Ermelo family tells teen mother to take a hike after second baby, leaving a young couple to regret a lack of family planning.
When boys started paying attention to Nthabiseng Mokoena* at the age of 15 years old, she says it made her feel beautiful.
Despite strict warnings from her aunt that she was too young to date, she began carrying out a secret love affair with a boy at school.
But a trip to the clinic for what Mokoena thought was just the flu, turned out to reveal something that would change the 15-year-old’s life forever.
“The doctor told me I was pregnant,” says Mokoena, who adds that she will never forget the look on her aunt’s face. “I could see how angry she was and I knew that day I was going to be beaten.”
Both teens’ families decided to support them through their first pregnancy. Two years later, as the young couple expects their second child, the families have changed their tune.
“Things were fine until I became pregnant again last year and my whole family was furious,” Mokoena says. “I was asked to take my child and leave my home.”
During her first pregnancy, Mokoena continued schooling until she was 8 months pregnant despite the gossip and ridicule. This time, she is may drop out because she is struggling to concentrate and failing all her subjects.
Her boyfriend has also sacrificed his education, leaving school to try to provide for his young family but has only been able to get piece jobs doing construction, Mokoena says.
“Both my children receive a social grant, but it is not enough and my family disowning me made things harder than ever,” admits Mokoena, who has moved in with the family of her boyfriend.
“No one wants to employ a 17-year old boy,” she adds.
Missing the shot
Mokoena only began taking birth control shots after her first child. Although she went for her first shot, she did not return to get the follow-up injections every two or three months needed to prevent pregnancy.
She says she and her partner have learned their lesson.
“I regret not listening and taking my aunts’ aice when they told me to use contraception,” says Mokoena, who is currently on birth control. “To be honest, I was given not one, but two chances to prevent the situation I am in.”
“I robbed myself of my teenage years and I will never regain them,” she tells OurHealth. “My kids and I have become strangers to them, but I truly hope one day they will forgive me and take me back.”
A 2013 United Nations Population Fund a href=”http:countryoffice.unfpa.orgsouthafrica201111244255reproductive_health_and_hiv” target=”_blank”analysisa found that despite good family planning policies, adequate funding and the use of public-private partnerships to expand access, challenges remained in terms of uptake of contraception. These included the quality of family planning counselling offered at largely understaffed clinics, lack of free contraception available outside of clinic hours for school-going youths and the unavailability of contraceptive implants.
In February, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi introduced the country’s first below the skin implant to prevent pregnancy, called a href=”http:www.health-e.org.za20140515new-birth-control-hits-mark-mpumalanga-women” target=”_blank”Implanon Nxta. The size of a matchstick, the implant can protect against pregnancy for three years and works within 50 minutes of being inserted into the upper arm.
* Name changed to protect the identity of the child
Source : Health-e