By Yetunde Arebi
Though information about family planning issues and the various contraceptive options available to couples have increased tremendously over the years, freedom of decision and choice, as well as access to services have continued to dodge the steps of many women, especially in rural settings.
Yet the effects of the prevailing and seemingly unending economic problems are making it almost imperative that couples must take decisive steps in managing family resources.
Thus, today in many cosmopolitan homes, one is not unlikely to see that the number of children per family has greatly reduced.
However, the figures are almost insignificant when compared with the prevailing situation. Yet, it is the women that seem to bear all the brunt.
I was stunned when I ran into Nini, one of my young friends. In less than four years of marriage, she was carrying a third pregnancy. She sat down to review her journey with me and the struggling she’d had to go through with conception.
A failed contraceptive device has resulted in my present pregnancy. After the birth of this one, we hope to really settle down and discuss this issue properly.
When we got married we planned to have just two children, with a minimum of four years age difference between them. But our plans have not worked out that way. In between the births, I’ve had two actual abortions and several self managed ones.
Initially, I used to take the daily contraceptives pills, but I guess several factors militated against its success since I always used to forget to take them. The medication loses its potency when not taken as should.
Thus, I got pregnant along the line. My first son just a few months old, so I had to terminate it. We did not really bother ourselves much over it because several of our friends had told us similar stories of how they mistakenly took in right after the birth of their first child.
I decided to make a more conscious effort after this but it didn’t work out. Though I didn’t have to procure an abortion at the hospital this time, I did a kind of self medication that saved us from the mess.
It was a friend that told me to use the same contraceptive pills I was using, but not in the recommended dosage.
Mind you, this only works when the pregnancy is still just a few days old. I gave up the pills after this and began taking the injections.
The injections are more popular and they are taken once every three months. This was where the problems began. My period which used to last just three days suddenly increased to five days and sometimes more.
It also became very heavy and painful. It was so painful that people in my office knew whenever I was having my period. I sometimes shed tears due to the intensity of the pains even though I’d had my second child by this time.
Sometimes, I would just start bleeding in the middle of a cycle. It got to a stage that my husband too became scared for my wellbeing. I was afraid too, because I feared that I could die and I didn’t want to leave my children.
Next, we tried the condoms a few times but it didn’t work. Not because I do not like it. At least, I prefer using it to taking the pills.
If we stick to the condom, it means I will not have to use anything that will tamper with my system. But my husband just couldn’t cope with the condom.
Several times, we’d been forced to abandon it midway for one reason or another. Invariably, we just did it without using any prevention most of the time, hoping that nothing will happen.
Most times, we were lucky and got away with it. We also tried the withdrawal method at one point, but I guess it didn’t work since I am now pregnant.
When I became pregnant, I’d initially opted to go for another abortion, but my husband wouldn’t hear of it. He was scared because I’d been losing a lot of blood in recent times because of the problems arising from the use of the contraceptive.
I am having this third child not out of choice, because, sincerely, I hate the inconvenience that comes with pregnancy.
It causes a real set back to one’s career. One whole year is taken off your career calendar, while a total of three years is lost from your life between carrying the pregnancy, birthing and weaning the child.
Junior male colleagues use the opportunity to get ahead of you simply because you are on maternity leave.
This happened to me when I had my second child and I know it will happen again with this one. Plus, you know what things are like right now. One is just lucky to still have a job.
I want to get ahead in life and achieve something in my profession. But I am now somebody’s wife, some children’s mother.
This is a huge task unless one is not very dedicated. Having too many children will definitely have its own setbacks. So, it is after the birth of this baby that we will now discuss what will happen next.
It is either we are going to learn how to adapt to the use of the condom, or I am just going to remove my womb.
I am not afraid to do it. What if I die from having too many children, what will happen to the ones I will leave behind?
Besides, I don’t pray that my children should die before me. These three children are enough for me. When I have the child, we will decide what to do next. But I mean it, if it happens again, I will have my womb removed.
What do you think? I expect your response and/or advise for our young mother. Do have a wonderful weekend?