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The Glitz and Glamour of Teen Pregnacy
Rhonda on stairs 4 2010.jpg

Contrary to popular belief, teen pregnancy has its perks.

There’s really nothing more life altering, thrilling and poignant than to be expecting a baby when one should be expecting a high school diploma.

The lucky ones with the right last name and or happenstance opportunity, are surrounded by supportive people, 24/7 assistance, hair and make-up folks  and they get to opt out of those pesky Chemistry and English classes or high school altogether if they so desire AND can get paid an enormous salary on a reality show or get to "dance with stars".

Not only that, if you play your cards right, people will soon come to know you as a quasi-celebrity, they will recognize your  name and face and may ask for you autograph. 

 Someone’s been keeping those details a secret.

Its almost magical really. Other teens just like you can dream of their day in the teen pregancy spotlight.  We haven't even mentioned the speaking engagements, limo's and media calls and the life happily ever after. 

 With all of this good stuff going on, who wouldn't want to be a teen parent? 

 I was thinking it would behoove us to tell some of the girls in the hood, barrio, trailer parks and the other middle class neighborhoods about this opportunity so they can prepare for their auditions as well. We could immediately improve the unemployment statistics nationwide and take many off of the government assisted social programs that so many despise.   Since some of these unfortunate angels already meet the criteria for the job (under 18, baby on the way, uneducated, jobless boyfriends, family dysfunction and unemployed or underemployed), surely they can apply for their own shows too right? Or does this opportunity only apply to certain folks?

On a personal level, I wish someone would have told me about this life in 1979! Anyone could have clued me in when I was walking around my hood, in my purple Converse tennis shoes, my maternity jeans and lavender smock top wondering where my life was headed and my next can of Similac was coming from. Where the hell was the camera crew and my invitation to People magazine to pose on their cover?

Oddly, there were no contracts coming over my fax machine, “oh that’s right”, I didn’t have a fax machine. Anyway, this is a  protest! Where is the back pay owed for years of missed opportunity on TV? I could have written a book while it was all still fresh on my mind.  The media never showed up to my house after baby number one when I was fifteen and a half, or baby number two at age seventeen. No one came to photograph me and my cute daughters. No press arrived to watch me take my GED, graduate from college or to take a photo of my transcripts when I made the Deans List.

ABC News wasn’t at the gate when I started my first federal job at 19 or when I promoted up the corporate ladder in my correctional career and beat the odds. I couldn’t even get Joan Rivers to put the microphone in front of me after the first book was published with the first born daughter. 

Not one call, press release or request from an editor to ask me to share my teen pregnancy story or invite me over to the studio to share. Why is that?

Did I live on the wrong side of the Russian fence?  Does the rest of the world’s population of pregnant teen girls live on the wrong side of the tracks? Where is their PR person to help gain them notoriety and paychecks so they too can benefit from the brokeness and seriousness of the state of their lives?

I missed my proms, social interaction with my peers, going to football games. I missed the opportunity to grow up and be responsible for me. My wreckless behavior and lack of supervision didn't land me a TV show or book deal. I like most of the others in that situation, endured sleepless nights from colicky babies crying, late night diaper changes, and night feedings while studying red eyed for my GED. I cried more than I care to think about. My home didn’t have cameras. It had chaos on many different fronts complete with broken people and spirits.

There were no paychecks for my mistakes, only struggling, worry and character building situations. I was lucky though. I always had a place to live and divine intervention saw to it that I had the wherewithal to pull myself up from my bootstraps and dig deep, to keep going and make something of my life. Not because my family had the right last name, but because I knew I had to do something to save myself and my children. I also had a Mom who inspite of her own troubling life, loved me and helped me. She was gracious enough to teach me about a higher power to call upon when things got too rough.

My thoughts are, if we are going to highlight these situations and give others the opportunity to capitalize on their poor choices, and such difficult and life changing experiences such as teen pregnacy, we need to 1) keep it all the way real and 2) extend that opportunity to those on the other side of the tracks as well.

By Rhonda E. Frost

Comments
9 Comment count
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Congratulations on all you've accomplished...

Rhonda--You have truly made yourself successful. So happy for you and your children. I hope you have many happy days (nobody gets all happy days)and you get to enjoy vicariously some of the things you missed as you provide a better life for your kids.

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Thanks Sue!

