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Pregnancy - joy of every woman

Any woman who does not conceive in an African setting is seen as cursed. The ultimate power of every woman in my society is to be able to reproduce and show her femininity. It is the beginning and end of every woman, parents, friends and relative of every woman who has reached the reproduction age. If not, you will be tagged barren and will become the laughing stock of other women and your folks and of course your mother-in-law and sisters-in-law will make your life a living hell. Other sisters who are eyeing your husband will do everything possible to replace you. That is the crux of this issue. And when the person is pregnant or eventually gets pregnant what happens?

Pregnancy in the true sense of it is a thing of joy for in the Holy Bible after God has created man and breathe into him, he gave them an injunction GO YE INTO THE WORLD AND MULITPLY” and since then men and women has known no peace. Every woman and men want to show off their fertility on the number of children they have. Parents want grand children to continue their lineage especially in our African context. No one wants his name wiped out the history of his community and environs.

These mentalities have ruled us humans especially those of us in Africa. You cant imagine what women go through in search of children when the woman do not get pregnant after the first year of getting married. As the year passes by, pressures come from all over – her mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, her parents, peers and the entire community as she is called names (witch – that she has eaten all the children in her womb) and pointed at anytime she passes any group. The mental, emotional and psychological torture is better imagined than experienced.

Eventually when she gets pregnant – from the 1st trimester to delivery time is left in the hands of the Almighty. Is it supposed to be a cause rather a blessing? A lot of things come to play, from inexperience, illiteracy to pure stupidity. Spiritism also goes a long way in maiming and killing pregnant women. So many attach spiritual attack to every circumstance or negative experience, pains and sickness in their and especially during these period. They go to all sorts of prayer houses and churches seeking spiritual help and assistance instead of going to hospitals at least to eliminate the fact that their problems cannot be medically handled.

So many literate and educated men and women falls prey to this spiritual dogma and has contributed a lot in the rate of maternal and child mortality. Why would a woman who has gone through thick and thin to get pregnant go to a quack prayer house or church to deliver instead of a hospital / health facility or a trained traditional birth attendant? A woman recently died from child bearing after 5 years of searching for a child. She is educated and had to go to an unknown place for her delivery. One version of the story said, she went to a traditional birth attendant that combines her job with church ministration, while others said she went to a prayer house when her husband kept telling her to go the hospital she attended her ante-natal sessions.

It pains me so much to see women die in droves because of their own carelessness especially those that are well informed about the dangers associated with child bearing especially without a well trained medical attendant. Some take after their friends, because it worked for your friend or relative did not make it right and may not work for you.


Rochelle White's picture

Eye opening

Very eye opening. As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to meet the standards of societies beliefs. Having a baby is a huge decision that alters the rest of a persons life, though beautiful, not everyone is ready for a baby but it sounds like the women of your culture are ostrocized and humilated if they do not produce off spring as if they feel that is their only purpose. They are so much more and since God made everyone different with different purposes, it would be great if they could see that a baby is only one peice of their awesomeness. I hope one day women around the world find the courage to know they are more than a status in society, they are the esscense of its exsistence.



LatiNegra's picture

Wow. This is so raw, real and

Wow. This is so raw, real and vivid. Thank you for sharing this. I hope the views of barren women change, as it is something that often is out of our control. Stay blessed!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer

Deqa's picture


I read your post and it brings about some painful memories. It was only last week when i lost a friend to irresponsible child birth. She refused to deliver in a hospital and chose the traditional midwives, and she died of complications. I was at the Hospital on Wednesday evening throughout the funeral ceremony and it was painful. I kept thinking the whole time. How many more lives will be lost to irresponsible decisions? She was really young and inexperienced but people around her especially her older sisters should have motivated her to deliver in a hospital. Are we really suppose to indulge somebody's choice even if it kills them?
I can still see her face every time i remember her. It is painful.
Thank you for speaking out my dear.

PeopleWeaver's picture

Very informative

You've written a very good explanation of the culture and pressure on a woman to have children. The circumstances of the birthing process can be heartbreaking. I heard of a lady where I work that was turned away from the clinic while in labor because she didn’t bring birthing supplies. Later she and the baby died. What do you think of the number of children a lady produces? With poverty at a high and the food pie being split in smaller and smaller pieces as many children are born this impacts the family greatly. Is it fair or even hopeful that women might want to limit the number of children to several instead of 8 – 10 children? My last trip to Uganda I broached this topic very, very carefully. It is not right for outsiders to come in and tell people “what they need to do.” Comments?

TJ's picture

society and the pressures...

It's sad that society has this sort of control over our women but these roles that we are forced to play since time begun have really turned to almost being the 'words of God'. We have integrated them into our lives, these traditions, and in many instances equate them to the holy books' teachings.

This was an eye opener on this issue for me. As usual, I hear about these things and read about them but having a sister write from her personal experiences really brought it home.

What do you think can be done to help this situation?


Tessie's picture

Hi Sister, It is indeed

Hi Sister,
It is indeed really sad that this things still happen in our country but what amazes me most as you have said is that even the educative families still fall prey to this menace of native doctors and spiritualist! No woman should die giving life!!! Its just so sad.
take you for the write up.

salient cry

The number of children a woman bears does not show how productive and cannot be a pride of womanhood. They are part of them but the main part is being able to manage the number you have well and provide fro them all the basic need of life - food & food supplements, housing, education and general well being.

Like Peopleweaver rightly said, poverty is abound and shortage of food and food supplement from fresh fruits and vegetables causes growth deficiency in children. Not having the necessary nutrients causes marasmus and kwashiokor.

Some people have woken up from their slumber to have less children while others are still feeling that so long as they can get pregnant then they will continue to bear children. It is really sad. We must stop at nothing until women and families realises that the number of children is not the point but providing for them adequately is all that matters.

The sole decision lies with them. we can only create the awareness and sensitize them but we cannot force them to abide by them.

Thank you all for taking interest in this write up, commenting and sharing your ideas and views at same time. We shall continue to work hard so that our light will continue to shine.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative
Lets keep the light shining

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