​I have this notebook…👇

It is one of those your given for free at medical conferences and to be honest, i didn’t give it much thought until I met Linda…
She is a patient I had the pleasure of talking to as I walked around the wards.

Warm…friendly…cooperative…

She’s 50 years old and works as “Mama Mboga”(vegetable and fruit vendor).She was waiting for valve replacement surgery for valvular heart disease secondary to rheumatic heart disease.

I was surprised at the late manifestation of the heart disease and she told me that she’d been told that one of the reasons was because she had never gotten pregnant, something that’s known to be a physiological stressor that can trigger the disease…and it was only after being diagnosed with HIV that the heart problem showed up.

Childless…

“I have lived in pain I tell you. African society is unforgiving. I can not tell you the number of times my in-laws have insulted me in front of my husband without him speaking a word to even defend me. It was humiliating.

I have lost friends…not because I am a bad person, but because after they got children, they didn’t think we would have “common ground” to talk about. It hurt. But I have moved past that.”

I delved deeper…

Her HIV status…

She chuckled, “I had fibroids removed 14 years ago. They told me that this time, I’d probably get a child. My husband had long given up and I had caught him several times with other women or just heard stories from the neighbours. I tried. Young lady i tried, but the baby didn’t come! I’m content now. Living positively with the virus. 

My husband, I understand he just wanted a child. He never did succeed even with his outside conquests. We take our drugs and live. It took a lot of counselling after the diagnosis to deal with the bitterness I had against him and his family. They treated me like a pest I tell you. His mother tried getting him another wife twice!! Twice! And I stuck there…

Life moves on. Surprisingly we are happier now after our diagnosis. Closer. Life has a way of changing things.”
I was lucky to have met her. I thought it was bold of her to tell me all this seeing as I was a stranger. Just another medical student! But am glad she did. 

Even though society doesn’t believe her a mother. I believe she is one. In her own way. Nature may not allow her to be a mother but am sure she has met many and shown them motherly love in her own simple way.

I’ll link you to a story i read yesterday here. It’s sad how women who have no children are looked down upon by society. They go through psychological and physical abuse with the blame being placed on them alone most of the time. It’s simply not fair.

What can we do…

Support them. As society, we play a huge role in contributing to the stigma and we need to educate ourselves. Stop the stigma and support them. 

Establish AFFORDABLE fertility clinics where possible.

Keyword…AFFORDABLE. Most in this country are out of reach from the common ‘mwananchi’ (citizen) due to their expense.

Establish proper Reproductive Health Care Bills in the country.We need them. 

What role can you play?

Think about it.

Let me stop here…😃

Hope I’ve given you a thing or two to ponder about.
Till next time,

Shu

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