Landisa: I was shunned for getting pregnant out of wedlock. I finally know it does not define me

2019-12-06 08:51
Theolla Langenhoven

Theolla Langenhoven

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The media lies to us. When you see a pregnant woman on the television, you immediately see a beautiful and healthy but heavy lady, with a strong support system. No matter the circumstances. Ha! That is not how it plays out in most cases.

I became a mom out of wedlock at the age of 23 in a very Christian household and where our moral upbringing was imprinted from a very young age. So, the day that I found out that there is a little person growing inside of me, I saw an upheaval. For me it was a very strenuous period, because this was not what I thought my first pregnancy would be like.

Having to face my parents, who are divorced, meant I had to break the news twice and felt as if I was on my way to receive a death sentence. Don’t get me wrong. My parents are not evil people, but knowing that I disappointed them was too much to bear and I do not wish that feeling that I felt one anyone. To see the disappointment draining the emotions out of their faces, was like putting the biggest dagger in their hearts and killing them internally. It took me a long time to get over those pictures in my mind. My apologies and their acceptance could never make up for it.

My second biggest fear was facing my God. Although we are taught that He knows everything before it happens, it was still sad to have to ask for forgiveness. Remember, I was very involved in church and seen as youth leader within our community. At the time, being pregnant out of wedlock was a shame. I know that God forgave me after repenting, but till today, 14 years later I still feel the shame.

The emotional rollercoaster was a nightmare. I know, it is part and parcel of being a pregnant fairy, but feeling ashamed and being unsure of whether I was allowed to enjoy this bundle, was nerve wrecking. Also, some of my older cousins were struggling to fall pregnant and here I was, not "supposed" to be pregnant.

How could I thrill whilst they were crying at their circumstances? The comments and dirty looks from some older folk, within the church as well as the broader community, did not make it easier either. I felt embarrassed. “Klaar!” Therefore, it did not feel like a blessing to me at the time, although I knew that my daughter was one.

My close friends tried to comfort me by reminding me that I am financially independent from my parents and that others fell into the same situation. Being part of the working class from the age of 18 did not change the fact that I felt ashamed and how, the bigger the belly grew, the "bigger" the evidence was for all to see.  

Earlier this year, I was tasked to participate in a reading at the World Day of Prayer for Women and the piece that I had to do was about a lady in her thirties who fell pregnant whilst studying and with the support of her family she brought up her child and later married a man who loved her child just as much as she did.

This made me think that maybe, just maybe, fate has given me this reading to realise that although my story started off shaky, I ended up with a good husband that loves my child just as much as I do and will do everything for her; that the choices I made as a young adult does not need to define my destiny. As long as I teach her to love her herself and guide her to be the version of herself, I would have done well.

Read more on:    pregnant  |  religion  |  landisa
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