This report came to me from a teacher who teaches at a high school in Trinidad and Tobago. Â The student and author, Kelly Cain, presented her work to me, and my God, I am so humbled that the No Wedding No Womb movement is being used as an instrument of change in the educational system. Â As we move forward with our initiatives to make NWNW a non-profit, know that a cornerstone of our efforts will be to reach teens and young adults with the message.
If this report came to fruition because of the initial blog-a-thon, just think how far we can go with the resources we need to move ahead!
Name: Kelly Cain
Subject: Communication Studies
School: Sixth Form Government School
Title: â€œNo Wedding No Wombâ€ The negative effects of being an unwed teenage mother among teenage girls in my community.
I would like to thank God for giving me the health and strength to complete my Internal Assessment on time. I would also like to thank Ms. Christelyn Russell-Karazin, founder of the international movement, â€œNo Wedding, No Wombâ€ for giving me the support and guidance that was required for me to complete my Internal Assessment. Thirdly I would like to show my appreciation towards my fellow classmates for their opinions, agreements and disagreements towards this topic. Lastly I would also like to thank my teacher Ms. CedeÃ±o for being there with me every step of the way.
Table of contents
Reflective Piece â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦ 6-9
Teenage Pregnancy is the carrying of a fetus in a young woman who has not yet reached her 20th birthday when the pregnancy ends. This is regardless of whether or not the woman is married or is legally an adult (age 14 to 21, depending on the country).
The topic â€œNo Wedding, No Wombâ€ was chosen because there are many teenagers today (approximately more than 65% according to my research) within my community who have out of wedlock births. This causes these young women to have problems both in school and at home. These young women experience the double standard that society has put on them, in that the women has to stay at home and take care of the child and put their education on hold, while the father can continue his education and life. Subsequently, teenage mothers lack support from their parents or the babyâ€™s father. There are also cases where the babyâ€™s fatherâ€™s parents decide to help the teen mother make a decision between being a parent and having abortion. These young women are influenced by the media and this, together with their lack of morality, chastity and their lack of sex education, results in their inability to make informed choices.
I believe these problems can be avoided if parents and the community as a whole educate their children about the consequences of teenage pregnancy by introducing them into the international movement, â€œNo Wedding, No Womb.â€ My entire report is based on the negative effects of being an unwed teen mother and I hope that my study can be used to educate and enlighten teen girls in my community.
My reflective piece is about a young girl who lives in a single-parent home and takes care of her younger siblings. She has to battle with her younger, naÃ¯ve, lighter skinned sister who eventually becomes pregnant just like her mother, who was a previous â€œteenage motherâ€ herself. However unlike her mother, her sister had an abortion so she would be able to complete her education.
I was inspired to write this piece because of the high percentage of teenage girls in my community who are either pregnant or have one or more toddlers and are not yet age eighteen. Also, in my family, my younger sister who is not yet twenty has two toddlers of her own.
The intended audience is teen girls who lack sex education and have little or no family support during their pregnancies. I also want to target girls who want to learn more about teen pregnancies and how to cope with it or even prevent it.
The purpose of this piece is to draw attention to the increasing rate of unwed teenage mothers and to empower the girls by giving them an opportunity to speak up and be heard in hopes that their irresponsible sexual behavior among teens will decrease.
The medium that I would use to convey this message is through social networks as it is the best way to reach both a local and international audience, especially the members of the international movement, â€˜No Wedding No Womb.â€™
INTRODUCTION: Hayley is an extremely ambitious 17 year old girl who lives in a rural community in Trinidad. She longs to be a teacher one day. Hayley comes from a single parent household, whereby her mother is the sole provider. Being the eldest, Hayley has to care for 5 siblings ages 7-16.
ACT ONE SCENE 1: Sunday 4:32P.M. Hayley is in her room studying a poem for her impending Literature exam. She frowns thoughtfully at the following words:
â€œMemories of a happy time
Were swept away
Down her peace
Rivers of joy, smiles and sweet gratefulness
That turns into a raging ocean
Of bitter poisonous hatefulness.â€ * (See appendix )
She stares at them in deep contemplation, ignoring the shouts and screams of her younger siblings playing in the yard. The telephone disrupts her reverie:
Hayley: Good afternoon, Lawrence residence, how may I help you?
Mother: Hayley, ah callinâ€™ tuh find out wha happeninâ€™ home.
