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Girl Mothers and Their Struggle

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Some of you may think of me as strong, and let me tell you, it took a lot of courage to go on with two kids, a husband who treated them badly and didn’t work, no money at all, and a mother in law who did everything to try to get my husband to divorce me (which I did later on), but when my third son was born, that very moment, I discovered where the strength came from. I saw my little baby’s face, I kissed him and in my heart I thanked all the angels that my heavenly father had sent near me.

The chain of miracles had began with my grandmother, that lovely, beautiful woman who loved me more than words can say who taught me from her wisdom. She said ‘Those Who Have God, Have Everything’. I had been praying to Jesus throughout my pregnancy. Believe me, there was really nothing else I was capable of doing. I ran into a man who wanted to buy handcrafts to take to the United States. God bless him. With that money I paid for the new doctor, I bought new beds for the kids and 50 kg. of milk, which at that time was very, very expensive. Talk about God working in my life!

The economy of Bolivia at the time was a disaster. In 1982 a left party government had taken office and its wrong steps in economic issues resulted in an inflation rate of 10,000%. No, it is not a mistake, it was 10,000%!. Empty shelves were the trademark of the left wing government. People like me could hardly buy milk, flour or sugar, as they were only available in 50kg bags that were too expensive. Before my little son turned one, I prayed to God to take me away from my mother in law by the end of the year of 1986. I would start my day at 5:00am, and without any noise would start praying until seven, to make breakfast.

I filled up my mind with the same thought all day: My Heavenly Father will take me out of this place by the end of this year, “I thank you in advance, dear Jesus, because you walk with me through this painful time; thank you for taking me out”. Many times my mother in law would say to me: What are you dreaming of? Come back to reality!. I wasn’t dreaming. I was praying.

In June, 1986 my mother took me to a doctor, who put a contraceptive device in me. I would afterwards thank her all my life for that. My husband had promised to have seven kids with me. My mom and I were friends again, thank God. And on December 31st, 1986 at six in the morning, my mother called to tell me aunt had bought a house and she wanted me to move there, could I please do it during the day? Talk about God making my dreams come true! I never again visited my mother in law.

Gender Equality in my life

My fourth kid has come to life in a very different situation. She was born in February 1998, after threatening to be born early four times. My new husband and my son were waiting for me at our home, my husband with a yummy dish and my son with balloons and a welcome letter for his baby sister. This time my woman doctor was strong, but gentle and available to me. She made the miracle of having my little princess complete her womb life entirely. I was away from my mom, but she came to see me when I gave birth.

Throughout college, my different jobs and the birth of little Jacqui, I realize I have had the help of remarkable women, like my aunt Marina and my grandmother, may they rest in peace, my mother, who has been an inspiration and my mother and father all along my life, working more than any man I know, and the woman doctor who cares for me now. I must also admit I have encountered women who mistreated me. This happens all the time to girl mothers: women are the first to mistreat them. By working with indigenous women in La Paz and Tarija, I know that women have the same problem in all social spheres: they are used to inequality. One of my last post graduate courses has been in gender equality, and it empowered me to help women better. Girl mothers are here, but, are we here for them?

Girls with migrating parents are in greater risk. But, what are the real numbers? How many teens are helped by their parents and family and how many are not? How hard is it for young girls to get the right medical attention? Are they being discriminated, mistreated or left out by their nearest social circles? Are their babies well off or have they any disabilities and of what kind? How many years does it take them to leave poverty if they ever do? These questions remain unanswered yet, as there is no institution specifically studying these facts. Different institutions have partial information and they use it also with partial results. Information is the key to facing these problems successfully.

This is one of the reasons why I have created the Gender Equality Training and Studies Center (GETS Center) - Centro de Estudios y Capacitación en Equidad de Género CECEG – which intends to be part of the solution for girls and women who suffer from discrimination, exclusion, rape, violence and ignorance. The Center works in three ways:

- By training women to be gender equality technicians thus creating new jobs for women in risk,
- by studying gender issues scientifically, so that appropriate numbers will help projects to be more successful gender wise,
- and by training the society itself through seminars and widespread social marketing campaigns focusing on gender equality as a very important means to become a non violent society.

