Since fans first glimpsed the braces-clad Catelynn and her spiky-haired beau Tyler on MTV's 16 and Pregnant, everyone wanted to know more. How did these kids get together and fall in love? Were they really stepsiblings? Where were their parents? And what would happen to baby Carly?
But after a while, it became clear that Catelynn (then Lowell) was not like the other teen moms, or like most moms in general. She made some tough decisions in her young life, but she also had a sense of maturity that other pregnant teens seem to lack.
Catelynn knew there were things she wanted to do in her life that her upbringing had put roadblocks in front of. She also knew that she couldn't raise her daughter Carly in the environment that had produced her, so there had to be another way.
These days, Catelynn (now Baltierra) has found her way — with a supportive husband, one daughter placed via open adoption, and two daughters she's now parenting.
On Teen Mom, Cate has a lot going on, including some things critics frown upon. And there are many things that continue to show fans how unconventional she is—like the 20 things she does that other moms—teen or otherwise—simply wouldn't.
20 Placed Her Baby For Adoption
While some critics claim that putting a child up for adoption is the "easy" way out, Catelynn and Tyler Baltierra have publicly attested to the complete opposite. Adoption was the toughest decision of their lives, but they've also noted that it was the best decision they could have made given their situation.
Unlike other parents—particularly those on Teen Mom—Catelynn chose to adopt her daughter out to preserve both their futures. While other teen mamas have said they "could never" do what Catelynn did, she and her partner made a difficult choice that wound up changing all of their lives in positive ways.
19 Went Against Her Mom’s Wishes
From the moment she heard of Catelynn's decision to place her unborn baby for adoption, April became her daughter's biggest critic. April didn't believe in "giving" the baby away to strangers; she even suggested that she would take the child herself. But Cate, knowing how unstable her childhood had been, was vehemently against that idea. So she went against her mom's wishes and selected an adoptive family that she felt was right.
In more recent years, Cate's mom caused a bit of drama when she tried to reach out to Carly's adoptive parents. Rather than accepting Cate and Tyler's decision, April seemed bent on getting to know her granddaughter — and in ways, her adoptive parents did not appreciate.
18 Stayed With Her Baby’s Daddy
When you think about how far Catelynn and Tyler have come—despite how young they were when they met, had a child, and got married—it's actually a pretty impressive love story. They've had their struggles, yes, but they've also recognized there's work to be done in marriage (and all relationships) and kept their focus on the future.
Both of them come from tough backgrounds, which makes their union even more surprising (and swoon-worthy!). And have you noticed that not any other mom from the original Teen Mom stayed with her first child's father? Even though the Baltierras placed their first child for adoption, they stayed together and now have two children they are successfully parenting.
17 Lets Tyler Pick On Her
Fans of Catelynn know that she has had difficulty with her body image and her size in the past. Getting pregnant at age 16 didn't make things any easier, and over time, she has talked about her issues and her struggle with self-confidence.
But unlike other ladies, Cate takes her hubby's criticisms in stride. On social media, the two have even made jabs at each other—Tyler about Cate's emotional issues and her size—but Catelynn always defends her man. She says that's just how they joke and that it's not bothersome to her... Not something most other mamas would agree with!
16 Shared Her Marital Struggles Publicly
When there are tabloids airing headlines about your divorce when you know you and your spouse are stronger than ever, that's got to be annoying! This is why it's understandable that Catelynn has repeatedly taken to social media to defend first her relationship (Tyler did call off their wedding earlier on) and later her marriage.
But on that same note, Catelynn has also expressed the challenges she and Tyler have confronted in their marriage. From Carly's adoption to their parents' health struggles to the couple renovating their homes (yes, plural!), neither husband nor wife is too shy to share what's happening behind the scenes.
15 Promoted Adoption For Other Families
As the birth mother of one daughter and a mom who's also parenting two other girls, Catelynn has a lot of experience with adoption. And while she and Tyler have often said that they feel guilt and remorse over Carly's adoption—as they wish they could have parented her, even realizing they couldn't have—they are proponents of the practice.
