Teen mom urges youngsters to leave sex to adults
Nineteen-year-old YouTuber Deandra Wallace is on a personal mission to help young girls avoid becoming teenage mothers. The former York Castle High student got pregnant at the tender age of 14.
"Abstinence still makes sense! And yes, a child is a blessing, but it is [so] when you are financially, mentally, emotionally and physically stable," Wallace told THE STAR.
The sprightly teen recently told the story of her trials as a teenage mother, which she uses to educate her peers. Her story as a teenage mom quickly made rounds on YouTube last September after she had uploaded it.
"I am using my experience of getting pregnant to impact other young girls and boys positively, to let them know that sex can wait," the mother of four-year-old Deandre said.
Wallace was only in grade nine when she got pregnant.
"It came with a lot of emotional distress. I had a lot of anxiety and depression and the whole level of discrimination. I was looking like an eight-year-old because of my small frame. But now, I am looking at this experience as a big blessings because I am influencing a lot of people to know that teenage pregnancy should not be normalised," Wallace said.
The Government is to spend approximately $8 million on the Technical Support to Reduce Teenage Pregnancy project, during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Among other things, the project aims to reduce adolescent pregnancy rates in Jamaica. The current rate of births per 1,000 girls in the population is 51, which is above the global average of 46 births per 1,000 girls.
The reproductive health survey in 2008 found that there were 72 births per 1,000 girls, ages 15 to 19. Wallace, who graduated from York Castle High with seven CSEC subjects, said that being a teenaged mom can be scary.
"I thought I lost my future, I thought pregnancy was the end of the road. But after attending the Women's Centre (in St Ann's Bay) for four months and getting the help from a few friends and family, I realised that there is hope and it doesn't stop here. I also realised that the comeback was greater," she remarked.