LIFE GOES ON...

CLARISSE GUSENGA

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Monica gave birth at the age of 19 when she was about to begin Senior Six in secondary school. When she became pregnant, her life changed. After all, becoming a mother at a young age is challenging. Despite the difficulties she faced, Monica never gave up. She pursued her studies, vaccinated her baby and now cares for a child who is healthy and happy. Let’s find out from Monica what made it all possible.

When I was in Senior Four, I was dating a boy at my school. I got good grades in Senior Five and my parents rewarded me with a trip to visit my older sister in Kigali. She took me to an exhibition where I met the boy I was dating. That night, I stayed at his house and we had unprotected sex, even though he had promised to use a condom he had. When I confided in my sister, she was shocked. I returned home to Gisagara and after about two weeks, I realised I was pregnant.

I didn’t tell my parents straight away. Instead, I decided to switch to a day school. When I was seven months pregnant, no one could tell. But after eight months, my parents found out. They were hurt and began to treat me differently. I kept hiding my pregnancy because when you are pregnant at a young age, people think you are a failure. But this is not true. After giving birth, life goes on and you can achieve your dreams. People should change this negative mindset.

When my school found out that I was pregnant, they did not discourage me. They encouraged me to sit for my final year national exams, and I passed! I did my exams in the morning and took my baby to get vaccinated in the afternoon. It wasn’t easy, but I managed. I did all this because I wanted to vaccinate and provide a good life for my child, even if I hadn’t planned for this to happen.

After finishing my studies, I regained my parents’ trust and empathy, got a job and they babysit for me. Life went on. While it’s challenging to give birth when you are still young, don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Make good decisions and set goals. You can overcome any obstacle you face and achieve your dreams.

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