Catelynn and her hubby have both given countless interviews about their experience with adoption. They also update fans on social media after they have visits with Carly, something fans of Teen Mom don't often get to see since MTV isn't typically allowed to film the visits.
14 Wrote A (Really Honest) Book
While most teen moms—and moms in general—prefer to keep a low profile when it comes to their personal lives, Catelynn isn't about that. She hopes that by sharing her struggles—with her body, her marriage, parenting, and her first daughter's adoption—that she can help other people in similar situations.
So when Catelynn and Tyler penned their book, Conquering Chaos, we knew it would be a refreshing departure from the perceived fakeness of other teen moms. Of course, not every mom has the time or inclination to write a book, but Cate and Tyler did so, and quite honestly, from the excerpts we've read!
13 Was Candid About Her Immaturity
Many of the moms on MTV's Teen Mom have always tried to act older than their age. And sure, getting pregnant at 16 requires some maturing, but the fact remains that those girls were still just girls. Catelynn and Tyler, in the wiseness of their 20's, have no qualms about admitting how young and not-so-smart they were.
Catelynn notes that she and Tyler were "just children" when they began their relationship (in junior high!). She admits that the two were adopting adult habits and didn't understand or care about the consequences — but instead of defending their past, she admits they were just kids and had to make mistakes to grow up.
12 Admitted A Less-Than-Admirable Past
It's never been glossed over on Teen Mom or the related franchise that Catelynn had a difficult upbringing. After all, her childhood (and the instability of her home life) was a huge reason why she placed Carly for adoption. And did we forget that her mom and Tyler's dad were married? Of course, on the show, the pair said they were dating before their parents were, but still.
Despite all of that, Cate hasn't made excuses for her past and admits she had bad habits, particularly during her teen years, which is all the more reason why we support her decision to place Carly for adoption. Clearly, the pair have matured and are now older and wiser while parenting Novalee and Vaeda.
11 Put Her Mental Health Ahead Of Everything Else…
Giving a child up for adoption is not an easy thing to do. And while both Catelynn and Tyler expressed their emotional feelings about the open adoption, Catelynn seems to have been affected more strongly. She is the birth mama, after all, and she carried Carly inside her for nine months. But after having Novalee, Catelynn's emotional health struggles worsened.
But unlike other mamas, who often struggle quietly without wanting to disrupt others, Cate made it clear she needed help. She and Tyler got the support they needed and worked together to help Cate's mental state. While this could be perceived as selfish, the fact remains that taking care of ourselves is an important part of motherhood!
10 …More Than Once
Now we get into what's not-so-desirable about Catelynn's thoughts on her mental health. While it's understandable that she sought out help with her emotions and whatnot, it took multiple trips away from her hubby—and her toddler daughter Nova—in order to get that help.
At one point, Tyler even asked her point-blank whether she could get help closer to home. But Cate was adamant she needed to take off for her health. Okay, then. Tyler stayed home and held down the fort, caring for Nova while Cate was away—multiple times—and things weren't easy. Nova missed her mom, of course, and it was an adjustment for everyone.
9 Hit Pause On Her Marriage While Preggo
Most pregnant women are hormonal, stressed, uncomfortable, and need their hubbies around 24/7 for junk food runs and help to reach things on the top shelf. But when Cate and Tyler found out they were expecting their third child together, they had a different reaction.
Vaeda wasn't planned, they noted, and they had been experiencing a rough patch in their marriage. So much so that Tyler proposed a trial separation. The clincher? Cate agreed. She admitted on their show that it wasn't easy, but that she knew they needed time apart to focus on their own issues so they could return to their marriage with more clarity.
8 Attended Couple’s Therapy… On TV
Plenty of couples have marital problems. Plenty of couples attend counseling. But what plenty of couples don't do is attend couples counseling on TV. But Catelynn and Tyler have not only sat on Dr. Drew's Teen Mom couch and discussed their issues; they've also gone on the Couples Therapy show.
