Even though she’s now 23, Alanna* doesn’t think she’s recovered from getting pregnant in her teens for her six-year-older boyfriend, his denial, and the circumstances surrounding the termination of her pregnancy.
This is Alanna’s story, as told to Boluwatife
Image source: Pexels
*Trigger warning: Teen pregnancy, Blood
Who would have thought my first relationship would change my life so much?
I was 16 when met Caleb*. I was fresh out of secondary school, attending tutorial lessons to prepare for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exams. He was 24, and we met because his brother was also attending the same lesson.
Caleb was the manager at a fuel station. I remember getting attracted to his tall, well-built stature. He also had this beautiful quiet smile. He noticed me too, and a month after we met, we started our relationship.
Yes, he knew I was 16.
It didn’t take long for him to start hinting about sex. I knew what sex involved, even though my knowledge was limited to what I read in Harlequin romance novels. There was no conversation about sex at home. With an absent dad who left when I was nine, the closest thing to a sex talk my five siblings and I got from my mum was, “No make them laugh me oo”, and “Na only me and God dey look una”.
I didn’t get much from my siblings either. I was the last born, and everyone had their own thing going on. By the time I was 16, most of my siblings had already moved out.
So, when Caleb started talking about sex, it felt like something I had to do. Plus, the reality shouldn’t be that different from what I’d read, right? I was wrong.
It was really different. It was my first time, so it wasn’t great. He also promised to use a condom. But a few minutes into it, he took it off because he wasn’t “feeling it”. At the time, I didn’t know if I was supposed to be offended, so I went with the flow.
I didn’t get my period the following month.
I knew enough from the books I’d read to suspect I was pregnant, and I was so scared. I walked a long distance away from my neighbourhood to buy as many pregnancy test strips as possible; I didn’t want anyone who could recognise me to see it. I did the tests, and every single strip indicated a positive result. Omo, I nearly fainted.
When I called Caleb and told him what happened, he asked me to come see him so he’d take me to get tested. Only for me to get there, and this guy started accusing me of lying so I could get money for an abortion. He kept denying it for almost a month, and all through that time, I was a nervous wreck.
It dawned on me that I was truly alone. But I also knew I didn’t have it in me to be a teenage mum, so I started researching how to terminate the pregnancy. I found several interesting options on Google. One said I could eat a plantain leaf or paw-paw leaf and drink a lot of stout. It also said death was a possibility, so I didn’t even bother trying.
Caleb came back around the second month of my pregnancy. He wanted me to keep it because he planned on marrying me. Men really move mad — this guy literally went from denying me to wanting us to get married. Apparently, he had consulted with some of his friends, and they all agreed I wasn’t lying. I wanted nothing to do with him anymore and I dumped him.
I was still on my abortion quest. I knew I had to do something fast, and I would need money. I started asking some of my friends online for money. No one really turned up until a friend who lived abroad helped me with the money. They didn’t know it was for an abortion, though. I just told them I needed money.
When I got it, I reached out to my best friend from secondary school and told her my predicament. She also helped me make findings, and we found someone who suggested some drugs for us.
I sent the money to my friend, who bought the drugs and brought them to me. It cost ₦5k. She’d already explained the process to me over the phone, and it was honestly hella confusing. I had to take it on an empty stomach with 7up. Why it had to be 7up, I don’t know.
D-day came, and I made sure I was alone before taking the drugs. I started bleeding immediately, and I was somewhat relieved, but the pain was out of this world. The blood was like something out of a horror movie. I couldn’t move, and I honestly thought I would die. The blood flowed all through that day, but it stopped the next morning. I panicked and called my friend because I thought the process had failed, and I dreaded the thought of going through it again. She advised me to watch and observe for a while, and that’s what I did. The bleeding eventually resumed and then didn’t stop for three weeks.
During that time, I became even more introverted than normal. I’d go days without saying a word other than greeting my mum. No one noticed. The bleeding was so bad that I had to change pads every two hours. If I sneezed too hard, it felt like my insides were flowing out. My friend said it was normal, but I was so worried I couldn’t sleep for days. On the outside, I still went about as normal; JAMB lessons and then back to the house, but I was dying inside.
The bleeding eventually stopped after the third week, but I honestly think something went wrong. It shouldn’t have gone on that long. I hope I can have children in the future.
I’m 23 now, but I still have this hatred and lack of trust for men. I have a partner now, and he’s great and all, but he’s just suffering for what he doesn’t know because I feel like I’m in survival mode. I love the fact that he plans for both of us and seems grounded, but he’s still a man, and men can be unpredictable, so he just feels like a financial means to an end.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep feeling like this, but it absolutely sucks.
NEXT READ: I Needed to Cut Myself to Feel Something