In South Africa, 271 schoolgirls fall pregnant every day. By the time you wake up, have some breakfast, finish reading this article, go to school, come back, chill out with friends and go to sleep, 271 more teenagers would have a new life growing inside of them.
For a lot of women finding out they’re pregnant is the most exciting time in their life. However, falling pregnant when you’re a teenager can leave you feeling isolated, scared and facing a massive responsibility that you’re not yet ready for!
Like Khensani, you might try to ignore the signs that you’re pregnant, like feeling tired all the time, nausea and putting on weight, because staying in denial seems like the safer option. But the sooner you face the reality and know for sure, you’ll have more options available to you! Check out some of the options you can access here.
Being pregnant during school is hard! Balancing school, friends and a life growing inside of you can be overwhelming. Especially when you feel your actions are being judged by your peers and the people around you.
All these things lead to many learners in Mzansi leaving school. 74% of 14-19 year old pregnant learners in South Africa drop out of school and few return.
A lack of support can be the determining factor as to why many don’t return! However, there is help and a sea of information available:
But I’m too young to be pregnant. I’m only 15 years old. There’s no way I could be pregnant…
Shugafam, don’t be like Khensani, so blinded by love that she wasn’t aware of what she was doing or what could happen…
The fact is, as soon as you have your first period and you start having unprotected sex, you can get pregnant, no matter how old you are!
Establishing whether or not you are pregnant early on gives you time to decide on how to best prepare, so make sure you have all of the information you need before making your next move.
Taking a pregnancy test is the first step you’ll need to take, but then there are a few more steps to follow. Getting tested for HIV and establishing your status allows you to make sure that you and your baby’s health are cared for, and increases your chances of giving birth to an HIV negative child if you are found to be HIV+. Also, accessing antenatal care will become a running feature throughout your pregnancy; where you have regular appointments with a midwife to ensure that you and your kid are fit and ready.
For those of you out there who are not ready to make these decisions, remember to use a condom if you’re having sex. Using a condom is an almost certain way to protect your sexual health and avoid pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, it is important to remember that you do not have to go through this experience alone. There is help out there, but it is up to YOU to make use of it. Talking to family, friends, partners or healthcare workers may be hard, but it can help you find the support network you need during your pregnancy.
If you’re going through a similar situation to Khensani and want to share your thoughts, then send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org