|Teenage mother in Jinotega lives a day at a time|
|Written by Flor Ramos|
|Wednesday, 31 March 2010 19:34|
She was sitting in a corner of the lobby, contemplating a new born in her arms. Her eyes fixed on her son, and my eyes drawn to the reciprocity found in the baby’s sleeping smile.
19-year-old Keyla Gonzalez gave birth to her first child last March 8th. It was just the day after when I met her.
At that time she said she had stayed at Casa Materna for 8 days already, and she planned to stay only a few more, “until I find a place to live next,” she said.
Casa Materna is a shelter run by volunteers, which provides pregnant women from the mountains and country side with a roof to stay in Jinotega, close to the hospital, in preparation for their delivery.
Casa Materna is completely charge free. It offers alimentation, a bed to sleep, medical assistance and new-mom-must-haves to women to whom medical services are unaffordable; such is the case of Gonzalez.
Gonzalez heard about Casa Materna through her last boss.
“I work in whatever jobs I can get: sometimes it is helping in someone’s household or sometimes selling stuff in the market. Last time I was a salesperson at a store in the market; it was the best job I have ever had,” she said.
Gonzalez has coursed until sixth grade elementary school. She left home when she was 14, and has been independent since then. She is one of eight kids, and the second one from the same father.
“When my father lived with us, he used to get drunk and beat up anybody who was in his presence, specially my mother. My mother is reminded of those painful years when she sees the fruit of that relationship, me and my brother, and that's why she hates me," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez does not maintain a stable relationship with any of her relatives; she says she is “the reject of the family.”
“Basically I have been all alone all my life almost. Nobody supports me, but the very few friends I have made in Jinotega,” she said.
She came from the mountains to Jinotega at age 16. She got a boyfriend and started to live with him for a while, which brought her some stability.
“I was doing just fine with my ex-boyfriend and my mother-in-law. When I realized I could be pregnant, I ignored the fact and behaved like everything was normal. I thought if I ignored it would go away. I knew a pregnancy would bring me problems with them. My stomach became more evident as time passed by. It was obvious. As soon as he found out I was 5 months pregnant, he turned his back on me, and kicked me out of the house,” Gonzalez said.
Ever since she has roamed from shelter to shelter, and recently had to quit her job to intern in Casa Materna, getting ready to have her baby.
“I want to keep studying, and get to college. Someday I will be an architect. I am sure that I can work and study at the same time if I find a school to go to and a job near by it. And I can take care of my baby,” she said.
When asked about the future of her baby, Gonzalez said, “I would never give away my baby. There are so many women out there who do not want their babies and so they give them away, or they abandon them. There are some women in the hospital who ask you to give your baby to them in adoption or to the shelter, so they can have a better life. But I would never give away my baby. Because before him I was alone, but now, I am not alone anymore, and I can take care of him one day at a time.”
At the moment she had no plans of housing, employment or any economical income for the near future.