I have been a big sister for over three years, and I’ve attended to young girls who have come to me with any issue concerning sexual reproductive health and rights. Most of them feel safe talking to me, which I encourage them to do during our sessions. One such case is Faith – not her real name, a 15-year-old girl who approached me one day after our afternoon Big sister-Small sister session. She told me it was her first time attending the session and that she had heard about it from her friends in the neighborhood. She was facing a dilemma and believed I could help in guiding her.
As the others left, we sat in the venue hall, where I urged her to tell me the issue. She told me she had missed her period two weeks earlier and was afraid that she was indeed pregnant. I advised her to get tested, and the test came back positive. After telling her boyfriend, a bodaboda operator in the village, he claimed that she was setting him up and that there was no way he could be the father. Coming from a vulnerable family of 5, she knew she was not in a position to raise the child moreover alone. She hoped she could finish high school, join a prestigious university and support her family while providing a way out of poverty.
She had heard incidents of girls who were stigmatized and treated as outcasts for aborting, while others died in the hands of quack doctors and others haunted by the guilt of procuring an abortion for the rest of their lives. This put her at a crossroads as she had to choose her future and present.
I have encountered many girls like Faith who were in a dilemma. The first step I usually take is to counsel them and assure them that they would still be fine regardless of their choice and that- it is ok to be confused in such situations. I explained the options available to her, and she chose to seek medical abortion from a professional doctor.
After explaining what to expect and how the procedure will take place, I directed her to the nearest girl-approved care vendor, and after three days, I followed up to get her feedback about the process. She told me the vendor was friendly and on-call throughout the process. All her doubts disappeared, and she was at peace with her decision. She was very grateful for the top-notch care she received at a subsidized price that she never thought possible.