13...And Pregnant!

Househelp Chronicles was birthed because I needed to vent out my frustrations from dealing with the numerous househelps I’ve had in my employ. But as much as I vented, there were lessons learnt from every single one of those helps. 
Today’s HouseHelp Chronicle was sent in by a good friend and blogger Olaedo of Olaedo-GoldenThoughts. Do check out her blog and enjoy this chronicle…

I remembered her today. I had only been married for a short time, and pregnant with my first child, when she came to live with me. She was the first househelp I had. She was thirteen [three years ago] and was about starting secondary school.
The first day my aunty brought her to my mother's house from the village, my sister wondered aloud at her big breasts. She had a small body but was definitely busty for someone that young. She had a bit of a tummy too. I commented on that. My mum said that it was possible that she was malnourished. She was of the opinion that by the time the girl started eating right, she'd fill out properly. I asked my new help then if she had started seeing her period. She answered in the affirmative and said that she had just finished a period before leaving the village with my aunty.
She came back with me to Lagos. She seemed smart and was very hard-working. All she wanted to do was quickly take care of her chores and sleep. I told her that she could watch the television whenever she was done with her chores. She would come join me in the living room and in a few minutes, sneak off to her room to sleep.

I was almost five months pregnant but was hardly sleeping like that. I didn't yet look pregnant so she had no way of knowing that I was. She started filling out, just as my mother had predicted. In two weeks, her body was no longer as small as it was when I first met her; the belly fat increased, as did her bust line. That belly fat started looking very suspicious to me. The fact that she was sleeping a lot, as well, seemed to point to only one thing.
I bought some home pregnancy strips and discovered that my thirteen year old househelp was very pregnant. I didn't say anything to her but quickly called my mum and my aunty who had brought her. Arrangements were made to get a replacement and it took about two weeks for that to happen.
During that time, I could clearly see how she got pregnant. Body dey sweet am.
She had this top with double spag straps on either side. Anytime I sent her to buy stuff from the neighbourhood, she'd take off her bra and wear just that top with a short skirt. When I noticed, I tried to put a stop to it. She still, sneakily, tried a couple of times to go out the same way but I caught her and sent her back to change.
Once, I had two male guests and after they had been visiting for a while, she went to her room and changed into a midriff-baring top. Yes! She just had to show off that baby bump! [Sorry, I just had to laugh at this!]. I gave her a severe tongue-lashing and ordered her to go wear something decent.
About her pregnancy, I knew I needed to speak to her. I asked her again when she had last seen her period. She changed her story, now and said that she hadn't in over four months. I asked her if she knew how women got pregnant. She said that she did. [Sorry, I butt in again. Y’all should remember this is a 13-year old]. I asked her to explain exactly how. She said that if a woman took a lot of drugs, she would get pregnant. I was totally shocked…and very amused. I asked her if any boy or man had 'touched' her. She talked about a boy that had grabbed her hand one day, on the way to school. She was quick to say that she and her cousin had reprimanded him, though.
At that point, I didn't know what to think. Was this girl totally ignorant or was she just jerking me along on a string? I, honestly, didn't know how to proceed. Did she, truly, need sex-education.... after the fact? Was she just amusing herself at my expense? Was she just trying to buy herself some time? I didn't just get it!
By the time my aunty came with another help, I hadn't told her she was leaving. The day before they were to leave, my new househelp let the cat out of the bag to her. She came crying to me. She didn't want to go back to the village. She pleaded that I not send her away but I told her that in her state, there was nothing I could do.
I decided to ask her again about her pregnancy again. This time, I was more explicit in my questioning. She claimed that her mother gave she and the other young children sleeping pills before leaving for the farm each day. According to her, on one occasion, she had woken to find some stranger sleeping with her. On another occasion, she said that another strange man had asked her to buy him a pack of noodles. He had looks peculiar to people from a certain part of the country. By the time she returned, he asked her into his shack and forced himself on her. She admitted that she didn't call out for help nor ask him to stop. From her description of the shack's site, my aunty said that it was probably a transient worker from a different tribe. They usually came into the village, looking for odd jobs and after a while, would leave.
I didn't know which of her stories to believe. The bottom line was that she was pregnant [at age 13!!!] and she had no clue who the father is.
I felt very sorry for her but she had to leave. I knew she wasn't going back to much but there was no way she could stay for much longer, in my home, pregnant. Her mother was a single mother of four who was struggling to make ends meet. Her education would, definitely, not continue in those circumstances.
When they got back to the village, her mother denied ever giving her children pills. In her defense, she asked why she would give them pills and go farming all alone when they could help her there. She threatened to disown the girl. My aunty and other people pleaded with her not to.
She had a baby girl two weeks after I had my daughter. Her mother takes care of her baby. She's lived in different towns and with other people since then but she hasn't returned to school. She's almost seventeen now but a mistake she made almost four years ago still haunts her.
I’ve gotten smarter. I take any proposed help for medical tests before I employ them. Through that, another was, immediately, discovered to have been pregnant. And yet another, an eighteen year-old, had a false-positive blood pregnancy test because she had just had an abortion.
Children, who have no business having babies, are getting pregnant everyday. Children are sexually-active a lot earlier these days. These girls I just mentioned might have been my helps but they are also people's children. It cannot be over-emphasized, the role families and mothers, in particular play in teaching their young children about relationships. A child who desperately wants to experiment may well do so, still.  But, a lot won't, with the proper guidance.
I haven't had a help for over five months now. Recently, my first househelp came up as an option, again. While I believe in giving people second chances, I am sceptical about it. She's older and definitely wiser. Wisdom is subjective, though. Would she just be more careful not to get pregnant again or would she have totally shed her braless and midriff-baring habits, for good?
Thank you so much, Olaedo. Hard questions, one in particular, has been raised: Who is giving you ward, boy or girl, guidance?? If you have any stories on helps, good or no, that you would want to share, please send them to 21stcenturycareermom@gmail.com. Thank you..x

