Seeing a young girl who has not reached the age of 16 breastfeeding a crying infant, who seems to need breast milk every hour, in her classroom makes the other girls uncomfortable, they said.
“Having a baby looks fun; at least you’ll have someone to play with and bring to school everyday,” stated Louise, a 14 year old who sits next to ‘Tanya,’ who brings her nine month old to school everyday.
“It’s embarrassing seeing a young girl like that with a baby; no man will want to marry you if they see that. Plus, when will she get to read her book when he keeps sucking and throwing her books around in the classroom?” asked Ruthie, a young girl who claims she is not in favor of young girls having sex before marriage.
The real question in 16-year-old Tanya’s life is: why did she get pregnant if school is her first priority? According to the teen, having a baby is one of the sacrifices she had to make to go to school.
“When I enrolled, I needed money to buy uniform to attend and then food to be able to focus while there. People in my community know that I love school very much and have over the years supported my going. This time around, one man saw that I needed things to get in school and offered to help. I couldn’t refuse,” Tanya, whose name has been changed, stated.
Tanya had to get over her initial feelings when she started showing, at the age of 15, that she was pregnant. It wasn’t until she was well into her seventh month that she was sent home to deliver her baby. Tanya says she never missed a day of school; she would to school to receive her work and then sit around the cafeteria until classes end.
“I always sat where I could hear my teacher teach our lesson; that’s how addicted I am to school,” Tanya stated, “and when they allowed me back, I brought my son with me.”
The 9th graders in her class have different feelings towards sex and believe having underage sex is a crime because government has been stern in ensuring that girls under the age of 18 are protected from sexual assault and rape.
“Watching Tanya have a baby and then start bringing the baby to school is going against everything the president said,” they added.
Meanwhile, Tanya says her education will “continue and hold” despite her baby; and that with her new responsibility as a mother, she believes her education will be more essential now that she is learning for her and the child.