The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Calgary teen moms say show is misleading

teenmomTHUMBIn January of 2010, Alyssa Komusi sat in a bathroom stall at Chinook Centre staring at a positive pregnancy test. At only 18, Komusi said she was not prepared for this.

"I actually ended up taking four tests and I think I spent the whole day crying. I don't think I've ever cried so hard. It's scary and you don't really expect yourself to be going through that at such a young age," she said.

When Komusi's father found out she was pregnant she said that he cried, "They weren't happy tears obviously because no father wants to hear that their 18-year-old daughter is pregnant. It's like their worst fear," she said.

Listen to what Alyssa Komusi says about MTV's reality show 'Teen Mom'

Even though her father's actions showed his disappointed in Komusi's situation at first, she said that it was her dad who became most supportive when it was time for Komusi to make some decisions.

Komusi said her relationship with her parents and two younger siblings have improved greatly from the time that they first discovered she was pregnant.

She said, "My relationships with my siblings are good. I made the mistake of taking advantage of my sister right when Tamara (her daughter) was born, so she's starting to help out more, but she definitely put her foot down and said 'no, come on this is your responsibility,' and I realized that it's completely fair. And my brother helps out incredibly."

momandbabyTeen mom, Alyssa Komusi enjoys a sunny day at the park with her daughter.

Photo by: Anna Majowski
Now as a single working mother and with help from family and friends, Komusi celebrated her daughter, Tamara's, first birthday just this September. She said, "I still haven't gotten the hang of being a mother. It's hard."

Komusi explained that she watched one of MTV's popular shows, Teen Mom, which follows the lives of a select group of girls to document the struggles of mother hood so she herself could get an idea of what she could expect after she found out she was pregnant.

"The TV shows are just blown out of proportion... that is so not right," she said.

What the TV shows don't portray, according to Komusi is the reality of the situation because they make being a teen mom look "glamorous." She said they don't show all the work that goes into being a mom and instead focus on the drama.

Ashley Rainey, 20, gave birth to a boy recently and has been experiencing new life as a mother for the first time. She said, "I believe 16 and Pregnant is more realistic then Teen Mom is. I believe most of Teen Mom is real, but believe that they sugar coat some of it or don't show the entire thing."

"I honestly feel like I could be on Teen Mom — (there's) all the drama and bullshit I deal with on a daily basis with the father, but being a mom is the best thing in the world. And I think Teen Mom doesn't show everything. Like, why don't those mothers breast feed their babies? Why don't we see them up in the middle of the night to feed, change and rock their babies? I feel like they are leaving a lot of the stuff out about being a mom," she said.

When asked about the young girls who may be potentially watching these shows and want a child of their own, Komusi said, "You guys have no idea what you're getting into. I don't understand how the mind works; I don't know why you would want to lose your childhood innocence."

She talked about how she watched an episode of "reality TV" and observed how a 15-year-old girl was eager to become a mother; something she says is a big responsibility.

"You get those teen moms who go out every night and they don't realize the responsibility they've taken on. Then you get those kids that don't realize the responsibility that they want to take on... I don't get it," Komusi said.

"I was so angry when I saw that because I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone, not that I don't love Tamara and she hasn't changed my life, but it's hard. It's not an easy life situation"

According to Statistics Canada, Canada had 31,611 teenage pregnancies in 2004 from women between the ages of 15 to 19. And in 1997, 5,101 girls aged 15 to 19 gave birth in Alberta.

Anna Zacharias, Accounts Administrator for Mount Royal University Child Care and Preschool, said, "I think my experience with young moms not necessarily if they fall into the teen mom category or as a young adult is that their reality is that they are busy all the time. I think sometimes on TV that doesn't show up."

The second season of Teen Mom averaged around 2.9 million viewers per episode in 2010, according to an American source. Komusi explained her pregnancy wasn't as dramatic as the TV show makes it seem.

"It's not anything to glamorize. It's rough especially when you get the up all-nighters, and you work at seven in the morning. The media likes to twist things," she said.

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