In the latest stitch in the rich tapestry of the teen-pregnancy reality genre, TLC's new show, "My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I," chronicles the often bumpy journey of a pair of teen moms whose own mothers are expecting at the same time.
Liz Forbes and Ann Golden from Oklahoma City are one of the two mother-daughter duos the show follows from pregnancy to childbirth. Liz was just 17 when she discovered that she and her boyfriend Chris were going to have a baby, and then found out about a month later her 36-year-old mother was also pregnant.
"This kind of sounds selfish but it's like I kind of wanted the attention on me and my baby," Liz said. "So I was like, 'are you freaking kidding me?'"
"I wanted to be the grandma and, you know, just kind of help her and coach her through things, and here I am, going through the same thing myself," Ann said.
"My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I," which premieres on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, is intended to entertain first and foremost, but it raises some provocative questions about parenting. While the other pregnant mother-daughter pair on the show goes to war with one another, Liz and Ann are seen attempting to turn their simultaneous pregnancies into a bonding experience.
"Once we got pregnant, we were with each other every day," Liz said. "We were constantly talking … it brought us closer again."
Ann said she has always believed that being a confidante, a girlfriend, to her daughter was more effective than being a heavy-handed parent.
"I think you know more about your kid if you're best friends," she said.
Her daughter agreed.
"Most girls won't even tell their parents they're having sex, so it makes it easier for them to get pregnant," Liz said.
"Her being hard on me is not going change the fact that it happened," she continued. "That's why I'm glad to have her, because that's how she is. I know that she was disappointed and everything, but she didn't let it show too much… It wasn't as difficult because I had my mom."
Ann knows what it's like to be a young mom on her own. She had Liz when she was 18 and raised her as a single parent for more than a decade. Now Ann is trying to provide her daughter with the support and compassion that she always craved when she was a teen mom.
"We can't turn the clocks back," Ann said. "What am I going do, be angry? She's going resent me and I'll never see her or my grandson and that's not the kind of relationship I wanted. I wanted to be involved in her life."
Of course, life became way more difficult after Liz's son Tyson was born. For one thing, Liz had to learn how to budget baby expenses on her salary as a fast-food waitress.
But as Liz faces the reality of motherhood at a young age, she has gained a newfound appreciation for her mother's own struggles, raising her as a young, single parent because she has a strong family support system. When Liz is just too exhausted, and Ann is busy with her own newborn, Ann's mom Crystal comes over to babysit little Tyson.
Crystal was also a teenage mom, just 18 when she became pregnant with Ann.
But Liz doesn't want her son to continue the family cycle and said she hopes he won't become a teenage father.
"I want him to be able to have fun," she said. "Having a baby is very stressful, it really is, I just don't want him to do that. Oh my gosh. I feel like it's not that big of a deal whenever it's me, but thinking about it in my own son, I'm like, 'Oh God, no.'"