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Damage Control for Teenage Pregnancy

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Teenage pregnancyThe 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?

Photo Credit: lifechoicesrc.com

28 Comments

  1. pearl

    May 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

    lovely article..so true!! everyone deserves a second chance…..I know it’s difficult and painful, but parents should try to stand by their children no matter the situation they find themselves…..What I have come to realize is that the reason why parents , relatives shout and scream is just of this popular tag ” what will people say or think”…..We are too people conscious!!!!!!!!!…..Let’s just live our lives to please God….and God is not wicked or judgemental..He’s all loving and forgiving, and a God of second {infact many } chance……Forget people and live your life. The same people that called Jesus messiah , later said ”’ crucify people”’….As for the ladies, don’t allow that to define…..You can make something good out of you life!!

  2. pearl

    May 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

    oh!!!!.. The same people that called Jesus messiah , later said ”’ crucify him’…. forget people and live your life!!!
    As for the ladies, don’t allow that to define…..You can make something good out of you life!!

  3. Enitan

    May 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

    thanks for the write-up Modupe…wat u wrote is just about me and my parent thats why i always say it anywhr and everywhr that my parent are the best, ave been through dis kinda thing and dey stood by me til i gave birth now am back to life, ave achieved my dreams of becoming a banker

  4. whocares

    May 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

    teenage pregnancy? abort that child please.. if it will not be life threatening to the girl.. anyone less than 21 has no business having a child.. if the girl wants it, then sure as a parent you support your kid.. but as for me.. nooo off to the clinic. either ways parents have to support their kids.. no marriage or anything like that. if she wants to have the baby, fine help her through it, if she doesnt, help her with the abortion again I am in support of abortion in these situations…

    • Partyrider

      May 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Wow! “Abort the child please” I’m shocked at how easily you wrote/said that.. 🙁

    • whocares

      May 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      hmm it struck me as a bit cold too.. i suppose i should have couched it in more diplomatic terms..

    • deeper

      May 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      you said the abort that child please so effortlessly, abortion isn’t always the best way out dude or babe whichever you are

  5. Yoruba Geh

    May 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

    abort?i have several friends that went thru this and trust me their parents gave them a second chance and both mother and child are doing well.
    Abortion is neva a way out,think bout the dangers associated…and the fact that u are a murderer!

    • whocares

      May 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      again you focused on only one thing i said.. if the girl wants to keep the baby then yes she should be helped, if she doesnt why force her to have a child she doesnt want? again the abortion is my personal opinion.. body integrity and all that. you do not want a child and it happpens by mistake, remove it.. as for murder, well do you really want to get into that debate? should i say scientifically babies are not well babies till the are in the fifth month? i think thats why its usually dangerous to abort then… not that im sure of this bit i need to google some more.. point is, you will be aborting a foetus. again that is all legal and science jargon.. i do not want to get into the debate on murder. yes there are dangers associated with abortion, and that is why again i said if it would not be life threatening, im not advocatin gthe girl drink boiled 7up or use a hanger..

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      But, chick (and I choose to imagine you’re a babe ‘cos if you’re a guy going on so breezily about aborting babies, I’m going to lose my damn rag and light into you properly).

      Chick, there are so many people looking for children, why would you advice a teen mum to abort her baby? Yes, I agree the point that she may not want it but I do not believe the fact of a mother not wanting a child is enough reason to kill that child. And you’re killing anything when you don’t give it a chance at life, whatever your legal/scientific argument is. Life has been formed, it hasn’t been fully formed into a baby just yet but it’s been created and it deserves it’s own chance, just like both of us had ours.

      There are so many ways the girl and her parents can deal with the pregnancy – give it up for adoption; if they don’t trust motherless babies home, go to the village and find one aunty to help rase the baby, with financial support given by the girl’s family; if neither option is palatable, the girl can speak to her parents and see if they’ll adopt the baby and in the Nigeria that I know, I honestly doubt many potential grandparents will refuse the gift of a grandchild, even in those circumstances.

      I also believe in the principle of teaching children (because a teenager is still very much a child) the consequences of their actions. Call me harsh but if that girl could spread her legs to do-the-do, she definitely needs to be made to face the prospects of spreading her legs to push out a baby. No parent should allow their teenage daughter to easily consider the quick resort of abortion – in fact, make it clear the option will not be entertained. How else can you bring that teenager to fully appreciate the enormity of having sex, talk less of unprotected sex? So because it’s a baby now, what if the next time it’s AIDs? Full consequences all the way home, biko, a parent should firmly (but still lovingly) instill in that young impressionable mind that the “punishment” is for everyone’s good (a baby could be given to a couple looking for one) as much as it is a lesson in understanding how that one act of sex can lead to life-changing aftermaths.

