WALVIS BAY - Very often the burden of teenage pregnancy rests on the girl/child with little or no involvement from the person who impregnated her.
Too often teenage mothers who are brave enough are forced to leave school to look after their babies especially if no support system is available at home.
For some this does not end well as they are forced by circumstance to either risk their lives by undergoing backstreet abortions, baby dumping or even infanticide once the baby is born. Three brave teenage mothers shared their journey about becoming mothers while at school and at the same time advised others not to make the same mistake but to focus on their education.
Stephanie Otto (18), mother of a one-year old baby says she not only became suicidal but considered abortion when she found out about her pregnancy.
“My son’s father denied him, causing me to go in depression and even considered an abortion. I felt confused and alone,” she said.
Otto says being a single teenage mom with no employment nor education is hard and that is why she returned to school afterwards.
She added her baby’s father is still not involved despite her reaching out to him on several occasions.
“Some boys are not responsible enough to step up and be a father. That’s why we as girls should avoid falling pregnant while at school and just focus on getting our education because babies are not for the fainthearted,” she said. Otto is currently in Grade 10.
Esperanza Thomas fell pregnant at the age of 16 while in Grade 10. Her baby is almost two months old now.
She says she was shocked when she found out about her pregnancy. “My parents were very disappointed in me as a result I ran away from home and live with my aunt in Swakopmund,” she says.
According to her, her mom found out about her pregnancy before she could tell them. She says being pregnant was one of the hardest things she had to go through at her tender age.
“My friends talked bad about me at school and eventually abandoned me. I became depressed and a disappointment for my parents who had high hopes for me,” she said.
Thomas says being pregnant at a tender age is not something she would have considered, but it happened to her. “I would not advise anyone to fall pregnant while at school as a baby is not reversible,” she said.
Thomas has returned to school thanks to her parents who eventually accepted her pregnancy and is assisting her to raise her baby.
Ironically statistics provided by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture indicates that 137 girls fell pregnant during 2017 in Erongo. Also about 9 girls were already pregnant during the first trimester of 2018. Results of the second trimester were not available.