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Waiting wombs: Rising above social stigma and demystifying childlessness

Saturday November 17 2018

Editah Hadassa

Editah Hadassa is the founder and executive director of Waiting Wombs Trust, a foundation she formed to support other childless couples. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

SONI KANAKE
By SONI KANAKE
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In most African communities, childlessness is viewed as a curse, leading to a lot of social stigma.

However, one couple has chosen to rise above the stigma and are encouraging other couples who, like them, are still waiting on God to give them a child.

Editah Hadassa and her husband Ken Trip have been married for over 11 years but haven't been blessed with a child yet. She has been fortunate to have a supportive husband, in-laws and immediate family even though she says she experiences societal pressure.

PAIN

Hadassa, 35, suffers from ovarian endometriosis and has to endure the pain that comes with the condition.

She has undergone three operations and each time the doctors assure her that she will conceive though it hasn't happened yet.

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"I am walking tall and letting people know that there is life beyond the waiting. It is not an easy journey and is sometimes punctuated by seasons of pain, anguish, hurt and uncertainty," says Hadassa, the founder and executive director of Waiting Wombs Trust, a foundation she formed to support other childless couples.

Hadassa also runs a Facebook page, Waiting Wombs Trust, which has an online community of more than 6,000 members, a platform she uses to sensitise the public and create awareness on childlessness.

In addition to the page, she has created a Facebook group 'Waiting Wombs (WW)', with about 8,000 members, which is interactive. "It is basically a support group where women can interact with other women who do not have children, yet. Men are allowed in the group, but they have to be added by their wives. We have partnered with various experts including fertility specialists, counsellors and Lancet Laboratories," she explains.

"Childlessness can weigh heavily on a woman, especially in a society that considers children the ultimate goal in marriage. Some women have had to undergo several IVF (in-vitro fertilisation), which is quite an expensive affair and when it fails, they can get depressed and suicidal," Hadassa reveals.

Waiting Wombs Trust was birthed out of her personal pain. "We encourage women to seek medical attention as that is usually the first step. Some women in the group have been blessed with babies while some have opted to adopt, a subject we discuss extensively on the group," Hadassa says.

So, what does Hadassa think about Michelle Obama going public about her own struggles with infertility issues?

"Based on what I do, I wasn't quite surprised as I now know that a multitude of women out there are suffering in silence. That said, I applaud Michelle as it is an encouragement to others.

It tells us it can happen to anyone regardless of their status in society. It is a very personal issue and takes a lot of strength for a woman to talk about it, more so on a public platform," she says.