This is the story of Thandiwe & Anna
Thandiwe is 15 years old & Anna is 9 months old
Thandiwe lives with her daughter, her husband and her in-laws in a remote village in Zambia. When Thandiwe was pregnant, she had to leave school and marry the father of her child.
I still don't feel ready to be a mother because I didn’t expect to have a child now. Before I was pregnant, I was in the sixth grade. I wanted to become a chef and work in town. Then I met a boy who was in the ninth grade. We didn’t have a relationship, we only met about five times – that’s all. I was scared when I found out I was pregnant. When my parents knew about it, they brought me to my husband's house and just left me. I didn’t want to go there but they forced me to marry him.
During the pregnancy, I was with my husband and we planted crops in the fields. When my labour pains started, I was taken to the clinic with money given by my parents. The delivery was very difficult; it took two days. I ruptured my vagina, got stitches and was given salt water to apply as treatment. I was told to come to the clinic after one month to get an injectable contraceptive. So I did. Right now I don’t want any more children; maybe when Anna gets older.
I have no time to myself. When I wake up at four o’clock in the morning I sweep the yard, wash plates, collect water, look for firewood, cook and wash clothes. Then my husband and I go to the fields to work and come back around two o’clock in the afternoon. In the meantime, Anna stays with her grandmother.
My mother-in-law is the one who helps me most. She carries my baby and also helps with washing the clothes and buying soap. I haven’t visited my family since I came back from the clinic after my delivery. My husband and in-laws don’t allow me to make many visits to my family. My parents come sometimes, though, and bring along things for Anna.
When I think about the future I only think about my education. I liked math and would love to go back to school. I've talked with my husband about this and he said I could go back to school after Anna grows up and is able to walk.
I don’t have any set plans for Anna but I do hope she will get an education. When she gets older I will tell her, "My child, work hard and finish your education. Don’t rush into marriage. Finish your schooling so that you can support us as well in the future”.