What did you want to do in your early 20s? Closer home to young people of my generation, what are you doing with yourself? Probably in pursuit of your dreams, or trying out at your first job, or still in college. In this regard, settling down and starting a family could be the last thing on your mind right now. So what happens when you find out you are pregnant, or that you got someone pregnant? How do you readjust your whole life, knowing that now there’s another that depends on you? How do you handle family and friends, who often will express their disappointment in you?

This week we talk to a young mother of our generation, Yvonne Ogolla, who shares with us her motherhood journey, and the total turnaround her life took with the birth of her child.

 

‘I was 22, in my second year of college when I found out that I was pregnant. I was still living with my parents, still trying to find my grounding at school and in life, ‘says Yvonne.

Yvonne was torn between keeping the baby and having an abortion, with the latter choice predominant as it attracted massive support from her friends.

‘I had been a role model in my circle of friends, you know, the girl who has it all together, who’s doing well with herself and making the right choices. Most of my friends couldn’t believe me throwing this image away because of something that can be taken care of in a few minutes at the hospital.’

Still in doubts, Yvonne decided to reach out to another one of her friends, Robi, who had just had a baby.

‘Robi told me to have my baby, encouraging me that God will be in charge and I need not fear. My final decision was made.’

All this while, Yvonne had not discussed her pregnancy with her family.

‘I was afraid. How do I even start telling my parents? Do I sit them down and explain or say it in passing. I never told my mom I’m pregnant till I was 7 months along, and afterwards my Dad wouldn’t talk to me for a week.’

Evidently, the family was not pleased.

‘They came around eventually, and were really supportive. It had happened, we had to move forward.’

What about the child’s father? I ask. Yvonne has little to say.

‘We had been dating, and before the baby came we agreed that he would support us, but this was not to happen. He started seeing other women, and other issues in between. It became too much for me and I left.’

Back in her mother’s house, it wasn’t long before the baby was ready to meet its mother.

Luckily for Yvonne, when time to deliver came her campus had closed for the long holidays, which gave her ample time to care for her child during the first months.

‘This is the point where reality now checks in. A newborn needs your undivided attention. Worse is the house help sneaked away never to return, and I had to juggle between caring for the child and housekeeping. For someone who had been living a carefree life with no serious responsibilities, this was a huge task.’

Getting down to serious business was not limited to the household only. These changes also filtered into her dating life.

‘I had to become very selective of partners. When I look at a potential partner I think of my daughter first. Can he take care of her? Is he a responsible man? Does he want to settle down or just have fun? I have to vet him. It is no longer just about me.’

Yvonne describes this period as one that requires ‘maturity ASAP’.

‘The baby needs a mother, a grown woman for that matter. I had to grow up real quick, and match up to the task. I became even more serious with school, knowing there’s someone else looking up to me’

Yvonne has currently finished her law degree and awaits graduation in December this year.

‘At the start it is tough, I will not lie. But the fruits are worth it. My friends look at me differently, because I changed my priorities. I think I am an even better role model now than I was then.’

What would you change Yvonne if you were to go back in time?

‘My baby-daddy. I just wish a different man fathered my child. I am dating again now, in a serious relationship with an amazing man, and very grateful to have my daughter by my side.’

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