Teen mum: The child is innocent. I don’t see a reason why the baby has to die

Thursday August 04th, 2022

This article was originally published by The Straits Times on 31 July, 2022.

SINGAPORE – When she became pregnant out of wedlock at 19, her boyfriend asked her to go for
an abortion. So did her father.

But Sarah (not her real name), who was then working as an auxiliary police officer, insisted on
keeping the baby. “The child is innocent. I don’t see a reason why the baby has to die,” said the now 22-year-old.

Besides, she loves children and was confident that she could raise her child well, given that she
looked after her stepsister when she was a baby.

Sarah did not use birth control as her boyfriend – who is the same age as her and was then
serving national service – did not like using condoms.

Both their families asked the young couple to marry but he said he was not ready to settle down.

“For sure, I didn’t want to marry him,” she said. “He didn’t want the baby and he is also abusive
and irresponsible.”

Sarah had to stop work when she was five months pregnant. She broke up with her boyfriend after her daughter was born.

He did not support her or the baby financially, and bought only milk powder and diapers a few
times, she said.

Sarah, whose daughter is turning three soon, has been getting financial aid from the
Government. She also received help from charities aLife and Babes, which gave her necessities
such as milk powder and diapers. Another charity, Impart, provided emotional support, among
other things.

Sarah suffered from post-partum depression after giving birth. There was also the stigma of
being an unwed mother, though she said she tried not to think about how others saw her.

“It took a lot of courage to have a child at a very young age. It (being a single mum) is a roller-
coaster journey, but never give up as it will all be worth it at the end of the day. When you see
your child grow, it is a big achievement,” she added.

“You are also not alone,” she said, referring to the help she has received from various charities.

After she broke up with her boyfriend, she met another man, who is also 22, through mutual
friends. They dated for two years before marrying recently.

The housewife also has a daughter, who is now seven months old, with her husband who works
as a delivery rider.