Safe Motherhood #5: A disturbing trend.

A couple already has 5 male children and they arrived at this number because of the desire to have a female child. Nothing wrong with wanting to have both genders but many times things do not work out the way we plan. This woman gets pregnant again and the family is excited and hoped that they will eventually have their much-desired girl child. By the way, it is nice to see a turnaround in the cultural belief that only male children are important in a family.

Back to my story, it turns out that this couple had a double blessing for their long wait. A set of twin baby girls arrived into their lives. They were ecstatic but soon the mother began to bleed after the delivery of the children. Some of her placentae remained in her which caused bleeding. She was eventually referred on emergency to a tertiary hospital for special care. It took a lot to stop the bleeding and save this woman’s life.

Seriously why do we keep endangering our lives as women?  And there are men who insist on having more children when their wives have health challenges or difficult birth experiences… I ask …

Do you want a living wife or a dead one who will leave you to struggle to care for the many children you so desired at the expense of her life and wellbeing?

If God gives you only girls be contended. If it is boys be satisfied too. Have you thought about couples who would give anything to have just one child? I have family friends who insist that they want a certain number of children and it doesn’t matter which sex they are blessed with their decision remains.

Now the couple in my story have seven children…hen! All in the name of having a particular gender as a child. Please be grateful and contented and take care of your children no matter which gender they are.

Hemorrhage or bleeding is one of the leading causes of maternal death. It can occur before, during and after delivery. One cause of bleeding is when the uterus does not contract quickly enough after birth. Having multiple births in quick succession enlarges the uterus. This reproductive female organ is described to be like a balloon and many births cause the uterus to keep expanding and may just “burst” figuratively speaking. This means that the mouth of the womb/cervix may not close up as it should which causes bleeding that can lead to death when next such a woman is having another baby.

It is important for mothers to rest well in between births and equally avoid undergoing too many births than their health can withstand. So encourage and advice your friend, family and those who work for you doing menial jobs to take things easy and plan their babies and also be satisfied with whatever gender they have.

If you are wondering how to prevent unplanned pregnancy visit any family planning clinic or hospital nearest to you to discuss your options. I know that primary health centers also provide these services for a token.

Family Planning reduces maternal mortality by 40%

Adebisi Adetunji ©

I Simply Love this: Young Men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence #EndFGMNG

In my line of work as a media expert, development communication consultant and recently a social media influencer, I have met a number of men who are passionate about protecting women against all forms of discrimination and are advocates of women’s rights. But seeing and meeting a group of men advocating against sexual and Gender Based violence…It is just so thrilling for me. The Youngmen network is made up of active members from all walks of life across the country in Nigeria.

You see this says to me that women are not alone.
It also tells me that men and women can be on the same team.

And then this question also comes to mind: What are we teaching our sons? They are the ones who become men tomorrow and they will treat a woman the way we taught them as families or society. It is time to pay attention to teaching our sons right values; teach them how to respect and appreciate the women in their lives.

There is just no need for the power tussle.
And while I and everyone are pushing for the education and right treatment of girls let us not fail to educate our boys.

How did I arrive here? I have been part of a two day workshop organized by the Young men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence with focus on ending Female Genital Mutilation. It is a down to earth dialogue filled workshop.

Lessons & Discussion Points on FGM
Ending FGMC is not about throwing away our culture as a people, it is about stopping harmful practices.
FGM does not prevent a woman from being promiscuous as is the belief. This is totally hinged on the kind of training and upbringing or how such a child is nurtured.
Culture is not static. It is dynamic and changes from time to time/place to place.
Current data shows that 22 million women in Nigeria have undergone Female genital mutilation.
FGM is so called and not female circumcision because it is not the same as male circumcision. According to medical findings male circumcision has some health benefits and it is only one type – The removal of the foreskin. However in women, cutting is up to four types which mean everyone decides how far they want to go with cutting and scraping a woman’s vagina(Not funny)
Type three of FGM called Infibulation requires that the labia(lips of the vagina) be cut and it is sewn leaving only a small hole for urinating and mensuration! (This leaves me shivering) She is cut open when she gets married to allow sexual intercourse and in some culture when the husband is traveling the vagina is sewn and closed up until the man returns! Come on….this is just too much torture and pain.
• FGM causes mental and physical harm.
• Although at the national level in Nigeria the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) had been signed into law since 2015, enforcing it and adoption by states remains an issue. Under the VAPP law, the act of FGM/C is punishable with a 5years imprisonment or a fine of N100, 000. If you ask me this fine should be like 5million.

