“I had been planning on aborting this pregnancy because I felt neglected and abandoned by my parents,” explained Maya*, with despondency. It was clear Maya was going through a stressful time; her face obscured with tears.
“Upon being tested for HIV at antenatal care, I learned that I was not only pregnant with an unplanned pregnancy but I was also diagnosed HIV positive. My partner, who had escorted me to antenatal care, tested HIV negative. I felt like the world had come crashing down. I felt so bad and wondered what my partner must think of me,” she said.
After they were both counselled, Maya and her partner came to terms with the situation and Maya was enrolled on ART at the MCH department.
“Each time I came across my medication, I wanted to take it so that I would either die or lose the pregnancy,” Maya admitted.
Later Maya was linked to the REACH support group at Chazanga Clinic for pregnant young moms by one of the psychosocial counsellors from Kabangwe Creative Initiative Association (KCIA), who was based at Chazanga Clinic. Maya said, “At first I struggled to attend the meetings because I had self-stigma but after some home visits and phone calls from the peer supporters and the counsellor, I started to attend the meetings.” Maya continued to attend the support group meetings, but after the birth of her child she started feeling too old for the support group despite being only 20-years-old.
“I felt happy when I heard about the ABCD pilot, which is incorporated into the REACH programme. Despite accepting my HIV status, I still had issues and challenges. I worried about being a good parent because I was not feeling happy and did not play with my child. I missed the time before I fell pregnant, because I felt that my child was the reason my parents had neglected me.”
“After attending some ABCD sessions, the support group helped me a lot. My mood changed and with the baby interaction charts, I am now able to talk to my baby, make her laugh and smile.”
“I openly encourage my fellow young mothers to attend support groups and learn how to stay healthy and happy,” Maya said, with a smile on her face.
Maya now enjoys a loving relationship with her baby as well as her parents.