It started off as a testimony at a night of prayer held by Life Restoration Ministries but is actually a reflection of the fears women have when they are about to give birth, especially if they have to deliver through Caesarean section.
At an overnight prayer programme held in Blantyre in January, a woman stood up to give her testimony.
She admitted to having spent sleepless nights before giving birth because she was afraid she would be told to deliver through Caesarean section.
â€œI prayed continuously that I would not have to give birth through operation. Some people advised me to carry an axe on my back, like a baby, when going to the hospital to deliver. Others told me to take some kind of concoction. But when I told my neighbor, she advised me to just pray. She gave me Mai Chisambiroâ€™s number and she prayed with me until my due date. Thankfully, I delivered my baby vaginally,â€ said the woman.
Some women in Malawi are afraid of giving birth through C-section because they feel their lives are at risk. Culturally, operations have been viewed as a threat to oneâ€™s life thus called ku mpeni and it is believed women who go through such childbirths are in between life and death. It is actually unheard of for a woman to deliberately ask for a Caesarean delivery, also called an elective Caesar.
Retired reproductive health nurse Lennie Kamwendo said she has seen a lot of absurd beliefs from women who should otherwise not have been scared of caesarean births.
â€œSome women carry stones so that they do not give birth on the way to the hospital or that they do not go through a caesarean operation,â€ said Kamwendo.
She said she encountered many women who actually refuse to have a C-section even if it is required for the health of both mother and baby.
According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a Caesarean section, (also C-section, Caesarian section, Cesarean section, Caesar) is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a motherâ€™s abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies, or, rarely, to remove a dead foetus.
A Caesarean section is usually performed when a vaginal delivery would put the babyâ€™s or motherâ€™s life or health at risk, although in recent times, it has been also performed upon request for childbirths that could otherwise have been natural.
One woman interviewed at Mwaiwathu Hospitalâ€™s Mphatso Ward said she chose to have a Caesar because she lost her first child.
â€œIt was the only sure way for both me and my child to come out of this safe and sound,â€ said Miriam Chigawa.
She said during her first pregnancy, her babyâ€™s neck was tied around his umbilical cord. â€œIt might have been negligence from the health practitioners, but I lost my baby and I still cry for him,â€ she said.
Dr Bonus Makanani, a gynaecologist at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, says at the central hospital the main cause for C-section is if the mother previously had a Caesar.
He says delivery through Caesar has a way of giving the mother control over the birth experience.