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Old 13th August 2009, 10:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Young mums' baby blues

Young mums' baby blues



by Carolyn Quek & Kimberly Spykerman


ONE mother was sound asleep when her baby boy crawled into the bathroom and drowned in a pail of water.

Another mother, who had depression, hid her stillborn baby in an electrical riser outside her flat.

These two cases, which went before the courts this month, reflect the struggles of young mums here who are thrust into motherhood before they are ready.

From 2004 to last year, an average of 1,200 babies - almost 3 per cent of all babies born - were born each year here to mothers aged 20 and below.

About that number of abortions are done on teens each year: The number hovered around 1,400 in 2006 and 2007, but dipped last year to about 1,300.

Counsellors who work with young mums say that they are often not psychologically and financially ready for parenthood.

Mr Edward Ong, who heads the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association, said that firstly, the teenager and her parents have to deal with the shock and the shame of a pregnancy out of wedlock.

After the emotions settle, they have to decide between completing the pregnancy and aborting it.

The girl's studies may have to be disrupted. If she is forced to start work after delivering the baby, she may become 'economically disadvantaged', he said.

And then, there is the teen's loss of freedom. Clinical psychologist Carol Balhetchet said that being teenagers, these mums still want to explore and experiment, but this stage of growing up is jettisoned when a baby enters the picture.

Instead, these young mums find themselves having to adjust to the full-time task of being accountable for a whole new human being, said Pastor Andrew Choo, who ran a shelter for pregnant teens at the Andrew & Grace Home from 2003 until last year.

Ms Tan Siew Kim, the mother of the baby who drowned last year, told The Straits Times she found becoming a parent at 18 overwhelming.

She declined counselling after the baby arrived because she saw 'no point to it' - with or without counselling, she was still saddled with a baby to care for. She felt it was 'not right' to give her child up for adoption, but could not give up her partying lifestyle at the weekend either.

It was while she was sleeping off a night of clubbing and drinking in May last year that her untended child toddled his way to the pail of water.

Another young mum said the toughest part of becoming a mother was having to give up her time with her friends.

'Belle' became pregnant with her daughter at 20. Now 22, the childcare teacher said she has drifted from her friends, who 'don't understand my time is needed somewhere else'.

With her 24-year-old husband a regular in the army and away from home for months at a stretch, she said she is lonely and has no one to confide in.

Counsellors say support, especially from family, is key to helping these young mums cope with pregnancy and motherhood.

Ms Nurasyikin Mohamed Ismail, 23, did not have it. Court documents said the father of the child dumped her when she was five months pregnant.

She had other problems at home: Her stepfather, who had run up gambling debts, was on the run from his creditors. Ms Nurasyikin, who kept her pregnancy from her family, fended off his debtors, seeing her mother deeply upset by his disappearance.

The young woman delivered a stillborn son herself one night in January, and eventually stowed the child in the electrical riser to hide the birth from her family. When the body was found by an electrician, she was arrested. She has since been dealt with by the courts and given a two-year supervised probation.

So far this year, four babies have been found abandoned and dead. The latest was found last week, dumped at a Bukit Batok staircase landing.

A spokesman for Babes, a programme that helps teen mums, said parents of the young mums may at first find it hard to accept the pregnancy, but many eventually come to terms with it.

This is why the option of putting the child up for adoption is usually set aside. More than half the teen mums-to-be counselled by Babes keep their babies.

'Most Singaporean parents are quite supportive and try to help as much as they can - even with limited financial capabilities,' said the Babes spokesman.

The four-year-old initiative, which has so far steered more than 200 teen mums away from abandoning their babies, draws up these young women's options for them - be it to keep, abort or offer the baby for adoption. It also helps young women through their pregnancies.

Other helplines and services for young mums and mums-to-be are available: Project Cherub by the Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre supports women with unwanted pregnancies; Healthy Start, run by six social service groups here, runs parenting workshops for families with young children, among other services.

Pastor Choo said most of the more than 20 pregnant girls he and his team have helped later became mature and responsible: 'They worked very hard and I really admire them. They changed what was wrong to right. That is accountability.'

Source: http://www.divaasia.com/article/4137

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Old 13th August 2009, 10:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Young mums' baby blues

these girls are correct in being responsible to not abort the baby.
however they do not plan adequately as how to bring up the child.

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Old 13th August 2009, 11:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Young mums' baby blues

ITs reallie tough to raise a child. and wads more when the child arrive when the girl is as young as 17? or 18? but still. some of the young moms still get thru it and living well with their parents support. =)

But still. its still encouraged to hav safe sex.

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Old 13th August 2009, 01:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Young mums' baby blues

for me, it's no no to abortion unless medical reasons..

if u don wan baby, don have sex as even safe sex do pose a risk of pregnancy however minimal..

if u got pregnant, u jolly well pick up that responsibilities and make it work..

im 19 wen i got pregnant too.. if i can pick things up and rearrange my life priorities, i don see why others cannot....

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Old 17th August 2009, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Young mums' baby blues

Originally Posted by Amulet View Post
for me, it's no no to abortion unless medical reasons..

if u don wan baby, don have sex as even safe sex do pose a risk of pregnancy however minimal..

if u got pregnant, u jolly well pick up that responsibilities and make it work..

im 19 wen i got pregnant too.. if i can pick things up and rearrange my life priorities, i don see why others cannot....
Kudos to you....your rewards will be 10yrs faster then ur peers as you age.

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Old 17th August 2009, 08:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Young mums' baby blues

Originally Posted by vios21 View Post
Kudos to you....your rewards will be 10yrs faster then ur peers as you age.
haha.. headache comes 10 years earlier too.. i look at those thread here, and think of her 14 years later, im having headache liao..

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