'I couldn't abort, I'll be killing a life'

'I couldn't abort, I'll be killing a life'

Orphaned since she was 13, she knows what it is like to grow up without parental love and support.

Annie (not her real name) did not want her child to have an incomplete family like she did.

So when she became a single mother at 19, she moved in with her child's father so that her newborn son could have a complete family.

But he failed to meet her expectations of what a father should be, so she decided to move out and raise her child alone, even though it will be a financial and emotional strain on her.

Annie, now 20, said: "To me, it's not a proud thing to have a child without a father around.

"But I have no time to care about what people think. I just want to focus on taking care of my son and do all I can to give him the best."

Annie's mother died from an illness when she was five and her father died from a heart attack eight years later.

The outspoken girl, whose highest qualification is a Nitec in Tourism, said: "I don't really remember what my mum was like. My dad used to be violent, but he became more responsible after my mum's death. His sudden death took us by surprise."

She and her brother, now a 22-year-old working in retail, were sent to different children's homes after her father's death, as no other relatives could take care of them.

But Annie had a rebellious streak and often ran away, back to her parents' flat.

She said: "I just wanted to go back home, away from the restrictions.

"My file was very colourful and I created a lot of trouble for the people there."

Annie met the father of her child during one of the occasions when she ran away.

They got to know each other through mutual friends when she was 14 and began an on-and-off relationship in 2013.

She suspected she was pregnant after missing her period.

Annie said: "It was, like, 'okay lor, I'm pregnant'. I wasn't really stressed until I started thinking about whether I should keep him."

The child's father, now a 21-year-old working in retail, wanted an abortion, which Annie initially agreed to.

She set up an appointment at an abortion clinic, but changed her mind when she saw the ultrasound scan of her foetus.

"The baby is a life. I couldn't end it like that," said Annie, who was two months into her pregnancy.

Afraid her brother would be angry, Annie kept her pregnancy from him, only telling him about it a month before she was due to give birth.

To her surprise, he was supportive.

During a routine checkup at KK Women's and Children's Hospital in the fifth month of her pregnancy, a social worker from the hospital told her that she needed more support.

They referred her to Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support (Babes), a voluntary welfare organisation that assists pregnant teenagers.

Babes helped her financially by giving her food vouchers as well as baby items such as clothes that were donated to the organisation.

She said: "I had no idea what this organisation was about and what they do."

She never knew there were organisations in Singapore that provided assistance to pregnant teens.

Annie said: "Babes was helpful because I could seek advice from my case worker. This is important especially when I'm alone with no one to talk to."

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