So much has been talked about with regard to teenage pregancies in the past few weeks especially because schools have been reopened in uganda after a long two year forced closure. As per usual, men with useless titles, unsolicited strong opinions and corrupted power have said the most to expose their foolishness on the subject. The same men who are culprits of getting these teenagers pregnant have a mouth full to say about what rights the girls should be denied. It is absurd that we as a community sit by and watch such foolishness reign in our societies .This silent tragedy of teenage pregnacies is not given the attention it desires to get rid of the deadly vice.
According to the ministry of health, 25% of ugandan teenagers become pregnant by the age of 19. Close to half are married before their 18th birthday and continue to have babies into their mid forties. If this statistic does not cause you concern and worry, then we have very big problems ahead of us in the new year.
Several discussions have been held about reinstating the pregnant teengers in school. My opinion is that It is not enough to want to get teen mothers back in school . We must join forces to create enabling environments for them to succeed. We must be deliberate about creating brave and safe spaces for these girls to transition back into the school system .
We must have bold conversations about the crisis of multiple transitions on ones mental, physical, emotional , and all round well being. Many of us have been known to preach self care whether it be communal or individual, but what does self care look like in the face of multiple transitions ? How do we create environments that nurture smooth transitions however unconfirtable they may be ? I do not have the answers , but i know that i must become a safe person and space before i can create one for another young woman, it starts with me. Whether the me in this case is the government, the classmate , the parent, the community , the local hospital etc we can not pour from an empty cup and if we are to raise children as one solid village ( havent you heard that it takes a village to raise a child ) then we must be mindful what we are pouring into our teen girls today as they transition. We must invest in unlearning and relearning how to deal with tough situations that we may not agree with or entirely support.
School is a continuous transition, it is hectic. A womans body is constantly undergoing various transitions , the environment and society is constantly evolving , so much is changing within us and around us . How do we stop and take notice , to offer empathy, to be the safe person, place or destination teenage mothers need to transition safely? Giving birth changes you! How can we work together to create safe environments for our girls to feel at home in their bodies , minds , and spaces in the face of the tragedy that os teenage pregnacies .
These questions are for me and you both. Start today, work on yourself, your values , your perceptions , re examine the things that shape and inform your grounding in these principles , have the courage to question and seek new kmowlege – invest in learning empathy . Be that safe space for you and everyone around you. Allow yoursef to transition too .