Experiences of teenage mothers subsequent to having their first child : a case of females attending school in Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal.
Nxumalo, Nomfundo Philile.
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The study seeks to describe the experiences of teenage mothers subsequent to having their first child among females attending school in Jozini, a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal. The study adopted a qualitative research approach using in-depth interviews with teen mothers between the ages of 16-18 years, head masters of the two secondary schools, life orientation teachers two from each school and health workers of the two local clinics. A semi-structured interview schedule was developed and sixty-six (66) participants were interviewed individually and in focus groups. The major findings of this study are that the reproductive health knowledge of teenagers is very low as well as their knowledge on health resources available to them. Through the study, the experience that teenage mothers face while they are trying to complete their schooling having had a baby is revealed. Some have dropped-out of school and returned immediately after the baby’s birth and some are deprived of the chance to continue with their schooling. They associate pregnancy with negative consequences, as they have nothing tangible to do for the reason that they are not confident about the future, because of low education together with low economic status. The financial burden place on them is massive as the babies’ fathers do not stick around after the pregnancy hence no support is received from the baby daddies. Furthermore their parents’ or guardians’ educational and economic status was also discovered to be low. In light of these findings, it is important to allow them to return to school after the baby is born so that the educational attainment of teenagers may be increased. They also need support from the community, parents, teachers and health workers so that they can curb the high rates of school drop-outs and escalating teenage pregnancy rates.