    • towhocares

      May 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I will hate to be related to you or put you in the position of trust and confidence or even advice. So imagine if your sister came to you and said her teenage daughter is pregnant and she doesn’t want to be a mother and she is confused on what to do, you will offer abortion just like that as if you are talking about removing bandange from a wound. Do you know what abortion does to a girl? A girl of that age who doesn’t understand the consequences. Someone who is probably scared out of her mind. Ask those who have gone through it. Not as full grown adult women o, even those ones it lives with them forever, not to talk of a teenager. You as a parent do not have that kind of right. Even if she says that’s what she wants, trust me a teenage girl doesn’t really know that, she is just reacting to the situation. When she is much older and she gets to wrap her head round it, she will hate you for it, even if it was her idea. Believe me she will. She came to you scared and you just gave her, her uninformed wish. Letting you know is a cry for help, silently pleading with you to take action. You may never have found out, we know how teenagers sort these things out without parents knowing. You as the parent need to be her voice of reason, to stand and protect your baby from future grief and emotional trauma. The first few months of pregnancy that teenage girl is not thinking rationally, let her see the end of the pregnancy and then decide if she wants to keep it or give it up for adoption. That is a decision for her to make. Abortion ke, heaven forbid bad thing. It is wrong no matter how you look at it, and it doesn’t teach that girl anything. There is nothing to learn from abortion. Absolutely nothing to learn, both on the part of the teenage girl and the person who got her pregnant. She has done it once, if the situation arises again, she will do it again. Even the baby daddy too will offer another girl in the future that option too. Cycle continues. Not once have I mentioned the Bible or the Lord said or spiritual sontin sontin, cos my stance on abortion is not even from than angle because I appreciate that not everyone is religious and in this debate, bringing in religion just shuts some people out. Abortion is never a solution. In your trying to be liberal and not being spiri koko, don’t throw reasoning out of the window.

    • slice

      May 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      for those of you responding to whocares, are you suggesting that the option of abortion should be off the table? If that’s the case, I disagree. The person should be allowed ALL her options. If YOU think it’s a sin, let that be between you and God. Don’t impose that on others. The best thing to do if someone wants an abortion is to discuss other options with them and give them a cooling off period (ie time to think). If they still want it, you best obligation is to find them a GREAT doctor to handle same. A child is not a punishment so the whole idea of letting her have the baby so she can supposedly face the consequences of having unprotected sex just bothers me some

    • slice

      May 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      there are dangers with child birth too. A properly done abortion is highly unlikely to lead death or any complications for that matter….forget what Naija movies say

    • whocares

      May 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      I was actually going to comment on that as well the “she did it, let her give birth to the baby” bit you just beat me to it.. and as ever impeccable assessment Slice.

    • to slice

      May 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      You are only talking about the physical, what about the emotional and mental trauma, or it is because we as Nigerians don’t discuss such matters. It is not as easy as simply scraping off the baby. maybe you’ve never gotten to talk to or listen to girls and women who have gone through abortions, and what it does to them. We just think na only oyinbo such things devastate or scar. Things happen to you, in our culture. you deal with it and life continues. No teenager should be forced to keep a baby that she does not want, and having the baby also subjects her to mental and emotional stress too but if I had to hold both options in my hand, I know what road I will take. Keeping the baby is not by force but no one can explain to me what abortion will provide or what lesson it will teach her or what she will gain by doing it. What does it solve? What precedence does it create? Or if the next daughter too gets pregnant, onward march to the clinic. What about the man who gets her pregnant, he just gets to walk away, have an easy life while my child is left with the physical, metnal and emotional consequences of an abortion. We have made life easy, he doesn’t get to look backk and he probably quickly offers that option to the next girl he gets pregnant. Don’t even let me drag religion into it. It’s my opinion though, we are all entitled to it, and i can gather than none of us are mothers, so until it happens to you gan gan, you can never really know what you will do.

