This week’s GLAMAMAMA MONDAYS takes a slightly different perspective. This week I would like to call out to all of you with daughters. The following post will shock you, kick you in the gut, and perhaps bring a tear to your eye.
My dear friend Amanda Kwok Cheh, is a mother of three, a wife, and went from full-time, to part-time, to flexi-time in the corporate world. Upon having her third child, Ava, Amanda took a step back from the likes of a career to care for her children. However like most type -A mums, once Ava was in full day kindergarten Amanda sought to find meaningful ways to spend her day. To start with she began to dedicate her time to volunteering at Mothers Choice and thereafter became so addicted to the organisation that she is now the Head of Fundraising at Mother’s Choice.www.motherschoice.org.
When we hear of Mother’s Choice we usually think of the babies that it cares for and places in permanent homes. I used to spend my Sunday nights at Mother’s Choice and I cared for a little girl named Rachel, that I still remember so well. She had a cleft lip and every time I visited she would give me a smile so wide that it rendered her disfigurement more beautiful than anything that I had ever seen. I remember returning every Sunday in hope that I would see her and care for her, so that she would lend me a twinkle of that smile. Then one Sunday I was told that Rachel had been adopted. I had cared for this beautiful child for 7months and this child of God had now been placed with a caring and loving family in the US. I started to whimper and felt tears roll down my face. Initially I thought they were of joy, but soon I realised they were tears of joy for Rachel, but ultimately I felt a little loss. I will always remember Rachel, as she was the first little child that I had cared for, who pulled at my heart-strings so tight that her disfigurement which categorised her a “hard placement’ was what, in my eyes, made her so beautiful. It was so easy to get engulfed by the love, compassion and work of mother’s choice. Caring for babies and adoption services is what most people know of Mother’s Choice and they do it well.
It wasn’t until Amanda and I shared a cup of cocoa, and some “my life, my day” tales that led me to plead with Amanda, to guest blog. Her stories of truth may surprise you, and I hope, will make you think.
GLAMAMAMA: AMANDA CHEH pleads… Let’s Talk About Sex Baby.
My journey with Mother’s Choice began when I volunteered at their home off Bowen Road. Like most, I thought that Mother’s Choice was just about caring for babies or pregnant girls. It wasn’t until I spent time in their Home, and witnessed the raw truth and selflessness and often times despair behind every child, girl or pregnancy that I realised that there was more to it than just caring for the babies.
For the first two weeks on the job I cried everyday.
I cried because I was falling in love daily with the beautiful babies we had in our care.
I cried because of the big-hearted and loving volunteers who came, rain or shine to love our babies.
I cried because of the dedication of our staff and what they gave of themselves everyday.
I cried because of the stories I heard from our pregnant girls and the difficult decisions that lay ahead for them…
And then I became angry.
Angry that we had so many babies to find homes for, angry that we needed so many volunteers to give their time and their love, angry that our staff worked so hard and angry that people didn’t know or understand that there is a crisis.
Whose fault is this? Who dropped the ball and for goodness sake how do we correct this?
In the short time I have been there I learned so much about compassion, selflessness and how to open my heart, but most importantly I learned that our work is ahead of us and ultimately we need more emphasis on educating our young girls about sex and protecting themselves.
Mother’s Choice has had girls as young as 12 stay at their pregnant girls hostel. Yes you read it right — 12!!! When I was twelve I was collecting scratch and sniff stickers and playing skip rope with my friends!! How did these girls get here? How did this happen?
According to the young girls, the following is how babies AREN’T made:
- Someone told me that washing with coca cola after sex would prevent pregnancy
- He said I wouldn’t get pregnant if it was my first time
- My friends said since I only had my period once, I couldn’t get pregnant
- He said he would take care of me if anything happened
- And the all time favorite, He said if I really loved him then I would sleep with him…
When I heard this my mouth dropped to the floor. Is this seriously what young girls think? Is our education system so lacking that these girls don’t understand the basics of sex, even from a biological sense? Is it still so taboo for parents to speak to their children about sex? Are we still bringing up girls to feel less than their male counterparts.
It completely breaks my heart when I see the young pregnant girls in our home. Sometimes I feel they are too young to even understand what they are going through. And for those of them who decide to parent, in all honesty how ready can one be as a teenager? Seriously, even for those of us who are labelled as “adults”, many of us weren’t even ready at 30.
Then there are the girls who give up their babies. Another heartbreaking decision. A few months ago a girl brought her baby to us. She had signed all necessary documents and this was her last goodbye to her child, yet she didn’t look devastated, she didn’t look distraught. In fact she didn’t really look like anything… just another teenage girl going about her day. It was as if she wasn’t aware of the significance of what had just transpired but rather felt it more insignificant. Perhaps it was naïvety. Then I noticed her mom behind her. She was crying. She was crying so hard that you could feel her heart breaking through her chest. She was so distraught, so sad, knowing that this was the best thing for her daughter and her grandchild, but not knowing if she herself, could survive this decision. I died a little that day.
I urge parents out there..sit down with your girls. Talk to them. Tell them they have the right to do what they want with their bodies, not what the boys tell them. They are in control. They can say no. The reality is that, if he loved you…he would wait. It sounds a little cliché but the truth is there. It’s a hard talk, it’s embarrassing and uncomfortable. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to talk to your daughter about her pregnancy, about her options of parenting the baby, giving it up for adoption or even abortion… think about that conversation and you choose. And know that your girls will have sex whether you choose to talk to them or not. So please educate them so that they are armed with the knowledge to be safe, and know that they have a choice.