“Because their feet also used to be swollen... For those people their feet don’t use to fit in the shoes, so they used to tease them.” : - A qualitative study on the experience of being a pregnant teenager and young mother in Rundu, Namibia.
Namibia, as most countries on the African continent, is facing a high rate of teenage pregnancies. It is one of the biggest social issues challenging contemporary society, contributing to social problems such as illegal abortions, baby dumping and suicide attempts. The aim of this bachelor thesis is to focus on young women and their experiences of being pregnant teenagers and young mothers. During this research process young mothers have elaborated on their own life situation discussing ideas that could have helped them during the pregnancy. They also give ideas on what could be helpful for them today. The research also pays attention to the attitudes that the young mothers face in their communities. The town were this research was carried out, Rundu, is situated in the Kavango region, which has the far highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country. This is a qualitative research and data was collected through daily observations, conversations and semi-structured interviews. In the understanding of my results, I have used gender theory, social exclusion, social construction, stigmatisation and an intersectional perspective.
According to the results six of my seven respondents were struggling during pregnancy and still do today. They struggle/struggled mainly due to lack of resources and money as well as not having enough people helping them taking care of the baby. Most of the young women left school at an early stage of the pregnancy. This either because school policies would not let them proceed or because school uniforms and shoes were getting too small. Attitudes present and the discourse on pregnant teenagers among young and old people in Rundu prevented some of the pregnant girls from taking part of a social life. They got blamed for falling pregnant. Some of them were feeling very ashamed over their condition and started living more isolated lives, not going in to town anymore and thereby missing health controls at the hospital.
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