*Katowa-Mukwato Patricia, Maimbolwa C. Margaret, Mwape Lonia and Mutinta C. Muleya
Pregnant and parenting teenagers have needs that are unique to the developmental stages of adolescence in addition to the needs common to all pregnant women. The study investigated the experiences, needs and coping strategies of pregnant and parenting teenagers. The study utilized a phenomenological approach, where in-depth interviews with pregnant and parenting teenagers were conducted to get an insight into their experiences, needs and coping strategies. Participants were purposively selected. A sample size was 27 participants which was determined using data saturation principle. Three themes emerged on the experiences of teenage pregnancy and parenting including, abandonment and rejection, loss of parental support and burden of being pregnant or being a parent, while three broad needs were identified; information about HIV status, physical materials for the unborn or new born baby and mother, and the desire to go back to school for those who fall pregnant while schooling. Both adaptive and maladaptive strategies were identified as a means for coping including, avoidance of negativity, support from parents, relatives and partner, repentance and dependence on God, focusing on own and the child’s future, and denial of pregnancy or motherhood. It was concluded that pregnant and parenting teenagers undergo diverse negative experiences, while negotiating the transition from teenage hood to adulthood and motherhood amidst unmet teenage and pregnancy related needs. As a means to cope with the negativity and live within circumstances of unmet teenage and motherhood needs, coping strategies are required.
Share this article