4 Nigerian Women On Getting Pregnant In Their Teens

June 10, 2021

I read a lot of books growing up about the consequences of teen pregnancies and it was always interesting to me how teenagers were treated without a care in such conversations. Nothing about how they feel or how it happened and how to prevent it — just age-old fear-mongering. In this article, four Nigerian women talk about getting pregnant in their teens. 

consequences of teen pregnancies

Esi

One night, I was at my friend’s house. Some of my other friends were there. There was another guy who was a friend of my friends. I noticed him staring at me while I was dancing. Later that night, he came to talk to me. We talked till 12 then we went to my friend’s room, where he kissed me. While we were having sex, I felt pain and asked him to stop but he didn’t. I had to pull myself away. He asked what’s wrong and I didn’t know so I suggested we tried again. I was still uncomfortable, so we stopped. I asked him if he came inside me, he said no. I never saw him after that. 

About a month later, I travelled to Lagos to see my uncle. I had sex with someone else and we didn’t use protection. Shortly after, I noticed I had a vagina infection so I took drugs for it. One day, I was in an Uber on my way home and I noticed I was nauseous but I ignored it. The next day, I noticed my breasts were heavy and painful — I couldn’t even touch them. My left leg was swollen and I realized I was always tired but I stayed in denial until I went to see my sister. 

One night at my sister’s place, I was texting my friend about how I haven’t seen my period for almost two months and I started crying because I realized I was pregnant. My sister noticed I was crying and asked what was wrong? I didn’t want to tell her at first but I’m glad I did.  The next day we confirmed it with a urine and blood test. She started crying and I cried too because I felt like I had disappointed her. 

At the hospital, they told me it was two months old, that’s when I realized it was the guy I met at the party that got me pregnant. I was anaesthetised for the abortion. I could feel that there was something going on in my vagina and it was painful but at the same time I felt numb. I remember hearing myself screaming and crying, I just wanted it to end. I don’t know how long the whole thing lasted but I fell asleep immediately after. I had a lot of drugs to take. I bled nonstop for months with severe cramps. My mental health was shit — my depression became worse because I was disappointed in myself. Every time I closed my eyes, the scene would flash so I had problems sleeping. 

Betty

I was raped when I was 12. I think it made me more sexually active. I was so excited to be free so I neglected my books for my first semester. I had a boyfriend and we had sex. I noticed I felt sick every time I woke up and hadn’t seen my period in two months but I was praying the symptoms would go away on their own.  

One day, my stomach started hurting badly so my mum took me to the hospital. The doctor advised us to do a scan. The scan revealed that I was three months pregnant. Long story short, my mum made me abort it. I became depressed after that. I couldn’t concentrate at school and had to do an extra year because of it. I wanted to die. I don’t know if I ever got over that period of my life. I am currently trying to reach out to a therapist. 

Nneka

When I was 15, I was a chorister at the church I used to attend. The keyboardist was on my case but I kept telling him I wasn’t interested. One day, his girlfriend, who was also a chorister, warned me to leave her boyfriend. I was confused and told her to relax, that I only liked women. That wasn’t enough for her because she went to report to the pastor that I was dating her boyfriend and that I was lesbian. I was called out and suspended from the choir. 

The choir was my safe place because I was being abused at home. The suspension messed with me and I decided to hurt her back. I went to visit her boyfriend and had sex with him. It was an unpleasant experience and the worst part was that I got pregnant. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t tell my parents because they would kill me. I told the guy and he told his girlfriend. She was very upset but when the anger passed, she started giving me concoctions to abort it. 

At first, it was small stout and alligator pepper. When it didn’t work, she brought some black smelly liquid. That didn’t work either. My cousin eventually found out and took me to a chemist. The chemist said he had to finger me to insert the drugs so I let him — I was desperate. I was home alone when the effect of the drugs kicked in. I had severe cramps and was bleeding heavily. I had to sit on the toilet throughout the day because pads weren’t helping. I was getting too weak so I called my friend who rushed me to a hospital where I eventually did a dilation and curettage procedure. The nightmares, the pain and the infection that followed are not things I speak lightly about. I had to repress the memory for a long time. 

Favour

I was already sexually active at 18. I knew all the right things to do. I read a lot. I would take pills after sex but one day, I didn’t. I simply forgot.  I went home for Christmas and in between meals, I was throwing up. When it was time for my period, it didn’t show. That’s when I realized I was pregnant. I waited till the holidays were over, struggling to hide the symptoms from my mum. When I returned to school, I confirmed it with a test and the next day, I aborted it. I try not to think too much about it.

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