The discussion is still ongoing and the way forward is to keep dialoguing with communities and people about FGMC. There is a need for more and continuous education and education about what this practice means to the women and girls concerned and to the family unit at large.

Facilitators/Speakers:

Sola Fagorusi – Onelife Initiative for Human Development

Ayodeji Osowobi – Stand to End Rape

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

In the News : 37 year Old Woman Gives birth to 38 Children!!😱

A Ugandan Woman named Mariam Nabatanzi Babirye has the photo of herself, husband and some of her 38 Children splashed all over the pages of newspapers and social media.

As I stared at the photo of this “massive” family my jaws dropped open for a long while😱. Being a mother myself I can’t even begin to imagine having to go through birth pains 5 times not to talk of 38 times!! It is simply writing a suicide letter in my opinion. Expert says that having too many children increases a woman’s health risk

Mariam’s story is that she was given off in marriage at age 12 to a 40 year old man. A child abuse case, I mean I don’t understand the excuse that it Is because parents are ignorant that makes it easy to give away a child in marriage. This has to stop!

I believe it is only by sheer Providence that Mariam survived these births which were mostly probably delivered by a local midwife before she finally arrived at a hospital. Now the world knows her story. Haaaaa it is simply not a funny matter to me!!

By age 40 possibly the ware and tear of her body may soon start manifesting in form of one ailment or the other.

Medically the reason she has had multiple births is because she is hyper-ovulating. Meaning that she her ovaries releases multiple eggs monthly.
They say ignorance is costly and it is not an excuse. I can’t help but think about the what ifs of Maria’s case.
If only she and her husband had known better ; if only a family member or friend or neighbor had pointed her in the way of a permanent modern family planning method solution. Seriously somebody should have told her that her ovaries and even the uterus could be removed.

Anatomy – medicine. com

Somebody said the children didn’t look hungry or under nourished in the photo. Maybe because their father is a farmer? How big is his farm to be able to feed a family of 40 including making extra money to cloth and send them to school?

My what ifs returns… Seriously having too many children puts the mother, children and even the father at risk. High blood pressure from not having enough to care for them will set in.

Another angle to this is that government needs to better equip and strengthen primary health centers in villages and communities. It is my business; it is your business to save a mother and child.

Maternal deaths can be prevented through adequate health education and family planning.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dorathy’s Story – Promoting Women’s Health through Family Planning #getittogether

A friend of mine Dorathy (Not real name) has two boys. Often when we talked she admired my little girl and really desired to have a baby girl, someone she could dot on. A girl she could take to the salon to make her hair, fix all sorts of colorful ribbons and hair extension. We would often laugh about this.

Dorathy my friend soon got pregnant again and we were all very excited about this new baby but it would turn out to be a turbulent pregnancy. She was in and out of the hospital and almost lost her life. Dorathy had to undergo a Caesarean section. As soon as she was delivered of her baby Dorothy got a family planning method done. When I asked her if she still had plans to have more babies in the future she vehemently rejected the idea, saying that she wants to be well and alive to care for her children.

Every time I see my friend Dorathy she looks chicky, young, alive and beautiful! She has time to pursue her dreams and handle her business. Her boys are doing well too.

Family Planning helped my friend to handle the fear of getting pregnant again after an eventful pregnancy.
How Family Planning can help promote a woman’s health
• She can rest in between births. This allows her to recuperate properly before getting pregnant again.
• A woman/her family can choose to have babies when they are ready.
• Family planning gives a mother the time needed to care for and nurture her baby as she doesn’t have to face the challenge of been pregnant while still nursing a 3 -6months old baby. This can be emotionally and physically draining for her, her baby and the family.
• Family Planning is one sure way of saying “I have enough children”. This means that a woman can stop having children if she is satisfied with the number she has while still in her reproductive years.
• When a woman keeps having children with barely enough time in between births she cannot pursue her dreams and goals. With family planning, a woman can meaningfully contribute economically to her family and the society.

A healthy woman, a productive woman
A healthy woman, a happy woman
A healthy woman, a more relaxed and beautiful woman
Family Planning promotes women’s health and wellbeing.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Stop! Don’t End it All…Winning Against Depression…It is Possible

Something mind boggling has been happening: in the past few days, the news reported about four different attempts by four individuals to commit suicide. There are many hypotheses about what could have made these individuals to end their lives ranging from failure of exam perhaps for the student victim; business gone sour, loss of money, depression to even the idea of blaming witches for hypnotizing them. Whatever the reasons are no human being should end it that way…Life is precious and is a gift.

