A young football star feels the strain when his resentful family wonders if he's really the father of his girlfriend's baby
16 Pregnant Christina
Credit: MTV

Wait a second: Did someone order a DNA test? Last night on 16 and Pregnant, expectant teen dad Isiah had three generations of strong, opinionated women, advising (read: telling) him what he should do — and it didn’t involve changing diapers.

Isiah, a high school football star in Huntsville, Ala., had a college scholarship and plans for a Heisman Trophy, NFL contract, endorsement deals, and beyond. When Christinna (his girlfriend of eight months) got pregnant, we were told that Isiah chose to stay home with her, rather than move away to play football. Christinna graduated early, the two secretly got married (but excluded family from the ceremony), and she moved in to a home that was scarier than the set of The Walking Dead. Isiah’s grandmother Kathy refused to speak to Christinna, relaying messages to her only through Isiah, even when they sat at the same dinner table. “Last week I told you to tell Christinna….did you tell her?” Are you sure you aren’t the teenager in the relationship, Grams?

Isiah’s family was upset with the situation, and they were not afraid to voice their feelings. “I don’t talk much, because it just hurts,” said his mom Karina. However, they blamed the sadness they felt about their child’s change of plans on Christinna, with Grandma Kathy even hinting that the baby might not be Isiah’s. “How are you gonna feel if you find out she ain’t yours?” Kathy asked. “You didn’t have to be here. And not only are you here, you brought something with you!”

Isiah never actually stood up to his family, but according to Christinna, he felt bad about what happened at the dinner table. That’s all well and good, but I wanted him to prove he was up to the task of defending his wife and future child — if you’re too scared to tussle with Grandma, how can you handle the very adult responsibility of raising a baby? Since Christinna (understandably) didn’t feel welcome in Isiah’s home, finding their own apartment became imperative. Isiah was the only one with a paying job, so the burden of making and saving money was solely on him. The couple had disagreements over who was working harder; Christinna didn’t fully grasp what Isiah had given up and the pressure he felt to work, while his vision of pregnancy consisted of way too many naps and Gossip Girl marathons, and not enough bouts of morning sickness and stretch marks.

Despite their financial pressures, Isiah did have a moment of weakness, when, acting like a typical teenage boy, he spent his money on speakers for his car (for “personal enjoyment”) — something Christinna thought was completely irresponsible. But he soon went from 50% committed to 200%. He accompanied Christinna to doctor’s appointments, he found them an affordable apartment, and he held Christinna’s hand through all 25 hours of labor. Grandma Kathy was right, I never heard either one say “I love you,” but by the end of the hour, they had evolved into a true partnership rather than just a romantic relationship. And as long as Christinna insists that she “[doesn’t] believe in getting divorced, at all,” they’re legally bound together for the long haul.

NEXT: Baby Destiny arrives, and things take a turn for the ugly.

Christinna insisted that Isiah’s friends and family tried to convince him to go to college even with a baby on the way, but we never fully got to hear his explanation of what led to his decision. Ritual viewings of his high school football highlight reel crushed me, as did his longing to get back on the field. “Every time I watch that I’m like, ‘Man I can still be that guy on that tape.'” His friend told him football wasn’t a priority anymore: Sorry, Isiah, but this is your life. Do you think deep down Isiah felt obligated to stay? Is he harboring resentment that will one day explode? Or did he possibly have cold feet about leaving for college and playing football on a larger stage? I have to think that if he really, really wanted to go to school to play football, he would have done it (just like he spent $380 on the speakers for his car). It’s not like his family wouldn’t have supported that decision.

Speaking of dysfunctional families, after Destiny finally made it into the world, Isiah’s trifecta of tough female relatives was ready for round two. In a meeting that took one too many cues from Intervention, Kathy, Karina, and Isiah’s sister Kaliah advised him to leave Christinna, who they said they still didn’t trust. “I at least wanted to give it a shot with me, her, and the baby,” Isiah said, in a meager attempt to stand his ground. Every generation chimed in, each with a different degree of severity. “I feel like you could be there for the baby, you don’t have to be there for her,” said Kaliah. “I feel she’ll make that difficult,” added Karina. “I feel we still should have a DNA test!” boomed Kathy.

Of course, if it turns out Destiny’s isn’t his, Isiah would have wasted his precious scholarship that no one has forgotten about. The time! The football! The education! Causing Isiah to lose all of these things for no reason would be unforgivable, and reason for a beat down from a (maybe?) senior citizen. “And you need to get that over with, because if it ain’t yours there’s gonna be some rumble in the jungle!” Kathy declared. Alrighty then!

Of course, Isiah didn’t clue in his wife to his family’s plans. Instead, he let her sit like a clueless duck in a pond full of hunters while his family bombarded her with questions about her sex life. Christinna’s breaking point was when Kathy brought a packaged DNA test TO THE DINNER TABLE (because the The Maury Show was all booked). And with that, she picked up Destiny, insisting that none of the family needed to have anything to do with either of them.

Were you surprised by the behavior of Isiah’s family? Considering Christinna had no family of her own in the area, did you expect them to be a bit more supportive? Is Destiny really Isiah’s baby? Do you think he regrets staying home instead of going to college? Will he and Christinna make good on their future plans, or will they — gasp — get divorced? Did Christinna’s intense labor look like the most painful experience ever? Sound off in the comments below!

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16 and Pregnant
An unflinching docu-series following the trials and tribulations of pregnant high-school girls
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