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The Baby Borrowers: Interview with Natalie

Would you let a teen borrow your baby to teach them a lesson in life? We talked to one mom who did. Natalie, a 31-year-old mother of four, offered up her youngest child, 6-month-old, Etta to be cared for by teenage couple, Sean (18) and Kelsey (18) on last night's episode of the The Baby Borrowers.

NBC's new show takes five young couples and thrusts them into the real world by giving them a house to live in, followed by babies, tots, school aged children, preteens, teens, pets and elderly people as charges. The series couldn't be more timely with magazine covers dedicated to Jamie Lynn Spears's transition from Nickelodeon star to new mama. And, it's the glamorization of teen pregnancy that is why Natalie, who had her first son at the tender age of 17, decided to volunteer (no one on the show was paid) her offspring. With a professional nanny following the couple, and the ability to watch them on monitors and intervene at any time, the mother helped Kelsey experience the realities — the sleepless nights and frustration — of motherhood.

Did you have any apprehension about handing your baby over to teenagers? Not really — I thought it was important to do the show and everything was in place as far as safety measures. So I wasn't in fear at all as far as their (Natalie's son, Benjamin appears in the second episode) physical well being and I think that I was on hand to ensure emotional well being for them. I went over and interjected at one point.

What was the breaking point that made you decide to interfere? Well, Sean got frustrated and then he cursed, and said, "Put it in the other room it's just gonna cry anyway". The fact that he cursed and was referring to my daughter as "it" was my last straw.

To hear about Natalie's own experience as a teen mom and how she believes teenage pregnancy is portrayed in the media,


Did you relate to Sean and Kelsey's emotions and frustration as you were their age when you became a mother? Yes, I did and I told them it's perfectly acceptable to get frustrated and go in the other room and scream into a pillow or cry in the shower, but it's not acceptable to curse at or while referring to your child. And, at the age Etta was at — you're there to handle their needs because they can't do it for themselves and they just couldn't act that way.

How did you feel about the overall experience — would you do it again? I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

In light of the Time magazine piece about the pregnancy pact at Gloucester High School, do you think this show might change the teen's view of pregnancy?. I truly wish that this was incorporated in all of the schools. There's usually a focus on abstinence or sex education, but not so much the realities. More than just telling kids they could get a sexually transmitted disease, they should know that every single time they choose to have sex, condom or no condom, they still need to be prepared to have a baby as a result. If it's a decision that they are OK with and prepared for, then go ahead and do whatever you are going to do. I was one of those girls just like the girls that you are hearing about now. I got pregnant on purpose because I thought I knew it all and I wanted my parents to know that I could do it myself and I could be a good mother.

What do you think about the way the media portrays teen pregnancy? It's really wrong. Everything has a happy ending. You'll have the baby and you'll move on and that's just not the reality if you're not from a prominent family. There's not always a mother to help or people to hand the baby off to.

Does your story have a happy ending? Absolutely, my story has a happy ending in general and that my kids are all healthy. But I have a 13-year-old son who chooses not to live with me, but to live with his father and this is not one of those court cases where my son was awarded to someone else. He asked about two years ago to go live with his dad because I grew up with him instead of already knowing who I was as a person before I started mothering him. I got frustrated and when there were things that went wrong, I blamed it on him. It's hard because I was a mother doesn't mean that I was a good mother or that I was equipped to take care of him.

So did you do this, in part, to prevent that from happening to other teens? It's good for teens who might be going down that path, but it's also good for their kids that are a product of these relationships because no one is out there advocating for them and they just happen to be born in these circumstances. My kids certainly didn't ask for it and I've put some emotional scars on them and I am deeply sorry for that, but I hope that at least I can help others from making the same mistake.

“The Baby Borrowers” is moving to 9 p.m. ET on Wednesdays beginning July 2 with repeats of the prior week's episode airing before the originals at 8 p.m. ET. Check back soon for our interview with Kelsey.

Join The Conversation
DarlaCorwin DarlaCorwin 9 years
I was shocked to see Natalie. I know her and her older 2 kids from Germany. I am glad to see she is doing well, she is a great person. It's terrific that she is helping out these kids to see what real life is like. Now if they only knew how hard it was to raise kids being an Army wife as she and I both know, and having to raise these kids on our own while their fathers are deployed. I have teenagers and I am glad none of them are in the place in life they are thinking of having babies at such a young age. I was a teen age mother at 16 and its a hard life, so I implore these kids to think before they make choices in their life that will forever change them.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
I wouldn't volunteer my baby for nobody to experiment. I mean, you saw the show, they teens don't know what they're doing. which goes back to the mommies hoobangin' on the kids for the way they treated the babes. FYI: be glad no on dropped the kid! What do you expect?! How they hell do they know to give the kid a bath?! yeah, there is a manual, but all of you who have kids know that reading is impaired when holding a screaming infant. I liked the father that stepped in, he was telling them what to do. he was calm, and it got the kids to actually listen to what he said. ------------------- and has anyone thought about how the infants themselves feel???? One minute, i was with mommy and daddy, and i had my favorite binky. life was grand. Then, next thing i know i'm being handed over to this pretty girl and this guy who looks at me funny. do i have applesauce on my nose?? I'm teething, so i DON'T wanna eat, but i'm hungry, so i'm gonna cry. I want my mommy. i want my mommy. i want my mommy. i'll even settle for daddy. i just want my mommy!
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
we tivo'd it in our house so I can't wait to check it out tonight.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
That was a wonderful interview and kudos to Natalie for volunteering her babies for this program. I really wanted to watch this show, but I missed it last night... does anyone know if it is replaying or it is online somewhere?
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
I saw part of this last night. I think kids in high school should be required to watch something like this in their health classes.
redheadkimie redheadkimie 9 years
I think this is great. I hope this reaches somebody and helps them from making a bad decision.
jessie jessie 9 years
I think it gives teens a big dose of reality to actually see and experience what it is like to have a child young. Even though its not long term, it does give them some sort of an idea. Kudos to Natalie for doing that.
chicagojlo chicagojlo 9 years
I'm sorry for Natalie that she has had to go through the situation with her son but I'm glad she is choosing to highlight it, too many people forget about what the kids have to deal with when they have kids for parents. I'm sure in time her son will come to understand her actions.
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