She is 16 years old.
She is in Grade 11.
She finally relented to having sex with her boyfriend after months of verbal insistence (pangungulit) and emotional blackmail (e.g. if you really love me, you should give yourself to me). They did not use condom. Her boyfriend said that if she gets pregnant, he will take responsibility for her and their baby (pananagutan kita).
When she did not have her period, she panicked. She told her boyfriend who reassured her that it is not unusual for girls to miss their regular menstrual cycle. But still she worried. Her girlfriend told her to have a pregnancy test so she could know once and for all if she is pregnant or not. So one afternoon after their classes, they went to a pharmacy far away from their school to buy an over-the-counter pregnancy test. She definitely did not want any of her teachers or classmates to see her buying a pregnancy test.
She immediately went home after buying what she needed from the pharmacy. She read the instructions of the pregnancy test several times to make sure that she gets it right. She could not have the privacy she needed in the bathroom she’s sharing with her two other sisters. She decided that she will do it the following day. She prayed earnestly before sleeping. She prayed that she is not pregnant.
She slept and woke up early so she could have the bathroom all to herself for the pregnancy test. It was a nerve-wracking experience. It was the longest 5 minutes of her life.
And then she saw the two pink lines. She is pregnant. She wanted to wail and sob but she cannot for fear of being heard by her parents and sisters.
She went to school that day as if everything is normal…as if she did not know the life-changing truth that she fears will irrevocably change the trajectory of her life.
She told her boyfriend in hushed tones that she is pregnant. She saw his face turned pale. He uttered something like “I’ll see you after class” before rushing to his classroom. She did not expect that kind of reaction because her boyfriend repeatedly assured her that he will take responsibility just in case she gets pregnant.
She waited for her boyfriend after their classes finished. She wants to have a long and serious conversation with him about her unplanned pregnancy. She wants to hear assurances from her boyfriend that everything will be fine and he will handle the situation.
She waited and waited and waited but she did not see him in their usual meeting place in the campus. He was not responding to her text messages. He was not answering her calls.
Later in the evening, she eventually got a text from her boyfriend.
“Sophie babe, I am sorry. I know I told you that I will take responsibility…na pananagutan kita if ever you get pregnant…but truth be told (sa totoo lang) I am NOT ready to be a father.”
Sophie: Eh sino bang ready to be a mother? To be a parent? I was not ready to have sex but you insisted. Wala kang ginawa these past few months kung hindi mangulit.
Boyfriend: I am so sorry talaga Sophie. The best way out for us is for you to have an abortion. After that everything will be back to normal. As if nothing happened (parang walang nangyari).
Sophie cried herself to sleep that night. She could not comprehend how her boyfriend could be so callous and insensitive to her plight. She felt so alone and anxious.
A month later, her boyfriend accompanied her to an abortionist. How he was able to find an abortionist, she did not ask anymore.
For two weeks after the procedure, Sophie was bleeding vaginally and feverish. Her parents rushed her to a nearby hospital. She was pale, running a high grade fever and bleeding profusely when she was admitted in the hospital. She was in no shape to tell her parents about the unplanned pregnancy…about the back-alley abortion.
Her parents were shocked to learn from the obstetrician-gynecologist in the emergency room that Sophie is suffering from hemorrhage, sepsis and uterine perforation (caused when the uterus is pierced by a sharp object) as a result of an abortion.
The doctor had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. Sophie would never have children in the future.
Sophie survived. She painfully realized that her boyfriend was very wrong. The abortion did not make “everything go back to normal…as if nothing happened.”
This heartbreaking story of Sophie is based on a true story narrated to me by an obstetrician-gynecologist. I would like to hear from you. Have you encountered similar stories? How do you think we can—as a parent, teacher, caring adult—prevent teenage pregnancy?