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Friday, December 8, 2023

Pregnancy at 100 Level didn’t stop me from graduating with 2.1 -Teacher with passion for raising forward-looking youths

While premarital sex is often regarded as a moral and societal taboo, the incidence of young people engaging in sexual activity continues to rise. Amidst this, many neglect to consider the potential consequences, such as unwanted pregnancy.

Today, Iya Magazine presents the inspiring journey of Miss Happiness Amos, who found herself pregnant during her first year at the University of Benin. Undaunted by the challenges she faced, she navigated this difficult path and ultimately graduated with outstanding academic achievements.

Early years
Happiness was raised in a highly religious home. Her parents, being disciplinarians, closely monitored her companions and movements. They also enrolled her in the best schools in town. After her ‘O’ Levels examinations, she looked forward to higher education.

“After I finished secondary school, it took me six years before I gained admission to the university. Initially, I wanted to become an accountant, but after a series of failed attempts, my mentor advised me to apply for English Language Education. Fortunately, I gained admission to the University of Benin.”

I share my personal experience to illuminate the path for others and assist them in navigating their own unique journey

When Happiness relocated to Benin, she had great aspirations, including pursuing a first-class degree. “After staying at home for many years, my first day at UNIBEN felt like liberation. I was ecstatic to take charge of my life and make decisions for myself. Although I made some wise choices, I also made a mistake.

It all began when my boyfriend visited me in school. In the euphoria of the moment, I forgot the lessons on abstinence I had learned and also forgot to protect myself from unwanted pregnancy. A month later, I discovered that I was pregnant. This incident happened while I was still in my first year in school.”

Journey to single motherhood
After Happiness became pregnant, she felt her world had crumbled. When she told her boyfriend, his indifference struck her like a dagger. She initially couldn’t share the news with her parents due to shame, but she eventually confided in her younger brother, who offered support.

“I vividly recall the moment I mustered the courage to tell my mother about my pregnancy. She couldn’t believe it. ‘Happy, why did you do such a thing?’ she asked. Although she didn’t scream at me, I still perceived the sadness in her voice. She had a lot of expectations and instead of making her proud, I went astray.

‘Are you going to forfeit your education and return to Lagos to give birth to the child?’ she asked. After much contemplation, I made up my mind to keep the pregnancy and still pursue my education. However, when I imagined the possibilities of attending classes as an unmarried pregnant girl, I was so scared of what the future held. Fortunately, there was an industrial action that made the school shut down for more than six months and that was when I gave birth.”

Even in moments when others may lose faith in you, remember, your unwavering belief in yourself is the key that unlocks your true potential

The struggles of single parenting
After Happiness gave birth, her mother, who had initially planned to take care of the child, suddenly had a stroke. This unforeseen circumstance left her with no choice but to take her baby to school.

Life at school was incredibly challenging for her, and she struggled to find a balance between nurturing her newborn, attending classes, and managing her side business.

“Since I needed to earn extra cash, I started selling doughnuts in school. I used to wake up at 3 am to prepare the snacks, and by 7 am, I was already in class waiting for the lecturer to arrive. I hustled so hard to take care of myself and my child. I didn’t have a nanny because I couldn’t afford to pay for the services. Initially, I used to carry my baby everywhere I went. However, as time went on, I decided to enroll her in a crèche and would pick her up after my lectures.

Honestly, the early years of this journey were very challenging. There was a day I was asked to leave the class because my baby was distracting the lesson. Had I not made a resolute commitment to pursue my education, I would have been tempted to abandon my academic journey and drop out of school.”

Coping with stigmatization
Single mothers frequently face societal stigma. When Iya Magazine asked how she coped with criticisms and gossips, she said, “Initially, I used to be very angry whenever people criticized or stigmatized me for being a single mother. There was a time someone told my daughter that she doesn’t have a father.

“When she approached me, seeking answers, I wholeheartedly explained the situation to her, ensuring that she comprehended it with clarity and compassion. My dad and brothers have been acting as the father figure in her life.

I look forward to getting married, but I won’t trade my peace of mind or my daughter’s security for it

“As for my baby’s daddy, for many years, I was resentful towards him for all the pain he caused me. I was also vexed about how my life was turning out. I used to cry my eyes out at night. So one day, I told God to help me. I knew I needed to heal to move on.
I started listening to motivational messages and also drew closer to my Creator. He restored my peace and helped me discover my purpose in life.”

Leaving footprints in the sand of time
Happiness eventually graduated from the university with Second Class Upper (2:1) and currently serves as a dedicated school teacher and a compassionate personal development coach. Alongside her professional roles, she devotes her time as a volunteer for Revamp Africa, an organization that prepares youths for leadership role.

In her role as a teacher, she goes above and beyond to impart not only academic knowledge but also invaluable life lessons to her students. She fervently assists teenagers in building their self-confidence and provides guidance on various aspects of life and opportunities.

As a teens coach, she collaborates with different organizations in conducting school outreaches where she addresses critical topics such as sexual purity, sex education, and the alarming issue of rape. Through her efforts, she empowers young individuals with knowledge about themselves and the world around them.

Reflecting on her journey, Happiness expresses no regrets. Instead, she finds deep fulfillment in her various engagements. She acknowledges that her unwavering strength comes from her faith in God, while her greatest joy and motivation stem from her beloved daughter.

Marriage and relationships
When asked about her future relationship plans, she said, “Of course, I look forward to getting married, but I won’t trade my peace of mind or my daughter’s security for it. I have rejected some suitors when I perceived that they were being judgmental. I know that there are still real men who would love a single mother truly. So, I’m hoping to settle down soon.

“I have shared my personal experience to illuminate the path for others and assist them in navigating their own unique journeys. Even in moments when others may lose faith in you, remember, your unwavering belief in yourself is the key that unlocks your true potential.

“Always embrace your mistakes and setbacks, for they can become the foundation of a powerful testimony. While the journey ahead may not be a walk in the park, if you remain resolute and keep forging ahead, you will certainly reach the destination you have envisioned and cherished.”

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