This is the story of Ana & Karen
Ana is 15 years old & Karen is 4 months old
Ana lives with her daughter, her parents and her two sisters in a violent neighbourhood in a large city in Colombia. She was in 8th grade when she and her boyfriend got pregnant. He left her soon after. Ana got preeclampsia in her last trimester and urgently needed medical care. Thanks to professional treatment at the hospital, she and the baby survived.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I was scared because I didn’t know what my parents were going to say. First, I told my child’s father, but he didn’t say anything and just started to laugh. Then I told my uncle and he took me to have a blood test to confirm it. I didn’t dare to tell my parents. I told my sister and she told my mother, who then told my father. I felt bad because I felt I had failed them.
I met this boy in school when I was in the eighth grade and he was in the ninth. Since I got pregnant we don’t have any contact. He has only come to visit our daughter once. He doesn’t see this as his responsibility too. I don’t know what to say; it’s not fair because I fell in love with him and he made me believe that he loved me. He said he wanted to have a family with me. Why did he do this to me? Why did he leave me?
Before, I was the only one of my friends who was pregnant but now other friends are. We all talk about our check-ups and things like that. When I was eight months pregnant, I got very high blood pressure. I went to the local clinic where they sent me to the maternity ward immediately. A doctor performed a pelvic exam and decided to induce labor.
First, when they gave me the pills, I didn’t feel anything. The pain only started two days later. When this happened, I called my mother and said, "Mom, the contractions started, please come!" When my mother arrived, I grabbed her by the hand. My mother only said, "Breathe in and breathe out slowly." That helped to ease my pain and that’s when I started to push. They put me on a stretcher, took me into the delivery room and that’s when I pushed my daughter out.
I felt happy when Karen was in my arms. I knew from the sonogram that my baby would be a girl. I stayed in the hospital for two more days. It was weird to come home with a baby, weird because I didn’t know how to handle her. My mother helped me with everything. She was always there and told me how to do it.
I am back in school again and during the day my aunt helps me take care of Karen since my parents are working. It's hard to study and be a mother at the same time. I have to do my homework, wash Karen’s clothes, and bathe her. It can be complicated.
I need to finish my studies. I want to study hard to become a professional and give something back to my daughter. Before, I thought about becoming a Naval Officer. But there is a law that says if you have kids, you can’t join. So now I have another career in mind, which is pastry making. Someday, I’d like to have a pastry shop where I bake and sell cupcakes. Then I’d like to buy a house and help my parents to get ahead.
After what happened to me, I decided that I wanted to live alone – just with my daughter. But I don’t know, what if I fall in love again? I would like to get married, to have a house with my husband and my daughter. But I just don’t want to be abandoned.
Today, my daughter makes me so happy. The moments I spend with Karen, when she smiles at me, it's really something beautiful.
I don’t want Karen to make the same mistakes I made; I want her to study and become someone in life. I plan to tell her what happened to me and to hopefully set an example for her.