In the African society, a woman’s worth is usually reduced to her ability to bear children. While having a child is a blessing, the sheer expectation that comes with having one in our society actively tries to ruin that process.
When a woman doesn’t have a child, she’s worthless. When a couple fails to have children within the first three years of their marriage, there’s outside interference. The idea that a marriage should be about love is lost on us, it’s have a child or nothing.
It's not that basic anymore. Having children these days has gone beyond self-conception; there are options that allow women to raise their own children. Gone are the days when a woman was enslaved to conservative roles of child-bearing/rearing.
Even at the grassroots, women are taking control. If you also don’t want to have kids, that should be fine too.
Two days ago, exceptional Nigerian actor, Nse Ikpe Etim shared the story of how Adenomyosis, a medical condition forced her to remove her womb. She admirably chose life over death – there’s more to life than simply having kids.
Sometimes, the sheer joy of having a child brings joy to those who want children and sadness to those who want children, but can’t have them. But whatever the situation is, surrogacy and adoption are always good options that soften the blow.
On Conversations with Nse, she said, “I was told I couldn’t have kids. And so, I had to have a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) to make me have a life again and to stop going through what I was going through. And I’m literarily telling women and men, it really doesn’t matter if you can’t bear children. What really matters is what you would do for the world, for the universe.
"When I was first told by the doctor that I would have to remove my womb to live a normal life, tears dropped and then my husband squeezed my hand. .
"It was reassuring that there was someone there and it was telling me that this is reality, my reality. The ordeal made me fall into depression.
"I didn’t think there was any point anymore because my society taught me that I have to be a mother to be appreciated and every time I went online, I would have one troll or two say ‘you never born? But I’m thankful that that didn’t break me.”
The problem - lets get how this helps liberal concepts and women empowerment right
In coming out to defiantly say she chose life over death, I saw power from a woman living in a largely conservative and judgemental world – it was a watershed moment. But above all, it was an enlightening tale of the power of life and the will to live that life, not to be entangled with unrealistic standards.
On the part where it has to do with women baring it all to tell a heartbreaking story of why you can’t have children, it is revolutionary – especially in those circumstances which are beyond human control. It’s worse when these women want to conceive and get pregnant, but can’t, for reasons beyond them.
The problem happens when social media users reduce the narrative and misuse it for simplistic purposes of supposed female empowerment. Etim probably wanted children, but couldn’t have them. Her story is that of a life saved, not of a woke choice to defy ‘society’ thoughtlessly and for vain satisfaction.
If anyone chooses to defy ‘society’ and their partner is fine with it, that’s nobody’s business. But don’t destroy and belittle another person’s touching story for cheap woke endorsement.