Jamie Lynn Spears was just 16 when she had one of the most high-profile teen pregnancies in Hollywood history. She escaped the public eye and moved home to Louisiana to raise her now 3-year-old daughter Maddie Briann. Just weeks from her twenty-first birthday, the single mom launches her music career and shares what really happened in a thoughtful piece she wrote for Glamour.
“It was 2007,” Jamie Lynn wrote. “I had been on a Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, and after we wrapped shooting, I just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader, all that. Then I found out I was pregnant [by then- boyfriend Casey Aldridge]. I was 16. I’d had one boyfriend. It doesn’t make it perfect or all right. But I was judged for something that probably most everyone does. I was young. I was in love. I was like every other teenager, except I had this last name. And I made a decision that is forever my decision.”
At the time, the rising star was embarrassed to reach out for birth control.
“Casey was my first love,” she says. “Since the day I saw him, I just wanted to marry him and be with him forever and ever. I believe in safety and birth control as prevention. But like many young girls…I was really scared to go to the doctor. And I was on a Nickelodeon show, and it [felt] especially embarrassing to ask someone to put me on birth control. I didn’t want to ask my doctor, because she had a little girl.”
The young mom says she never wanted to “glamorize teen pregnancy.”
“When I found out I was pregnant, [my parents and I] decided to do an interview with OK! magazine about it. I knew I needed to give an explanation to my fans, and I wanted it to be in my words first. I had to make a decision that I could sleep with every night. I did feel responsible for the young girls and the mothers who I probably confused and let down. I apologize for that. But I wasn’t trying to glamorize teen pregnancy. I hated when [the tabloids] said that. Everybody is dealt a hand of cards. It was my choice to play them the way I played them. But the hateful comments hurt. [Parent groups were outraged at the Nickelodeon star, and tabloids printed rumors that Spears had a miscarriage, that she was giving up her baby, and that Aldridge was cheating on her.] I was already upset about having to tell my parents and Casey’s parents. To have the world come down on a situation that was already affecting my family hugely was hard. But this was my situation, and I did the best I could.”
Jamie Lynn goes on to talk about her first-time motherhood nerves, and breastfeeding her baby girl for “almost a year.”
“I was very OCD about Maddie at first,” she says. “I didn’t want anybody to watch her or touch her. I wanted to do it all myself. I breast-fed for almost a year; I couldn’t leave her at all. It’s sad because my and Casey’s love had to turn into an adult relationship so quickly. There’s a slim chance of two young people making it through high school and all that drama, but making it as parents? We tried. We really wanted to do it right. We loved each other. I will love him as Maddie’s father until the day I die.” [Spears and Aldridge separated in 2009.]
She continues to talk about co-parenting with her ex.
“Now that Casey and I have split apart, Maddie goes to see him one weekend out of the month,” she says. “I do wonder about how she is going to feel about the fact that I was young when I had her and that her father and I aren’t together anymore. That’s something that one day I will have to explain to her.”
And it sounds like Maddie loves her auntie Britney Spears and her cousins Sean Preston and Jayden James.
“For now, Maddie’s biggest concern in life is when she gets to see her cousins next,” she says. “She’s always asking, “Why can’t we have [Britney’s sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline] Preston and JJ here?” They’re very close. They’re like brothers and sister. They’re so stinking cute. And Maddie loves her Aunt Britney’s songs. She just loves the whole dress-up thing that goes with it. She loves dancing and singing and all of that. I definitely think music is in her genes.”
Jamie Lynn says she plans to have ongoing open communication with her daughter.
“It’d be dumb to sit here and say that Maddie isn’t going to like a boy one day and she isn’t going to have a boyfriend,” she shares. “I’ll just have to handle that the best way that I can. Both her daddy and me will caution her [about having sex], and I would hope that she would not want to do that at all, but I have to make sure that I’m realistic too. I’ve got to figure out a way to communicate to her to make smart choices and make the best decisions she can.”
The young mom even shares her thoughts on MTV’s popular reality TV show Teen Mom.
“When I saw MTV’s Teen Mom was coming out, I remember thinking, Oh my God, I cannot wait to see this show because there’s someone else out there,’ she says. “I mean, I feel for those girls. I’ve been that girl. It does show that motherhood is hard. There were so many times—especially when Maddie would get sick—when I would cry to myself and think, I really don’t know what to do. It takes bravery to be a young mom, and it does take bravery to let the world watch.”
Jamie Lynn goes on to talk about her next career move.
“Music has always been close to my heart,” she says. “Obviously Britney had been doing it, but I hadn’t yet found a way to express myself as an artist. [My manager] said, “Why don’t you come to Nashville?” So I started writing and performing songs, and people said, “These are really good.” I’ve been learning from the best musicians. It’s been like college for me.”
And how are things between her and her famous sis?
“[Britney is] in such a good place right now,” she says. “She’s in love. She has her kids. So I’m happy for her. Of course, [our bond as mothers], it’s such a big thing, you know? Especially ’cause there’s an age gap there—she’s 10 years older. I think if I were just a normal 20-year-old, I wouldn’t be able to relate as much to her.”
Continue reading Jamie Lynn’s piece at Glamour…