— the story of Amir Raghubeer and his son Aditya
WHEN we think about teenage pregnancies, we first and foremost think about the young girls whose bellies get stared at with raised eyebrows, and whose decisions seem to invite criticisms, whether she chooses to abort or give birth. And rightly so, because more often than not they are the ones saddled with the consequences and responsibilities that come from having conceived a child; there exists countless books, movies and documentaries that tell the tale of teenage mothers, abandoned by their intimate partners, once the deed is done.
But today, as we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day 2021, I want us to spare a thought for the teenage fathers who possess enough courage to step-up and become dads; young men such as Amir Anthony Raghubeer who became a father at just 17 years old.
Living in La Parfaite Harmonie Housing Scheme, West Bank Demerara, Amir had just graduated from high school, and was enrolled at the Government Technical Institute where he had been pursuing studies in welding and plumbing.
His life was somewhat “breezy”, and he hadn’t much to worry about. On the days when he was not studying or taking up part time construction work with his father, Amir spent all his free time with his girlfriend Anna; they had been together for a couple years, and they always talked about building a future.
However, their plans were accelerated when Amir learnt that Anna had become pregnant. As can be imagined, he was terrified at the news, and at 16, could not fathom being a father; his life as a young man had just begun and he wanted to enjoy it. But he also knew that the responsibilities of the pregnancy did not just rest on Anna’s shoulders, but equally on his as well. This meant that his responsibility as a father begun months before the baby was even born.
With the blessings of both sets of expectant grandparents, Amir stepped up; he was there for the morning sicknesses, the mood-swings, and all the foot rubs Anna desired. Asked whether the nine months were enough for him to become prepared for fatherhood, Amir responded in the negative.
“But still, I had to be ready, because my baby boy was on the way, so I had to be ready,” a smiling Amir told the Guyana Chronicle. Reminiscing on the day his now wife gave birth, Amir said he spent hours experiencing a gush of different emotions, all at once. Primarily, he was terrified; his thoughts wandered on whether he would be a good father, and he worried intensely as to whether his efforts would be enough to raise another human being. Simultaneously, he was excited to see his son’s face; to be able to hold him and compare all their physical features. “At the end, it was a wonderful feeling,” Amir recalled. He is now 19 years old and his son Aditya Ronaldo Raghubeer is a lively toddler who requires constant attention and endless love – much of which Amir and Ana both have to give. Amir said that even though the journey to fatherhood was plagued with many uncertainties, he was sufficiently motivated to do his best.
“My child himself motivated me, because I know I have get up, and get going; for him; I have to provide for him,” the young man related. He noted that of all the examinations he has taken throughout his life, fatherhood is a test he will never allow himself to fail at.
“It really is tough, but I still trying my best; I gon always try my best,” the teenager posited.
Amir believes that even though one might not be ready, it is never the right thing to abandon one’s partner during situations of pregnancies, be it teenage, or adult. “Guys, my advice is to step up and take your responsibility,” he advised. Reflecting on the future, Amir said that his deepest desire is to watch his son grow into a strong, intelligent, and prosperous human who is always in good health.