The truth has to be told, that attaining adulthood before puberty is not an achievement one is proud of, our children are learning to be mothers before learning to become daughters, our boys become independent men before they become independent sons, lastly, they end in the street. They form what you may call street families. Moreover, if it is achievement, then it has lasting effect in the life of a young person.
Teenage pregnancy is driven by poverty, but we are witnessing even children from well of families, getting pregnant at a school going age. Teenage pregnancy, has more negative effects on the health of young girl. The young girl is at high risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. Most of young girls will engage, or forced, to have unprotected sex. They are at high risk of contracting cervical cancer, and even death during childbirth.
You will be surprised to hear young girls say, it was a relative who forced her to have sex first. A relative who is supposed to protect her, and then from there, she gave in to anyone who asked for it. She will even end not knowing the father of baby. Sometimes victims speak with a pride as if they have broken a world record!
Poverty has taken blamed in most of our discussions, as a contributing factor to early marriages, and as main cause of a child giving birth to child. Poverty leads Poor families sell children into marriage. It could be to settle debts, to make money to escape the cycle of poverty, and in some cultures, to offer a young girl as a gift, or gift wife to famous persons, like a king for example.
This tells us that child marriages are as old as human being himself is. If a girl gets pregnant at the age of nine years, and gives birth at age of ten, the same year her mother had her fifth birth. In addition, the girl’s first-born is the age of her young sister who is born fifth. In my community it will be sentimentalized as a sugar cane chewing family.
The young girl will live, and have a real hard time coping with the new responsibilities that come along with pregnancy and, with giving birth to a child.
The body not well developed
The body of young girl is not well developed to carry a baby, leave alone even being raw for sex, and there are health risks for the baby, and children born to mothers bellow the age of 15 years are more likely to suffer health, social, and emotional complications in their lives than a baby born to older mother are.
Teenagers have limited access to contraception not because of they lack these methods, but lack of knowledge, and lack of education. The young girl is often subject to a lifetime of poverty. Research has shown child mothers have a high risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence or even murder.
Lack of maturity
The young body, and mind lacks, the capability to shoulder numerous responsibilities, which includes taking care of baby, providing for baby, taking of herself, and to commit to relationship or marriage. Marriage itself demand understanding and maturity that is directly relate to age.
Lack of money
The teenager has not even acquired survival skills; to enable her, do something to earn a living to support herself and the baby. Both these young need help from parent and the community as a whole. If what leads to early pregnancy was because of lack financial support, then the problem has doubled, and it has grown worse for the young person to swallow.
Child marriage is among things that put the life of young person in danger. In many occasion culture backwardness, and religion, has taken blame for allowing the practice to exist. Child marriage has many causes though, these which includes: cultural, economic, social, and religious.
There is a need to develop clear policies to protect children from getting married. Both parent and girls be empower girls with proper supply of information, skills, Provided with economic support , offer of free education for the parents, community members, and if possible offer incentives to girls and their families, if we are to save generations to come.