Here in this village, when you have children as a married woman, then your marriage is successful”, Christine Bwalya narrates at her home in village Mulenga Kasomo of Chief Chikwanda, Mpika District of Zambia.
Ironically however, her year in, year out giving birth, immediately after her marriage, became a topic of gossip among her village women folks.
I have four girls and three boys, born within 9 years of my marriage. There were a lot of challenges. Every year I would get pregnant. And this made us struggle a lot to bring up our children. My fellow women in the village started gossiping about us”.
Christine would at every time of her pregnancy still be looking after the other new baby. “When you have a baby while pregnant, you will be carrying two children; one at the back, the other in your belly. Even after giving birth, you will be carrying one at the back the other on your lap. And the one born earlier won’t grow well.”
Christine explains the complexity of not spacing children.
When a Sexual And Reproductive Health for All Initiatives (SARAI) Community Based Distributor (CBD) visited her, with her seventh child in her 9 year old marriage then; Christine’s life changed.
When SARAI visited us. They chose a CBD for us, Martha Bwalya, who started sensitising us as women. That’s how I started Family Planning”.
Taking a long break from pregnancies, is Christine’s focus. She wants to concentrate on taking care of her seven children before she decided if and when to get pregnant again.
Family Planning people of God, is good. It has helped me in my life. I used to be pregnant every year. Now things are okay. There is happiness at home. Even children now are growing well because we have a lot of time to look after them. I have taken a long break for now”.