Fatma’s story

I couldn’t break the promise that had been given to my future husband in Turkey. I wanted to tell Aksel this in private, then break off all contact with him. That’s when it happened! We cried and hugged each other goodbye – and then we lost control of our feelings.

I’m born and raised in Norway, but my family is originally from Turkey. We’re muslims. My future husband lives in Turkey until the day we’re to be married. But our parents know each other and know that we will be a good match. Until we’re ready for marriage we’re not allowed to have any relationships with others. This is a a promise that is very important to the family’s honor. We’re a close-knit family with a lot of dedication to each other.

I’m now in my first year of high school. At school I have friends that I talk about everything with. After school I’m mostly at home. Every now and then I have some time to go to my friend’s house after school. One of these afternoons I met Aksel. He’s a buddy of my fried’s brother, and he’s 19. We got along really well, and I felt like he was a guy that I could easily fall in love with. It turned out Aksel felt the same way about me. Throughout the autumn we started meeting regularly at my friend’s house. This strong feeling of love was really difficult for me, and I knew I had to break things off with him. But it was harder than I thought it would be. That night, when I was set to talk to him about it, our passion ran wild and we lost control.

The days that followed were difficult for me. Being heartbroken was bad enough, but my fear of the consequences of our last meeting was even worse. When I didn’t get my period and the pregnancy test showed a positive result my world collapsed around me. My family is highly respected within the Turkish community. What would happen to us if my pregnancy became known to the community? I’ve heard many stories in which young women like myself have lost their families after becoming pregnant outside of marriage. The family had to turn their back on their daughters in an attempt to regain respect and recognition. Having an abortion in secrecy would be a way to solve my problem. But it wouldn’t be compatible with my beliefs. The only person I had to talk with was Aksel.

In all secrecy we met. When he heard about the pregnancy he turned quiet and a little sad. Aksel understood that this was more than a decision about whether or not to have a child. He told me he would be there for me no matter what, and told me we could move in together. It was comforting to hear him say that. At that moment I didn’t feel alone in this difficult situation. At the same time I knew that the consequences of this choice could cause me more pain and sorrow than I felt I was able to bear. Would I really have to give up either my family or the child? Could I bring myself to talk to anybody about this? Aksel suggested we talk to the the public health nurse at the youth clinic. I thought it was a good idea, but we couldn’t be seen together and had to visit the clinic separately.

On the bus ride home I felt empty and exhausted. How would I arrive at the right decision for me? Normally my family sit down together when important decisions are made. It feels safe to not have to do it alone. My choice will affect the lives of many, and I have to make it on my own. For the first time in my life I didn’t dare to ask my family for help.

Sincerely Fatma, client of Stiftelsen Amathea