7 Apr 2010

Yet another sad story

Janine* is 5 months pregnant with her first child. Like most mothers-to-be, she’s a bit worried about the delivery process and all of the responsibilities involved with being a mom. She’s also concerned about completing her secondary education. She is 14 years old and, because of her pregnancy, she was asked to leave the school without mention of the possibility of her returning.

’Some of the girls in school noticed I was vomiting every day and they told Miss (their form mistress). Miss took me aside and asked me if I was pregnant but at the time I didn’t know so I tell her no - it must be a virus or something. That was around the second month. I can’t remember missing my periods or anything like that and my boyfriend used to pull out before ’the thing’ finish so I wasn’t worried because he told me if he doesn’t c** (ejaculate) inside me, I can’t get pregnant Miss told the principal and the principal bought a pregnancy test for me to pee on and they checked it and said I was pregnant. They told me don’t come back to school unless I have my mother with me,’ Janine shared.

She agonised over the process of telling her mother. ’I was real scared! My mother dread! She strict and we is Christians so I was shame to tell her I making a child. And she didn’t know I had a boyfriend up to that point. I didn’t know how to tell her. And once I tell her, I know my father would have to find out and that would be more pressure.’

Before she worked up the courage to inform her mom, she decided to talk things through with her boyfriend, a 17-year-old student at another school in her area. ’I called him and told him I was pregnant and what to do and he told me is not his child. He never b***k inside me so he not taking that responsibility. He tell me I trying to trap him with somebody else child. He called me a ’ho’ and say his partners warn him about me and all kinda thing. He didn’t believe me when I tell him is only him I ever was with. I try to call him a few times since then but he never answer the phone,’ she said, shrugging her shoulders.

For two weeks after she learned of her pregnancy, Janine hid it from her parents. She said she would put on her school uniform as usual, ’I wasn’t showing much then,’ she said pointing to her now-obvious protruding centre. ’I would leave in the morning as if I was going to school and go to a mall, the savannah, the zoo - anywhere. Come back home evening time and take out my books and do work like is homework I was doing,’ she shared.

’I wanted an abortion but I didn’t know where to go to get that and I didn’t want to go by no bush doctor to throw ’way the child. I had a little money saved up and I would have paid for it but where to go? I considered suicide. I was thinking to just hang myself or drink poison or something but I just never went that far. I say is best I tell my family and see if they could help the situation.’

When she finally told her mother, the reaction was not what she expected. ’I thought she would have boof me or cuss me or something. She just start to cry and honestly, that was worse than if she had boof me. Them tears sting me like a jep. I was sorry for shaming her and my family. I’m still sorry but she told me I had to have the baby, it’s the Christian way. She came to school with me and the principal told her I was not to come back - it wouldn’t look good to have me with a big belly in their uniform. So, mom found out about Choices and they’ve been helping us out with sorting out my school stuff and other things.

’My father was disappointed too. He didn’t carry on either but I know he’s disappointed because he don’t look me in my eyes any more. Anytime he sees me, he looks away or he might go in another room. He barely talks to me and the whole situation at home with him just real uncomfortable,’ she added.

Financially, the family was struggling to make ends meet before Janine’s pregnancy. ’Money tight so I go clinic with my mom and she already told me she wants me to finish my exams and get a job. She say she will try and help me as best as she could until then but I have to work. I does still feel down because of everything, I wish I could go back and change things but I can’t so all I could do is push to get my education and take care of my child.’

From the Express

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