Some time last year, I listened to a Nigerian radio programme where a teenager shared her bitter experience as a teenage mother.
Asked how she got pregnant, she said it was a mistake. Every teenage mother I have listened to gave the same excuse. Asked who the father was, she said a boy she met on her way to school professed love to her. He then invited her to his house. You know the rest of the story.
She said her parents sent her out of the house and she had to put up with the grand mother in the village, where she did not have any access to anti natal or post natal care. She was even delivered of her baby by traditional birth attendants, with the attendant risks.
The father of the baby? As expected, he rejected the pregnancy. That was the point she had to relocate to the village.
School? It is all over for her. She was in SS1 (1st year of the 3-year secondary education)). she now sells sachet water(pure water, as we call it here in Nigeria).
For this Edo state-born teenager, dreams have been shattered. She had dreams of becoming this or that. She dreamt of getting marrying some day and raising her own family. Now, she’s obviously not sure of these and other dreams.
For her, the only reasonable dream she had now was seeing that her child was not subjected to abject poverty; ensuring that her baby does not die young !
Across the globe, there are similar stories of shattered dreams, if not worse. Some are published and some are just circulated verbally. In all, lessons are supposed to be learnt. But sadly, the number of teenage pregnancies continues to be on the increase. Even as I put this post together, I am sure that the seed of another teenage pregnancy is being planted.
Very sad !
Causes ? In my opinion : The media hype on condoms, print and electronic media, global decay in family values, very poor sex education in schools, negative peer and societal influence, surge in information and communications technology, films/videos which give so much “accolades” to sex and relegating God’s words to insignificance.
The list continues.
The best way to address a problem is to examine the causes.
If you look at the causes above you will agree with me that teenage pregnancy is likely to stay with us for as long as man lives on earth. Sadly, that is the truth.
So it comes back to the smallest group where it can be addressed and some success recorded – the family. This is where parental influence is being put to test. The result of which only time tells.
I hope to have a second part of this all important topic soon.
Thanks for your time.