Christmas wishes and jubilant cheers were bestowed upon a 14-year-old mother who gave birth to twin boys on Christmas day at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston.
Speaking with the Gleaner, the minor (name withheld), mentioned that she was scared when she initially found out about her unexpected pregnancy and that her parents were also disappointed as well. However, she was glad to have her parent’s support, especially from her mother, throughout this difficult time and vowed to make the best of the situation, as she did not want to get an abortion, and return to school when able.
“From mi mother find out say mi pregnant, she always be ’round mi. She nuh rough mi and she nuh do weh she nuh fi do. She always deh round mi and she stay by my side,” she stated.
The teenage mother said that she knows she disappointed her parents but that she will work hard to regain any lost trust and also be the best mother she can be to her twins, Keovanni and Reovanni (no last name mentioned). Going back to school to make her parents proud will be one of her top priorities.
The mother of the twins, who were born prematurely, gave birth almost two hours into Christmas morning. Her sons were born about three months early as she was expected to give birth sometime in March next year.
This particular birth has caused a stir because of her teenage mom status but help will be provided by the Ministry of Health’s teen clinic. A cause for concern was also raised, upon the reveal that the mother was under the lawful age of consent, by Rosalee Gage-Grey, the chief executive officer of the CPFSA (Child Protection and Family Services Agency).
Keovanni and Reovanni’s birth to a teen mom happens in just a few weeks after the parliamentary and public debate about the age of consent in Jamaica. At present, the age of consent is 16 years.
A point was raised that there was disharmony between the age of transitioning to adulthood, which is 18 and comes with being able to make life-changing choices, and the age of consent.
Gage-Grey said that although childbirth is a joyous occasion, hospitals have the responsibility to report cases such as these where the mother does not meet the age of consent to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA). It is still unclear if this case was reported.
Gage-Grey, speaking on the support the teen mother needs said, “It’s very important for parents to support their children, especially for a young girl like that. If she is in need of additional support, the social work unit at the hospital would contact us.”