The issue of teenage pregnancy has always been on my mind, considering that the number of occurrence among teenagers is escalating. Among a particular age group in each secondary school, you can be sure to have cases of teenage pregnancy. I did some research on available works about this issue and found out that majority of the articles available talked about the causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy. I was astonished to found out that only a few actually talked about what really happens after the deed has been done and a teenager is found to be pregnant. This brings to live the question of what happens after a case of teenage pregnancy has been discovered and more importantly, how parents and guardians of such children should react.
The reaction of parents to situations like this has been very devastating and that has not helped in making the condition of such teenagers any better. Let’s imagine the reaction of a typical Nigerian parent to their ward’s untimely pregnancy. The most common reaction is firstly, to threaten to disown the child, or to force the child into early marriage.
Now let’s analyze both options.
Talking about disowning the child, when this happens, the child becomes rejected at such a time where she needs so much attention and help, and in most cases, this leads to a drastic decision to abort such pregnancy. Obviously, aborting the child would expose her to severe complications that may damage her womb or even cost her life. And come to think of it unmanaged teenage pregnancy to a large extent is contributing to the increasing figures of maternal and newborn mortality in Africa. When such a child has been rejected, after aborting, in the bid to desperately get finances to fend for herself, she might engage in delinquencies that could ruin her life. Say prostitution. Eventually, a little mistake gradually leads to the termination of a bright future.
Considering the second option of a forceful marriage; forcing two people who probably because of a careless one nightstand brought a child to life can actually go a long way in marring the future of both the guy and the girl. The lady might end up in a marriage void of love, and she’s very likely to suffer from physical and emotional abuse as a result of forced marriage. There’s also a great likely hood for resentment towards the child produced from the union, because both untimely parents might begin to see the child as an obstacle and the reason for their unfortunate situation.
This child in question grows without adequate parental love from both parents in an odious environment, and she’s prone to living on the wrong guidance of her friends and peer group, which singularly exposes her to the same mistake that brought about her birth. And then, the cycle continues!
Looking at this from the broader perspective, what has the parent of the pregnant teenager achieved? It’s very important to clarify that I’m not advocating that teenagers neglect their studies and venture into delinquencies or pre-marital sex and then get pregnant or STDs. All I’m saying is that in cases when the unexpected happens, measures can still be put in place to ensure that with adequate love, advice and attention, such a child gets his steps back again. After all, we all make mistakes, foolish mistakes, intentional mistakes, unintended mistakes. However when such a mistake occurs, it’s definitely not the first or the last of such.
It’s so natural and expected that parents would get angry at such child yet; brooding over it with incessant regret and anger cannot reverse the mistake. The deed has been done, accept it and look for the best possible solution, give guidance and assurance and help the child regain self-confidence and a strong self-esteem. A search for a solution to clean up the mess is the most important thing, ensuring that she doesn’t lose her chances of a bright and fulfilling future. Naturally it’s expected that the teenage girl must have realized her mistake and would be passing through a very difficult time, both emotionally and physically. This is her most critical and vulnerable time.
I strongly believe that a mistake is not the end of the world; parents need to learn how to handle the issue of teenage pregnancy well, in order to stop the cycle and help the child to rise up again. Help and support the child through the period of pregnancy and after, encourage her to get back to school and continue her race towards the great future she has ahead of her. Teenage pregnancy is seen as the end of the world, but you can help to make it the beginning of a better life. Tell me…who doesn’t deserve a second chance?
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