However, the event was meant to be more than just two MTV celebrities coming to share their experience and for us to enjoy; the deeper meaning was for college students, especially college girls, to understand the steps necessary to take if and when they discover they are pregnant. Even though you might have thought you were “smart enough,” like Tyler, you can never know the consequences of your actions. It is important to know that there is a proper way of dealing with this situation that does not involve panicking and deciding to throw away the baby’s chance of a future for your own.
Based on Catelynn and Tyler’s speech and College Gloss’s interview with the couple, here’s what we concluded are the appropriate steps to take in dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
1. Make a pros and cons list of every possible decision you can make; this includes abortion, adoption, keeping the baby and other options that you might personally have that can act as a solution to your unplanned pregnancy. This is what pregnancy consultants tell their clients to do, but Tyler had already done it even before he met one. He made the list right after he found out Catelynn was pregnant. Tyler knew he didn’t want Catelynn to have an abortion, so he made a pros and cons list for adoption and keeping the baby.
In making the list, there are many things to consider. Think about your beliefs. What about your environment? Are you currently living in a stable home? Is your environment safe for a baby to be in? Which options are your parents supportive of? Are your parents willing to support you mentally and financially if you made that decision? The most important factor you should think about is your future and the baby’s future. What are your goals that you have set for your life? Will you be able to reach them with a baby on board? The biggest thing to do, according to Tyler, is to “put the child in front of yourself.” The baby inside you (or your partner) is an innocent child. He/she deserves for his/her parents to think logically and completely.
For college students who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy, Tyler suggests to “sort out your priorities and figure out what is best for you and what is best for the child. I think people deep down know what they have to do in order to make that long-term goal attainable, and let them reach it and do whatever it takes.”
It is important to understand that the proper way of talking about adoption is not “she gave up her child to another family,” but “she made a plan for her child.” There are three types of adoption: a closed, semi-open, and open adoption. A closed adoption is where the birth parents/mother/father don’t want any contact with the adoption parents or the child at all in the future. A semi-open adoption is where the birth parents/mother/father and the adoption parents have on-going pictures and letters. An open adoption, which is the adoption that Catelynn and Tyler chose, is where both families have ongoing face-to-face contact about one or two times a year.
2. After you have decided which option is best for the baby, talk to the right people. There are many services around you that can help with your process, no matter who you are. As Mizzou students, here’s a list of helpful places you can call or go to in the Columbia area.
- For more information on what Mizzou Students for Life can do for you, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For free, professional and confidential services, such as early or long-term pregnancy support services and medical clinic services, contact My Life Clinic, a program of Life Network of Central MO. You can go to their office at 802 N Providence Rd. Ste 2, Columbia, MO 65203 or call them at 573-874-3561. You can also visit their website to find out more information about their services: www.mylifeclinic.com.
- Bethany Christian Services is one of the best services in the country for planning an adoption. Their vision is “to see a world where every child is cared for in a loving family.” “With 1.2 million abortions yearly in the U.S.,” they believe they are “called to act to save innocent lives.” Catelynn and Tyler used their services throughout their adoption process. You can visit their nearest office in 7520 Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63119 or call them at 314-781-6363. You can also visit their website to find out more information about their services: www.bethany.org.
3. After you have chosen your plan and found the service right for you, there’s only one thing to do: go through it. As Catelynn put it, the whole process will feel like “hard times,” but you know that your decision is the best decision you can make for yourself and the baby.
Catelynn told us that the moment she realized she had made the right decision was a couple months after she placed Carly for up adoption: “There was a moment where me and my mom got into a huge fight, and she was yelling at me and looking at me and saying to me ‘don’t tell me how to raise my kids when you couldn’t raise yours.’ And we would fight all the time, and there would always be a bunch of drugs and alcohol and parties in my house. And that made me happy that she’s not sharing the same bedroom with me and around all this chaos because I grew up around so much chaos as a kid myself that I didn’t want her around me.”
4. The aftermath: what now? Well, after you have gone through the whole process, you will feel overwhelmed with many different emotions and thoughts running through your mind. However, there are many support systems that can help you go through the aftermath. For example, My Life Clinic has a service called “SaveOne,” which is a post-abortion recovery small group. For adoption, Dawn Baker, Catelynn and Tyler’s adoption consultant, told us On Your Feet Foundation (www.oyff.org) and Birthmom Buds (www.birthmombuds.com) are two great foundations for people who planned to give their baby up for adoption.
In one part of the event, Dawn gave a shoutout to all the birth fathers that stick with their girlfriend even when she gets pregnant and help her go through it. We asked Tyler what advice he would give to guys who are in an unplanned pregnancy. After all, it is also their baby. Tyler said: “Man up and take responsibility for your actions and what you have taken part in, and do what’s best.”
By: Sazanka Idris