Over the past year, "Primetime" has traveled the country, closely following the red-hot issue of teen pregnancy. From kids raising kids of their own, to the warriors on the battlegrounds of sex education, we've been investigating every angle of America's first teen birth rate rise in 15 years -- an epidemic that costs tax payers over $9 billion a year and affects every socio-economic group.
To bring these statistics to life, Primetime's Jay Schadler followed a cross-country group of teens and their families.
Watch the premiere of "Primetime: Family Secrets" TUESDAY June 23 at 10 p.m. ET.
From Yakima, Wash.: Hannah, an 18-year-old senior and homecoming queen. From Longview, Texas: Paige, 14, and raising a five-month-old with help from her mother. From Louisville, Ky: 15-year-old Mahogany, who attends a school for pregnant teens while mothering 3 month-old Khaesyn. And from Haverhill, Mass.: Aliki and Jeremy, high school seniors trying to co-parent their 18-month-old son Carter, even as their own relationship is on the rocks.
The common denominator for all these new parents? They've been forced to grow up -- fast.
"I would never have wanted this for myself or anyone," says Hannah, in the Pacific Northwest.
For Hannah and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, who were once labeled the most popular couple in school, their carelessness came with a big price. Hannah became pregnant at 18, missing out on her senior year and going through her pregnancy alone.
"Sex is not worth it. Going through all this and it can happen that fast ... and then like your whole life changes ... and it's no one fault but mine," she said. Forcing herself to ignore the hallway gossip, Hannah says her strength came from knowing she was about to be responsible for not one but two baby girls: she was having twins.
Two thousand miles away in East Texas, eighth-grader Paige and her mom Sonja are pulling all-nighters. Instead of cramming for exams, they're taking shifts caring for Paige's 5-month-old daughter, Siylar.
This takes a toll on both mother and daughter. "My whole life just stopped and went backwards. I'm 50 almost you know? I've raised all my babies and I'm doing it again. It blows me away...Paige is 14 and she still needs to be mothered...I didn't get asked. 'Mom, do you want to spend every day changing diapers?'" she told Jay Schadler.
Ironically, unlike a third of teens who say they never had a useful conversation about sex with a parent, Paige had frank discussions with her mother on the topic. "I've talked to her until I was like crazy blue in the face...she didn't think it would happen to her. Isn't that the cliche?" said Sonja.
"I just wish I had waited," Paige told Schadler. "God didn't make you to have sex when you're young. God made you to have sex when you found somebody that you love and you want to marry."
Paige isn't the only teenager who regrets growing up too quickly. Among teens that have had sex, 55 percent of boys and 72 percent of girls say they wish they had waited, reports The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
15-year-old Mahogany wishes she had waited too. "If I could take back being a mother, I have to say, I would take it back. I still wish I had the baby, maybe ten years down the road, but it's too early for me. It's too many responsibilities."