Ostracised and disowned for being pregnant at 18
Her unexpected pregnancy cost this teenager her family.
On the surface, Nur Diana (not her real name) seems like your average 18-year-old.
She has a boyfriend, loves make-up, and dances in her free time. But, she also has a 3-week-old baby girl.
When Youth.SG met her in October, she was then eight months pregnant, cheerful and excited at the thought of being a monther. But beneath that exterior was a sense of sadness and loss.
Diana was disowned by her family for getting pregnant at a young age. Her mother and grandparents gave her “hell” and ostracised her after they learnt the news.
Diana was not shocked. She had known her parents would hit the roof if they found out she was pregnant, so she had tried to delay breaking the news.
But the cat was let out of the bag when she was hospitalised for a blood clot from a previous fall in the first month of her pregnancy.
“I wanted to tell them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. One day, when I was three months pregnant, I started bleeding uncontrollably. I was rushed to the hospital and I knew that I had to tell my parents then and there. So, I sent them a text,” shared Diana.
As expected, her parents didn’t take it too well. After being discharged, the situation at home was so intolerable that Diana could no longer bear with it. Thus, she moved out.
Through tears, Diana recalled: “My mum called me names like ‘dirty’ and ‘shameless’ and it was very hurtful because we had a very good relationship prior to this. I felt like I was drowning in her words every day and so I left to be with my boyfriend and his family and I haven’t spoken to her since.”
Her boyfriend of five years is standing by her and supporting her through her pregnancy. After all, pregnancy was something they had discussed during their relationship.
The ‘N’ level graduate giggled as she shared: “We started sleeping together when we were both 16. Most of the time, we would use protection, but there were exceptions, because we weren’t thinking with our heads. When we didn’t, we would talk about the likelihood of getting pregnant and he would always remind me that he would stand by me, no matter what.”
Diana first suspected that she was pregnant when her period was a few days late.
The chatty youth shared: “I told my boyfriend that my period was late and he bought me a pregnancy test. I still remember that I took the test at the toilet in Redhill MRT station. I was really nervous.”
“When the results came out as positive, my mind went blank. I told my boyfriend [who was waiting outside the toilet], but he seemed really calm.”
Despite being only 17 at the time, Diana was certain that she wanted to keep her baby. Her boyfriend agreed with her decision.
“I’m really lucky. He said he would stay by my side, and he kept his word,” Diana explained in Malay, “He also provides me with a lot of emotional and mental support.”
The soft-spoken teen added: “I’m very blessed that my boyfriend’s family has been amazingly supportive. They offered their home to me when they knew that things at home were bad.”
Her boyfriend’s parents have been helping by buying clothes and toys for their granddaughter. They even offered to take care of the baby.
But while she has been living comfortably with her boyfriend’s family for the past three months, nothing would beat having her own family’s support, she admitted.
“I cry a lot,” said Diana.
“My family is egoistic. I understand why they feel like I’ve shamed them, but it’s also narrow-minded. I just want our relationship to be okay again,” added the petite teen, who dropped out of ITE in her first year because she didn’t enjoy school.
Diana has also received support from Babes, a pregnancy crisis service that helps pregnant teens. Her social worker has assisted her in ways she had hoped her mother would be able to.
Diana explained: “I was referred to Babes when I was hospitalised. I sometimes find myself lost when I have problems during my pregnancy. For example, what to do to reduce the pain of backaches. My social worker has been really helpful to me since I first met her.”
Diana added that she also feels ostracised by the Malay-Muslim community.
“It’s harder for [pregnant] Muslim girls. The community is very strict and not very accommodating. I’m still learning to not let it get to me,” explained Diana.
One thing that helps her cope is the close-knit relationship she shares with her 9-year-old brother, who texts her every day and asks about her well-being.
“I’m not at home anymore and I know it’s affecting him. He asked me why we don’t feel like a family anymore, and that was very hard to hear,” shared Diana, who has four brothers.
While the young mother has plans to marry her boyfriend early next year when they both turn 19, Diana’s biggest concern is fixing the strained relationship with her parents.
“In the next five years, hopefully I’ll be married to my boyfriend with a bigger family of our own. More importantly, I hope that my parents and I will be on good terms by then,” said Diana, who plans to take a course in professional make-up in the future.
Despite her difficult family situation, Diana remains optimistic and is looking forward to spending time with her baby.
“I wished we used a condom that night, but I also believe that my child is a gift, and not at all unwanted,” said Diana.