When child give birthJournalist Marija Ilic
The juvenile pregnancy rate of young girls who became mothers or made abortion is big. There is no sexual education at schools, while youth rarely use contraception or do not use it at all. What happens when children born children?
The low grades, skipping classes and what to dress on Friday night are not the only problem with which the Macedonian teenagers are facing. In school hallways sex is not taboo since long time ago, while the students often “mark” the peers who have no sexual experience yet. When the desire is bigger than the lack of information then the risks the experience to end in undesired way are bigger.
The sexual education still is not a regular subject at schools, while teenagers rarely visit or do not visit at all the counseling centers that were opened in number of towns in the country. Only at Skopje Gynecology Clinics last year 85 juvenile girls became mothers and 16 decided to abort the pregnancy. According to the statistics from the State Statistics Office show off that in 2009, 1501 teenager became mothers, from which even 33 were less than 15 years old. Only four of the fathers were less than 15 years old, while in the other cases they were older than the girls. Private clinics in Skopje do not want to reveal the exact number of juvenile girls who gave birth or aborted at their clinics. But, gynecologists say that the real number is at least double times than the official. Girls are from various nationalities; some of them are from the region and come here for discretion. Some teenagers and their families, however, solve the problem in the most radical way – with abortion. According to the law, for abortion to be made, approval by parents and commission approval about the reason of abortion are necessary. However, they do not always respect the law, even risking their own health.
“In order to avoid this, hiding from the parents, unfortunately, in our country there are still cases in which the pregnancies are aborted unlawfully in ambulance conditions, where abortions are made illegally. That often ends with complications that are to be solved at clinics,” said Prim D-r Miroslav Temelkovski from the clinics Sistina.
Whether the parents know or not, the pregnancy and abortion rate at this age in our country is few times bigger than other European countries.
A child is not ready for having a child
Psychologist Mirjana Stojanovska says that pregnancy is completely natural condition, bit for grown up, mature woman. When an adolescent face with pregnancy it’s a problem. Stojanovska says that the age also matters. It’s not the same if the girl is 12, 14 or 16 years old.
“The younger the girl the better is probability that, first of all, she will not accept herself. The young person can not be responsible for herself and the pregnancy is a big responsibility for the child that is to be born,” Says Stojanovska for Forum.
Gynecologist Miroslav Temelkovski from clinics Sistina explains the physical consequences to the woman’s health.
“Because of the unfinished growth and development of the genital organs, juvenile pregnancy characterize with premature birth. Also, in these cases the EPH gestosis are more often: swellings, protinuria and hypertension,” says D-r Temelkovski. He added that the psychological-psychiatric problems during the pregnancy and after that for these patients happen more often due to the immaturity and unwillingness for the new situation.
Prejudices from society affect the mother and often she leaves school. Due to these reasons, Temelkovski says, young mother usually decide for abortion, which has its additional risks.
There are more prejudices in rural areas so the difficulties that the young mother faces there are bigger. The cultural milieu, religion, education and habits sometimes contribute toward worsening the situation.
“In some communities the pregnancy of 16 years old is normal, so the adolescent accept herself. This accepting of her own condition is important as that means that the girl is aware of the situation and the responsibility that she takes. In these situations the relatives accept her and help her,” Stojanovska says. She adds that in communities where juvenile pregnancy is not accepted and condemned the pregnant girl faces with insults, rejection and condemnation. In situations like that she could experience severe psychological problems, depression, even suicide.
How can we help the girls?
D-r Temelkovski says that optimal period for giving birth for the woman is at the age from 25 to 30 years. At this period adolescence has ended and the woman is in reproduction phase, physically and psychologically ready to give birth. She is mature person already, with established psycho-physical status and, often, a particular profession. Studies show that 20% of the young girls know nothing even for the “period of fertile days” when the probability to get pregnant are biggest.
HERA and other relevant institutions and NGOs made a Framework with recommendations for including of sexual education in educational process, which should give information to the youths about the sexual and reproductive health, dissolve the taboos and prejudices, and raise awareness about the rights and protection and to prevent the risks of unwanted pregnancy and sexual diseases.
Drasko Kostovski, program manger of HERA says that they constantly stand for the subject Sexual education to be included in the educational process as a pilot program. But, from the Education Development Board they do not agree with that and say that the optional subject Life Skills gives enough of sexual education.
“Our researches show that different teachers who are not ready for that teach the Life Skills classes. Recent information says that due to feeling discomfort for speaking about certain topics teacher pick the topic by themselves,” Says Kostovski. He adds that people have a lot of prejudice for the sexual education. Allegedly, people thought that this subject will stimulate the teenagers staring with sexual activity earlier. Psychologist Stojanovska, also thinks that it’s very important to work on prevention and detailed information about pregnancy. She underlined that the adults should also act more empathically in these sensitive situations. Sometimes the reaction of the parents is the reason why the fear grows and the teenager makes wrong or even fatal decisions.
“Parents should not condemn or punish the girl, because they share the responsibility as well. Obviously, they have made some mistake in the raising and informing. That’s why it’s the best to consider the best way the adolescent to solve the unwanted pregnancy,” Says Stojanovska.
From the First Children’s Embassy they say that they rarely receive reports about pregnant young girls, but more often about questions for sexual and reproduction health. At Megjashi adolescents asked about contraception and protection of unwanted pregnancy.
The Ministries for Education and Health respectively in the end of the last year promoted counseling centers in 19 towns all over the country named “Feel free to ask, you have where to.” Unofficially, very few adolescents use these centers to ask for information about the sexual intercourse. In these counseling centers they give free condoms and contraception. But, adolescents keep practicing unsafe sex and they become aware of the problem even when it ends with pregnancy or sexual disease. There are many forums on internet where young girls share their thoughts about the way they should act when pregnant, should they say to the parents or should they abort.
However, there’s still the recommendation that youths should be stimulated to speak openly about the sexual life, but also to raise awareness among parents as they are, unfortunately, the last to know. That’s the only way to avoid cases in which a child gives birth to a child.
Translated by Petar Todorovski
When Children Born Childrenод First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi Republic of Macedonia во четврток, 24 март 2011 во 15:09