It's not where you start, it's how you finish. Lifestyle changes are a choice.

Lady_ D
Posted September 18, 2021 from Nigeria

 

Nigerian Women Voices Matters- Join the Movement!

I do not condone nor encourage teenage pregnancy, but truth is... many teens will become parents before their 18th birthday. Teen pregnancy exists and will continue to exist. How do I know?

Here's My Story

In 1982,  at the age of 14, I became a teenage mother. During that time many options were presented to me, such as adoption, abortion,  and even passing my child off to an older family member to be raised as their child. However, at 14 years old, I decided to keep and raise my child.

My choice came with many tears, great sacrifices, and at times a lot of regrets; it wasn't easy, but with love,  faith,  time, support, and training... it did get better.

‚ÄčAs a missionary, I later traveled to many places, and have seen many struggling mothers both young and old with stories of despair, hopelessness, and pains of regret. 

A few years ago I landed in  East Africa, moved on to West Africa, and settled in Nigeria, where there is an estimate of  31.5 percent of teenage mothers and mothers to be.  

Close to 90 percent of these soon-to-be mothers, and teen mothers do not receive any support from their families in helping them through this difficult time.

 However, my plan in Nigeria was not to start a group home for young mothers. But,  the lessons  I passed through as a teen mother had been in a deep sleep inside of me for year's waiting to be a lifeline of hope for young teen mothers who had lived with the secret,  embarrassment, and family shame of being pregnant. 

However,  it was in those times,  I learned to push harder than  I had pushed in the delivery room.  It was in those times, that I discovered lifestyle changes came with changing my lifestyle.

In 2017, I attended an Educational Conference in Jos Nigeria. When the conference director approached me and ask if  I could fill in for a speaker that suddenly became sick.

Well-known American school leaders were there. And  I had no notes or idea what to say before this large crowd of people.

So I revealed my truth. I shared that I once was a teen mother, but through hard work and determination, I changed my life as a teen mother. I studied, traveled to many places, became a nurse practitioner, purchase property,  started businesses, and watched my daughters, yes daughters walk across colleges stages.

See it's not how you start, it's how you choose to finish.

Life doesn't end, because of a bad decision.

There is hope~

Here are some photos of me with the women at my center enjoying a guest who is teaching us about eating healthy.  

photo#2

Investing in the lives of the women at my center.

We are traveling to a life-changing, 2-night 3 day conference in Abuja Nigeria. Fully paid for by our center.

 

Don't just invest in yourself, plant a seed in someone else's life.

 

This story was submitted in response to World Pulse Digital Ambassadors.

Comments 10

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megsmueller
Sep 18
Sep 18

Thank you again! Hope never fails - there's always hope and redevelopment. Thank you for reaching out to those who might be saying to themselves "this is it, it's final". I've been there too. I must admit not too long ago I visited there, but I was wrong. It wasn't the end for me. Your story inspires me. Keep it up sister. We need it!

Lady_ D
Sep 18
Sep 18

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm not a very good writer, but I'm getting better at it.

Stay encouraged!

Catherine Djiemo
Sep 18
Sep 18

Thanks for being such an inspiration. Cultural norms have made so many teenage moms feel ashame . But there is life and a future to succeed after being a teenage mom. You are doing a great job oroviding a space to mentor these girls , they need it
Hugs

Otuto Monye
Sep 18
Sep 18

Hello sis,
Your story is deep and very inspiring. I thank God for how far He's taken you irrespective of your past challenges. Please keep being a voice for our young and promising teenagers and I know there'll be a transformation in this generation.
Well done sis.

ruthibelle
Sep 19
Sep 19

This line: "It was in those times, I learned to push harder than I had pushed in the delivery room."
And this one: "Don't just invest in yourself, plant a seed in someone else's life."
POWERFUL!!!

You're doing amazing work! Thank you for caring, for helping other women, and for sharing your story!

Manasa Ram Raj
Sep 21
Sep 21

Such an inspiring post! This line resonated with me, "it's not how you start, it's how you choose to finish." Thanks for sharing.

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 21
Sep 21

This is such important work. What a journey you have been through, and such a sudden change at such a young age. Almost 1/3 of women are teenage mothers in your country. The photos are precious! What joy on everyone's faces to have the time together. I look to the time that men everywhere step up and teach men of all ages about respect for young women.

rebecca.tang
Sep 22
Sep 22

Thank you for sharing. I understand it is really not easy and have to be very tough to be a teenager mother. You are the best person to share your experience to the young girls. Also, it is necessary to educate the your girls on the impact of young age pregnancy.
Please continue the meaningful work on and be strong!
May Almighty God bless you and your family!

Starshine
Sep 24
Sep 24

A great point to make. Thank you for sharing. Many women in the midst of challenges need to hear "It's not where you start, it's how you finish. Lifestyle changes are a choice." It is a journey. Full of ups and downs, joys and sorrow, hopes and despair, but always ... move!

Elizabeth Francis
Sep 25
Sep 25

Awwwh congratulations my sister, that statement is so profound, its not how you start but how you finish.
So true sometimes when faced with circumstances, we have to be our own biggest motivator, speak affirmations to ourselves, that will push us to setting goals avd with God all things are possible, your journey is indeed a testament.. Keep on shining my sister