I just realized that l am pregnant, of all the things that could have happened to a 19-year-old black village girl this is just about the worst. So I try to cheer myself up with the fact that my boyfriend whom l have dated for over a year now will marry me. After all, he is just about almost finished with university. His mum knows l exist; surely just one more mouth to feed won't make them any poorer. Besides he told me he would love me forever. I smile inwardly as my thoughts start drifting to him.
I call Joel so that we can just talk, face to face, l do not want to tell him that he is going to be a father over the phone, I would rather shock him in person.
Joel doesn’t take much time to arrive; l wasn’t prepared to him arriving at such short notice because he was mad at me. He says lately l have been mean, moody and always nagging him. Maybe l am, l don’t know, if l am then l guess it’s the baby hormones that are making me wacko.
As l tell him that l have missed my monthly period his face tightens up and becomes hard. He looks displeased, not even a streak of a smile shows on his face. Not even a hug for me. umm, Joel is definitely angry. As if l made that baby on my own.
Oh, what a little fool l was to think he would be happy to become a father. Now l wish all this could be reversed.
“Joe we can get married in court, have a short wedding ceremony and live happily ever after, l tell him. I will be a good wife and mother. Isn't this what you have always wished for? For us to be together until we are 120 years of age?”.
“Well this came in a bit too early, l‘m not ready yet”, he responds. Blunt, cold and straight to the point. Ouch, this issue surely couldn't have gone any worse indeed. “Get a pregnancy test kit and test so that we can be sure”. He is still maintaining a faint hope that all this might not be real, and now l am too. But sadly l know it’s true because lately, l have been feeling slight nausea. Even a faint smell of food cooking has been making me feel like throwing up. And the mood swings, l just know l'm going to have a baby.
It's now the next day. I have gotten up at 5 am while everyone is asleep so that l can pee into the stick. “Oh shit!” I mutter to myself. I truly am expecting.
I have informed Joel, and he coldly responded that he has no idea what we should do. He says we cannot just marry in court; there is a need for bride price for my parents first. He adds that it is likely to be 10 cows plus damages for making me pregnant. And he doesn’t have any cows yet. Or money. He thinks l should go and stay with my aunty in the deeper parts of the village until the baby comes. “Then what will l do after the baby comes Joel?” Joe doesn’t have a clear answer.
I am clueless on what to do. I have shamed my mum, everyone will be gossiping about this. If my dad gets to know he might even chase me away from home. In my world teenage pregnancy is shameful, you definitely lose face in the society, and even future chances of ever getting married to a guy of your own age dwindle.
It's night time, l lie in bed pondering on my sad situation. I love Joel, but l am not ready for marriage, or to be a mum. I still need to go to college, and l have already found a place. Joel doesn't want this baby, l don't think he still wants me either. I do not want to force this down his throat, l want to be proposed to as l see in the movies, then say yes, get a white wedding and all that fancy stuff. I really wish someone had shared with me more on the issue of sex, men and marriage. Even my mum. And on that note, how am l even going to break this news to her?
Today is a new day. But there is no joy to this morning, l am still pregnant, and Joel said he does not want this baby or to be a father. Now l feel like l can't do this anymore, by this l mean living and life. I am feeling like a failure and a disappointment. I wish l had Joel’s support, but now he seems to be even more distant than ever. I also wish l had someone else to talk to, a person who can advise me, someone l can trust to keep my secret and not judge me. But who now? I live in a small community, news travels fast on this side, especially this kind of gossip.
It is now evening. I have made up my mind. I will get advice on Facebook. I have posted on Let Women Discuss; it’s a forum for ladies. I have shared my dilemma. I will hear what others have to say especially those who have been through something so similar situations.
I frown as l scroll down the comments which l had left to pile in all day. A few are insulting me saying l should not have had sex before marriage or if l decide to then l should have used protection. They are right, but mistakes happen, and l am acknowledging l have made one. What l just need is a way forward since l have no one else to turn to. I wish people could be a little more sympathetic here, l mean getting pregnant, being jilted, all in a week. just how much more negativity can l take?
There is also constructive advice on the Facebook forum, some ladies are saying l should keep my baby, it’s a blessing from God, and that once the baby comes, it will wash away all the pain. The ladies are also saying mothers are forgiving, l should tell mine and allow her to mother me in this dilemma. They are quite right; they just do not know that my mum is also going to be in the same hot soup as me if she sympathizes with me. My dad will say she and l have purposefully planned to shame him; he will chase both of us away. Not even my dad's Christian beliefs will save me from his wrath.
Other ladies are however saying if l do not have a plan of baby food, clothes, and support of the father then l can as well have an abortion. These women are also telling me that it is not easy being an unprepared young mother, who has no career and who is dependent on parents. They further explain how l may keep my baby but burden my family with the responsibility of taking care of a baby. They add on that this world we live in is not friendly on single mothers, they are frowned upon, regarded as bitches and people rarely considered much. They just judge you, and they do it harshly.
Finally, it is my time to decide, after all, l have the final say. I climb in bed, just hoping maybe l do not wake up, but if l do l am just going to take each day as it comes, until the rigorous 9 months come to pass.