I almost lost a friend to a botched abortion three months ago. Luckily, we rushed her to hospital in time and she got treatment.
I was very angry with her and wanted to know why she would risk her life like that. But when I met her family, I understood why she had made that risky decision.
They were so absorbed in condemning her for getting pregnant in the first place, they were blind to the fact that she had nearly died, and was battling a host of emotions, including guilt and regret.
Her brother refused to greet or talk to her, and when he did speak, he said, “You are a disgrace to our family. From today, don’t call me your brother.” And then he walked away.
To my horror, her father warned her never to set foot in his home again, telling her to go to whoever had made her pregnant. I expected her mother to plead with him to go easy on her, but instead she supported him.
As you read this, she is now doing odd jobs to pay her way through university. Her saving grace is the Higher Education Loans Board, which granted her a loan.
My friend’s experience convinced me that parents are the reason most young people seek abortions. It is common for girls who get pregnant out of wedlock to be shunned by their families. This usually marks the end of the girl’s education and leads to miserable and abusive relationships.
In most cases, the man responsible for the pregnancy refuses to shoulder the responsibility and the poor girl ends up in the cold alone.
In most cases, the girl will spend the rest of her life alone because, let’s face it, how many men are willing to marry a woman who already has a child with another man? Very few, I dare say.
Everybody makes mistakes. When we do, we all expect forgiveness from God and man. We also expect understanding, and support from our families, especially our parents.
Who, then, can we turn to if they are the first ones to throw the stone? What do we do when they become part of the crowd that jeers and ridicules us?
No woman wants to be in that difficult situation, so a girl who finds herself pregnant is likely to take what she considers to be the easy way out — abortion.
She will risk her life so that she can save herself the shame and rejection she knows will come should she decide to carry the pregnancy to term. I believe that if parents were more accepting of their children when they made a mistake and supported them at that vulnerable time, the rate of unsafe abortions would significantly reduce.
It’s about time adults realised that pre-marital sex among young people is a reality. Some parents don’t talk about protection and safe sex with their children, yet they expect them to sail through school unscathed.
When these children go to college, they are exposed to a lifestyle they aren’t used to, a lifestyle brimming with temptation. No one prepared them for it and they end up pregnant.
Most girls who fall into this trap are bright and given an opportunity, they would resume their education and become high achievers in their fields.
There is a common Swahili saying that “Kuteleza sio kuanguka” which means that slipping does not necessarily mean falling down.
Getting pregnant while in school, or out of wedlock does not spell the end of life. Who knows, that unwanted baby could turn out to be the next Obama.
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