Early childbearing: perspectives and experiences of young men and women in Durban.
Ngcobo, Seluleko Eric.
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Early childbearing continues to be a matter of concern around the world, especially in developing nations. The causes and the implications of early parenting have been explored by researchers from young mothers’ perspective, thus excluding young fathers. Life goals and the future of young people is threatened by early parenting. The negative outcomes of early parenting intercept young parents’ ability to further their studies. The exclusion of fathers defeats the purpose of better understanding the causes of early childbearing as fathers are an integral part of early childbearing. The inclusion of young fathers is also important in trying to understand early childbearing and its implications for the youth. This study aimed at closing this gap by focusing on early childbearing from the perspective of both young mothers and fathers. This study draws its rich findings from semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with twenty participants (ten mothers and ten fathers) who were students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Findings of this study show that there are more similarities than there are difference between young mothers and fathers in terms of causes and experiences of early childbearing. The study found that lack of proper sex education in homes and schools play a huge role in enabling other factors that exacerbate early childbearing. Although lack of access to contraception was an issue that resulted in non-use of contraception, this study also found that there were various reasons for not using contraception despite its availability, which also contributed to early childbearing. This study differs from others as it reports on young parents that continued with their education despite financial problems and other difficulties caused by early childbearing. For this reason, this study recommends that future studies explore factors that encourage and help young parents to re-enter the education system and finish their high school education and further their studies to higher education level. Youth friendly and youth driven awareness and education is also recommended to prevent early childbearing. This study acknowledges that ecosystems perspective fails to explain internal factors that prevent early childbearing, thus the recommendations is that researchers explore internal factors that prevent early childbearing and enforce resiliency.