It’s been quite a long time since that fateful day back in 2007 that we all learned that Britney Spears‘s little sister (and Nickelodeon star) Jamie Lynn Spears got herself pregnant at 16 years old and became mother to Maddie Briann in June of 2008. Now, 5 years later (and hopefully a lot wiser), JL is ready to make her reemergence into the public eye with a new Country Music album. But in order for us to get reacquainted with the young actress/singer she is first catching us up on her last 5 life-changing years as a new mom. Glamour magazine is publishing a feature this month on Jamie Lynn in her own words (as told to writer Wendy Shanker) that you can preview below.
On her pregnancy: It was 2007. 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. Casey was my first love. 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 … 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.
On being a teen mom: Was it hurtful for my parents to read stuff about their daughters? Yes. Obviously seeing [sister Britney Spears' negative tabloid coverage], I knew how far it could go. I’ve never wanted to be put under that kind of scrutiny. I just wanted to get away from it as much as I could, to just go away and be a mom and figure out what I wanted, and to earn a sense of respect back for myself. Move to a town in the middle of nowhere and just raise my child. All I could be was a good mother. If anybody had anything to say after that, there was nothing I could do. I was very OCD about Maddie at first. 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. Now that Casey and I have split apart, Maddie goes to see him one weekend out of the month. 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 … 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. 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.
On how her life has changed as a mother: I’ve been on dates here and there, going to dinner or a movie, but nothing further than that. I’m a mother first. I have a little girl, and until I’m serious about someone, he’s not going to be around her. I’m not going to say, “Come to the house, and let’s watch a movie,” because I have Maddie there. The one thing that does get me excited is one day having that relationship. I look forward to that—I really do. I just want to be a soccer mom. I want to cook dinner every night. I want the kids to come home and be dirty and make the house messy. At the same time, I have to be patient and wait for the right time and the right guy. I would have never known that until I went through what I went through. I’m just patiently waiting for Prince Charming.
On music and her famous older sister: Music has always been close to my heart. 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. I’m more honest in my lyrics than I am in anything else. It’s where I feel the most safe to express myself. I write about growing up, my family, Maddie and getting pregnant. If I’ve lived it, why wouldn’t I talk about it? I guess that’s been the coolest thing—realizing that it’s OK to just be myself and really tell my story. On the performance end, I take a lot of advice from my sister. But I expect the scrutiny. The last time anyone heard anything of me, I was 16 and pregnant. All I can do is be my best—there will always be people who will never like me. [As for Britney], she’s in such a good place right now. 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.
You can read the entire online version of the Glamour magazine feature HERE. I have to say, it’s a pretty good read. Altho I cringed (a LOT) when Jamie Lynn talks about Teen Mom on MTV (a show that I honestly does think glamorizes teen pregnancy), I deffo think she has grown wiser in her years as a parent. She’s always struck me as a girl with her head on straight and except for her unplanned pregnancy, she seems to have made some really good decisions in her life. My favorite part of this article is the end when Jamie Lynn says:
I was a kid who did a kid show. Then I went away and raised my child, and the world has never met me as an adult. This is the first time anybody is really meeting me as a grown woman and grown mother making a decision about what to do with my life. Do people have an idea of who they think I am? Yes, and that’s fine with me. My music will speak for itself. I’ll admit, I’m kind of scared; it’s a vulnerable place for me. But I think 21 will be the year for me. I hope it will be. Maybe even a boy—I don’t know. Six feet tall, blond, brown, tan…I don’t care. I’m excited for 21. Twenty-one is just going to be fearless.
She’s got the right attitude. Not only does JL sound like a great mom first but she does sound ready to take on the world again. I welcome her return.