Motherhood: A New Beginning
By Khadija Yusra Sanusi
In this article we are reminded not to panic - even when we find out that we are pregnant. We'll also be educated on a few sexual reproductive health centres in Nigeria that one can go to if they need help or have queries.
In one of his articles, a good friend of mine, Nnamdi Ehirim, wrote: “Panicking is bad; it never solves any problem.” But so often, this is the first reaction to many of our problems – like when we realize that we are pregnant and not ready to have a baby.
Using condoms and other contraceptives are the only effective ways of preventing pregnancy, despite the 8 common myths about birth control that people often believe to be true. If by any chance, you get pregnant, do not panic. Go to the clinic to get tested and be sure, enrol in antenatal classes and start thinking of how to best keep you and the baby healthy – what to eat, what tests to take, how to do postpartum care, etc.
When Diana found out she was pregnant on MTVShuga Naija, she panicked and started questioning how to get rid of it. Her parents did not create a conducive environment for her to ask questions about sex; so when she realized that she was pregnant, she did not know how to reach out to them. Luckily, she knew to go to the clinic and to a trusted teacher, Corper Yasmin. The consultant at the clinic was calm and non-judgemental. She told Diana: “Pregnancy is not the end of the world. Your next step should be preparing to be a mother. Take very good care of yourself. We offer antenatal classes here for young mothers. And support, too.”
This is not the first time MTVShuga is tackling teen pregnancy. In Down South, Zamo was a party animal who neglected her responsibilities as a mother for the majority of the season. We follow her journey to becoming a sensible mother who prioritizes her son over her childish whims. The development of the character inspired empathy in the viewers; we were less worried about her getting pregnant in high school and more concerned about her role as a mother.
When you feel like you are ready to have sex, you must first seek the correct information. Let me introduce you to Hello Lagos. It is an adolescent/youth sexual reproductive health unit under the Lagos State Ministry of Health. It hopes to provide a “safe and confidential centre for young people.” It educates young people about safe sex and family planning so that they are able to make informed decisions. Marie Stopes and Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) are also two organizations that help provide correct information.
Understandably, when there’s a baby on the way, you might feel alone and scared. But being pregnant is not the end of the world. It could be your saving grace, as it was for Zamo, as it will be for Diana. Just like any other new job, it will take some time to get used to and some adjustments. It may not be a smooth ride but in the end, you will come out stronger; you will be healthy, smarter and more mature. You will be great. And there’s no reason to doubt that.
But you must remember that panicking is bad; and it never solves any problem.