February 25, 2018

Positivity: Pregnant at 12 and told life was ruined, she’s now a nurse who rejected the shame

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Allendale, South Carolina (video at link; HT Life News):

February 09, 2018 03:30 PM
Updated February 12, 2018 08:51 AM

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Sharonda Jenkins had a baby when she was 12.

She was a sixth-grader at Allendale Elementary School in the little town by the same name, population 3,000. And she was told her life was ruined.

“When people became aware of my situation, I was the topic of everyone’s conversation, and not in a good way,” she can say today, 20 years later.

She was ostracized. She had to leave the elementary school so other students wouldn’t ask questions. Her friends’ parents didn’t want her around to lead their daughters astray.

“Everyone had an opinion about me and how my mother should have taken me to get an abortion. It was easy for them to give their advice from the outside looking in when, truthfully, no one knows what they would have done until they were placed in the situation.”

Sharonda delivered a healthy baby girl. The next year, she went back into the middle school, and in 2004 earned her high school diploma. Twelve years later, so did her baby, Laquisea.

“I know a lot of people can’t imagine what that was like, a baby having a baby,” she says.

Her life was already a challenge, being from one of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s poorest pockets, an hour from Ridgeland, where she lives today, and even farther from Hilton Head Island, where she could earn a paycheck.

Sharonda quickly noticed that all the blame was on her – never the boy.

“It was you, you, you – the grief I got from people,” she said. “But it takes two.”

Seared in her mind is an elderly woman telling her she wouldn’t amount to anything.

“You do look up to older people,” Sharonda said. “They are the ones who are supposed to have so much wisdom. I was 14 at the time. She was wrong. She was wrong. But at the time, being my age, and knowing her age, I believed it.”

In spite of the obstacles, Sharonda achieved a dream this past summer. She earned a practical nursing diploma from Denmark Technical College and is now working as a licensed practical nurse with the Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.

“I kind of wanted to prove some people wrong,” she said.

When her nursing class covered maternity issues, Sharonda wrote a personal essay and gave it to her teacher.

Her message: Don’t shame me.

Her essay concludes: “I say again to all nurses, please be sensitive to our situation because the odds are already against us, but if you ever feel the need to judge, I want to leave you with this quote:

“‘There is not enough good in the best of us to criticize the bad in the rest of us.’” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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