Hayley rolled her eyes at the call. Her mother was at her first job, which was a hospital cleaner. Her second job was at the paper factory. She also had a third job cleaning houses and cooking meals to sell. She barely had time to be a full time mother. As the eldest, that was Hayleyâ€™s job.
Hayley: Nuttinâ€™ ma, jusâ€™ studyinâ€™.
Mother: Well arite; jusâ€™ make sure dat de chirren â€˜aint get up to no mischief anâ€™ dat yer give dem food and get dem ready for school tomorrow.
Hayley: (Rolling her eyes and in an acidic tone replies:) Yes Ma!
Mother: Chile, is work ah hadda work! Who else but you ah hadda depend on? Yer havâ€™ no choice but to help meh. Yer culd always finish yer schoolin later. We had dis discussion already. Doh feel dat because yer in school yer have it made. I went too, and still look wha happen to me.
Hayley: (To herself: Datâ€™s because you went and get pregnant for the boy down the street and then you get a few more for other men too. If yer did focus on school, life woulda be better.) Aloud: Alright Ma, Alright! (Hangs up the phone, frustrated)
Hayley proceeds outside, only to encounter her fighting siblings and her younger sister Mona- Lisa giggling at the fence, chatting with â€œBushmanâ€. He was a well known flirt and rumored to be the father of two.
Hayley: Mona, come away from there please, there are things to be done inside! Ma jusâ€™ called and we have to prepare Justin, Marcus, Kyle and Kayla for school.
Mona -Lisa is a pretty child. Unlike Hayley, she inherited her unknown fatherâ€™s genes with long hair, full lips and a lighter complexion. Their mother always said that Mona-Lisa had it made, that she would marry rich and take care of them. She was hardly given responsibilities and was therefore out of control.
Mona: Ah busyâ€¦ (She smirks at her, rolls her eyes and turns her attention to â€œBushmanâ€, head tilted, flirting and laughing).
Hayley: (shouting) Mona! Get yer ass away from dat man and get inside!
Mona: (turns on her angrily): Is only cuz you is ah ugly ducklinâ€™ an cyar get no man dat yer jealous meh! Why yer doh go inside an play â€œmammyâ€? I have betta tings to do! (She storms outside, beckoning â€œBushmanâ€ seductively. Hayley can only look on, while her other siblings play.)
ACT 0NE, SCENE 2: Sunday, 8:53 P.M. The children are in bed and Hayley sits at the window, looking for Mona. She has already called the neighbors, panicking about her sister. Suddenly, Mona walked through the front door and Hayley jumps out of her seat and begins yelling.
Hayley: (angrily) way de ass yuh was?
Mona: (looking a little shaken up, not making eye contact) yuh still wah help with de chores?
Hayley: (rolls her eyes) yuh cud sweep de kitchen, I gonna wash de wares.
While Hayley washed the dishes in an aggressive manner, she notices that Mona looks distant.She didnâ€™t put much effort into her chore. Mona swept in a slow melancholy, zombie-like manner.
Hayley (softly): yuh still eh tell meh way yuh was inno
Mona : ( sniffling and crying loudly) he tell meh he didnâ€™t love meh no more. I finally had courage to tell him and he say is not he chile.
Halyley: (looking confused) wah? Who tell yuh they didnâ€™t love yuh? Who chile? Mona wah yuh talking bout?
Mona: (angrily) Yuh not listening Hayley! (weeping uncontrollably ) Ah pregnant for bushman. Is he chile, an he doh wah it. (moaning and crying) He doe wah meee.
Hayley: (shock crossed her face, followed by a look of resignation) is okay. Everything will be okay. We will think of something. (to herself : I knew dis wudda happen, yuh gone with de stupid man from down the street and now yuh get pregnant for him. Yuh gone and end up jus like mammy, now I might hadda drop outta school and find a job to help yuh and ma take care of all these children.) Aloud: yuh know we hadda tell mammy right?
ACT TWO SCENE 1:
Sunday 10:17pm: Mona sat and told her mother everything, crying through the whole conversation while Hayley leaned against the wall listening to the story for the second time. Their mother listened quietly to the whole story and replies:.
Mother: (disappointed tone) how yuh expect tuh marry up an take care of we if yuh have ah chile for dat stupid bwoy down de road. Look, I doh have time for this now nah, I have work in the morning an I need tuh sleep, I will deal with yuh tomorrow.
