Experiences and coping strategies of teenage mothers in Mafubira Sub-County, Jinja District, Uganda
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This study examined the experiences and coping strategies of teenage mothers with pregnancy in Mafubira sub-county, Butembe County, Jinja district in Eastern region of Uganda. Using a mixed method approach the study sought to: (a) ascertain the demographic characteristics of teenage mothers (b) describe the experiences, challenges and coping strategies of teenage mothers during and after pregnancy; and (c) document teenage mothers’ views on what they conceptualize as the most feasible interventions needed to be considered in targeting them and their children to experience improved wellbeing. Quantitative data was obtained from eighty (80) teenage mothers through a descriptive survey using a questionnaire and qualitative data concerning experiences, challenges, coping strategies and most feasible interventions were obtained through one-on-one in-depth interviews with ten (10) selected case studies of teenage mothers and expectant teenagers. Quantitative data was analyzed using Statistical Procedures for Social Scientists (SPSS), described and discussed according to the hypothesis and perspectives of social ecological framework while qualitative data was thematically analyzed and presented using Atlas Ti software in line with relevant literature. The study findings indicate that: (a) majority of teenage mothers are aged 16-19 years, 61.3% dropped out of primary school; 58.8% are married; 51% had their 1st sex at 13-15 years; 55% first became pregnant at 13-16 years; access to contraceptives is low at 44%; and 86% are not taking part in any income generating activity neither do their husbands (b) Teenage mothers have negative experiences of early pregnancy, majorly faced with the challenges of rejection, forced marriage, abandonment, lack of income and denial to work. They cope with the challenges through prayers, mother’s support and petty trade (c) Teenage mothers suggest that economic empowerment through income generating enterprises and vocational skills training would enable them and their children to improve their wellbeing. This study concludes that teenage pregnancy is high in Mafubira sub-county largely due to individual, interpersonal and community level factors. This study recommends the need for policy enforcement on early marriage, sex education and sexual and reproductive health services provision; and household level economic strengthening in order to curb teenagers’ susceptibility to early pregnancy and /or teenage marriage.