There is tremendous pressure put on married couples to have children soon after they get married. Often, questions such as when are you having a child, why are you not pregnant usually follow a month after one gets married.
So often, it is the woman who is asked questions without any regard to the fact that there is no way a woman can get pregnant without a man being involved. The Malawian society tends to put so much pressure on women when it comes to issues of infertility in marriages.
It is because of such societal pressures, that there are so many women who have faked pregnancies and even in worse case scenarios, stealing babies just to please the society—especially in-laws.
There are so many marriages that have disbanded just after a year simply because the woman could not conceive. The sad thing is that such divorces are done without any medical check up to ascertain who has fertility problems.
It is sad that couples are often put under enormous pressure to have children even when they are not ready. Getting married is not a guarantee to that one who wants to have children. People marry because of love. If it so happens that they have a child that, it’s a bonus but definitely not everyone’s ultimate goal for marriage.
In our story on Dealing with infertility in marriage, Psychologist Dr Chiwoza Bandawe, talks about the mental stress that piling pressure on couples to have babies has.
Our society needs to learn that the decision to have or not to have children is none of anyone’s business but the couple’s. The society also needs to begin to learn that infertility does not discriminate—it affects both men and women and, in many cases, it is curable. The stigma and discrimination, makes it difficult for many couples to seek medical attention after years of trying to conceive.
Let’s all lower our expectations about childbearing. There is no need to heap pressure on couples, especially women to have children.