Teens Having Babies: Ansley

Teens Having Babies: Ansley

"I would really like to have a baby. I'd be ecstatic. I'd be happy. I'd be complete," says 14-year-old Ansley. "I've had th

e desire since I was, like, 11. It's like wanting a puppy. You want it, and you want it, and even though your parents say no, you still want it really bad." At age 12, she started telling people that she was pregnant or had a kid.


"Ansley is obsessed with having a child," says Jackey, Ansley's stepmother. "My neighbors have called, her teachers have called. Everyone is asking if she's pregnant."


Stan, Ansley's dad, is bewildered by his daughter. "It's crazy. It's beyond crazy. She's not scared. She thinks, ‘Oh, it's cool to have a kid,'" he shares.

"She's using sonogram pictures to back up her lies. My daughter has actually used pictures of my nieces and nephews and told people that that was her child."


Ansley says that her lies about having a child started with a rumor. "In seventh grade, a friend of mine started saying he got me pregnant, and I wouldn't deny it. I had a bunch of pictures in my wallet. People ask you, ‘Is she yours?' I was like, ‘Yeah, she's mine,'" she recounts.


Ansley disseminated the lies on her MySpace page. "She was telling her friends how far along she was, that I knew about it, that I had accepted it," Stan says. He took his daughter to the health clinic and made her ask for a pregnancy test. The test was negative, and Ansley has never been pregnant. "I think she's living in a real fairytale world."

Jackey says that Ansley's lies are becoming more elaborate. "Just last week, Ansley told her teacher that she was pregnant, and the father of the baby had committed suicide," she says. "My fear is that in order to continue with her lies, she'll probably become sexually active and try to get pregnant to show that it's true."


"If she actually had a boyfriend, it would probably scare the hell out of me, right now. I watch her. I keep tabs on what she's doing, where she's at, whom she's with, but I can't be there all the time," Stan frets. "That's the scariest part. She feels that if it happened, it would be OK."


Ansley believes she can raise a baby. "I don't think it would be as hard as people say. I have a lot of experience. I've taken care of my cousins, helped in my church nursery, read the books. I'm good with babies. It's like joy. They're easy. They love you no matter what," says the admitted virgin, who's scared to have sex. "Having a baby would give me a sense of belonging. It would give me responsibility. I'm not just alive to hang out. The baby would depend on me. I could be in a bad mood and go around a baby, and I'm happy. I could come home from having a bad day at school, and he'd come home from daycare, and my day would just get better." 


In his studio, Dr. Phil asks Ansley, "So, why aren't you pregnant?"


"Because I'm scared to," she replies.

Dr. Phil asks her why she tells people she's pregnant and shows them sonograms.

"Honestly, I don't know," she says.

"You just get caught up in the fantasy, and you get a lot of attention," Dr. Phil suggests.

Ansley agrees. "Some kids think it's cool. I haven't really told a kid who didn't think it was cool," she says.

Dr. Phil points out that Ansley has diapers in her closet, and she explains that she keeps them because they have foster children in their home. "How were you with the foster baby?" he asks.

"I think I was pretty good," she says.

"Your parents say you just took care of the baby when you felt like it, and after the new kind of wore off of that, you were on to something else," Dr. Phil says.

"It's partially true," she says.

"She didn't want to give up all of her time. She only wanted to give up the time that she wanted to give up," Stan says.

Dr. Phil runs down a list of what Ansley can't do because she's only 14, including: get a driver's license, watch an R-rated film, register to vote, get a credit card, marry in most states, own property or rent a hotel room. "Yet, you think you're ready to have a baby," he says.

"Yeah," she replies.

Dr. Phil asks Ansley why she told people her fictional baby's father committed suicide.

She explains that she was talking with her teacher about suicide. "She had questioned why I was asking, so I told her that," she says.

"Where did that come from?" a befuddled Dr. Phil asks.

"I don't know. I just said it. I didn't really think about it until afterward," Ansley says.

"Do you know how much it costs, today, to raise a baby from birth to 18?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Probably a lot," she says.

Dr. Phil asks Ansley if she knows how much it costs to put down a utility deposit, fix the transmission in a car or visit an emergency room. She admits she has no idea. "Here's the problem," he tells her. "This desire to have a baby is all about you." He explains that it's not fair to bring a baby into the world and give him or her a job. "You gave your ba

by four jobs," he points out. "You said you want someone who will love you forever. Secondly, you said, ‘If I had a baby, it would make me grow up sooner.' You said, ‘I want the baby who will love me unconditionally, no matter what.' You said that the baby would give you purpose, that the baby would give you a reason to do the things you do." He asks her, "Isn't that kind of a tall order for a baby?"

"Yeah," Ansley says sheepishly.

When Ansley agrees that babies are sweet, Dr. Phil tells her, "Babies are selfish and power seeking. That's how they survive." He explains that they scream and cry because it's the only way they know to communicate.

Stan tells Dr. Phil that they allowed their foster child to sleep in Ansley's room. "There were times at 5:30 a.m. where the baby would be crying, and instead of getting up with the child, she would put her headset on and turn it up so that she couldn't hear the baby," he says.

Dr. Phil informs Ansley that the average cost to raise a baby from zero to 18 is $176,000. "How much are you making?" he asks her.

"Nothing, right now," she replies.

Dr. Phil wants Ansley to get a glimpse of what it's really like to be a teenage mom, so he shows her footage of a high school maternity program.


"I definitely can feel people shunning me," says Hailey, who got pregnant at 15. "I used to play hockey, and then I stopped. Last year, [our school] went to the state championships for hockey, and it was, like, people were down there for, like, four days in hotel rooms, and I couldn't go."


Jillian, who had a baby at 17, says, "Everybody always looks at you like you're down and different because you're a

mom and trying to go to school."


Deidre Quinlan, coordinator at Habitat Program, explains, "It's rather paradoxical: Adolescence is selfish, and parenthood is selfless." She adds, "They struggle with the normal things of adolescence and the realizations of the losses that they're going to have."


"Before I had her, you know, my worries were, 'Oh my gosh, I have a pimple.' Since I've

had Jade, I don't have any of the friends I used to," says Sarah, who had her child at 13.


"The reality is that these girls aren't thinking about going to prom. They're thinking about, ‘How am I going to support my baby when I get out of high school?'" Deidre says.


Hailey says, "I've got to buy Jack's stuff first, his diapers, his butt wipes, and then, OK, I can get those cute shoes."

"My parents help me out a lot with the baby financially. They're, like, everything to me. I couldn't do it without them," cries Carissa, who became pregnant at 15. She says she should have waited until she was married to have sex. Wiping away tears, she shares, "I shouldn't have had sex … but I did, and I made a mistake." 


When the tape ends, Dr. Phil asks A

nsley, "Look like fun?"

"No," she says.

"You're not ready. You're not even almost ready.
You are a child," Dr. Phil tells her. "You want it for what you think it will do to define you. You need to understand, you need to find another way. Get a hobby." He suggests she take up a sport or try creative writing. "Find a way to define yourself in other ways."


Turning to Jackey and Stan, Dr. Phil says, "You

do need to redefine your roles here." Stan will punish Ansley and then forget what the punishment is, so it goes by the wayside. "You've got to be consistent," he says. "She doesn't want a baby. She wants a purpose, a meaning, a definition to herself, and you need to help her discover that."