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Exploring teenage pregnancy and motherhood in Nigeria through PhD study

4 April 2018

Ayomide Oluseye is currently a PhD student with The Open University. Her research interests lie in adolescent sexual and reproductive health and she is currently undertaking a qualitative study on teenage pregnancy and motherhood in Nigeria. In this blog, Ayomide shares more about what inspired her focus on this for her PhD and what she hopes to achieve….

I have always been interested in adolescent sexual and reproductive health from my undergraduate days and this has greatly shaped my career activities and research interests. I first became interested in adolescent sexual and reproductive health during my undergraduate internship at the Center for Gender and Social Policy Studies in my home country (Nigeria), when I was asked to do a presentation on female genital mutilation. After reading through texts for my presentation, I became curious as to why the society was so interested in preserving and suppressing sexuality, especially for the females. And so like every other sailor or pirate who has set out on sea to discover the unknown, I also set out, in my school library, to understand scholars’ preoccupations with adolescent sexuality. The more I read, the more questions I had and the more I realized that females were disproportionately affected by the measures put in place to reduce or suppress sexuality. These were evident in interventions aimed only at females to reduce pregnancy rates which made me wonder if the females were having some sort of “supernatural pregnancy” as their male counterparts were hardly involved in any of these interventions, and also gender bias which implied that females had to drop out of school or were seen as irresponsible due to an early pregnancy.

Armed with these vast knowledge of information, I set out to do a Master’s in Public Health. It would be good to point out here that the only knowledge I had about public health was from my interaction with google which led me to believe that public health just literally meant that I could change the behavior of the public towards their health. So imagine my dismay when I realized that I would have to sit through long hours of lectures involving epidemiology, modelling and mapping for disease outbreaks. But it all paid off in the end because I was more equipped to write my PhD proposal and begin my PhD at The Open University. I chose to study at the OU because of my supervisors who have carried out some interesting research on teenage pregnancy and motherhood, and because they are very well known in my country in the area of health research.

Currently, my research work is centered on exploring the experiences of teenage mothers in relation to teenage pregnancy and motherhood, with the aim of deconstructing the perception of teenage pregnancy and motherhood, as a problem in Nigeria. The discourses around teenage pregnancy and motherhood in Nigeria is predominantly negative. As a result, teenage pregnancy and motherhood is associated with stigma and discrimination which reduces their quality of life. I hope that my work contributes to policy implementations and improve the life-options of teenage mothers. But will I continue on this part till the end of my PhD or will my PhD take an entirely different turn as I am still in the 6th month of my PhD…well, only time can tell.

About Ayomide Oluseye

Ayomide has worked as a research assistant/intern at the Institute of Public Health, Obafemi Awolowo University and the Department of Mental Health, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She also holds a BSc in Psychology from the Redeemer's University, Nigeria and an MSc in Public Health from the Bournemouth University, UK. She is six months into her PhD studies with The Open University.

If you are interested in studying a PhD at The Open University, find out more information here. We are sometimes able to offer funded PhD opportunities in certain subjects, which will be listed on the OU's Vacancies page.

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