For Nicole, an unplanned pregnancy turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
When Nicole (not her real name) began her relationship with her boyfriend about three years ago, having sex before marriage was not on her list.
But Nicole, now 20 and an undergraduate, is juggling her studies while taking care of her nine-month-old daughter with her 21-year-old husband.
“Actually, I started off wanting to wait till marriage. However, we were getting more intimate, with heavy petting. At one moment, it just happened. Since then, we never stopped,” said the candid and cheerful youth.
Two years into the relationship, Nicole discovered she was pregnant.
Unlike most couples, they were not crushed nor upset when they found out about her pregnancy. Her boyfriend also took the news well. Seeing him break into a wide smile when she broke the news put her heart at ease.
“We already had plans to have a child early, but we pretty much just skipped two years ahead,” said Nicole.
His parents, however, had to take a glass of wine to brace themselves right after hearing the news.
They weren’t the only ones.
Their friends were also sceptical when they heard about their wedding, reminding the couple that they had just recently gotten back together after a short break-up.
Eventually, their friends gave their support to the pair.
“I think it also had to do with the fact that we didn’t explicitly tell them about the pregnancy, but only about the wedding,” she said, with a laugh.
Since then, everything has been moving quickly. Last year, the young couple held a small wedding with their family and friends.
Nicole moved into her in-laws’ place, so she could live with her husband And his parents could take care of her.
Although many teenage pregnancies end up as horror stories, Nicole’s experience was mostly a good one. However, she admits they could have done better planning.
“Honestly, I regret not being a better mum. We weren’t prepared for her and are not able to provide the best for her. Financially, we are still very dependent on our parents and cannot afford many things,” said Nicole.
Thankfully, her husband’s family are accepting and supportive of her, which made it easier for her to adapt to the big changes in her life. They supported the couple financially by paying for most of the baby’s necessities. It also helped that her husband made the effort to accompany her as often as he could.
Despite being in the army, he made sure he was present for every major milestone of the pregnancy, attending the medical appointments and routine checkups. He was also present at the birth earlier this year.
Her family eventually warmed up to the news when they found out that her husband’s family extended extra support and care to her.
Nicole expected the public to judge them for having a child so young, but it turned out she did not get many weird stares.
“[Maybe it’s because] I don’t look my age,” she chuckled.
After giving birth to their daughter, Nicole quickly got back on her feet.
“I had plans to take a gap year before entering university, but I got pregnant. [That] was where my one year went,” she said.
In July, Nicole returned to university to pursue a degree. While she attends lectures and lessons in school, her in-laws help to take care of the baby. They are also paying for half of her university’s tuition fees.
For Nicole, the biggest challenge for her and her husband is their lack of “sexy time”.
“That’s the only thing he [my husband] is upset about. I’m usually too tired, and seeing how our baby is a really light sleeper, every little sound or movement wakes her up.
“But it’s alright for me, I’ve never been very into it anyway,” she added cheekily.
The young couple believes in raising their child wholeheartedly as it is a new responsibility they enjoy together.
‘If anything, we want her to know she is not a mistake, but merely a surprise,” said Nicole.
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