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World’s Worst Mother: “16 And Pregnant” Teen’s Mom Takes The Cake


We’ve grown used to seeing irresponsible teens and bad parenting on the MTV show “16 And Pregnant,” and that’s part of what makes it such a compelling and powerful watch. It teaches cocky adolescents that having a baby is more than just dressing infants in cute clothes and parading a kid around in a stroller at the park. But on last night’s special 1.5-hour long episode of the show, featuring anorexic pregnant teen Kayla, Kayla’s mother Deb was the truly horrific parent.

Kayla’s anorexia and struggle with her eating disorder made her pregnancy doubly difficult. Her complex and uncomfortable feelings about her body had her skipping meals and unwilling and unable to eat food, even though she knew taking in nutrients was absolutely necessary for the health of her child. But despite several close calls, and a complete lack of support from her mother, Kayla gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Over and over, we see Kayla express — in an articulate and nuanced way — how her eating disorder has skewed her brain’s ability to do what’s right for her baby. But then, just weeks after giving birth, and knowing that her daughter had long-struggled with anorexia, Deb asks her daughter to go on a diet with her. Witness this exchange:

“Remember about six to eight months ago when I lost some weight? If you notice I’ve been putting it back on,” Deb says to Kayla. “So I know in about four to five weeks, that’s when you’re going to be ready. You’re going to want to…”

“Put on weight?” asks Kayla.

“No,” says her mother. “To start to…”

“You want me to go on a diet with you mom?”

“Not really a diet, just start watching what we’re eating. ‘Cause I know as determined as you are, you could probably discipline me.”

Kayla’s mom sees her eating disorder as a great tool! To help her lose weight! And she’s so self-absorbed that she’s willing to risk her daughter’s health and life by encouraging her to delve back into obsessing about her weight.

At least Kayla is cognizant of how effed up her mother is. “I didn’t think things could get any worse with my mom,” she voiceovers, “But asking me to go on a diet with her is a new low.” You can watch the exchange at around the 53 minute mark (sadly there’s no shorter clip of the scene available). My heart aches for Kayla, as she struggles to deal with raising her son — and herself–with a clearly sick mother in tow. [MTV]

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