By Edwin Alivionote
The average African parent views pregnancy occurring during the teenage age of the child, as a sign of failure in parenting. The teenager who is quite aware of the stigma and shame attached to this incidence will wish for it not to happen by all means. Teenage pregnancy is always an accident occurring as a result of failure to get proper sexual education and orientation at pre-puberty. The child who is exposed to sex without learning the biology of sex will fall into the trap of conceiving a child when she is not emotional and physically ready to nurse one. In nine (9) out of ten (10), the teenager will wish for the pregnancy terminated even before the parents get to notice or learn of it.
It becomes necessary for every family to have their sex orientation/philosophies known to the growing children before they get into sexually active age. The family should make known their stand and dispositions in the advent of an accidental pregnancy, the pro-life family will not opt for abortion in any case or under any scenario. The girl-child should be made to understand that aborting a baby will be off the family’s consideration and therefore, she should see the need to avert the occurrence of pregnancy by being conscious of her body.
But, should the child become pregnant amidst the effort of the parents to groom her into an adult spinster without a dent, it calls for special handling from everyone. The parents especially the mother should swing into action to care and nurse the young mother with every care necessary for her to stay healthy and strong. The father on his part should get the details of how this pregnancy occurred while, getting to the person responsible and knowing his person. Depending on the findings of the male behind the pregnancy, several options of resolution and handling are advised but my concern is on the young pregnant mother.
The service of a counsellor should be sorted to position her mind for this twist in her life which can be managed back into what it ought to be. The counsellor will ensure she is purged of all the mental anxieties that will be detrimental to her wellbeing. With the warm support of the parents, the girl can be taught to regain her self esteem. Then, preparing her to nurse her pregnancy with the support of all stakeholders (the parents, the male responsible and other close acquaintances) will make her strong enough to put to bed a healthy baby.
The care and warm support for a teenager who is pregnant does not imply in any way that the teenage pregnancy is supported. The child who feels strange and odd carrying a child in her will need the warmth of her family to carry out the task of nursing a child for nine months successfully. The girl (teenager) can also be best composed to manage herself and face the public and their matters.
Whatever the case, two lives must be given attention as at the point of getting the news of the pregnancy. The young mother and the developing baby are very fragile at this stage; emotionally, biologically, physically and socially. The parents should as much as they can control or avoid the scenario of blaming, cursing, punishing or beating the girl child. The need to dialogue is essential while the person that is responsible for the pregnancy should be extracted to provide his confirmation of claims as well as know his interest/commitment in the matter.
Where it is possible, for a family with other children, the need to take the child to another home where she will be off the view of the rest will do more good to the rest children of the household. The rest children should be told of the occurrence but seeing the development is not something I will encourage of parents to treat with levity.
Edwin Alivionote is a Public Affairs Analyst.