OUR SUCCESS STORIES
The WCJF has served approximately 46,000 teen mothers, many of whom have successfully completed their secondary education.
Getting pregnant at 13-years-old was the most devastating period of Joddiann Howard’s life. However, seeking help to cope with this life-changing experience and overcoming the difficulties it brings, is what, the now 30-year-old is encouraging.
Howard was attending a prominent high school in Westmorland when she got pregnant. The thought of disappointing her grandmother with the news of birthing a baby while she was still a child, forced her into deep depression, and she kept her pregnancy a secret from her family and
friends for eight months.
At 15 years old, I got pregnant!
After finding out that I was pregnant, my life changed. People were telling my mother to kick me out of the house, or insisted I abort my baby. A friend of mine told me she overheard my daughter’s father telling someone that he needed money so that he can abort the baby. Everyone seemed to think that abortion was the right choice. Everyone, but me!
I was only 14 years old, and all I could think was, “how could I be pregnant?” Life was already hard enough, as my mom (who is not blood related but is my great grandfather’s common-law wife, and my sole provider) struggled to support me through school.
I was at home one day and I was convinced that my phone was vibrating because I felt a vibration in my stomach. Every time I picked up the phone to check if I missed a call or a message, there was nothing there. At that time, I did not know that I was feeling a heartbeat.
I was merely 16 years old when I found out I was going to be a mother. When my mother found out I was pregnant, she started to cry. Naturally, I cried as well. She actually loss weight, and her blood pressure increased. I became depressed, especially knowing that I would not be returning to Papine High School. Instead, I ended up enrolling at the Women Center, a place I really didn’t want to go to. The Centre has a stigma, and is automatically recognized by the infamous black and white uniforms – something I was just too embarrassed to wear. But I really had no choice.
On January 15, 2013 I found out I was pregnant. It was 3 months away from my 14th birthday, and my first year of high school. I cried for that entire day while I sat and listened to my mother scream, curse and then burst into tears. She cried for so many days. She was saddened to know that her daughter whom had just started high school, the Mannings School, Westmoreland’s traditional high school had gotten pregnant. Family members suggested an abortion and even though I was confused at the moment I refused because abortion doesn’t end a pregnancy, birth does. I was willing to face my consequences, my setbacks and all that my actions would cause.
I grew up in an extended family however the love was not extended. My father died when I was about five and my mother was hardly around. Even when my Mother had the time to spend with me, it wasn’t time well spent. She was a child herself and she didn’t know how to take care of me. Most of her time was spent with her boyfriends or maybe at school (that is if she even went).
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