Teen Shares Personal Story of Pregnancy

"Makaiya" is a pregnant 17-year-old high school student. The high school junior from Washington, D.C. reflects on the circumstances that led to her pregnancy, family experiences and how she anticipates this child will affect her life.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And we're going to continue our conversation about teen pregnancy. In our regular segment, Behind Close Doors, we talk about sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable issues. It only seemed right that if you wanted to talk about teens having babies, we talked to a teen experiencing the reality of being pregnant.

I have a young lady here with me in our Washington studio. We're going to protect her identity and call her Makaiya since she is underage and does not have a parental guardian in her life at the moment. We don't want to suggest that she speaks for all teens, but we do want to hear her story. So Makaiya, welcome. Thanks for speaking with us.

MAKAIYA: Hi.

MARTIN: How are you doing?

MAKAIYA: I'm fine. I'm enjoying life.

MARTIN: How far along are you?

MAKAIYA: Four months.

MARTIN: Four months.

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: And you're 17?

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm. And you're in high school.

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: Right? A junior, if I understand it. Now, Makaiya, I'm assuming that you know about birth control, right?

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: So, tell me, how did this happen?

MAKAIYA: I wasn't really sure that I can get pregnant. So, then it happened. I got pregnant.

MARTIN: Did you want to get pregnant?

MAKAIYA: No. Of course, not. No, at all. No. It was a shocker to me.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm.

MAKAIYA: Yes. Yeah. That I can get pregnant at all.

MARTIN: So, why wont you think that?

MAKAIYA: Because we had a oops. It's like a oops, and I was at the doctors see if I was pregnant, and I wasn't pregnant. So I thought it's like, okay, I can't have kids. But then it happened.

MARTIN: What's an oops?

MAKAIYA: It's like when he forgot to put on a condom. So that's a oops.

MARTIN: He forgot to put one on.

MAKAIYA: Well, he just didn't put one on.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm.

MAKAIYA: Yeah.

MARTIN: Did you ask him to put one on?

MAKAIYA: Yes. Of course. Yes. Yes.

MARTIN: So, you think this was an accident? Because some people might argue - I don't mean to be mean - that if you really didn't want to get pregnant, you would have made sure he put that condom on.

MAKAIYA: No. I don't think it was an accident, but it's a blessing. To know that I can have kids. So it's blessing.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm. And I can ask you, are you and the baby's father still in communication? Are you still talking so far?

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: Any thoughts about getting married?

MAKAIYA: He had thoughts, but I don't know. Not sure. It could - it can be possible. But…

MARTIN: How old is he?

MAKAIYA: Nineteen.

MARTIN: He's 19. Did he want you to have a baby?

MAKAIYA: No. It wasn't expected, but he's happier than me.

MARTIN: He's happier than you?

MAKAIYA: Yes, he is.

MARTIN: Does he have any other children?

MAKAIYA: No.

MARTIN: Let me ask you this. If he didn't want you to have a baby, why didn't he be sure to use a condom?

MAKAIYA: (unintelligible) He probably thought the same thing, because I told him I couldn't have kids the first time. So that's probably why.

MARTIN: Do you think that deep down, you really did want to?

MAKAIYA: No.

MARTIN: But you weren't using any other birth control other than condoms. Like, you weren't on the pill. You didn't use a diaphragm, no patch. How come?

MAKAIYA: Because I didn't have insurance, so I couldn't go to the hospital and get it. So…

MARTIN: You thought it was too expensive?

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: And so condoms were what you were using, when you are using them?

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: Okay. Let me ask you this other question, if you don't mind. And I appreciate you hanging in here with me, but what about abstinence? Had you ever talked about that or thought about that? Just not having sex at all until you're a little older?

MAKAIYA: I'd thought about it, but I couldn't wait. So…

MARTIN: You couldn't wait.

MAKAIYA: I couldn't wait. It would've been a good thought, to wait.

MARTIN: You just really love him. You really just wanted to be with him. Or…

MAKAIYA: I was (unintelligible).

MARTIN: You're just into him, or…

MAKAIYA: I am into him, but that wasn't it.

MARTIN: What is it?

MAKAIYA: I just couldn't wait. There was - because he didn't really want to do it. He really don't want to. He was shy. I was throwing myself at him, to make him for - give in. So…

MARTIN: Why do you think?

