Tales Of The African Wife – Hostility Towards Infertility

The ordinary African wife has been at the receiving end of unfair marital treatment. If she gets married today, she is expected to give birth to a bouncing baby boy exactly nine months from the day of marriage. If that doesn’t happen, then she is labelled ‘barren’. From that day, she is in for a very rough treatment and hostile environment for the rest of her future in that marriage; that is if she manages to last that long. In most cases she won’t even last much before she is ‘replaced’ by another beautiful African soul. The cycle goes on and on until ‘the man strikes the right formula’.

Tales Of The African Wife – Hostility Towards Infertility

In this article let’s analyse the faultiness of this archaic school of thought:

1. Fellow women are usually at the forefront of this practice:
The greatest paradox of the African society is that ‘the enemy of a woman is a woman’. The practice of monitoring child conception patterns is usually propagated by fellow women, especially sisters to the husband of the wife. If their muroora (sister-in-law) does not ‘conceive’ as per their expectations, they usually go to her house and begin to cause a lot of commotion. In their own primitive world, they do not even think that the couple may not be planning for children early in their marriage for professional, personal or medical reasons. They do not even care that their poking into their brother’s bedroom issues is a serious violation of personal space. In their own primitive mindsets; their sister-in-law must just conceive or else………..

2. The defective approach of blaming the wife:
If the African wife does not conceive ‘on-time’; the blame is passed on to the wife without even a second thought. Why blame the wife? Why are you so sure that she is the one at fault? Making your own back-door conclusions without even a medical test to prove your assertions? This is one practice that is devoid of any logic in all its make-up. And in most cases, these wives who are forced out of their marriages on fertility allegations usually go on to conceive very early in their second marriages. In some instances they even conceive twins or triplets, thereby shaming their earlier critics! This goes on to prove that, after all, it was actually their brother who had fertility problems not her. It’s a shame!

Tales Of The African Wife – Hostility Towards Infertility

3. The expectation to receive a bouncing baby boy:
This folly expectation usually rides on the backdrop that in Africa a child is viewed as an ‘asset’, while in the western world a child is viewed as a ‘liability’. In other words, when you give birth to a first child in Africa, it’s expected to be a boy who will grow up to take care of his parents, take care of his siblings, defend the family and inherit the positions of his father! In the western world it is the parents who lay a strong foundation for their children, regardless of the sex or ability of the child. It is just taken as a parental responsibility. 

The biggest drawbacks of this school of thought are that:

(a) People try to delegate a divine responsibility of determining the sex of a child to human beings. How on earth can people stoop so low? There is no human being who carries the capacity to determine the sex of a child. Yes, there are some conditions that are artificially created by doctors for a certain sex to occur; but those are just human trials! The full make-up of a human being is a prerogative of his or her creator! No one else can influence that.

Tales Of The African Wife – Hostility Towards Infertility

(b) It belittles the girl child. Children are children; and they are just but gifts from God. If He gives you a child of either sex; who are you to question that? And how on earth can a human being be ‘penalised’ and made to suffer because of something that is not under their control? 

However, even though this practice is still prevalent in most parts of Africa; a number of strides have now been done to civilise and modernise the African population to move away from this archaic practice. Forward ever with this initiative! 

Tapiwa Zuze  

Tales Of The African Wife – Hostility Towards Infertility


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