One is 15 and the other is 14 but they are already nursing babies.Fifteen-year old Gersoline* who has twins and 14-year old Savannah*both stay in Domonicus Boitile Street in Katutura’s Gemengte location.The girls have both taken a year’s break from school to nurse their tots. Gersoline lives in a two roomed house with her parents, 17-year old sister and her little brother. Her parents - mother Ruditjie and father Gerson - gave up their room for her and the twins. Gersoline says she was very embarrassed giving birth at her age but now that the twins are here, she will make the most of it and be a good mother like her mother is. “My mother works so hard for us. I let her down but will make it up to her by going back to school next year,” says Gersoline.Her mother is distraught about her child becoming a mother at 15, “I talk to my girls everyday telling them we are not well off and that they must finish their school for us to have a better life. “When I first found out about Gersoline’s pregnancy, I was so shocked that I wanted to chase her out or just give her away. She was the one I could count on. She was always at home taking care of everything when I am not around. But then I thought of myself when I was younger I must have made my mother feel the same way,” she says. Ruditjie, 31, who fell pregnant when she was 17 years, said she regrets her past.“I am not proud for what I have done in the past but I am working so hard to give my children a better life. As a cleaner, I pray and talk to my children to be better than us,” she says.Gerson says it pains as a parent to see your little girl giving birth, twins are a blessing. “But as a parent you just can’t accept your little girl is expecting. I sat her down and asked her who did it to her, and believe me I wanted to kill that boy with my bare hands. “But the most important thing is she promised us to finish her school,” Gerson says.Savannah stays two houses from Gersoline’s with her three brothers and sister.“Sometimes I don’t believe it. I feel this is not happening to me. I sometimes feel sad but it’s so funny when I look at my baby that feeling just disappear. I feel happy,” she says while bathing her baby. By the way she handles her baby boy, it’s clear that she feels comfortable.Savannah says she realised her pregnancy two months after missing her periods and talked to her father who was very cool about it. “But my mother was very angry and she did not talk to me for sometime but then she accepted it. She sat me down and talked to me saying a child is a blessing and as long as I go back to school.”Next year Savannah will be doing her Grade 9 and she says she is not bothered by people talking behind her back and the staring when she will go back to school. “The person that I really let down is my father and I promise to make him proud of me once again.” Savanna regrets missing out on life “I miss the days when I had the freedom of going out of the house anytime I feel like.”Her father, a jovial man says he was angry but the grand child is a gift.“I was furious and disappointed. She was one of my well behaved children. The guy who made her pregnant is a boy I paid to drive them to school. “Well I approach him, he uses vulgar language. I made a case against him and when the police were looking for him his parents came to me asking that I withdraw the case because we are neighbours. We resolved the issue amicably,” he says.The boy, who is 18 years old now, says Savanna’s father helps where he can. “If ever I failed my child, it is when I never had dialogue with them. Now we are solid. I also know how to handle skeptics – I walk up to them and tell them that yes my child has a child but I still love her.“My grand child is a gift and I love him so much. That’s why I named him after my father. He is best guy.”
Countries with highest teen pregnancies in the world
10) Hungary: This country has 9,175 births per years by teenage females. The percentage of births is 1.3% per year.
9) Italy: 11,153 teenage births take place in Italy per year and the percentage of birth is 1.6%.
8). Spain: There are 11,264 births taking place in Spain every year and the percentage is somehow same as that of Italy, i.e. 1.6%.
7). Australia: This country has 11,894 teenage births per year and the percentage of birth rate is 1.7%.
6). Japan: 17,501 babies are born in Japan per year and 2.5% is the birth rate percentage of Japan.
5). France: 17,985 is the birth rate of this country with 2.6% birth rate percentage.
4). Canada: There are 19,920 teenage births per year in Canada and the percentage of birth rate is 2.8%.
3). Germany: This is the 3rd highest country with highest teenage pregnancies rate with 29,000 births per year and the birth rate percentage is 4.1%.
2). Poland: The second highest country with 30,413 births per year is Poland and the percentage of birth rate is 4.3%.
1). United States: The country with the highest number of birth rate is US with 494,357 teenage births per year and with the highest birth rate percentage, i.e. 7.6%.
What you can do as a mother
Clinical psychologist Dr. Whittaker says it is sad to see a teenager who is half a child herself struggling with a baby. “A 14 year old is still struggling to find her identity. They are very vulnerable and if the parents don’t support them, it is stressful for the young mothers.”“I just want to tell the parents that it is unacceptable, to push and punish their children for giving birth at that age. They need us parents to support them to raise the children for them to go back to school. By doing so, we will break this terrible cycle of poverty.
All is not lost though because psychlogists have suggested five things a parent can do in order to help their daughters from getting pregnant early.
Namibia has a high number of teenage pregnancies most of which go unreported. So many school girls drop out of school every year because of unwanted pregnancies.Now, here is what mothers can do.
The earlier you talk to your kids about sex, the more informed your child will be and the more comfortable they will feel about coming to you with questions. Plus, future conversations will be much, much easier if you start young.
Let them know your values
Teenagers want guidance from their parents, whether they admit it or not. Don’t be afraid to tell them your own views on sex.
Teach teens about emotional intimacy, too
Sex talks tend to focus on the physical. But you can also tell your child that you feel sex should occur in the context of an intimate relationship, and why.
A lecture instantly turns the conversation from two-way to one-way. Talking to your teen about sex effectively has to be a give-and-take. Remember to ask a lot of questions, and encourage your teen to do the same.
Relieve the pressure
If your child has difficulty opening up, try initiating the conversation while you’re doing something else, such as taking a walk or shooting hoops. Being involved in an activity while you talk will take a lot of the pressure off.