MAKAIYA: Hormones. Hormones up.

MARTIN: And forgive me this, if this question may violate your own values, I don't know. But did you ever consider not going forward with the pregnancy?

MAKAIYA: I thought about it. But I don't believe in abortion. It was all into me to be pregnant, to have a child, which happened. (unintelligible) an abortion.

MARTIN: Well, what's your plan? How do think you're going to take care of this baby?

MAKAIYA: May have together - you know, raise it. But I have support - a lot of support from him and my nurse and social worker. I have a lot of support from my sister. So…

MARTIN: What about your parents?

MAKAIYA: Our father, he doesn't really know. He doesn't really - I'm not going to say don't care, but he doesn't show a lot of support. My mother, she died. So, yeah. It's okay.

MARTIN: So who's taking care of you?

MAKAIYA: Me.

MARTIN: You live on your own.

MAKAIYA: Yeah.

MARTIN: Isn't it hard enough.

MAKAIYA: Yes, it is. It's hard, but I can get through it.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm. I wanted to ask you why you think that the teen pregnancy rate dropped as it has been for so many years? Many of you were - teenagers, kids your age - were having babies over the last 10 years, and now it's going in the other direction now. So first of all, I want to ask you both of those things. Why do you think that is? Why do you think people or teenagers were having babies, and now why do you think it's turning out - around a little bit?

MAKAIYA: I think teenage - people having babies does, like they fall into a trap. I not going to say it's a trap, but they fall into it with their lover. Some of them - my sister, she was (unintelligible). Her baby's father left her with the baby when she was in the hospital. So that was one reason why. Her baby's father told her she wanted to have a baby with him, and she just laughed. And my other sister was like that, too. But he was knocked up, and he left her anyway. He tried to give her a homemade abortion, so he tried to kill her. So that was just too much.

MARTIN: Makaiya, I'm thinking, given that example, if you really didn't want to get pregnant, some people might argue that you saw your two older sisters go through some situations that were difficult for them…

MAKAIYA: Right.

MARTIN: …and very painful, that you might have tried harder to protect yourself.

MAKAIYA: Right.

MARTIN: Why do you think you didn't?

MAKAIYA: I'm not going to say that I didn't protect myself. It's just that if I was being able to go have a child, it would mean a blessing to me because I didn't think I could really have kids. Or if I did have kids, that I would end up dying or something. So it was a blessing.

MARTIN: What about college? Had you hoped to go to college? Do you - did you…

MAKAIYA: Yeah.

MARTIN: You had plans to go to - you had hoped to go, and you'd love to…

MAKAIYA: I'm still planning.

MARTIN: You're still planning to go to college. How do you think you're going to manage it?

MAKAIYA: It's possible. My mother did it. My mother had her first - she got pregnant when she was 13. So she had to drop out of high school and have my brother. And then she got pregnant again. This was like 17. Then, from there, she kept having kids. She had up to 10 kids with one dad. So like around - it was me or my sister, she went back to school. She went to high school. She graduated from - she got a degree from UDC, and then, from there, she to work and she did good. So that's good. She - I think it's possible that I can go to college and finish everything. I wanted to do it.

MARTIN: So how do you feel? I mean, all expectant mothers have an array of emotions. I can tell you, because I have babies myself. So I can tell you when I was pregnant, I had a whole range of feelings. And what are yours?

MAKAIYA: My feelings are good, because - like sometimes, I want to - I be feeling my stomach, trying feel if it's moving or something, or else it's running away from me. Or I was just sitting down, like, wow, this is good. I'm having a child. It's good. It's not good, but it's a blessing to me. It is. That's good.

MARTIN: You scared at all?

MAKAIYA: Yes, I am scared.

MARTIN: Little scared?

MAKAIYA: I might be - not be the best parent I can.

MARTIN: Well, good luck to you.

MAKAIYA: Thank you.

MARTIN: And good luck with the baby.

MAKAIYA: Yes.

MARTIN: Thank you for speaking with us.

MAKAIYA: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: Makaiya is 17 years old. She's four months pregnant. She's a junior in high school in Washington, D.C., and she was kind enough to join me here in our studios.

Makaiya, thank you so much for speaking with us.

MAKAIYA: Thank you for having me. It was a good experience.

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