It was a rainy evening in Ajegunle, Ita-oluwo Ikorodu Lagos State when a young mother, Asisat Odemuyiwa went to look for food to feed her children who had been crying for hours.
The 18-year-old mother of two had no meal to serve her babies and this resulted in their constant wailing and people had to notice what was wrong with the crying toddlers. However, the young mother narrates how got herself into motherhood at this early age.
In her statement, “l am an orphan who was staying with a friend for some years but then she traveled to another state when she finally got a job, so I had to move out of the house as I could not afford to pay the rent.
“My friend was really helpful to me when she was around but as soon as she left she forgot about me completely. She even stopped picking up my calls when I went to the call center to call her. I don’t know why that happened, maybe due to the nature of her job or expenses.
“I was sleeping in an uncompleted building for some time where I was harassed, insulted, and mocked for begging for food before I met a bus conductor who gives me little money in exchange for sex.”
Asisat lamented about how her teenage pregnancy has become her biggest nightmare, as a lack of financial capacity. Just like her, many other girls in various communities suffer the same fate of strenuous motherhood experience due to broken home experiences and other relative factors.
Single Parenting versus Zero Responsibility.
Another victim of teenage pregnancy, Oluwakemi Temitope said she has lost her prime to the huge responsibility of taking care of the child.
“I got pregnant shortly after my SSCE examination which brought an end to my academics. My parents parted ways when I was a baby. My twin sister and I were abandoned with our mother in the hospital by our father because we were twin girls.
“While growing up, my mother was not financially stable so we went through a lot starting as toddlers until we were about five years old when my mom decided to move on and got married again. We were always at the end of so many arguments, misunderstandings, conflicts and we grew in that manner.
“My mother was abused by my stepfather. Despite all this, she was a Godsent angel to help and guide us through all these negative circumstances. She never gave up on her children and continued to strive against all odds to make her children never end up the way she did.
“In an attempt to find succor to relieve us of the pressure and pain, I got pregnant after my SSCE examinations. My mother was seriously disappointed in me and heartbroken. That marks the beginning of another sorrow that mar my cordial relationship with my mother,” Oluwakemi said narrating her cold experience.
‘Lack of patience toiled my future ‘
Another teenager who pleaded anonymity said her pregnancy was a result of disobedience to her parents who never stopped warning her.
She said, “I am from a family of 9 and things have not been easy for us at all. The financial struggle of my family made me stop going to school in SS1 for lessons that were cheaper than schooling and exposed me to a lot of things.
“I became carried away by the promises from the guy I was dating thinking that my life will be better off with him. He gives me money, takes me to an eatery, and buys some clothes at times for me which I could not get from home because of our family’s incapability, “she added.
She also disclosed that her father on the other hand was never really around to shower her with fatherly affection, care, monitor, and advise her. Instead, he just sends money once in a while which is not even enough for the upkeep of the family.
“My mother always advised me to be careful of the boys I was moving with but I felt I was smart enough to handle things myself which finally became a cross for me to bear till now,” she added.
Things finally went out of hand when she got pregnant but unfortunately, the boyfriend denied and rejected the pregnancy. So, she had to carry her cross by herself.
A practicing Nurse with General Hospital, Ikorodu, Mrs. Ade Emmanuel, said the causes of teenage pregnancy are parental mistakes, peer pressure, and social media.
According to her, “At certain stages, parents should stop undressing in the presence of their teenage ward. Many parents are also career conscious to improve family income to the neglect of the children physically and emotionally.
“In the course of this, if they see any man that professes love, either real or fake they fall for it. Parents should also train teenage girls to dress decently both within and outside their house.
“There comes the illusion in teenagers that l am now an adult and If not properly tutored, this is the time they want to experiment with everything in adulthood. At this point, if you are not there to train them, there are hirelings outside that will help you and more often than not, teenage pregnancy is always the result,” she added.
The Founder of Annie Beacon Girl Child Support initiative, Emmanuel Grace Ann revealed that the major causes of teenage pregnancy are the absence of affection, supervision, and emotional care of the parent towards the girl child.
Ann said, “It has always been known that girls are very emotional in every way so there has to be somebody close to them to know what they are going through and be able to help them tackle it.
“If they can not find out such information from their parents they will find it from someone else. We have seen how this has done a lot of harm to the girl child. If they don’t get the necessary attention they need, they tend to give in to anyone that tries to show them love and affection and can go to any length to do anything which can lead to abortion and other complications,” she added.
Ann advised that parents should always check the activities of their girls, and be more friendly with them. “The girl child wants someone compassionate that will be there to answer her secret questions,” she said.