Depression is usually triggered by an unexpected life crisis/event. It affects the mood, thoughts, and activities.

It is said that more women are likely to experience depression than women. Partly responsible is women’s biological experiences with menstruation cycle, pregnancy, menopause and more.  There is need to understand what depression is; its signs and symptoms in order to be able to deal with it. I am not medical personal but as a human being and social worker, I want to speak from my heart that it is possible to win the battle over depression.
So before defining what depression is; its signs and symptoms and how to get the help I want to start with words of hope:

You can handle Depression
 Understand that you are not alone in this challenge. There are people who are going through the same things you are going through. With the right treatment, they are coping and living normal lives. Many have overcome their depression.

Whatever you are going through is for a season. You can come through even stronger and better.

When one door closes always remember that another will open

If you are depressed because you are in debt hey it is not the end of the world. Understand that you can get out of that debt and you will as you take things one day at a time. Look for options and ways you can begin to reasonable pay back at your pace.

If your partner or spouse cheated on you, it is not the end of the world and it is not your fault. It is he/she’s loss. Your life matters not because he or she is in it but because you are worth loving, so love yourself and move on.

If you are battling with a long term illness, remember today is another day that you are alive. Concentrate on happy thoughts and moments in your life and know that you are strong and can come through.

Don’t follow through with that suicide thought. You are important, you are loved, and there is so much more you can achieve with your life. Suicide is an attempt to end one’s life. Suicide is an attempt to end one’s life. Your life matters!!

So let’s get down to what Depression is, signs/symptoms:

Depression is a downward feeling that drags on for a very long time.
A feeling of loneliness, worthlessness.
A state of giving up hope.
A state of being that believes the worst has happened and cannot be remedied.
A feeling that can trigger withdrawal from normal activities.
A feeling that wants to shut out help from others.
A feeling of hopelessness.
A feeling that says you don’t really matter anymore, give up.
Thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself.
Thoughts of death and suicide.

Causes of Depression:
• Loss of a job
• Loss of a loved one
• Failing an exam as a student
• Bankruptcy
• Lack of money
• Serious medical condition

How to get help if you are depressed
• Visit and speak with your family doctor.
• Talk to someone about your issues or what you are feeling ( Friend, spouse, parent, teacher) Anyone you trust.
• Speak to a counselor or social worker
• Talk to your pastor or religious leader
• Engage in interesting and relaxing activities such as sports, going to the cinema in the company of friends, attending parties( weddings, birthdays, house warming etc) like in Nigeria we like partying.
• See your psychologist or Psychiatrist ( it doesn’t mean that you are mentally incapable as culture tends to stigmatize such persons in some places).

Whatever you do fight this thing call depression, you can do it!

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

NOTE: If you need someone to share your thoughts with…reach me via my email…bisimodupe1975@gmail.com. Together we can support each other. Loads of love from my heart.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Interesting Take Away from the training “Effective Family Planning Projection on Social Media” Presentation by Mrs Stella Akinso

Family Planning is having children by choice not by chance.

Data/Statistics of maternal deaths is not just figures…these are real people…human beings.

Family Planning is able to prevent 40% of maternal mortality. Women of reproductive age at high birth risks include:
• Those who get pregnant too early in age.
• Giving birth at very short intervals
• Too old an age

Government and policy makers need to wake up and take necessary action to end maternal and child mortality. Family planning is key to the sustainable millennium goals.

It is time to stop the lines – “Only 1 woman/person died”. No woman should have to die giving life to another.

OUR Population is multiplying and not just doubling in Nigeria. We should ask ourselves do we have resources to cater for our increasing population? 2 million youths get churned out into the labor market every year and there are no jobs!

Family planning is not saying don’t have children but have only the number you can cater for. Men need to get more involved in making an informed choice about family planning for their family.

Benefits of Family Planning
• More working-age people supporting few number of children
• Access to sex education and contraceptive
• Slow population growth
• Results in better breastfeeding as the mother can give enough time for proper care of the baby without having a too early pregnancy.

How a young person should refuse sexual advances: Communicate NO properly. Use your facial expression, hands and tone of voice to say NO. If the other person insists on touching you inappropriately push if you have to and walk away…Don’t be passive and stand there…WALK AWAY.

Stella Akinso is the State Team Leader for Nigerian Urban Health Initiative 2, Oyo.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)