Ahead of today’s rally at Ikorodu community of Lagos state themed on prevention of teenage Pregnancy, organized by Frontida Health Foundation, I decided to take a timeout and ask few teenagers some thought arousing questions on teenage pregnancy. Enjoy the discussion…
I started out by placing a call through to Praise, one of my teenage patients, a friend and a mentee, but her phone was switched off, not forgetting to leave her a message though.
Then, I called another—a smart, bold and thoughtful young lady whose mother I managed for a period of time. Her mobile number was switched off as well.
You know why I was bent on these two young ladies to answer my questions on teenage pregnancy? Because I couldn’t wait to hear those smart and realistic words come out of their mouths—they are simply two sets of intelligent young fellows, bright and promising indeed.
So, I took to the street, where I met some intelligent secondary school girls to answer my questions.
Ayodeji: Can you tell me reasons why you cannot afford to get pregnant at this stage?
Tobi: Presently, I don’t have much knowledge about pregnancy. If it happens, I won’t be able to mingle with my co-mates. It will affect my life and I can lose my life in the process.
Ayodeji: Can you share with me reasons why you cannot afford to get pregnant at this stage?
Eucharia: l’m not even ready for it now. If it happens, I can’t take care of it and it will damage my life and everything about me.
Ayodeji: What if it now happens?
Eucharia: I don’t know what to say to that. (Smiling innocently )
The damages caused by teenage pregnancy cannot be over-stretched, especially in a country like ours that has the socio-economic status of majority of her citizens reading subnormal in red print. The burdens of unwanted teenage pregnancy serve as bridges in the vicious cycle of poverty!
The future of a young, bright and promising secondary school girl hangs in limbo. Growing up in a family that can barely pay up her tuition fee and feed her two times a day, this lady incidentally finds herself carrying an unwanted baby. Automatically, the idea of a formal education that her parents nurture for her becomes a fallacy. A family that struggles to put food on the table for all members to eat now has an additional burden of taking special care of the soon-to-be mother and her unborn child. Discrimination takes its position in the court of the unfortunate event! Abandonment and desertion become her two popular line of grief. In hardship, she feeds herself and the unborn child—because a small cup of garri she takes is shared between her and her unborn child. Hmm… and in hardship, she labours to bring out the child from her womb. The doctor says because she is a teenager, because she gets pregnant at a less mature age, her birth canal where the baby should pass through is also less developed and hence not ready to allow baby pass. After painful try, it is concluded that she has ‘Obstructed labour’ and an emergency caesarean section has to be carried out. The same parents that barely spend a hundred naira a day now needs fifty thousand Naira in less than an hour to safe the mother’s and child’s lives. A desperate race for life and death then starts. God shows up in their difficult time and brings people within and without the hospital to raise this seemingly mighty amount. A ‘beautiful’ boy is born! But without a father, without an assurance of survival. If care is not taken, frustration might drive her to abandon the baby in a waste-dumb (like many teenage mothers do), or kill herself, or even kill the baby. She would not do any of these, instead she decides to beg for money on the street of Zuru to raise her child. The parents have tried their best, she in fact appreciates this fact. She knows they could have disowned her immediately she got pregnant, they could have allowed her struggle alone with the pregnancy. Now it is time for her to hustle and feed the child. With some coins she earns from begging on the street, her child grows up with some grains of corn and flakes of garri in his tummy, but without ‘primary education’, without formal education, without parental guidance. He becomes a man-made disaster waiting to explode within its maker’s domicile. This child—soon grows up to become a pickpocket, graduates to become a member of an armed-bandit, and in a short time, he is wanted by the police for first degree murder! The unwanted child becomes the most wanted—this time by the police. Because he is no where to be found by the police, the mother is arrested for the crime of her son, and the aging poor family is back to the starting point in their vicious poverty cycle.
I was going to close this post and get ready to publish when my phone beeped, it was Praise’s reply that came in, she wrote a lot:
Well I believe everything has it’s time, one of the reasons I can’t afford getting pregnant at this age is because it is not the right time, in the sense that, if I should get pregnant at this age, it will stop or delay my education and many things.
1. I wont be able to go to school anymore due to the fact that I can’t even stand the shame and mockery from the people around me.
2. I know I can’t Carter for the child now.
3. me getting pregnant at this age can bring an end to the good relationship between my parents and I, knowing my parents well, they might even disown me, and if they do that, who will I run to? Because I know definitely nobody would be in support of me getting pregnant at a young age. And also that would give a bad reputation about me, my parents and relations, which of course I wouldn’t want that to happen.
And that was one of my favourite patients speaking.
As a teenager, I would leave you to conclude, after reading this post, whether teenage pregnancy can ever be an option! My guess is, you said No. Let’s together Say No To Teenage Pregnancy. If you may not be able to join us for this rally, kindly drop your view on teenage pregnancy in the comment box, ask your questions and I would be glad to answer. Don’t also forget to ask for ways you can prevent teenage pregnancy!
Now I have to go, getting late for the rally already. See you soon.