5 Takeaways from Season 4 of Unexpected
The couples' stories made such a difference, and here are the takeaways.
By Cat McKay, Power to Decide
For the fourth consecutive season, TLC is partnering with Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, to help viewers use Unexpected as a way to spark meaningful conversations about unplanned pregnancy. Based on themes that come up in the show, Power to Decide created custom discussion-starters, information, and tips for young people and their parents, mentors, and allies to jump-start open conversations and ensure that all young people have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. These resources can help viewers get informed and think about how they might handle similar situations in their own lives. The resources are available at www.PowerToDecide.org/Unexpected.
The last episode of TLC’s Unexpected brought up so many thought-provoking moments about the triumphs and challenges of teenage pregnancy and parenthood – especially during a global pandemic. It’s time to dive into what these young couples’ stories taught us about unplanned pregnancy and what it takes to be a parent. While this season was undoubtedly filled with highs and lows for every couple, each family’s story highlighted some key, teachable moments about sex, love, and relationships — and the importance of ensuring that all young people have someone they can trust and talk with openly about sex, love, relationships, birth control, and the power to decide your future.
Myrka & Ethan
Despite the ups and downs Myrka and Ethan experienced with the adults in their lives, their story is a testament to the importance of having a champion for a young couple experiencing an unplanned pregnancy — especially if a parent can’t provide that support. Every young person deserves the kind of love, guidance, and support that we see from various champions throughout the season.
Jenna and Aden
Jenna and Aden’s story is an example of how sometimes, young people have to work to get the support they need from the champions in their lives. The couple’s maturity shined through in the moments when they chose to speak up about the adults in their lives not getting along. As they grew into their roles as parents, they had a vision for the kind of positive environment they wanted to build for their child.
Lilly & Lawrence
Lilly and Lawrence’s story highlights the importance of knowing what makes someone a good partner. Lilly figured out not just what she wants in a partner, but also what it would take for that partner to be a dedicated father. Lilly felt completely supported by Lawrence, who embraced fatherhood and his new family.
Tyra & Alex
Although Tyra and Alex put a lot of effort into trying to make their relationship work so their daughter would grow up with parents who were a committed couple, they struggled with honesty, trust, and communication. No matter what their future holds, it’s important to reflect on what adults can do to build a relationship and environment that will help their kids have a happy, stable childhood — even if their parents’ relationship changes.
COVID-19 & Reproductive Health
Nearly every couple this season had to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions during their pregnancy journeys, highlighting the devastating toll that the pandemic has taken on reproductive health. Throughout their various doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds, the young couples were forced to make choices about who they wanted to be present for support. The champions in their lives also had to deal with being absent for important milestones, including the births of their grandchildren.
May is Talking Is Power month, a time to spark meaningful conversations about sex, love, and relationships with the young folks in your life! Check out Power to Decide’s champion discussion guide and use this season’s stories to start a discussion with a young person you care about. Find more custom tips and resources for Unexpected viewers here.
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people — no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be — have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter with @PowerToDecide.