose I'm adding this comment because I was so, so happy to see a young man standing by his girlfriend throughout the most difficult event of their lives, and I don't think men like Tyler get enough recognition. So, in one meager attempt, I'm saying way to go to Tyler. He and Catelynn have a more solid relationship than most of those I see daily, and I wish them all the best. Truly.


Completely agree. Cried like a baby.

Finally a mature father. And he's 16. High five for Tyler.


I just watched it online at work (slow day) and that was kind of a dumb idea, because it made me cry pretty hard. But not a sad cry. I was just really moved by the story and I'm so proud of Tyler and Catelynn. They are mature enough to understand how immature they are. Who has that kind of self-awareness at 16? Who has that kind of self-awareness at 30? I'm totally blown away.
I was very frustrated with the behavior of their parents, but I'm amazed at how loving Tyler and Catelynn still are toward them. I would be way more bitter.


It was SO awkward having Tyler and Catelynn try to explain to their parents why they were giving the baby up for adoption.

How do you tell your parents that you think your family life growing up was complete shit?

I can't figure out if Catelynn's mom and Tyler's dad were in denial or if they really didn't understand.


I just watched this and it made me cry like a baby. I cried for the pain Catelynn and Tyler were going through and also was crying at watching the adoptive parents dreams coming true.

I was shocked at how mature Catelynn and Tyler were. They are truly special people.

This one kept making me think of that scene in Juno where after Juno had the baby her dad told her that one day she will be back in that hospital and it will be on her terms. That always makes me cry too. One day you will be there too Catelynn. I hope you have a wonderful life.


I watched this episode twice and still cried both times.
I'm an adoptive parent myself and beautiful, selfless people like Tyler and Catelynn made it possible for us to be a parents. Kudos to Tyler n Catelynn, you made the best decision for your baby's future.


While I agree with Catelynn and Tyler's decision to give their child up for adoption, I also feel like they were the most mature and probably would have been the best parents (in the long run). Seeing a glimpse of the way they were raised and for them to overcome that and be so respectful was very heartwarming. You didn't hear them cursing or being disrespectful to each other. I'm not saying that any of the other teens on the other shows would be or are bad parents...but Tyler and Catelynn really stood out to me. They made a very selfless decision that was best for them. I look up to them because they had the courage to do something that I would probably never have the courage to do. I was pregnant and 17 and had my daughter at 18...who is 8 years old now...so I feel like I relate to these girls on the show in many ways.

God Bless Tyler and Catelynn.

Ashley H.

Tyler and Catelynn are two of the most mature and amazing young people that I've ever seen. Our son come to us through open adoption and we still see his birth parents and have a great relationship. Just a quick reminder....T & C did not "give their child up" but rather they made an adoption plan for their daughter. I hope for them an amazing continued relationship with their daughter and the adoptive parents.


good interview. that episode was amazing, i was so proud of catelynn and tyler.

Alex castaneda

Wow I'm totaly impressed with how strong and how mature
You guys are.
You are the greatest person I have ever seen in my life, honestly
What you did was very brave of you in a way I think that maybe
You should of kept her but I also think that by the way you have being raised wasn't the best
With no ofense. Well I feel very proud of you and your story has really move me a lot you have made me change in so many ways thank you so much and I konw you will be a great mother and I hope you and Tyler stay together for ever you guys make a great
couple besides he loves you his act like a true man.

Tyler: you are and awsome person I have no words to discribe how good you are.
That letter that you rote to your baby girl was amazing it made me cry so much I just have to say that catelyyn baby carly and me are very very proud of you I hope you stay with catelynn for ever and I hope you guys make a great and big family later on with lots of kids
I wish I could have the honer of meeting you guys in person.
And I also wish I could find someone like you.
You have act like a true man.
Love you guys both so much
I hope you guy keep up contact with me

You have become something really "special" for me I read that letter that you made for your baby girl and it made me cry so much it touch my heart you know my dad never wanted me and reading each one of those word that you put on that letter just made me think of so many thing you are awsome honestly I have no words to discribe how good you are I just hope you never live catelynn you guy are great togther. I wish that I would get to meet you guy some day and I also wish I can find a guy like you. Let me tel you I'm very proud of you and I know that catelynn and carly are very very proud of you.
Love you both and take care good luck on you guys life


I watched this episode and I LOVE this girl and her boyfriend. They are amazing and respectable people and I am proud of them for making the decision. I'm 17 and I could never be as strong as they are.... i almost cried watching the show


Oh my god!! I cried through this entire show. Catelynn and her boyfriend seemed like 30 year olds. I have never been touched by a show like I was watching this. My girlfriends had babies in highschool and one even gave her baby up for adoption. Now 32 years old, I can't imagine that age again. Though, my girlfriends in high school were highly supported it really didn't factor into the intense emotion I felt for Catelynn. I made my mother watch the show tonight. I just can't commend their strength and maturity enough. If I could do something for them I would. I am blown away, I don't know what else to say. I hope the best for them and know everything good will come that they desire and deserve. All my love goes to them. The most memorable show I watched all year.


Would somebody please set up a scholarship fund for these two amazing people?


Christina, I was thinking the same thing. I would pay for their tuition myself if I could get their contact info.

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