Victory for motherhood: Lessons from Mommy Rocket to adolescent mothers

Monday, October 14, 2019

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Article contributed by counsellors at the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation, located on 42 Trafalgar Road in St Andrew.

THE Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) has long dispelled the idea that having a baby hinders the realisation of a woman's career goals.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's performance in the women's 100m at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, is testament that women can lead successful careers and still be active mothers.

Mommy Rocket's spectacular win, as well as her post-race interview, were strung with life lessons that span race, class, and status. Counsellors at the WCJF have identified three lessons from this phenomenal mother, wife and sportswoman that can be used as a practical guide for our adolescent mothers and also for young mothers.

 

People will talk; stay focused and work hard

Students who attend the Women's Centre will tell you that their biggest challenge as adolescent mothers is dealing with the things that are said to them and about them.

Words of judgement, doubt and condemnation from family and strangers are hurled at them daily.

The fear of falling prey to the negative talks have prevented some pregnant girls from accessing the well-needed counselling and educational services offered by the centre.

Even though Fraser-Pryce had her baby in wedlock and as an adult, she too had her fair share of talk from naysayers; but she dealt with it by staying focused.

“I will be honest with you. I don't get caught up with all of that. I just focus on being the best athlete that I can be,” she said.

 

There is strength in your vulnerability

No matter how prepared you think you are, you will never be fully prepared for parenthood.

Fraser-Pryce, in recounting her journey post-baby, disclosed that upon realising that she was pregnant, she struggled emotionally, but in her moment of weakness, she found the strength to encourage herself.

“…I remember when I found out I was pregnant, I was a wreck. I remember sitting on my bed for two hours and I didn't go to practice because I didn't know what to do, but I made a vow that I was coming back.” Fraser-Pryce shared.

No matter where you are in life, whether you are just starting or at the peak of your career, there will be times when you just don't know what to do. At that moment of weakness, however, it is important to find the mental strength to lift yourself out. But not everyone will be Shelly-Ann and possess the mental strength to take themselves out of an emotionally dark place. For those people, identify your support system and pull strength from them during your low moments.

 

Pregnancy is not a dead end

“This defies so much logic. A lot of people like to say what can be done and that having a baby slows you down, but it did not slow me down,” Fraser-Pryce shared.

Like Fraser-Pryce, many of our students — resent and past — have been successful in their chosen fields despite what they were told. Recently, three girls were awarded scholarships from the Ministry of Education and the Governor General I-Believe Initiative to pursue tertiary education. These young mothers were told that it would have been impossible to lead successful lives because they got pregnant young, but they stayed focused, completed secondary education, and are now one step closer to starting the careers they dreamed of before they got pregnant.

Whether you get pregnant very young or very old, or at the peak of your career, some people will always see pregnancy as a dead end. In the end, commitment to a dream, hard work and dedication, powered by the rocket fuel of relentless focus, will challenge any ideal society sets.

 

The Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation is an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, established in 1978 to provide continuing education for adolescent mothers who drop out of school because of pregnancy. The foundation received the UNESCO prize for girls' and women's education in 2018 for its work in providing adolescent girls and young women in Jamaica with a second chance at education.


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