12 comments:

Jenny Ekwueme said...

Wow!
As much as u might want to help,like u SAid,she's now a lot wiser.She has a kid as old as urs and because she's still young,that might give her an attitude u might not be ready to deal with. May God give us the grace to raise our children right.

jbaby said...

Ola, I enjoyed reading your write up. But I second the opinion Jenny Ekwueme, you may help but from a distance. I won't feel good having her under my roof. But however, you can find other ways of helping her. My humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

me sef tire.hw will a child raise a child?mother and daughter wd look like sisters.

Olaedo said...

Yeah, I agree with you Jenny and Jbabe.
She just might not have a bad attitude, afterall. She may even be very grateful that I took her back. But, I honestly don't want to experiment.
Moreover, considering I know her story, I just might second-guess her every move. I'm not ready for all that drama.
Thank you, Hazel for letting me add my two cents to your blog. I enjoyed every bit of it. :)

HoneyDame said...

The fact that she would even go back to change into revealing clothes is a tad disturbing.... I should send in my entry. We once had a house-help that would steal anything and everything!

Okeoghene said...

That was some girl at just 13 she knew that her body could draw attention from the opposite sex. Sometimes I don't really know who to blame when house-girls misbehave.Their parents, their guardians or society in general? I don't think you should reconsider this girl though. You have impressionable kids, there is no need to experiment.

Emeka Amakeze said...

Its a good thing you shared so people can learn to take appropriate actions like sex education! A lot of people are still ignorant about how sexually active kids are getting these days!

Toinlicious said...

13?! Aye ma nika o

Myne Whitman said...

She obviously did not get good direction from her home/upbringing and that is too bad. Like the writer noted, even children in well off families also sometimes make this same mistake. If I were here, I wouldn't hire her too.

Coy~Introvert said...

Blood of the lamb, 13years old???
This sex thing is a very serious matter. I wouldn't take her in anymore. Abeg she now knows too much for her age plus who knows what kind of influence she'd be on your kids.

Aijay said...

We've had a similar experience recently. Mum-in-law took in this girl at a slightly older age of 16 and 2 weeks later, she finds out she was pregnant. She spoke to the girl who made out it was unite gentoo al and that she was exploited for NGN100. she felt compassion for her and took care of her every need including cooking for her and inviting her to eat every meal of the day so she gets the nutrients she need for her health and that of her baby. 9 months later, she was delivered of t his gorgeous baby girl. All that over, they then expected her to get her life back and go back to school and all but NO! She gets pregnant AGAIN!

She defo knows what she's doing doesn't she? So my dear friend Ola, bringing her back in might not be a good call. But hey, people are different one never really knows.. Love your blog Hazel

Aijay said...

Unite gentoo al??? That's meant to be unintentional