Editor's Comment

Don’t dodge parental responsibility

PICTURE COMBO: FIRST Lady Esther Lungu holding her adopted baby. Right, Mrs Lungu with twins born on Christmas Day at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURES: THOMAS NSAMA AND COLLINS PHIRI

CHILDREN are considered a blessing and a source of joy to many parents. That is why it is said of mothers that the joy of embracing a newborn baby is enough to erase all the anguish they go through to bring forth these little angels into the world.
The Bible in Psalms 127:3-5 says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Due to the joy that comes with children, many people, especially women who have had challenges conceiving, have travelled breaths and lengths in search of the fruit of the womb.
Some people spend fortunes to travel abroad for specialised treatment while others visit different churches and even shrines, all in search of children.
In most unfortunate incidences couples have ended up in divorce due to the suspected infertility of one spouse.
While there are so many women today desperately looking for the fruit of the womb, there are others who unfortunately view children as a burden and will not think twice before aborting or abandoning a newborn baby.
Time and again we hear of newborn babies dumped in pit latrines, dumbing sites and in some circumstances abandoned in hospitals.
Though there are no known statistics of how many babies are dumped annually, the trend is certainly on the rise and worrying.
In yesterday’s edition, the Zambia Daily Mail published a story of a one-month-old baby who was abandoned by its mother just after delivery.
The girl now named Esther, who is currently being taken care of by the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) staff, was born on November 25 as a pre-mature baby.
Fortunately for this particular child, it has caught the attention and empathy of the First Lady, Esther Lungu, who has expressed interest to adopt it.
The sad reality is that there are many children like baby Esther who, after being brought into this world, are abandoned by their mothers.
Some have ended up dying while others have survived by the grace of God.
The question that begs an answer is: Why do women go ahead to get pregnant if they are not ready to look after children?
It is not only irresponsible but heartlessness to give birth to a child and then abandon it.
A mother by nature is expected to be caring and compassionate. It therefore beats logical reasoning that a mother can be that cruel to her own blood and flesh irrespective of the circumstances.
As rightly advised by the First Lady, it is better for these women to avoid becoming pregnant than nurse a pregnancy for nine months only to abandon the baby.
In this time and era when contraceptives are easily accessible, it is irresponsible for any woman to allow herself to fall pregnant when she has no intentions of looking after the baby.
It is an injustice not only to the child but to society as a whole to bear children that one has no intentions of looking after.
Every child needs parental love which wider society may not be able to offer.
While some women may claim that they are forced to abandon newborn children after being disappointed by their partners, because they have no means to look after them, there is certainly no justification for such cruelty.
Regardless of the circumstances, it is the responsibility of both the man and woman to look after the children they bear.
Both men and women should be ready to take responsibility for their actions.
We believe that every adult understands that unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. The moment two adults agree to engage in unprotected sex, it means they are ready to take responsibility for the consequences that come with such an action.
Women in particular should be more assertive and ensure that they are not lured into having unprotected sex by their partners if they are not ready to have children.
Women hold the key to preventing themselves from falling victim of irresponsible men who demand unprotected sex and yet not man enough to face the consequences.
It is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that children are brought up in a dignified family set-up. This is the only way to raise responsible and productive citizens capable of contributing positively to the country’s development.
In future the law should be more stringent to deter people from dodging parental responsibility at will.

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