Yes, it makes for great, dramatic reality TV, but is it really something they want Carly (and her adoptive parents), Nova, and Vaeda watching one day? We're guessing not, but then again, there's not much about Catelynn that's unconventional, so we'll hold our tongues when it comes to what we think about the not-so-mainstream things she does!
7 Put Nova In ‘School’ While She Stays Home
A lot of moms rely on daycare for their kiddos because they need to work. Some mamas also use occasional childcare so they can get some me-time. But according to critics, Catelynn and Tyler send Nova to preschool just for convenience. They call it school, but some say it's just a daycare program, which poses the question, what does Cate do all day?
Of course, now she has a newborn at home, so things are likely pretty intense. And no judgment here—other Teen Mom alumni use daycare for their kiddos, too—like Maci, who apparently sends her younger two while Bentley's at school.
6 Went Back To School
As hard as it was on Catelynn and Tyler to put their infant up for adoption, while Carly's adoptive mama tended to her needs, Ty and Cate went back to school. And rightly so; they were teens in high school when Cate got pregnant, so it was only natural for them to return to their education.
For a lot of teen moms, though, education usually gets put on the back burner while raising the kiddos. Catelynn is different from other moms—both teen moms and moms in general—because she did place her baby for adoption, but she also knew she couldn't achieve her goals (educational or otherwise) unless Carly was cared for.
5 Struck Out On Her Own
If you've ever watched Catelynn (and Tyler's) old episodes of Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant, you'll see that their home lives weren't that great when Cate got pregnant. Not only was Cate's mom a tough lady to live with, but she was also in a troubled relationship with Tyler's dad, known as Butch on the show. Along with the pair's undesirable habits, there was also a lot of instability at home.
This is why Catelynn ultimately wound up moving out (then moving back and leaving again, but that's another story) of her mom's place when she was a mere teen. It's one of those things that's tough to do as a teen mom, but Cate made a big decision and stuck to it.
4 Shared About Her Family Planning
After Catelynn gave birth to Carly, placed her for adoption, and continued on with her life, fans were somewhat surprised she stayed with Tyler. The two went through a lot, that's for sure, and no one would have criticized them if they had split up. But no — the pair stayed together, and much later on, they even got married.
But from the moment Carly was placed for adoption, and the couple began earning regular paychecks from MTV, there was always speculation about them having another child. Cate had to dispel lots of rumors for years—until finally she and Tyler planned their second daughter together. But after that, they lost a pregnancy, something Cate also shared with fans. She also shared their oops rainbow baby — the recently welcomed Vaeda.
3 Keeps Moving Around
We've touched on Cate's difficult upbringing, which sources say involved moving from trailer park to trailer park often. And that could be an explanation for why Cate and Tyler have moved multiple times since we were first introduced to them on 16 and Pregnant.
They've moved a couple of times already, each time picking a property they could renovate and improve upon themselves. Tyler does a lot of the work himself, which is handy, but we wonder what possesses Cate to keep moving — especially with a young daughter and her being preggo. Part of their separation plan was for Tyler to keep working on their home, however, so maybe they'll settle down now that Vaeda is here!
2 Got A Pet Pig
Plenty of families have pets, and that's great. But what's not so common is moms with lots of stress (plus a kid or two) opting to purchase a high-maintenance pet. With Cate, it was this adorable pig. And yes, pigs are amazing creatures, but they do get rather large, plus they need lots of care and mental stimulation.
But Cate wound up feeling too run down with their pet piggie, so she ended up sending the little porker to stay with family. This isn't something most moms would do — they'd either skip getting a new pet or just make things work after committing to it.
1 Clapped Back At Online Critics
Lots of celebrity (or reality TV fame) mamas get plenty of criticism online. When you have IG, Twitter, FB, and other social media accounts, trolls are bound to pop up now and then. But in contrast with lots of other moms, Catelynn doesn't just let critics' comments slide.
She claps back with the facts when people critique her or her marriage, plus she's on there promoting her and Tyler's kids' clothing line, which hasn't always gotten positive feedback, either. Good on her for standing up for herself — though we hope she realizes it's not necessary. After all, the only person answering for her life is her.