Scientific studies are the first being funded, but we intend to make the three parts work, and we are asking for support. In field trips I have initiated the work with girls by helping them to heal different physical and spiritual wounds. I will never forget Angela, 21, who had two boys at school. The three of them had scabies all over their faces. Nobody cared. They live a half hour ride away from the nearest health station, but there are no cars there, so she would have to walk about six hours. I gave her vitamin A and taught her how to use it. Three days after, when I was leaving the village, she came to say goodbye and gave me a silent hug I will never forget: she and her children had no scabies anymore.

I hope, and I pray, that no more girl mothers will suffer from discrimination and hideous treatment. God’s ways are unknown to us. I never imagined writing about this. God’s purpose for my life is marvelous. I am the vehicle of His love, and the place He is taking me to is beautiful: it is where my little sisters and I will unite, through faith, wisdom, knowledge, passion, but above all, Love.

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katea's picture

thank you for the courage

dearest jacqui,
I was moved by your story. It's personal, social and spiritual. Your struggle as a girl mother was truly inspiring. I am sympathetic and I'm one with you in the hope and in prayer that no such maltreatment or inhumane attitude towards girl mothers should ever happen again. Your mother needed to distance from you not for you to feel alone and abandoned by her but I guess, to teach you a lesson that it is not only through her that you get strength from but from the very faith that you have in God.

As I have written on my journal, our most beloved President who passed away last Saturday taught her people that only those who have strong faith in God will have the prudence and fortitude to overcome any obstacles in life. I so believe that in your journey to a more spiritual and faithful life, you have received such gift of resilience.

You did not only pull yourself together but you are also helping other women to be the same.
Your story is commendable. When you speak with your heart, I listen with mine.

warm regards,
katea

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

jap21's picture

Thank you Katea

I appreciate your acknowledgement. You make me feel good that I wrote this. I was thinking that maybe it would not be understood. Most people think girls that get pregnant early are the only ones responsible for this, so they get what they deserve. Sounds a little rude but it is true. People judge teen mothers, and I am not saying it is right to be one. I am against it in fact. But when it already happened, girls need love and help a lot more than judgement. Then again, the ones that suffer when we abandon a girl mother are the kids. They face a lot of dangers and society should be aware of that. The usual thing is to have teen fathers partying like single guys, while the teen mother is at home with the kids, and it is ok for everyone. Nobody talks about it, but it is true.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

efe's picture

Bravo

Hi Jap,

Wow! you have had quite an experience. Would make a good Soap Opera. I am 33yrs old and i have never had a child. Sometimes i think that it will be a good idea because i absolutely adore kids but i know that i do not have the enabling environment to raise up a child yet.Its a tough decision to take but i do not want to be selfish. I know that when it is the right time, everything will work together for my good. I think the world would be a better place if we all learn to be a bit less selfish. I am happy you are reaching out to other women who may be going through the kind of horrible experience you went through You are a brave woman.

jap21's picture

Yeah, hahaha

Thank you Efe. I will tell you something from deep in my heart. If I had to do it over again, of course I would like to be older and professional before I get pregnant, but all in all, that is not what I regret most. What really bothers me is... not having had at least one more kid! hahaha. My nest is empty now, you know... and the greatest love giving act is raising a baby. They are precious and a full joy, so, no matter how poor you are, when you have a kid you are rich... in love and happiness.

Think about this and hurry. As one gets older, one is much less willing to give up her comfortable life, because along my life I also found out that it is very true that first time mothers make, teen AND older, MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!

So cheer up and dive into motherhood dear sister. With thorough knowledge of the issue, I must say that all and any trouble that we go through to become mothers is completely worth it and way surpassed by the joy and love in your heart when you see that precious human being in your arms. It is amazing.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

efe's picture

the real reason

Hi,

Interesting response.Yes, once you have them you love them. I am hesitating not because i wont be happy but because i dont want to put my needs first before the needs of my unborn child. Children should be brought up in an atmosphere of love and respect and they should be given all the attention in the world.Oftentimes, peope have children without a thought for the emotional well being of the child. As much as i will love to have a child now, i am still in the process of settling my professional life.It will be selfish of me to bring up a child at this point of indecision but i have decided that when i have enough money, i will sponsor an SOS child.

jap21's picture

ok

Dear efe,

You are totally right. See what happened to me! I think your decision is a good one. Every woman is entitled to have a career. So go for it girl. We all support you in this community. Make your dreams come true.

Lots of love and my best wishes for the future,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Sophie's picture

Thank you

Your sharing was sooo touching!!! Such courage you are a marvelous woman!!!!!!

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe -www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com

jap21's picture

I am glad I could reach out to you

It is always nice too see that we can inspire someone who is so far away. This is what makes this community such an interesting place to visit: we connect.

I appreciate your comment very much.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

rahma's picture

Proud of you

Dear Jap,
Oh my God, your post is really touch my heart. Realize that whatever did happened to us we still have a big spirit in our life. Make us survive and struggle.
Your experience teaches us many thing.
You are such wonder women.
Thanks to share with us.

rahma

jap21's picture

Not only survive, sweetheart

God gives us the strength and the wisdom to not only survive, but reach hegher levels of conscience, happiness and life standards.

Remember, you are unique... and surviving is not the goal. Being well off in all senses is.

Thanks for reading me darling.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

gingerchild's picture

Thank you

What a powerful story...I am so encouraged by stories like yours, and I am so glad to be a woman in such great company! I, too, was a girl-mother, but didn't face anything like you did. My heart is with you and your important work. Love, Ginger

" Joy is Peace dancing, Peace is Joy resting!"

jap21's picture

I like the idea

I like the idea of 'Joy is Peace dancing. Peace is Joy resting'. Great concept. Is it yours? Could I use it, please?

It is nice to know that other girl mothers had support. That is very much needed indeed.

Cheers,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Terry's picture

So Inspiring!

Hi Jacqui,

Your story is so inspiring, so moving. Everything we go through in life, i believe is for a purpose. Especially when you have put your trust in God. God has a divine destiny for us all! It may be tough, but He reveals Himself in amazing ways to us. I truly thank God that you shared, you have put a new light in my life. I have always been so moved when i see young mothers struggling and i have vowed to help them and be there for them instead of judging them. My challenge is that i don't know how to begin, but some day soon, i know God will make a way. I love children so much and i believe they are to be nurtured, cared for and loved. They are innocent and its really sad to see some people mistreating them! I had a rough experience when i had my first child. The nurses were so unfriendly and hush that i dreaded ever going there again. When i got pregnant with my second baby, i went to a different hospital. It cost me more but it was worth every penny. I would love to meet you some day, you have truly blessed my heart.

Thanks for sharing.

Terry

Terry Shiundu

jap21's picture

Hi Terry

Wow. More than one person has been touched by this! This is awesome. God may be smiling, because I know that when I was writing it I was an instrument of His love. I could feel that.

About the ways in which to help, I would like to ask you something.

You know lately, the vegetable market has gone to the skies. Every time I go buy something, I wonder what are girl mothers doing to eat every day. It is unbelievable. Everything costs three times what it used to cost a year ago.

So I am dreaming on sharing food with girl mothers and their kids, specially the ones that don't have husbands, everyday at my home. I just need some cheering, blessings and I am thinking of calling the sisters in the Pulse community to play the role of big sisters, so that when they come, I will talk to them about the great community we have formed here, and thay can become part of it (of course they don't speak English, but we shall see about that).

So, how about... well, the question is: How would you like to become the first big sister? I could set up a meeting with you and the first girl mother that comes along, and this would serve as a good cheering for all of us. I have not figured out how this would go, but I know we could work something out together.

What say you, sister?

With love and appreciation,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

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