Hello dear, thank you so much for your kind words, they came across as so sweet and genuine. Fortunately my daughters are grown now. My oldest daughter and co-author graduated from Cal State Univ Northridge with a degree in TV, Film and Cinema a couple of months ago. My other daughter lives in L.A and is doing modeling and acting. I have teen son who is an amazing student and athlete. My life is still evolving into whatever God has in store as is all of ours. Truly, my lessons, obstacles and choices in life served to guide me to where I am today. It is my story. Each of us has our own story that shaped us. And you are right, "nobody gets all happy days".  We are all on our journey and I am always reminded to surrender to what is and move on from there.  I hope to talk with you often Sue. Take care!

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hilarious . . .

. . . and painfully accurate -- in an ironic way, of course. Thanks for reframing the whole Palin scene in the context of the real world. These reminders come most powerfully from those who have "been there, done that"!

Peace.

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I Know Right !

Hey Evie, thanks for the response. I am glad you got it! That situation has been on my mind and kind of rubbing me wrong. I needed to express my very personal perspective on it....;-)

When you walk a mile in those shoes, it gives a clear perspective, indeed!

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Is that an ancient pix of you???

You can't be old enuf to have children all grown and all accomplished! But obviously you are. Aren''t you proud? They would not have been able to do all they have if you had not done what you did to work so hard and lift yourseif by your bootstraps. So you can be so pleased with yourself as well. Many of us are rubbed wrong. I have been for years now. Nevertheless, I just feel so sorry for that teenage mother thrown into the public spotlight. Then I always felt sorry for Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter too. Oddly so far I have not felt sorry for the Obama daughters. (Maybe I should. None of us knows what sacrifices are being made, but the girls seem so happy.) Mrs. Obama just seems to have very good judgement and very good taste in the way she is raising her daughters. I could compare that to someone else, but I won't.

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Spot on...

Dear Sue, I was reading through the comments and your words moved me to tears. Spot on ... Rhonda should be proud not only of her children's accomplishments but of her own as well! Everyone goes through tough times in their own way, the trick is to go through them and come out a better person! In this regard, and many others, Rhonda is a wonderful role model!

Rock on, Ms. Frost!!! 

 

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Hi there!

Well hello my friend Mariya. I am so glad you are here in Red Room!. This is a warm place to read, write and learn. What a thoughtful thing to say about me. You already know how I feel about you, but just in case, let me remind you...I am eternally greatful for your friendship and warmth. You are a rare gift and I appreciate you more than words can express. I know your words come from the heart.  I can't wait to read more of your work. It always touches my heart.

Rhonda

 

 

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I Totally Agree Sue

Thanks for the compliment, and no maam, that photo isn't "ancient", I took those pictures in April of 2010 to help me market the book(smile). I admit to coloring my graying hair regularly and to a little "photo shop" that took out the bags under my eyes that I sometimes get from lack of sleep or is it old age? I do my best to work out 4-5 times a week. Now if only I could eat better, I could lose this 20 pounds that I can't seem to get rid of....dang it! I am fighting the aging process with all the tools I can muster up!

I have to agree with you about the spotlight being placed on all the children in the White house over the years and it is unfortunate that that young lady's private life was thrust into the world of public opinion. How awful that must have been for her at such a difficult time. Of course my article wasn't directly pointed at her, its not her fault media has given her all these opportunities and the quasi celebrity status for being a teen parent, nor do I fault her for taking advantage of this interest, I would encourage any young woman to do the same. My voice was for the millions of other teen moms who have no voice and no perks for the same exact situation.

As far as Mrs. Obama and her daughters are concerned, I have to admit that I am in awe at the way she has handled not only her family, but her status and the barrage of comments and judgments that come with being First Lady. They are historical in every regard. Their family seems like a family on a television program, too good to be true and unbelievable. But they are real, and they make me and both sides of my family proud. Her children, their values and togetherness are something to behold.

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Agreed.

Yes, I knew who you were standing up for. Those teens definitely need our concern. The awful thing is that the "good" misleading coverage makes those most vulnerable to early teenage pregnancy even more vulnerable and more desirous of having a baby to have someone to love them and to love. I personally am usually a fan of the media, because I think information is so necessary on many many things--but I do think that starlets with mental health issues and children of famous people should be off limits for the media to hound. And I wish they had the desire to shield their privacy. I wish the public did not enjoy gorging on this diet of coverage of celebrities and near-celebrities and their children. Ah well, freedom is wonderful. And I guess we sometimes get what we deserve as a nation if we don't have good taste and good will. But the media does let us down when they fail to have time and skills to get us needed information instead of celebrity coverage.