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When a child becomes a parent

When I was 14 I got involved with a boy who was four years older than me. At that time I knew very little about dating and sex because my parents did not talk to me about such things.

They thought I was too young for sex education and then I fell pregnant.

My parents were very upset. My mother beat me, saying I had disgraced the family. She was also afraid that my father would blame her. I had heard about abortion but I was afraid to do it.

I became a laughing stock at school from both learners and teachers. Some teachers used to insult me in front of other learners and used my ordeal as a lesson to other learners. That badly affected me and I failed my final exams.

The father of the child ran away. He does not support us in any way and has left me on my own.

Having a child ended my teenage life. I couldn’t do activities that girls my age were enjoying. I stopped going to parties and gave up school tours and family holidays because I had a baby to look after. I eventually dropped out of school to look after the baby while my friends were progressing in their studies.

Responsibility

I was not prepared for such a responsibility. I had no money to buy food for my baby and my mom didn’t have much money to support us. The government child support grant was insufficient for the baby’s daily needs. I was filled with regrets, sometimes I went to bed in tears not knowing where I would get the money to survive. I had to beg my brothers and aunts for help.

I know falling pregnant at a young age is a disgrace and a challenge. But it doesn’t stay like that forever.

Now I am 20 years old and my baby is five. Although I disappointed my parents, they didn’t want me to suffer and they have been very supportive and have helped with everything for the baby. Now I’m carrying on with my studies.

Being a teenage parent is very difficult, and made me understand why some end up killing themselves.

Parents need to educate their children about the consequences of engaging in sexual activities. Preventing pregnancy should be part of the school curriculum.

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.

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