Being pregnant and having a baby is so expensive, that it had never clicked in my mind. The costs hung up in the sky. If there are any complications, the costs rise. Then, there are the maternity clothes, baby furniture, baby clothes, baby toys, baby bottles, formula, diapers, and a mountain of other costs. I never realized diapers were so expensive. My mother and I bought about Rwf50,000 worth of baby stuff.
Teenage pregnancy is more than just facing financial challenges, it involves dealing with lost trust and respect from parents. In my case, it was more like being a terrible example to my younger siblings since I was the first born. My boyfriend by then was grounded by his parents (Strict curfew). You can imagine the response of adults in our church, who knew me as a good steward and servant of GOD. Imagine how our friends, and peers were embarrassed (a few stuck with us). Other parents, because of us, carefully watched our close friends thinking they would be the next victims.
Whoa!! I almost forgot about the haters…spreading pathetic rumors everywhere as if they were employed to do so. Basically, it was urrghh…hard to bear.
One morning, I woke up with false labor, I packed my hospital bag at once. Around 11:00 a.m., I lost my mucus plug, which blocks the opening of the uterus during pregnancy. I was five weeks from my due date. So I went to the hospital to be examined. As I had no other signs of labor, I was sent home at 1:00 p.m. as I was eating an apple, suddenly, I felt an urge to urinate. I went to the restroom and discovered a spot of water on my underwear. I rushed to get sanitary pads from my hospital bag and returned to the restroom to find my underwear soaked! Geez, my water had broken! I urgently demanded my parents to get me back to hospital... I was fighting tears of fear and excitement.
Back at the hospital, there were still no other signs of labor. It was about 6:00 p.m. when the contractions began. The hospital nurses kept saying they hate when women give birth at 35 weeks because it’s a 50 percent chance, the baby will be too premature.
After two and a half hours, my son was born. The first word I uttered was “thank God you for the baby…and very sorry father.”
In some ways, I’m lucky my parents were there to help me. Mum fed my baby at night and in some ways, it reinforced my feelings of incompetence. When I can’t take care of the baby’s needs, parents did. They know better than I do and there are days when I feel more like my son’s sister than a mother. That’s hard. It’s difficult to let go like that. There are times I just wanted to hold him forever, but I had to deal with my studies.
Teenagers of my age think, “Oh, it’s so neat that they have a kid,” or “They’re getting married. That’s so cool.” It’s really not! They don’t know the emotions involved or the financial problems. People ask me if we used contraceptives. They seem relieved when I answer, “No.” It’s almost as if it’s OK yet it’s not.
It’s easy for people to preach abstinence or “safe sex.” The safest contraceptive is ABSTAINANCE. But the flesh is very hard to tame when it comes to sex…unless, you let GOD be the driver of your life. He can help you escape many things.
The author is a S.6 student at Lycee de Kigali.