    • slice

      May 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      @ to slice, believe me I understand. I don’t wish abortion on anyone. And I’m openly christian so I completely understand how someone grapples with these issues. At the end of the day though, it’s a young lady or a lady wondering what to do with an unplanned situation. No matter which road she takes, it will be tough. An abortion will be tough. having an unplanned baby will be tough. But I believe nothing will be tougher than having the ability to make that decision taken away from her.

  6. Bellar

    May 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    lets put this close to home, what would you feel and what would you do if it was you, your baby sister or your daughter. Then answers may follow below please! things take avery different perspective if they are close to home. Personally I dont know what the right thing to do is (on this story) but if i twas me or my sister or my daughter then ruining their own life would NOT be an option if under 21. At 21 then life becomes a little bit more bearable and marriage is and can be an option but that is my own opinion.

    • whocares

      May 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      ahh thats it… i am too tired, and hopped up on coffee to articulate my points. thats exactly what i was trying to say.. I do not see the sense in making a 15 year old o ranyone young who doesnt have the metal capacity or even the physical ability to cope and that is why i capped the age at 21.. I am 23 and i would still NOT have one until I am ready for it, and then I will love that child with all the intensity that I dislike it at this moment. I dont see it as murder, but it is simply a girl’s life at stake (literally and figuratively)..

    • whocares

      May 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      @ mz socially awkward.. that is another way to look at it and i agree… again there is no one clear case. you can only say what you think is right and so can i.. I will accept that in some instances, if the girl wants it like i said, she should be supported, if she doesnt why would you force her to have a child she does not want.. @towhocares.. its a good thing you are not related to me then because I believe in bodily integrity.. do i know what abortion does to a teenager? do you know what being a teenage mother without the support of her family does to one as well? this is not black and white and i didnt make it so.. i clearly said in my statement that it all depended on what the TEENAGER wants.. yes she should be given proper advice but at the end of the day its her life, and her body.. now most teenagers especially nigerian onces do NOT HAVE supporting parents that will go with them to the clinic and look into options etc etc.. most teenage pregnant girls do not have the mental capacity to cope.. so yes i feel sorry for both girl and baby and i support the girl should she decide she does not want the baby… I dont understand why I am the anti-christ here.. yes i realise the gravity of removing a baby, but i realise more the gravity of having an unwanted child in less trhan a conducive environment.. my mother was a well not a teenage mom, but a youth say early 20s and now i have issues the size of australia.. i do not blame my moyher for anything or how life has turned out.. but i respect the fact that people have to do what is best for them FIRST!. again, not black and white.. i appreciate ms socially awkard’s very sensible argument, and i agree with it (if the circumstances were right, the TEENAGE mother wants it, she has her family’s support/ a good support mechanism, why not?

    • towhocares

      May 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Nowhere did I advocate for the girl to be a mother, she should have the baby and give it up for adoption. In the 9 months of carrying the baby, believe me, she will learn something. She does not have to keep the baby. No matter how you explain it. Abortion does not teach her anyhting. You are just giving her the easy way out. My mother got pregnant at 21 too, totally unprepared. I will not be here today if her mother had given her an easy way out. My grandma said over her dead body, abortion was not an option. My grandma wasn’t particularly very supportive and in those days there was nothing like giving a baby up for adoption, not to mention that my grandpa was incredibly rich and popular. I only need to mention my mother’s surname and everyone here will recognise it because till today it is still a rich and popular family. So imagine her getting pregnant, barely out of her teens. She said her mother put her through hell and never made her forget her mistake. Her elder sisters did the right thing, finishing Uni, getting married having babies, so my mum was the black sheep and she passed all that to me. Growing up I felt that she hated me, because in a way she probably did and 20 odd years after she apologised for being horrible to me during the early years of my life but it was a lesson that she needed to learn. Looking at her she’s had a difficult life, despite being a millionaire’s daughter but it is part of her story on this earth and she is an amazing mum now. She took the tough road forced on her (in your words) and she probably wasn’t the best mother she could have been to me at the beginning and I haven’t seen my dad since I was 5, so you are not the only one that has issues. Luckily she met a decent man who married her with one child and they went on to have my siblings. My step dad has done a fantastic job filling the gaps of my childhood but it is something I always have at the back of her mind that i wont repeat her mistakes. I am 28 and the fear of getting pregnant is my weapon agianst pre marital sex. No guy can convince me otherwise, if you can’t hold body, waka. I will not repeat her mistakes. So, abortion is the easy way out but is not the right thing to do.

