by Oratilwe Moerane
I am 19 years of age, a mother to a 2 year old little cute man. “Being a teen mum means we met a little early but it also means that I get to love you a little longer.” Broken dreams due to teenage pregnancy: I always saw myself in what I call my 5 miraculous dresses 1. Matriculation dress 2 and 3. Graduation dresses 4. Wedding dress 5. Maternity dress Sadly because back in those years I never taught myself not to take anything my peers say personal. I found myself taking a different route from the one planned watching my dreams shatter. At that very moment it had to take God to turn my life upside down so I could learn how to live right side up without searching for any validation. When I found out I was pregnant, I had to deal society confronting me with painful stigma and mistrust. At that age of 17 I had to realise that motherhood is a choice made daily, having to put someone else’s happiness and well being before yours, to teach hard lessons, to do right even when you are actually not sure what right is, having to forgive myself over and over again thinking I’m doing everything wrong. These were lessons that I should have learnt at the right age and time. Having to drop out of school i had to hustle hard so that I can provide where I can for my son.The hunger of a productive launch is pretty addictive. Not only was I grateful to share my story to over 600 pupils including the honourable Minster Angela Motshekga, UNESCO, partners and MBTEENLIFESTLYE , I had to hear and learn the different perspectives on how teenage pregnancies affect our parents, families and communities.
Having been provided with more information to make more informed decisions, I hope that now society will learn to stop shaming our teenagers who are pregnant, those who feel they want to start using contraceptive or know their statues. Rather than confronting them, help them understand their decisions and make them fully aware of the choices they are about to take. The Let’s Talk campaign will allow teenagers to use the materials on the website not only to inform themselves but inform others of the necessity of taking care of ones health and understanding that pregnancy at the right time will ensure a healthy mother and happy baby. We must be gentle and supportive so that we don’t have girls replacing their fathers with their boyfriends, because i believe the moment we step into the teenage life we need a consistent shoulder to cry on a person who listens to understand and not just to respond.