‘Hiding my pregnancy from my family is best for everyone’

In most traditional and religious households, falling pregnant out of wedlock is taboo – and it’s usually women who face social scrutiny.

*Busiswa is a 24-year-old pregnant woman who lives in Johannesburg with her boyfriend. Her family lives in the Eastern Cape. She chose to hide her pregnancy from her family because she is scared of the outcome if they find out.
I come from a very traditional and religious family and falling pregnant outside marriage is already seen as taboo: you’re seen as a black sheep in the family who has committed an unforgivable sin.

I’m 24 years old and I just started working, but I am still treated like a child at home because I’m not yet married and I’m not allowed to interact with the opposite sex. Growing up as a young girl, you were always told to never sleep with boys, and to never move in with boyfriends. I have basically done all of that. That’s why I have chosen to keep my pregnancy a secret from my family. It’s for the best, because I’m still still kind of dependent on them and I know my financial struggles as well.

My parents are not well health-wise. My dad is diabetic and I don’t want to make his condition worse, and he’s already overprotective of me. He literally calls me everyday, tells me to look after myself, and ensure that no Jo’burg boys try to impregnate me. Every time he says that, that makes my stomach drop, because the first time he said that to me over the phone was literally after I had found out that I was pregnant. It destroys me every time I think about it. I feel like I have failed him and lying to him and telling him that I would never let any “Jo’burg boy” impregnate me is always difficult to mouth out.

My family abides by their tradition and religion and obviously black cultures and Christianity value virginity among women above everything else, So if you lose your virginity, then you’re no good to the family. What also stresses me out as well is that I am the first girl at home to fall pregnant. My older brother impregnated his girlfriend in his thirties and my family made it seem as if he committed an unimaginable crime and forced him into marrying the girl to make up for this “sin”. So you can already imagine what’s going to happen to me.

We live in a society where we as women, young and old, are expected to be perfect. As young black women, we are constantly faced with this pressure of pleasing our families. We have to prove how smart we are and, at the same time, prove how much we are saints in order for them to see whether we are “marriage material”. My biggest fear is them finding out before the time I intend to tell them, because I know they would overreact. I don’t know what I would do if they found out and I constantly think about it every single day. I fear them sanctioning me financially or disowning me and telling me to stay in Johannesburg and never copme back home. It’s scary and I am the one most scared of the scrutiny I am yet to face when I announce it, because no one will focus on my boyfriend. In the society we live in, it’s seen as okay for men to impregnate us but it’s not okay for us to fall pregnant. I don’t get the logic behind that.

I thought of aborting at first because aside from being broke, I told myself I was not ready for the scrutiny. I went as far as finding out where the cheapest place to do it would be. But then again, it also crossed my mind that I would still face public humiliation if I had done it and, who knows, it could have been worse than actually keeping the baby. It’s really tough being a young black pregnant woman. I feel like I am trapped in this cycle of oppression from social standards that are designated to please men and I wonder if we as women can ever be free from this cycle.

*Name has been changed

As told to Mihlali Ntsabo. Edited for brevity and clarity — The Daily Vox

Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Despite tweet, Zuma keeps silent about providing his taxpayer information

The Public Protector has still not received confirmation from former president Jacob Zuma that she may access his tax records —...

Ahead of WEF, Mboweni will have to assure investors that...

The finance minister says despite the difficult fiscal environment, structural reforms are under way to put SA on a new growth path
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.