Legions of TV viewers watched Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra make the heartbreaking decision to give up their baby, a little girl now called Carly, for adoption on the MTV reality show 16 and Pregnant.
Their daughter is now four months old and settled in with her adoptive family in North Carolina. PEOPLE caught up with Lowell and Baltierra, both 17, before they started their senior year of high school in Michigan to talk about what the cameras didn’t show and, more importantly, how they re doing today.
Are you glad you did the show?
Catelynn Lowell: Oh, I’m really glad.
Tyler Baltierra: Yeah, me too.
CL: We were in Ohio a couple days ago and a girl came up to me and she was shaking. She came up to me and she just started crying and she’s like, “You’re a role model to me.” We get that a lot.
TB: Yeah, a lot of people walk up to us, wanna take pictures and tell us how inspired they are … Hopefully we can inspire a lot of kids, because the youth is our future and babies raising babies is not going to be a very good one.
CL: It’s cool too because people can see your story and watch what you went through. Everybody used to think that [with adoption], you’ll never see [the baby]. I think we have a total, different thing now toward adoption.
Did you have any reservations about the adoption?
TB: I didn’t know what Catelynn was gonna do [after the baby was born]. As dads, we can influence a choice, but we can’t make the choice. So I was really scared.
CL: And it was all on me. It was my decision the whole time.
Do you now regret giving Carly up for adoption?
CL: No. We definitely know we did the right thing.
On the show, your parents were not supportive of the adoption. Have they come around?
CL: Actually, a few weeks ago, my mom actually broke down and was like, “I’m sorry for letting other people influence my decision. I know you loved her. You did the right thing.” I said, “I’ll accept your apology but it’s going to take a lot for me to be able to trust you with anything like that ever again.”
TB: My dad and I do not speak anymore. I have not seen him … It’s not that I’m so angry, I just don t want to put myself around people like that.
You’re filming a follow-up series with MTV called Teen Mom that will show your relationship. How are you two today?
TB: This really made us closer. Way closer than I ever thought it would.
CL: A lot of girls write me, “You’re so lucky you have him, because he’s so nice and supportive!”
TB: I dont know what we d do without each other.
CL: I think we’d be lost.
For more on Catelynn and Tyler, check out this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday