Pregnancy at Puberty is not a Curse
We are quick to criticize them. The world is very fast at throwing harsh words towards them. They have, and are still, being condemned by all communities in the world. Sometimes they are even considered social outcasts. You may be one of the victims, probably I am one too. Even with the mockery and harsh treatment from our communities, ironically each day teenage girls continue getting pregnant.
These young girls go through so much pain and suffering before they eventually become mothers. The puberty ones are the most affected because they are usually naive. Sometimes no one has ever spoken to them about sexual relationships and its consequences. Many of them only realize that there are family planning methods after giving birth.
In the first month, most of these girls do not even know that they are pregnant. This is because most of them engage in penetrative sexual intercourse after their first or second menstrual period. At this point most women do not know when they should expect their next flow, and therefore they cannot determine their safe days.
When they start the morning sickness and the vomit persists, they seek medical attention in privacy. Usually when they confirm that they are actually pregnant they run away from home for fear of parental harassment and social condemnation. That marks the end of school for most of them. More often than not the men do not admit responsibility. The girl therefore either joins the street families, or if lucky, gets employed as a house-help in very unclear circumstances that might not even earn her a salary because she seems desperate, and also because the employer does not know that she is expectant.
By the third month of the pregnancy, she is usually very exhausted in more than one way. First of all is that she is not sure what her employer will do when he/she finds out about her condition. She is obviously unwell because of the hormonal changes in her body, but cannot attend the ante-natal clinics because she will not have time off her busy schedule. She has worries about what people will say when they see her (a teenager) going there for clinic that is believed to be for mature married women. She also has to agonize on the thought of bringing a child to this world, which will probably be referred to as a bastard. The worst if the fear of the nine months of pregnancy on her own with a constant reminder of a baby inside her through kicks in her stomach but she has no support or encouragement to carry on. This though annoys and sometimes tempts her to opt for abortions, but most of them hold on to their unborn baby because of the motherly love inspired by the bond created.
At this point, the breasts have started getting bigger and her belly swelling. She has to tightly hold her breasts behind a small bra and maybe add two or more on top so as to be comfortable in public. Her stomach, the one with the baby growing in, is then tied too. Lots of clothes are added on top and with time the dress code becomes more and more loose. She starts putting on bigger t-shirts and is not willing to part with the jersey even on a very sunny day. It is by the grace of God that some of these children are born alive or with slight complications.
She suffers in pain trying to make money for her unborn child alongside taking care of her several food cravings. When she eventually gets ‘kicked’ out of her employer’s house upon them realizing that she is pregnant, she feels her world has ended. Naïve as she is, she has no option but to face the world boldly. Mostly, the girlish pride is gone but the dignity is usually intact. this lady will therefore opt to do odd jobs to survive. She may do laundry for people, clean for others, gardening, etc and most of these jobs are very strenuous but she is determined to get that coin because she needs it badly. Although some are pushed beyond limits and are left with the option of selling their very pregnant bodies to some inhuman souls who at times do not pay for , or even abuse their the services.
Unlike most mothers who get pregnant in a marital union, majority of teenage girls never know their health status because they never attend clinic before birth. This is very risky because attending ante-natal clinic might save the unborn child from contracting HIV of the mother is diagnosed early enough and recommended to be on particular treatment.
The lack of sufficient funds and proper guidance usually makes most of these young girls to give birth at home on their own, or with the help of very unprofessional mid-wives. She might not even be aware that she is due to give birth because no one has been checking and guiding her throughout the nine month period. Unfortunately, this has caused so many deaths of either the mother or the child, and sometimes it is both of them. If she is lucky to have a safe delivery, there are myriad of problems that follow her afterward besides the inability to provide decent medical attention to the newborn baby. This mother’s poor diet eventually affects the amount of milk in her breasts for the baby which leads to malnourishment and if it gets worse, death of the baby.
As a mother I empathize with our young sisters who have to go through the nine months on their own at that tender age. What annoys so much is sometimes society judges them harshly yet they are victims of rape by the very people they have trusted so much all the years of their lives and are therefore subjected to a lifetime of painful silence. Let us take time to understand the situation of these young girls and guide them where we can. Bringing children to this world is supposed to be marvelous and every woman’s joy. The experience of ‘curving’ this child from an egg into a baby ready for birth should be positively memorable for all women because we are special. Children are a blessing and are very innocent in circumstances that the mother may have been wrong.