ACT TWO SCENE 2:
Tuesday 5:27 P.M. Hayley is in the living room going over her notes for her Literature exam. She looks up when the front door opens and her mother and Mona enter. They seemed a bit happier than when they left home that morning, especially Mona, although she walks slightly bent over and stiffly.
Hayley (curiously observing): So wah de doctor say? De baby okay?
Mona: (wincing in pain, but happy) Ah not pregnant no more.
Hayley looks up at Mona and her mother, all the colour drained from her face.
Mother: (Defiantly): If ah did have dat choice at her age, it woulda been better anyhowâ€¦ (To Mona): Go and rest! (Mona slinks away, tired).
Hayley (Angrily): From since we small, yer did always say â€œno wedding, no wombâ€. You did say dat all de time, when you had to mop up the blood of aborted babies in de hospital. Now you tink abortion is ok for your own daughter? You really tink dat would stop Mona? I made my decision to wait based on wat you told meâ€¦ why couldnâ€™t she?
Mother looks on, feeling ashamed. Hayley goes on, accusingly:
Hayley: As soon as I done dis exam, I goin by Aunty Rhoma to live in Petit-Valley. Yer did always say she feel she was better dan we wit she rich Indian man. But I see dat Aunty Rhoma was rite: â€œEducate yerself and wait. De rite man mus comeâ€. You an yer pickney could rot for all I care! (Mother slaps Hayley hard across the face. Hayley looks on defiantly, crying) I goin by Aunty Rhoma. I make up my mind. I have a choice tuh leave behind dis no-good life!
Hayley runs to her room, mother crying in her wake. The younger siblings can only watch. Hayley lies on the bed, cradling the book of poetry in her arms, looking at the previous quote, nodding in understanding.
This reflective piece is about a seventeen year old student who is serious about school and her sister who is the opposite. Her sister becomes pregnant and their mother decides that she should abort the child. I intend to discuss Dialectal Variations and Communicative Behaviors in this piece.
The dialectal variations can be seen when Hayley uses both Acrolect and Mesolect. Acrolect is used when answering the telephone. This is because she has been exposed to more than the average level of education. Example, â€œGood afternoon, Lawrence residence, how may I help you?â€ It also says that she is trying to make an impression on whoever is calling. She switches to Trinidadian Creole Mesolect which she is probably more comfortable with due to her living in a rural community in Trinidad. Example, â€œNuttinâ€™ Ma, jusâ€™ studyinâ€™â€. Her mother also uses Mesolect because she has not been exposed to higher learning. Hayley uses mesolect when she is angry and emotional because despite her use of Acrolect, she is most affiliated with it.
The communicative behaviors can be observed when Hayley cannot voice her thoughts because of the fear of reprisal. The way that Mona smirks at Hayley displays her disdain for her â€œugly ducklingâ€ sister because she does not possess the seemingly popular physical attributes. Hayley confronts her sister angrily because she is upset when she realizes that her sister is even more distraught than she is, she speaks in a softer tone, encouraging confidence. While Mona confesses to her mother, Hayley is aloof from the situation. She is leaning against the wall yet a witness to the confrontation. Although it is not her problem, she knows that she will be affected by it indirectly. The mother is bitter and defiant when confronting Hayley about the abortion because she is ashamed by her own hypocrisy about her saying â€œno wedding, no wombâ€.
The piece has successfully incorporated the proper uses of dialectal variations and communicative behaviors that are reflective of Trinidad and Tobago society.
1) Taylor, D.J, Green, N.P.O, Stout, G.W, Soper, R. Biological Science 1&2, Third Edition. United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1997.
2) Marcus,M, Ducklin A. Success in Sociology. London: John Murray Publishers Ltd, 1998.
3) Russell-Karazin, C. â€˜See, Even Elephants Need Their Fathers!,â€™ â€˜Madame Noire: Are We Setting Our Daughters Up to Be Single Mothers?,â€™ â€˜Steve Harvey: “We Have Lost a Generation of Black Men”,â€™ â€˜90 Students at Memphis High School Pregnant or Already Mothers,â€™ â€˜New CDC Report Links Children’s Health with Family Structure.â€™ Site: http://noweddingnowomb.com/
4) Administrator with Trinidad and Tobago News 5.12. â€˜Pregnant teens in school.â€™ Site:http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/299 Date: 19, June 05, at 1:57 a.m.
5) Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago. â€˜Young People – Teenage Pregnancies.â€™ Site: http://www.ttfpa.org/young.html.
Down Her Peace
In blood shot eyes
That sees nothingâ€¦..
But a distant memory she use to be
Memories of a happy time
Were swept away
Down her peace
Rivers of joy, smiles and sweet gratefulness
That turns into a raging ocean
Of bitter poisonous hatefulness
Her inner soul is eaten
By her black distorted demon of faith
That silently ate at her
Making her lose weight
Draining the light
Of her active force
Where he nestled deep inside
Where no one could see
The fragment torture in her eyes
Bleeding blood that came from her sight
Like a monthly menstruation
That weakens her vigorous womanly strength
To help her stand and fight
Stabbed the souls of her feet
Where it is naked
With no protection
Leaving the mark of the beast
Etched in her feet
Where you hear a faint sound
Of a lonely heart beating
In this disconnected world
Where her being
Is fringe into frosted fragments?
That pierces her pregnancy
Into a barren history
In blood shot eyes
That sees nothingâ€¦..
But a distant memory she use to be
Use to beâ€¦.
Use to beâ€¦
Use to beâ€¦
By : Kelly Cain.
( see reflective piece; act 1 scene 1)
1) Why did you start the movement No Wedding No Womb?
2) How important is this movement?
3) Can you say that the movement has had a positive impact on those you reached out to?
4) Do you think that enough teenage girls are being educated about the importance of family life and good choices?
5) Can you say that immorality, lack of chastity and sex education are to blame or are there other mental, moral or spiritual factor for the out of wedlock epidemic?
6) Would you call the high rate of out of wedlock births among African American girls an epidemic and why?
7) What do you think was responsible for the lack of family life and growth among African American people?
8) Do you think this can be comparable to the Afro Caribbean scenario?
9) With this movement, do you advocate sex education for girls or just better parenting skills?
10) Do you think girls should have abortions as a viable choice?
11) Why do you think marriage is still a better option?
12) Do you think this out of wedlock scenario is just as great among other races and cultures?
13) How do you think this movement will improve the Afro American Community and by extension the Afro Caribbean Community?
14) Do you think that the Jamaican dancehall culture as well as the rap culture contributed to the high rate of the â€˜baby mamaâ€™ scenario?
15) a)Do you think that this movement will decrease the irresponsible sexual behavior among girls who think it is fashionable to be a â€˜baby mamaâ€™?
b)What about the males? Do you think it would impact on them positively as well?
16) What are the negative effects on children from out of wedlock households?
17) Trinidad has a matriarchic society whereby many single parent homes are female dominated.
a) Does the same apply to the Afro American society?
b) Why is this a negative thing?
18) What has the church done to promote healthy family oriented assistance?
19) What advice would you give to any of your fellow bloggers about â€˜No Wedding No Womb?â€™
20) What is your advice to teenage girls like myself when choosing marriage partners?
1) Age 12-14 15-17 18-20
2) Religion :– Christian Hindu Muslim Other State _____________
3) Gender:– Male Female
4) Was it your choice to become pregnant at a young age? Yes No
5) Have you ever been raped? If yes, was rape the cause of your pregnancy? Yes No
6) Do/did you want to start a family at a young age? Yes No
7) Would you class becoming pregnant at a young age a moral issue sociological issue social issue race issue class issue all the above
8) Do you consider becoming pregnant at a young age a social stigma Yes No or a social norm Yes No
9) Once one has become pregnant do you still think that you will have the support of family friends babyâ€™s father babyâ€™s fatherâ€™s family all the above
10) Does the father of the child want you to keep the baby Yes No
If yes, will he help take care of the child and play an active role in the childâ€™s development? Yes No If no, does the father want you to have the child and give it up or does he want you to have an abortion
11) Do you believe that there is a double standard between the man and woman (as in the woman has to take care of the child and put education on hold while the father can continue his education and life) strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree
12) Do you believe that society maintains the double standard between man and woman strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree
13) Do you think that out of wedlock pregnancies are higher among people of African decent strongly agree agree neutral disagree strongly disagree
14) Was peer pressure the cause of pregnancy (because friends had babies or boyfriend or girlfriend wanted one) Yes No
15) Was it emotional stress that caused you to become pregnant (not wanting to be alone so you chose to become pregnant) Yes No
16) Is abortion available to you Yes No Would you use it as an option Yes No