GENDER FOCUS with EMELDA MWITWA
IN RESPONSE to my article of November 9, headlined ‘Life deals you a blow and spouse turns tormentor’, a reader has decided to share her own story of abuse on account of failure to bear children for her husband. She narrates how her healing came after her husband walked out on her for a ‘fertile’ woman. She is now living a happy and fulfilled life, though without a life partner and children of her own. Here she goes:
I thought this would be nice for a change. A story with a bad beginning but a really nice ending after finding my purpose in life. I hope that I can help someone out there that is blaming themselves (for failure to have children).
Barrenness is one of the saddest ‘diseases’ that can hit any woman in this country because of lack of knowledge and understanding. When getting married, no one knows they will not have children. We are all so happy, only to realise later on the sad reality – your belly doesn’t seem to get bigger. This was my story. Though I never showed it, I hated going to the doctors because some news for me was good while other news was bad. I kept seeking to have a child to please everyone but to no avail. I had dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and I was despised by medical personnel as a ‘baby’ because I had to be admitted (to hospital) due to the extreme pain and I really got no encouragement from them at all. Nurses would mock me by asking my mum if I was the last born. I lived like a shell because I was always in hospital. When I got married, I thought all that would stop and I would be happy, but that’s when my nightmare began. Because of sickness, sometimes I could not perform my duties as a wife very well. My husband really didn’t like it that I couldn’t perform well, but I put in my best with the support of both my two families. I was ever so grateful for this. But the desire for children pushed my husband into all types of extramarital affairs which he tried to hide from me, but adultery cannot be hidden. I saw him with a lot of women and I was broken inside – very broken. Sometimes I would meet him with different women but I didn’t ask any questions because who was I and what could I offer him? I was barren.
But barrenness is no one’s fault although many of us who are affected are treated like we are nothing and a nobody. After being in marriage for 10 years, things began to fall apart. What I saw was shocking because there was nothing I could do right. Everything was just wrong – the cooking, the washing, the sex. My husband and I had been held together by friendship, but the friendship cracked. One day, right before my eyes, a conversation took place where a girl was asking when I would leave and I heard words I had never heard him say – ‘She will leave, don’t worry’. I had promised myself never to leave my home unless he packed my things and took me back. He never had that courage so he informed me he was leaving (our home) as he had found a new family. I didn’t say much because there had been so much conflict and when he left, I felt better.
No one maybe has said what I have to say – but for the first time, I started to live. The first time I felt like that was when I had a hysterectomy (removal of womb) and (when my husband left) that was the second time I felt like that. While married, I used to walk like a dead person, but after separation, I started feeling like a human being. I did this without the help of a male friend. From the time I separated from my husband, I never longed for him despite the fact that I had loved him. When we parted, I started to live again. My career started to take me to places I had never been while married. I started working for my family and the community. My home has now become a home for all children and it is operating more like an orphanage. I am able to love again, not men, but people. I have given my love in a way I had never done before and I am not doing it to get anything in return, but to feel good about myself.
Since separating (with my husband), I have not been in any relationship (with a man) not because I am not beautiful but because I am happy with myself and I am busy. Men think I am not normal, but the thing with me is that I just don’t care what others think as long as I am doing the right thing. I am so happy despite being barren, I have children despite being barren and I know God will prepare children that will look after me when I am old. But I am glad to be alive. I am glad I can smile and I didn’t go into depression, and I pray for all barren women. Be happy, it is not your fault. God has planned our lives, we just need to accept it.
My husband tried to come back to me after walking out, but I rejected him because I am so happy. Some men have tried to get me but when they fail, they call me names saying maybe she is sick. Others say perhaps I have secret affairs or am not normal. But I am normal and happy. I want to encourage my friends be happy – dance, do what you like. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke, but I just love people. I was just made to make people happy, maybe that’s why I am a mother to all.
I have seen my ex-husband at different places but there is no spark at all; it’s God’s mystery. He has children and is also happy. If you are barren, just find out what your purpose is and strive to live by it. Knowing the Lord will really help you because it is He that gives and takes away. All I can say is blessed be His holy name.
emeldashonga@yahoo. com/ eshonga@dai l y – mail.co.zm. Phone 0211- 221364/227793