Ruchell Britton

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 cried day and night thinking about the path my life would take if I decided to continue living. I told myself that my life was over, so I might as well commit suicide. But before I did that, (with the little left inside me) I prayed to God for a miracle.

I was afraid to tell my mom that I was pregnant, so that’s when I decided to move out and live with my cousin. She was offering the emotional support that I needed, and even assisted me with registering at the Women’s Center.

When I was about 4 months pregnant, I moved back to my mom’s house. She finally knew the truth. She was disappointed, but still supported me. During that time I faced a lot of verbal abuse from community members. People told my mom that she was wasting her money on me. This made me devalue myself even more, and it destroyed my self-esteem.

It was only at the Women’s Centre where I was able to feel comfortable, and at ease. The family counsellors were more like mother figures to me, and my classmates were like my sisters.

My self-esteem, self-determination, hopes for the future, faith in God and courage to face a society that condoned me, all increased! The Women’s Centre empowered me to believe in myself, and rise above the degrading judgment and criticism that I faced within my community.

I completed my GNAT and scored an average of 90. I graduated from the Women’s Centre, and I reintegrated back into the regular school system, St. Mary High School. Due to financial difficulties, I struggled to maintain myself throughout high school, and lacked financial support.

There were many times I was late for school because taking my son to his grandmother’s house was quite the distance. I would usually pick him up in the evenings, and at times I was so tired from this routine, that I would cry myself to sleep.

In all honesty, high school was demanding and challenging! There were many days I went to school with no lunch, and there were many days where I just couldn’t go to school at all. There were even days when I went to school and just cried because my child’s father was discouraging. Just like everyone else, he believed I was a failure. Even his mother said I was “no good.”

I reached the CSEC level, but I couldn’t pay for the courses that I needed to complete. Nevertheless, I was determined to graduate from high school. I am grateful to say that my school assisted me, and paid for 5 of my CSEC courses!

When my CSEC results were made available, I was excited to learn that I passed all 5 of my CSEC courses, including Math and English.

I did it! I graduated from high school!

The Women’s Centre taught me to believe in myself, and I began to do just that. I told myself that I can rise above all circumstances and life roadblocks. That’s when I decided to end my relationship with my child’s father, to eliminate his negativity that consumed my life.

My life’s journey is never ending, and it is constantly on the move. After high school, I was accepted to the College of Agricultural, Science & Education (CASE), but I had to temporarily put my tertiary education on hold, due to my financial struggles. However, I have learned to welcome these challenges, as it builds me to be stronger person. I have every intention in completing my degree.

I recently started a platform where I openly share my experiences, and discuss with others how to overcome challenging life situations. I have a passion in motivating others, and encourage people to accept the challenges that they face, as it’s apart of their life’s journey.