Kemoshia Gibbs

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.

For the first half of my pregnancy I was so ashamed, depressed, stressed, confused, frustrated, sad and had anger issues. I faced a mixed of feelings, all bundled up in one. I cried everyday at first; my situation was spreading faster than I had expected it to. I was afraid to go outside. It was as if I was confined to the bedroom. I was so ashamed of my situation that when I was suppose to go to the Women’s Centre for my first day of school I took forever to get dressed and go get a taxi. My head was down in the ground, I couldn’t find the confidence to hold it high. I just couldn’t look up. After a couple of counseling sessions and meeting many young females in my situation ‘who did proud like mi?’ My strength was renewing, even though from some of these same females came rude comments. We were all teen mothers, girls who needed a second chance.

I was fortunate to not have to bare morning sickness. My body was still functioning normal so getting up for school, completing assignments and so forth was not an issue. The Women’s Centre Llandilo was my home away from home. I felt at ease there. The Women’s Centre had taught me many things, and I am forever grateful for their contribution in my life. They were there when my life was a mess.

When son had arrived, my family was ready to accept him. My life appeared to get better as the days went by. After giving birth, I was actually one of the happiest persons alive. Spending three long days in the pain, seeing my son made me forget it all. It was love at first sight! At this point, I was motivated to work harder because one day I want my son to say to me, “mommy you did it!”

I went back into the normal high school system in January 2014. Even though I was not a fan of Godfrey Stewart High at the time I had to accept the privilege of being reintegrated there. My son was only three months old at the time. Going into Godfrey Stewart, I was expecting that persons were going to look down on me but I was prepared!

At Godfrey Stewart I met up on some old friends, I made new friends, I met some who were sent to break me but most importantly I met true friends. I had friends who wanted to see me make it through high school and beyond. Then there wer those who wanted to see me fail. I would often cry as a means of holding my peace. When Mr. McLeod came along, my issues were resolved.

When I just went to Godfrey Stewart I was placed in one of the slowest streams; a place where I didn’t belong. However after a month in that stream my performance was reviewed, an emergency meeting was held where they decided I should be sent to the top stream. That’s when I met the top ten students, otherwise known as the monsters. For the first year I came eighth which means somebody got pushed out of top ten. However I wanted so much more. I was determined to get it and I managed to work my way up to being the second in my entire grade population, while topping most of my subjects. I maintained this position until I left.

In grade ten I sat two subjects at CSEC level, Mathematics and Social Studies and got range one and two respectively. I cannot remember a time when I had exams and my baby wasn’t sick or some huge family conflict didn’t arise. Once I had exams for two weeks and my son spent one of those weeks in the hospital. I had to leave home extra early in the mornings to go see him and then left when it was time for my exams and go back there after my exams. Lucky I had a mommy who could stay with him some of the days while I sat exams.

I faced many obstacles, but that never stopped me. Instead, it propelled me to reach for the stars and exceed my own expectations of myself. I graduated high school as top female student, receiving eight awards. I was also a member of the 4H club (receiving yearly awards for participating in the 4H essay competition) and remained on the Principal’s Honor Roll for three consecutive years. I became a motivation for other students, and many inquired how I managed to balance my school life and motherhood. It was not easy! There were nights when my son had to put himself to bed because I couldn’t; there were times he had to watch cartoons by himself because I had to complete homework and School Based Assessment (SBA); there were time where he spent hours in after care because I had extra classes; there were many evenings when he would have to sit in class with me and I could see the frustration on his face, and there were many moments of separation between us because of the the school demand.

I eventually intend on pursuing a career in humanities or food science and technology.  No matter how long it may take I will get my degree because I am guided by the philosophy ‘reach for even that which seems impossible for with Christ all things are possible’.  Some people really believed that my life had ended when I had a baby, but my life had just begun! He opened my eyes to see so much more. My son didn’t take away from my future; he gave me a new one!