Sharmin’s story: a child in the womb of a child

Many young girls in Asia and worldwide are forced into early marriages, often with devastating consequences. Sayma, from Youth For Change Bangladesh, tells the tale of such a girl, based on the true experiences of one of her peers.

We know that our parents love us very much. They are very carefulabout us and always find the right ways for us. There is no doubt about that. But due to ignorance or lack of awareness, they sometimes take decisions which are not suitable for their children.

I am talking about early marriage. An early marriage has two sides, positive and negative.  It can bring economic relief for poor families, and may even result in a happy successful partnership. But the cons are far more than the pros.

Let's talk about a girl named Sharmin*.  She was a bright student, but when she was 15 years old a shocking incident happened to her - Something she never expected. She had dreams abouther study and future, like many other girls, but her dreamscame crashing down .

The teenage years are a very sensitive time. In this period every teenager wants to do something new, they want thrills in their life. They are always eager and curious to try something new. The emotions run deep within them which make them an easy prey for cupid's arrow. They fall in love, or mistake infatuation as love.

Child bride on her wedding day, Bangladesh [PHOTO CREDIT: Plan International}

Child bride on her wedding day, Bangladesh [PHOTO CREDIT: Plan International}

Something like this happened to Sharmin - she fell head over heels in love. But as bad luck would have it, her parents came to know about it. They started to pressurize her mentally and emotionally. Her parents told her if she didn’t give up her relationship, they will marry her off to someone else. They should have known that in this period children are mentally very weak, and we should make them understand instead of pressuring them. But it’s not the fault of the parents; the fault is in the lack awareness.

Sharmin was mentally tortured, but she could not stop because she needed a companion who could understand what she was going through. She could not break up with her prince charming, her knight in shining Armor - he was her only hope in midst of all the discomfort. But her luck betrayed her once again. Her parents came to know about her affair again. They became furious, and this time they attacked their daughter both physically and mentally. The very thought that the society would know about their daughter's relationship sent chills through their spines. They considered it a big threat which could tarnish their reputation.

Their aggression forced them to come to a decision .They married their daughter off to a 35 years old man. But little did they know what a big mistake they had made. Sharmin was not happy with this marriage, but nobody understood her condition. She had nothing to do except agree to the marriage.

CHILD BRIDE, BANGLADESH [PHOTO CREDIT: PLAN INTERNATIONAL}

CHILD BRIDE, BANGLADESH [PHOTO CREDIT: PLAN INTERNATIONAL}

Marriage is a very sensitive relation because if husband and wife are not compatible the marriage falls apart in no time. This is what happened between Sharmin and her husband. Time after time they quarrelled on different topics with each other. Then her husband started to physically torture Sharmin. Her husband started to believe she was having an affair and abused her severely.

The hands that played with dolls, the eyes that cried over playground disputes, the mind that travelled to fairy lands just one year ago, was not ready to give up her childhood yet to mother a child herself.

Misfortune presented Sharmin with even a greater problem.  Sharmin discovered she was pregnant and she was not ready to have a child. The hands that played with dolls, the eyes that cried over playground disputes, the mind that travelled to fairy lands just one year ago, was not ready to give up her childhood yet to mother a child herself.

After hearing about the pregnancy her husband started to abuse Sharmin once again. Barking at Sharmin, he told her that "it is not my baby. This is the baby of that rascal with whom you had an affair". Her husband used this type of foul language all the time – he behaved like a beast .

When Sharmin couldn’t tolerate this anymore, she sought a divorce from her husband. After the divorce her husband leaked some personal pictures of her on Facebook to humiliate her further. Everybody turned against her, and poor Sharmin could do nothing.

She carried the child. 9 months later the sweet baby was born. But Sharmin couldn't forget her sorrows by seeing the face of her child. Every time she saw the child, it reminded her of her painful marriage. Once again the society started to blame Sharmin for the baby's misfortune. Nobody accepted the baby. Before the birth of the baby Sharmin wanted an abortion her but it was prohibited in Islam, so when the baby was born she gave the baby up for adoption to a rich family.

Now Sharmin has no bright future. Everyone dislikes her, and she is living with many blames and with the sorrow for her baby. The baby will not be able to know her real parents, and Sharmin will not see her baby again.

She is not alone. There are many Sharmins in our society, whose lives are becoming a day to day hell. It's time our parents and our society became aware and took the best decision to save their children's future.

* The names in this article have been changed to protect anonymity.