Her voice was shaky like a radio frequency, it could break into painful tears. But it was sustained by a more tenacious desire to get the message out – society is learning to accept AIDS patients but it is stone-faced in accepting teen pregnancy – pushing little experimental girls into fatal abortions. Why?
Cordelia Ama Salormey was not an exception to the statistic that 750,000 teenage girls in Ghana get pregnant every year. But unlike an undocumented many, she didn’t abort.
Yes, she gave it a thought. But no, it remained a thought. A teenager making a decision to abort is not like a banker taking a decision to grant a loan application. You don’t have the benefit of fine analysis, straight thinking and more importantly- time. No.
So a thousand thought assaulted the privacy of her mind. She could see an ominous formation of dark clouds of social critics - an outcast, a bad girl, a failure.
In theory, abortion may be your chance to be on nice terms with society – a critical society. But in practice, it is also your chance to leave this same community and head for the pearly gates- you could be dead.
Ama Salormey’s reason to keep the baby was rooted even in her choice of words during the interview with the host,Arnold Asafu-Adjaye. She called a fetus, somebody, abortion was killing and she wondered how a ‘sugar daddy’ could feel comfortable knowing he has a baby out there.
Her desire to use a contraceptive then may not have been strong but her conscience to keep the baby, clearly was.
She gave a very compelling view – why should you take another person’s life because people will laugh at you?
The challenge makes so much sense, doesn’t it? But she was not finished, pain built up as she spoke – a pain of many silent teenagers and maybe dead ones. You could tell she has been meaning this opportunity.
AIDS patients are getting drugs to live longer, fresh unwanted fetuses are getting pills, and metal punches to die quickly.
If society was learning to embrace HIV/AIDS patients why can’t this same society embrace pregnant teens?
But Cordelia it could jeopardise your education, you know, people would have said?
But she rebutted, the promise of a good life after school may never materialize if after getting a job, a husband, a life – she found out she was barren. So no- she didn’t abort.
Well, protecting yourself all the time can be difficult when you are in a relationship. And young people then thought (and still think) of family planning methods as something for the family not teenagers.
So yeah, a teen may be irresponsible but for a society of grown-ups to turn their back – that’s cold wickedness.
She was not undermining moral and godly values because she could not keep one of them, but she also wasn’t rallying rebellion against morals. Infact she was actually asking for a higher morality – a society’s love and acceptance in the face of an unexpected pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy would not increase because society embraces it, but teen abortion could increase because society shuns it.
And it is. 30% of deaths among pregnant teens are because of botched abortions, and two of Cordelia’s friends died that way.
Cordelia is today, a graduate of Ghana Institute of Journalism, mid-twenties, and a Production Coordinator for a media company that focus on designing talk shows. She remains grateful to God. People get surprised how far she has come.
So what do you do when you are Cordelia @ 19?
Keep out all the voices – negative voices and listen to yourself. You are the only person who really matters in this matter.
Look to God, people have dreams, God has plans, she says. He saw the pregnancy before you jumped into the bed – that is if you used a bed.
And find someone who will be there for you. Most times there is always this one person.
No. It won’t be smooth. Cordelia tried suicide three times. But yes you can pull through.
And that was how Einstein Kelly, a 5 year old brilliant boy got to sit at the back seat of Cordelia’s car, as she drives him to school everyday.
He is a blessing, she reveals with tangible joy in her voice- the only time she spoke with excitement.
“With hindsight I would not do anything differently. My child is a blessing. My life has changed since I had my baby” she continued.
She recalled how one time, the kid came from the back seat to reduce the volume of a radio set in the car.
“I am talking you and the music is loud, you people are talking plenty and I forget what I want to say”, the child complained.
Just think about? Even microphones get to be tested – testing mic one, two. Yet this naive voice of Einstein would have been stilled. This child whose grades are so “on point” would have become a statistic – all because society frowned at a 19 year old Cordelia.
The Maternal Health Channel airs on your power station Joy 99.7 FM, every Saturday at 5pm. It is produced by Creative Storm Networks Ghana