Jamie Lynn Spears makes motherhood look glamorous... but what are the real costs?

Jamie Lynn Spears (sister of Britney) is on the cover of the latest edition of OK! Magazine holding her newborn daughter, Maddie. Looking beautiful and rested, she is quoted as saying "Being a mom is the best feeling in the world." A teenage icon, Jamie Lynn is the star of Nickelodeon's "Zoe 101," and idolized by millions of young girls. Pregnant at 16 and a mother by age 17, Jamie Lynn is described in the article as living in "domestic bliss."

Great message for the kids. Maybe it works this way for wealthy celebrities, but for most teens the happily ever after ending doesn't happen. In real life, teen pregnancy traps women in a cycle of low paying jobs and poverty. In fact, teen parents are nine times more likely to live in poverty long term.

Adolescents who become pregnant are less likely to marry and more likely to drop out of school. Without job skills, they become trapped in the cycle of low paying jobs and ever increasing bills. As any experienced parent know, children are cheap when they are little, but they become more expensive as time goes by. Many teen moms, however, barely look past the image of cuddling a cute little baby when planning their futures.

And this lack of planning costs all of us. We contribute about $6.9 billion yearly for welfare and Medicaid payments that go to unwed mothers. Too often, this cycle of teen pregnancies continues for generations leaving fractured, poor families.

Which brings us back to Jamie Spears. The media sent exactly the wrong message with this cover on OK! Magazine. As a hero to millions of teenage girls, her pregnancy not only looks OK, it looks glamorous and exciting. Even the title over the picture tells the reader it is OK.

Guess what? It's not.

Barbara Bartlein, RN, CSP, is the People Pro. She offers keynotes, seminars and consulting to help you build your business and balance your life. She is the author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? Overcoming the Myths That Hinder a Happy Marriage. For more relationship tips, please visit: Marriage Tips. For Barb's free e-mail newsletter, visit: The People Pro.

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