pregnancy blues

Pregnancy Awareness Week means that our society needs to take stock of our general reproductive health.

Pregnancy Awareness Week means that our society needs to take stock of our general reproductive health.

It also means that those of us who are more sexually experienced, either by the number of years or by practical experience, have a collective and shared responsibility to transfer the knowledge to those who are facing the challenges of puberty. As things stand or if statistics all over the world are to be entertained, then we have a serious and daunting task to fulfil.

Globally, teenage pregnancies are reportedly escalating at an alarming rate. In England, the government is perturbed at the astronomical rise in the shocking numbers of children who are on the verge of mothering or fathering their offspring.

Needless to say, this alarming reality means that parents are faced with the challenge of ensuring that their children learn about sex and matters of sexuality within the household.

For instance, there is a school of thought that says that our children should start dating or at least be allowed to date within the household.

Others are saying young lovers must be allowed to sleep over and to privately share a bedroom without parental supervision. Those who religiously hold this view think that part of the reason our children fall prey to premature pregnancies is simply because we do not trust them or that if we do, we do not show it.

Therefore, this means that our children choose to experiment and engage sexually in secret and without proper guidance - they are children by day and lovers by night.

In this regard, while I strongly believe that nothing is impossible and also that every sacrifice should be made to impart and empower our offspring with the necessary tools to cope with the realities of sexual life, I must confess that I cannot imagine myself being elaborately descriptive to my daughter when it comes to sexual interaction and the ultimate engagement. For some illusionary reason, I deceive myself and I am certain you do too, into thinking that your own child will be different from yourself.

However, the reality of statistics and the evidence seem to suggest otherwise. Despite these massive campaigns, the freely available knowledge and prevention mechanisms, it seems that hormones are much stronger than any reasoning power.

I am told, for instance, that in an area of a township in Soweto, there are more than 12 children who are pregnant, the youngest being only 12 years of age. These children roam the streets proudly, as if they are carrying some kind of a great accomplishment - a certificate or degree of some sort. It is alleged that those who are not pregnant are ridiculed and considered stupid and backward.

Being pregnant is apparently fashionable, is a way out of school, is a passage of life. Can you imagine a pregnant 12-year-old, who might be HIV-positive, who will drop out of school, who might not have a chance to recover in her life.

I am terrified for the future of our children. I pray that God can heal our world and all our children.