Fighting for Education in the Face of Adversity: the Struggles Facing a Teen Mother in Ghana - Selina's Story

Selina is a girl from a small village in the Central region. The road leading there is in such bad condition it looks abandoned. She is the youngest of five children of a single mother. Her circumstances would seem daunting to most in her situation, but Selina has always been determined to overcome any trials she faces in life, and there has been no shortage of challenges.

At 17, Selina met Michael, a mason from a neighbouring village. Michael and Selina spent time together and began a romantic relationship. Soon after, Selina discovered she was pregnant.

“I never felt sick or any pain in the beginning, I was feeling normal, my mother constantly told me that I was pregnant but I denied because I knew I was fit. I went to the hospital and I was told that I was only sick that’s why I missed my period, I wasn’t told anything about the pregnancy” she said.

In fact, it had been Selina’s mother who had realized she was pregnant. At that point she was far along and had not received any antenatal care.

When Selina’s stomach began to protrude, the embarrassment was too much to take. Selina quit school, spending most of her days at home until she gave birth.

Selina’s mother was not pleased that her daughter was pregnant. She had harboured high hopes for a brighter future for her child, but she decided not to dwell on the past, and adjust to this new future. Selina’s mother took care of her daughter until the baby was delivered.

Unfortunately, the delivery did not go smoothly. All was well when Selina went into labour until she collapsed. Selina was rushed to an operating room where she was forced to undergo a caesarian section. For some time, Selina remained unconscious, before she eventually woke and met her baby for the first time.

This was the beginning of a new phase of life for Selina. She was faced with new challenges from being a new and inexperienced mother, which she met head on. Her boyfriend couldn’t be counted on, his support was sporadic, and Selina received only a little support from her family, so she was largely alone. This was frightening for Selina. She had no job, no source of income, and no idea how she would fend for herself and her baby. Some days she felt like giving up.

But Selina is a strong girl. She drew upon her faith and perseverance and clung to her hope that she could build a better life for herself and her child. She realized how important her education was and decided to go back to school.

This was not an easy decision for Selina. The thought of going back to school brought back memories of the judgement she had received from her classmates and the community at large during her pregnancy. But these fears were nothing compared to her desire to return and complete her education, so Selina informed her mother of her intentions and prepared to continue her schooling.

Selina dreams of becoming an engineer, and would not let her pregnancy or caring for her son prevent her from pursuing that dream. In fact, her son only served to increase her determination, as she drew on her desire to provide a better life for her and her child.

“Life hasn’t been easy with me, but I believe that education will be a stepping stone to achieve this dream of mine.” 

Every child has a dream, but growing up is full of trials and challenges. Teenage pregnancy is rampant in Ghana, especially in rural areas. Many girls who become pregnant as teenagers refuse to return to school. They see teenage pregnancy as something that stops them from achieving their dreams, and give up on the life they had envisioned for themselves.

But Selina wasn’t willing to let her teenage pregnancy stop her from accomplishing anything in life. Now 19, she is more motivated than ever. She is ready to work harder and become an engineer.

Selina has a dream. She dreams of one day being once of the top engineers of our time, and she won’t let anything stop her.