Jamaica Observer fetes teen moms ahead of Mother's Day

Monday, May 13, 2019

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AHEAD of yesterday's observance of Mothers' Day, the Jamaica Observer treated 21 girls from the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) to lunch and a tour of the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue, Kingston offices last Wednesday.

The girls were also guided through a letter-writing workshop by the All Woman team, in which they wrote heartfelt letters to their babies.

The group consisted of teenage mothers attending Women's Centre sites in Spanish Town, Kingston and St Thomas, some of whom had already given birth to their babies, others at different stages of pregnancy, and two of whom had miscarriages.

“Being a mother to you has changed my life completely, in knowing that I have a real love story to share among ourselves,” read one young woman, who shared her letter with the group. “I am always there by your side, throughout every milestone of your life, and really, I don't want to leave at all. You helped me to realise the time I wasted in school, and now I want to make a change for your sake. You are one in a million, so I promise to be the best mom you ever had.”

She continued: “I never feel down when I'm around you, it's like somehow you always manage to make me smile. Over the past months I 've watched you strive for what you want. I do hope that this positive behaviour will be with you in the future, for you to excel in your endeavours. I love you.”

Another mom wrote to her child: “I'm writing this letter to express my undying love for you, and to tell you about my exciting experience with you. At this time you are nine months old, and you have given me the happiest nine months of my life so far. I thought I would be a terrible mom, but in loving you, I turned out to be a mom I never thought I could be. When I was sad, you were always there to make me smile. When I was feeling useless, you showed me that I was not. [Moulding] another person for the future is one of the most important things I have ever done throughout my entire life, and I promise to do my best to ensure that your future is brighter and more successful than mine could ever be. Love, mom.”

One of the girls who lost her baby shared: “I am not happy because I had a miscarriage at four months. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to see you more on ultrasound, and had given birth to you, heard you say your first word, and watch you take your first step. However, I am still thankful for the little, yet big experience of motherhood. I am still a mother of my unborn child. I love you with all my heart.”

Sheron Williams, centre manager for the Spanish Town facility, beamed with pride as the girls shared their letters, expressing how proud she was of the progress made by her pupils since starting the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation programme. After lunch, the girls received gift packages courtesy of Gabriella's Cosmetics, Adam and Eve Day Spa and Lasco, through its Curves line of feminine products.

Observer Managing Director Julian Rogers asked the girls about their aspirations for the future.

“Maybe in the next five years, you'll be at this table eating my food!” one young woman, who wants to become an international chef, boldly exclaimed.

“I am going to nursing school September to do midwifery, and after I do midwifery, I plan to become a paediatrician and a dietician,” announced another.

“I'd like to become a teacher of auto mechanics,” another teen contributed.

Other career choices included teaching, cosmetology, fashion design, cardiology, athletics, and accounting.

A number of the youngsters expressed an interest in becoming police officers and social workers in order to work with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency and Centre For Investigation Of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse.

When asked why, one of the girls replied: “I want to investigate cases such as when an underage girl is raped. I would like to talk to them and reason with them, and get to understand their circumstances, because I want someone to understand how I feel, too.”

Since it was established in 1978, the WCJF, through its Programme for Adolescent Mothers, has been helping girls aged 17 and under to prepare for motherhood and to continue their education after dropping out of school due to pregnancy.

— Candiece Knight

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