BY Winde Angoja
It happened last week on Friday, September 24, 2021. June* not her real name – is a Form Two student in one of the public secondary schools in Nairobi. edwin anjago
June is three months pregnant. She had kept the pregnancy a secret until last week – when she felt that enough was enough.
She decided that she was going to tell her parents about the pregnancy because it was only a matter of time before they learned about the little life that was slowly but surely taking shaping inside her young womb.
“I had never attempted sex. The first time I did it, it’s the first time I lost my periods – and would later learn that I was pregnant,” June would later explain to her parents.
She chose the best time to break the news – just before the family went to bed after a sumptuous dinner.
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) – at least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years in the developing world.
June’s pregnancy adds to this statistic this year.
Three months pregnant
But how did a day school student manage to conceal her pregnancy for three months?
“I often wore buggy clothes, and would walk with a slight bend to the front. I also tended to avoid crowded places. It also helped that I had put on some weight – and so those around me thought that I was just healthy.
“Inside I was fighting a tough war with myself. I didn’t know how my father was going to react to the news,” said June who will be turning 17 in December.
“No one in the family knew that I was pregnant save for my elder sister Betty. She was scared for me, for my education, and most importantly she didn’t know how dad would react especially after working so hard to keep us in school.”
Then came September 24 – the day she would tell dad, mum and the rest of the family that she was about to become a mother at 16 years of age.
I am sorry Dad to disappoint you
“Dad. Mum. I am sorry. I have disappointed you,” she had blurted out, and waited for their reaction.
The house went quiet. The family had just finished their dinner – and were all fixated on the TV watching the 9pm news.
June’s mum threw a quick look at her dad, then at Betty – before fixing her penetrating gaze on June who was had by now opened a flood gate of tears that almost flooded the table.
Dad didn’t talk. The silence that followed was loud and penetrating. The only sound they kept hearing was that of the female anchor reading news.
“I am pregnant,” June dropped the bombshell and waited to see the extent of the damage it would cause.
She kept sobbing – uncontrollably – only stealing half glances at her father and mother.
“I had chosen the best spot right next to the door – just in case I needed to escape,” June would later say.
June had had sex with an older boy who said ‘Oh Dear, you’re the best thing on earth. I love you!’ She had believed all the ‘wonderful’ sayings and found herself pregnant while still in secondary school.
I was frightened
Now she was frightened. Her dad stood up from her seat – muted the TV and walked towards June. Every one else was quiet – but was following the unfolding events like a hot series show.
The walk took a good 30 minutes – or rather that’s what June felt.
June collapsed onto her knees and covered her head with both her hands. She knew what was coming – everyone seemed to know.
Then she heard his hands stroke her back gently.
“I am sorry my child. You don’t have to cry. Let’s get through this together as a family. It is no longer your problem, but ours as a family,” her dad said as he brought her back to her feet.
He wiped her tears and embraced her, reassured her that all will be fine.
We are keeping the child
“Finish your meal, and you have to promise me that you will get through this together. Remember Daddy and Mommy love you very much,” he said.
At that point everyone joined in the embrace. June was more confused – she didn’t know whether to cry or smile.
But one thing was clear – she felt alive again despite her mistake.
Dad left for his bedroom after the meals – and as he waked toward the bedroom door he said. He was disappointed – of course – but this was not the time to castigate and crash her down further. It was time to love, and that’s what he did.
“Remember we are keeping the child, that’s a wonderful human being you are carrying.”
June knew that it was wrong for her to play with boys – and her Dad and Mum often sat them down to educate them on matters of teenage sex.
“I guess I didn’t listen. I have learned my lesson Mother,” she would later tell her parents.