Teen pregnancy has a different connotation in the U.S. and other Westernized countries than it does elsewhere in the world. For instance, in many developing countries, teen pregnancy is a part of culture – condoned and expected – though it comes with a price.
“My name is Telanish Shabera. I am 14 years old. I was promised in marriage when I was 3, betrothed at 10, and pregnant at 12. After 3 days of labor, I was carried on a stretcher to a hospital, where my baby died 2 hours later. The obstructed labor left me incontinent. I smell, and I feel so ashamed.”
A mother’s young age is a risk factor for obstructed labor and fistula which often results in urinary incontinence and fecal leakage. These women are then ostracized and turn to drastic and desperate means to remedy the situation. Organizations such as the Hamlin Fistula International and many others exist to treat this condition, often restoring a woman’s life and place in her community. They urge people to get involved at all levels and their websites offer more information on how you can help or donate your time and energy.