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How do you cope with the nightmare of your 15- year-old’s pregnancy?

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JUST some few weeks ago, a group of us got together for a drink at one of the clubs. It was an end-of-the-month social event and the talk got round to how privileged some of today’s kids were. We’d watched, amazed as a couple of them draped their gangly physiques on stools at the bar, knocking back cocktails and lager. A few giggly girls were with them, matching the lads booze for booze, all of them donning designer clothes and shoes that must have cost their parents a packet. Not to mention the tabs that would have been on their parents’ accounts by the time they were through for the night.

“Spoilt brats,” fumed Vivian. “You can bet that when they leave here, they’re going to top tonight’s activities with sex – if they haven’t done that in the toilets already! It really pisses me off the childish and irresponsible way these teenagers treat sex. Most of our young girls carry on as if they were disgusting harlots!” “Hey, steady on,” I cautioned. “A lot of them are well-behaved in spite of their skimpy garbs. You’re just jealous.” “Jealous of what?” she spat. “Don’t forget that I have two teenage girls myself and if I catch a whiff of booze on their breath, they’ve had it. And I don’t encourage them to stay out later than 10:00pm.” I wanted to point out the fact that teenagers no longer need the cover of darkness to have sex, but I clamped up, seeing she was on the verge of one of her pulpit’s talks.

“Just look at those spoilt brats!” she glowered towards the bar. “I wonder where they got the impression that sex is one kind of game? You can see the leer on the boys’ faces. I bet their parents never told them that if you’re not planning on having a child, you’ve no business indulging in sex. No wonder we’ve got a society full of randy girls running around like chickens with their heads cut off. By the time they’re in their 30s, they’re still manless and childless. All they’ve got to show for their stupid liberated lives is a career, a couple of divorces, a broken heart and quite often, bad cases of venereal diseases and HIV!” My goodness! How melodramatic can you get? Only Vivian wasn’t done yet.

“The good Lord has no use for people who have no control. When he found that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with people like that, he turned those cities into parking lots! In the meantime, we’re stuck with a bunch of liberated women – and men too – who have less control than their dogs. No wonder this country is going to hell in a great hurry!” Phew! On the way home, I asked Vivian what brought on all the fire and brimstone rubbish she was spewing. “Ajoke is pregnant,” she said bursting into tears. I guessed it was bad enough that her husband got Ajoke pregnant whilst she was in their home parading as his close relation but for her to be pregnant again less than a year after her first son must have sent Vivian round the bend. I said as little as possible. Let her work through her hurt before I gave her whatever advice I could.

I didn’t have that long to wait. Vivian called a few days later that she was on her way. She walked into my flat, fell on top of me and cried like a wounded lion. All because of Ajoke? “It’s Christabel,” she sobbed, “She’s pregnant!” Was she insane? Bell, her 15-year-old daughter was in her last year at secondary school. How could she be pregnant? A sweet, well-behaved girl, she didn’t look as if she had any sex appeal to me. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the father is a 17 -year-old school leaver seeking admission into the university; your typical boy-next-door.

“He used to come to the house as we all live on the same street,” sobbed Vivian. “When I took Bell to the doctor for a possible abortion, he said it was too late. Bell was five months gone! I was appalled. She didn’t look pregnant at all. It was after the scan we learnt the baby’s tucked up under her ribs, that’s why Bell hadn’t really felt pregnant. Her period had been irregular, so, she thought nothing of it stopping altogether – especially when her age-mates told her it was normal for girls in their age-group.

“Segun, the boy responsible for all this, is petrified and in shock. When I asked for him to send down his parents for a talk, it was as if he would pass out any minute. In the end, I went with my husband to Segun’s parents’ house. They were as shocked and helpless as we were. Segun has already got admitted to a university he wanted. Besides, it would be unheard of for two teenage children to set up home as husband and wife. Not with this poor boy looking scared and fidgety. He felt like a trapped animal and 1 felt sorry for him. His parents promised us their full support in whatever we decided to do.

“Bell’s father was distraught. Bell was a child giving birth to a child, he said. “My baby’s having a baby,” he wailed, his head in his arms. I almost felt sorry for him. But hadn’t he set a sort of bad example himself? Getting Ayoka, who was more or less the children’s nanny during their growing years, pregnant and making her a second wife. Parading her at his 60th birthday party and putting her up in the guest house with his illegitimate son!”

“What are you planning to do about Bell?” I asked her gently. The poor girl must now be in a zombie-like state, and scared as hell. “Her stupid father has suggested she would go and stay with Ayoka until she has the baby. Wouldn’t that be neat? Her father’s pregnant mistress and a pregnant step-daughter. How decadent can you get?” Gently, 1 had to let her know that in spite of all the talks on teenage pregnancies and precautions, teenage pregnancies are quite on the increase. Our younger girls might be aware of contraception, but do they know when to start?

Do they know what it entails and how much it costs to raise a child? A lot of teenagers have been forced to grow up in a very short period of time. In Bell’s case, she now has less than four months to prepare for the arrival of her baby. What happens after the baby arrives?

“I honestly don’t know,” wailed Vivian. “In spite of my resentment of Ayoka, Bell might go to her dad’s town house to stay until she has her baby. She’s used to Ayoka afterall.” ‘But wouldn’t it feel as if you were banishing her to a remote place she’s never actually lived in as a punishment for her ‘crime’?, I asked her. What would she be doing there? Apart from Ayoka, what parental support and help from friends would she get?”

In the end, she decided to join forces with Segun’s parents to decide the best course to chart to welcome this unfortunate infant that’s currently unaware of the drama it is going to be born into.


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