  7. Bukie

    May 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Parents should never reject a child because of errors in judgement.
    How about educating these teenagers on how not to get in such a situation in the first place? Parents should sit down their kids and talk to them about such things. I don’t mean to put the fear of life in them o! Talk them through the challenges to be faced as a teenage parent and why it is better to wait. Parents should stop taking these topics to be forbidden topics. You should not ban your daughter from talking to boys either. You know what is likely to happen? When she finally gets the taste of freedom probably at Uni, she could fall prey to the ‘sweet stories’ of men, and before you know it, you have a daughter who is still at Uni with a child when she is not ready to become a parent.
    My cousin got pregnant when she was 17yrs old. My uncle was furious!!!!!!!! I don’t know if this babe thought she could hide it from her parents, but she didn’t tell them at first. It was my Aunt who noticed the change in her daughter and brought it up. I must say though, that I commend my Aunt and Uncle for the support they gave their daughter. After getting over the shock and anger, the parents supported my cousin through everything. She gave birth to the child and went back to school. Her Education was not affected at all because her parents have raised the child as their own. Till this day the boy does not know that the person he refers to as his senior sister is actually his mother. They raised him as the last born and he is very close to his parents, who are actually his grandparents. She lost touch with the boy she had sex with, so the guy does not even know he is a father. My cousin is now a married woman and has children with her husband. She did tell her husband when they first started dating that she has a son, who her parents raised as their own. That did not stop him from marrying her. You know what? It turns out that the guy even has a half sister who his mother had as a teenager before she met his father. So the guy could totally relate to what my cousin went through and did not hold it against her or think any less of her. You know the funny thing? Her first child with her husband is a boy and he is sooooooo close to his ‘Uncle’. The age gap between them is less than 10yrs. He gets along with him so well and keeps telling his parents, he wishes this Uncle was actually his brother. He has know idea, that he actually is! Well, half brother….My cousin always has a big smile on her face whenever she brings this up.

    Abortion should not be the answer either. At any age, Abortion should not be the answer. It comes with a lot of Risks. Regardless of the age. 2 of my friends in their thirties found out they were pregnant for the guys they were dating. They’re not engaged or even close to getting there. One of them had the child and the father plays an active role in the child’s life. Not sure if he has any plans to marry my friend, but he is playing his role as the father. The other friend though, is now a single mother. The bobo told her to abort the child that he was not ready to be a father. He got scared of the responsibility. Fortunately she refused to abort and is now a new mother. It is not easy, but she is doing her best. She has reached the point in her career where she could support a child financially. But as we all know, raising a child on your own is not easy o.

    Yes, raising a child is not easy. But there are other options. There are parents out there who would be happy to adopt.

  8. truth

    May 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    SHAME ON SOME OF YOU AND YOUR COMMENTS.

  9. V

    May 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Lord knows a teenager giving birth is also open to a lot of medical complications and there’ll definitely be emotional trauma too same as having an abortion, one just has to weigh which option works best in said situation!
    If my child gets pregnant before 18, abortion will definitely be an option.

  10. Abolarinwa

    May 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Wonderful article. Great work of creative insight that clearly explains a major problem in our economy and how it should be approached in the later future. Keep it up and love u dearie

  11. friend

    May 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Talking about the article, for teenagers who get pregnant the support of their parents will always help matters no matter what ever decision they end up taking in the end. Parental support is what I believe the writer’s message is and is hat I strongly advocate for. I hope our society can embrace dis attitude…at least the teenager’s life shouldnt come to an end because of this mistake.

  12. Adetipsy

    May 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Modupe…this is an amazing piece…wish I could see n read it as an opinion article in a newspaper..yes..PUNCH…so parents can read this n learn more on how to deal wif dis kinda issue. Those that agree with ur write-up would be wiser n regret less for not being there for their female kids when they need that attention the most. I wish u would also write an article on how female teenagers should close their legs. ( ._.) Good work babe.

  13. Enny

    May 17, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Great piece Dupe! It might seem cold but rather than bring a poor child into a world of sadness why not abort, atleast all ds family planning claims is polite way of saying kill the unwanted child. There other optiions too like giving the child to. Smeone who needs one. We have enough hooligans. Save the world the stress of paying for your own mistakes make the right choice!

  14. Queen Leyahweh

    May 18, 2013 at 4:07 am

    An interesting angle Dupe, I hope people take the issues you’ve discussed and laid emphasis on to heart. Two wrongs will never make a wright. Greater heights for you in Jesus name!

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