Women got no one to blame but themselves if they fall pregnant or get HIV

By Thandekile Moyo

I met a girl back in the beginning of the new millennium. She had a boyfriend who loved her to bits.

He used to buy her expensive gifts and for a while, I also benefited from his generosity.

She would buy me lunches and dinners; give me a loan whenever I was down and through her, I learned a lot about what “adult relationships” entailed. She disappeared from my social scene for a while, leaving me financially and socially crippled, only to resurface later and confide in me about how the guy had turned out to be a monster after all.

Apparently, she had got pregnant and when she told him, he insisted she have an abortion.

She had gone ahead and done that, but was bitter about all the stress she endured and all the guilt she was feeling.

To say she hated the guy is an understatement. She kept the guy on for a while but after some time, I realised he was no longer in the picture.

Sometime during the same period, I got to know another girl. She lived with her boyfriend, and claimed she was recovering from a miscarriage.

The boyfriend had another girlfriend and he used to bring her to “their” house.

She (girlfriend 1) would sit in the lounge watching TV, while their boyfriend and the other girl entertained each other in the bedroom. At night, she and her boyfriend would share the same room.

She used to cry all the time. I am a sucker for tragedies and sadness so I would find myself caught up in her sordid and painful narrations.

I asked her what on earth she was still doing with the stupid man. She said she came from a poor family and was afraid that if she dumped him, he would stop supporting her family financially.

Apparently her playboy had even extended her grandmother’s house, so she felt she had to endure, for her family’s sake!

I lost touch with her, but the boyfriend married someone else, so I assume the threesome eventually broke up.

In retrospect, I wonder if the miscarriage was a forced abortion, as in the first case.

During my varsity days, a girl tried to kill herself. Rumour had it that she had been having unprotected sex with her boyfriend, only to discover she was pregnant.

They say the boyfriend’s mother forced her to have an abortion.

Somewhere along the line, the whole experience overwhelmed her and she tried to kill herself, but failed dismally. For till today, she is alive and kicking!

In my final semester, a girl almost bled to death in our hostel. An ambulance was called and apparently, it came just in the nick of time.

Her roommates spread the rumour that it was a case of an abortion gone wrong.

She had been nursing an unwanted pregnancy all semester, but when the time to go home came, she couldn’t face the reality of facing her parents with a growing belly.

She survived the ordeal, once in a while, I find myself wondering how she coped afterwards.

I know a woman whose husband was cheating on her.

She met another man who she claims she fell in love with.

She happily cheated on her philandering husband with her new squeeze; amidst the excitement, she fell pregnant.

She says she thought of passing the baby off as her husband’s but chickened out and decided to have an abortion.

Her married boyfriend refused to pay for it, so she had to meet the expenses all on her own.

Then there is the girl who fell pregnant for married men and had to abort because her married boyfriend could not risk having children out of wedlock.

She wanted a baby badly, but her boyfriend would not have it. Reluctantly, she did as he asked.

Recently I heard of a beautiful young girl who found herself with a dilemma in her hands. She had two boyfriends and got pregnant by one of them. The one she claims she loves, but was not sleeping with, then proposed; she opted to abort the baby and get married to the “better” boyfriend.

They are planning their wedding as we speak.

I have lost count of the number of abortion stories I have heard in my lifetime.

All I know is that abortion is prevalent and is the go-to option for most women who get pregnant “unexpectedly”.

Women have abortions mostly because their partners refuse to take responsibility for the pregnancies.

Some then decide they cannot afford (financially) to raise a baby on their own; some abort to save face; others are forced by parents who need to keep up appearances; we have those who get pregnant while training in various professions that do not allow pregnancy and they choose their careers over babies.

The most common reasons are “saving face” and poverty or economic hardships.

What baffles me, is why we get pregnant in the first place. It seems as if for some reason, we have no say when it comes to sexual issues.

There are options available to us before pregnancy; why do we not take them.

Sexually active women have access to cheap birth control pills, other short term and long term contraceptives.

We also have the condom, which not only protects us from pregnancy, but diseases too.

After unprotected sex, there is the option of the morning-after pill.

With all the options available to us, we “accidentally” get pregnant and start running around looking for abortion options.

It could be because, when we are in love, reason seems to fly out the window and we just go with the flow.

We lose all control and just let the objects of our affections do whatever they want regardless of the consequences.

We just let loose and live on the hope that the man is disease free and pregnancy might not occur.

I have noticed also, that when we are in love or hoping for marriage, we give up all our rights to say no to intercourse, to demand protection, to discuss the future; we just give guys whatever they want so as not to rock the boat and pray they reward us for our docility, with marriage.

We seem to have one main goal in life, to get a man; and when we have set our sights on that man, we use all the traps to lure them into marriage, one of them being unprotected sex.

When the traps fail to work, we accuse the men of irresponsibility. We need to have other goals in life besides marriage.

Careers for example that will empower us, not only financially but also socially and intellectually.

Every time there is an unwanted pregnancy, there is a man being blamed and hated for it. This gives me the impression that when women get pregnant, our fate lies in the response of the man to the situation.

If he says he does not want the baby, he has the power to force you to abort or raise the child alone.

At some point in relationships we give up control of our lives and bodies to men and we are at their mercy.

We need to develop a culture of thinking all our actions through. We have to teach our girls that they have nobody to blame but themselves if they fall pregnant or get HIV.

We (women) need to take responsibility for our actions and always be conscious of the fact that when we have unprotected sex, we are bound to fall pregnant; a man has the right to decide not to marry you even after getting you pregnant; the days of trapping men into marriage with pregnancy are long gone.

It is unfortunate that pregnancy can be a lifetime sentence for a girl due to biology, yet for a man, it can be just a bump in the road.

With that in mind, ladies please, let us not give up control of our lives. When we do, let us blame nobody, but our own weak, and sometimes stupid selves. When we do, may we at least be independent and financially stable enough to decide what happens next.

May 2017
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