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When I got pregnant, a lot of people thought that my career had ended. I remember when I got home, I was nervous and scared because I thought that this pregnancy was going to stop everything. But I also remember after a week, I told myself, “I am going to do this. I am going to be so much better, not only for myself, but for my child.”
I am sure that being a teenage mom, you will hear little comments. When you walk on the road, sometimes you will see people looking at you strange. Ignore. Focus on yourself. Focus on your healing, your journey, and the next step. It is important to be able to be in a place where you are accepted. You must accept that, “This is who I am right now. That I am going to be a mom and I will be proud of being a mom to my child.”
Running my fastest times after giving birth
Even though I had a career at the time, and still had things I wanted to accomplish, I decided that I am now going to have a good pregnancy and get ready to be a good mom. This was not the end; I am going to come back.
Make sure you give yourself the opportunity that when you have a child, or when you see your child, to tell yourself: “I am strong because of my child. I am going to make it because of my child. I am going to give myself the opportunity to grow, to excel. I am going to give myself the opportunity to learn because I want to be better, not only for myself, but for my child.”
This is just the beginning. I ran my best times after I had my son. I went back to winning medals after I had my son. I am going for more because I want more, and I believe I can have it. So, you too, after you have your child, you can make the decisions for yourself right now. And look ahead to the future because there is so much more that you can achieve – if you believe it and you are willing to work for it.
Make time for self-care
Also, remember that you can’t show up for your child unless you show up for yourself. That’s very important. You have to stand up in front of the mirror and ensure that you are showing up as your authentic self: "This is why I am showing up. I am showing up as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Why? Because Zyon Pryce needs me. But I need me first.”
People like to think that motherhood stops everything. I would like to think that there is so much more to who I am. We are so much more. We are not just mothers. I am not just a mother. I am an entrepreneur, I am a wife, I am a friend, I am a daughter, I am so much more. Being a mother is a part of who you are.
You must embrace every single part of that journey to understand that you have a choice now. And that choice is, “Am I going to be stuck in this situation? No.” You know how to make a choice: “What am I going to do next? Where do I see myself in the next 5 years? How can I make a change? How can I make the difference?” I want you to say this to yourself: “You got this, I can do this, and I will do this.”
What’s UNICEF doing?
The Empowered Futures Parenting Programme is designed to help adolescent mothers feel more empowered and confident about themselves and the care, protection and support they give to their children. The programme – which is the first of its kind in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region – is delivered by trained guidance counsellors employed by the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) to small groups of adolescent mothers. It consists of 12 weekly sessions. The first segment, a “Parenting Session”, is for information-sharing and knowledge-building. This is followed by supervised, “Learning Through Play” sessions, where participants and their babies use self-made or locally produced toys and books to help them improve the way they talk, play and interact with their children. The programme also includes specialized sessions for grandparents and fathers.