Bittersweet - Family pledges to do best for baby after teen mom dies
Alicia Wright was very disappointed when she found out that her daughter, Shanice 'Dem Dem' Whyte, was pregnant at 17. She had dreams of her daughter growing up and taking her place in the world. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever think Shanice would become a teen mother.
"When me hear say she pregnant me not even did know say she have boyfriend. Me curse and end up all beat her because me never please about it. Me never want she get pregnant because me did get pregnant young," Wright said.
As time passed, the mother accepted that Shanice would be having a baby. In fact, both the mother and child were excited to meet the little one. As Wright puts it, "Me did reach a point where me couldn't wait fi see her with her little girl, and see me granddaughter".
However, in a cruel twist of fate, Shanice, a past student of Tivoli Gardens High School, did not get the chance to meet her baby. She died on April 6 after falling ill at home the night before. The baby, Soraya Stewart, had to be delivered by doctors.
"Everybody went to sleep normal the night before, and then all of a sudden she hardly can breathe in her sleep. So we end up rush wid her to the hospital, and dem bring her in and say them have to take the baby, so dem end up cut her and take it," said Shanique Morgan, the 20-year-old sister of Shanice.
"Little bit after dem tell we say she never mek it and everybody did shock because we never a expect fi hear nuttin like that," the sister added.
Seven maternal deaths
Seven maternal deaths have been recorded on April 24, according to information published by the health ministry.
Morgan said that she and her sister were like two peas in a pod.
"Me and Dem Dem was like best friends because a we a di only girls my mother have. She have two other children, but dem a boys," she said. "Anything at all we talk bout with each other, we just live good and me caah ever figet bout me sister."
Wright, still struggling to come to terms with the loss of her daughter, has a reason to smile - Baby Soraya, her first and only grandchild. The one-month-old is also the most precious gift Shanique has received from her sister.
"I'm so happy that the baby is still here and I thank God for that," Wright told THE STAR yesterday, a day after Shanice's body was buried at Dovecot.
"I still wish Shanice was still here because me cry every night ,but only God knows best," Wright said, while adding that the baby will "always be my daughter because Shanice gone".
For Shanique, having Baby Soraya around brightens her days.
"I love my niece so much, and make it worse, my sister nuh deh here suh a just my niece me a focus pon. Me affi give her all the love because me know how excited my sister was about the baby," she told THE STAR.
"The baby reminds mi a mi little sister so much, it makes me smile. From me sister die it bring the family together more to because everybody want to be around the baby and ting. The babyfather is around her too, and it mek me feel happy," she added
Shanice, described as quiet and loving, dreamt of becoming a flight attendant. Her family members have pledged to do all they can to ensure that the dreams she had for Soraya will come to fruition.
"I will go the extra mile to do anything to better her life," grandma Wright said.