Pregnant At 13, Two Jamaican Teenagers Share Their Stories

Teenage pregnancy is also not a new trend in the Caribbean. Many of us were born to teenage mothers or we were teenage mothers or fathers ourselves. For the most part teenage pregnancy didn’t not happen by choice.

In the video below, 18 Degrees North, tells two stories of mothers pregnant at 13, Shachelle and Shenika.

Shachelle became pregnant at 13 after her unconcerned father encouraged her to find a man to support her. Shenika who lived with her parents, got pregnant at 13 after experimenting with sex with her 17 year old boyfriend.
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The stories told by Shachelle and Shenika are not unique but their experiences highlight the plight of teen mothers in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. For Shachelle, the absence of parental supervision or an inconsiderate father, led her down a path where many girls her age have also journeyed. In Shenika’s case, it was different, the pressure of having sex was too great and she decided to go ahead with the “experiment”.

Pregnant at 13
Pregnant at 13

The reasons behind teenage pregnancy are far too complicated to be explained in an article. There are many social issues and to make matters worst, it’s hard for teenagers to avoid sexual content, its on television, on the streets, online, in movies, almost everywhere.

The stereotype of teenage mothers is that they are probably promiscuous and do not know the identity of the father; they are isolated and in conflict with their parents. On the contrary, in many cases, getting pregnant may be perceived as a way of making an embryonic and uncertain relationship with a boyfriend more permanent and secure. The person whose affection you may crave most of all, your boyfriend and the father of the child, will hopefully have his interest renewed and redoubled if you get pregnant. Freedom’s Consequences

Many of us know the negative consequences of being pregnant at a young age although for many that knowledge came a little bit too late. If you are a parent of a teenager especially if your teenager is a girl, you have more reasons to be concern.

We also have to remember that in some cases, there are also teenage fathers. Today there are few if any support available to young fathers to help them “learn” how to be “fathers”. Many young fathers end up fathering several kids to different mothers which leads to even more problems.

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Tisha Ricketts
Born and raised in Freeport Bahamas, I am a lover of Caribbean life and all things equal. I believe that someday, the Caribbean will come together as one nation
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