Men abandon woman for bearing twins and triplets

By Sharon Kavhu recently in Sadza, Chikomba (Zimbabwe)

She was only 17 years old when she had her first child, a bouncing baby girl who weighed 3.5 kilogrammes.

Two years down the line, she gave birth again, but this time to twins which were followed by another two sets of twins in 2006, 2008 and a set of triplets in 2011.

Today, Eunice Makanda (35) is a mother of 10 children from five different pregnancies with two different men.

When this publication visited Makanda’s homestead in Bimha Village under Chief Neshangwe in Chikomba District, Mashonaland East province, all the 10 children were all over the yard with each set wearing the same type of clothes. The mother of 10 was busy attending to her triplets (last born) who were fighting over sugar cane at the edge of their squared bedroom roofed house with worn out metal sheets supported by half bricks.

Upon The Southern Times’ arrival, Makanda greeted the team with a welcoming smile, which upon further pressing turned out to be nothing but a facade.

Eunice is part of a huge percentage of women around the world who are single mothers.

The only difference is that not only is she unemployed but she is the singular caregiver to 10 children.

The 35-year old mother said it was never her plan to give birth to so many children but all the contraceptives pills she used failed to work.

“I had my first child Vanessa when I was only 17 and she is the only one who was born alone,’’ said Makanda.

‘’Initially her father denied paternity but we later managed to work out our issues and moved in together,” she said.

“When Vanessa turned two years, I gave birth to my first set of fraternal twins, Tinotenda and Tapiwa, a boy and a girl.

”By then I was still staying with the father of my first child.  However, in 2006 I got pregnant while I was on contraceptive pills.

“The pregnancy gave me another set of twins — Charmilla and Chantel — who are both girls,” she said.

After Makanda’s second set of twins, the father of her children chased her away accusing her of infidelity.

She was condemned for her high fertile genes.

Makanda narrated: “He accused me of cheating saying that in his generation there was never a case whereby a woman gives birth to sets of twins consecutively.  Thus I went back to my mother’s homestead.

“I stayed for a year at my mother’s house before I got married again to another man whom I had my first set of triplets with in Mutare,” she explained while tilting her head on her left shoulder.

“I got pregnant in 2008 where I gave birth to triplets, Melisa, Marshall and Mitchel.

“This set was on a planned pregnancy.  However, this man was open enough to tell me that he had a wife in the rural areas of Mutare while we were staying together.  I only discovered it when my third set of twins was three years old.”

She said when she discovered about the other wife, she was already having her fourth pregnancy with the Mutare man.

Strangely, this pregnancy happened when she was least expecting as she had been administered with depo provera, which ideally last for three months.

In 2011, Makanda gave birth to twins, Sharleen and Shylet.

The mother of 10 could not stand the polygamy set up thus she went back to her mother’s homestead where she is currently staying.

Makanda said she is struggling to provide for her children adding that her singleness is making the situation worse.

Last year, she tried to separate one of her sets of twins following her aunt’s request to look after one girl from her third pregnancy.

“Children are a blessing from God but sometimes I feel mine are a burden as I am struggling to make ends meet for them,” said Makanda.

“The sets cannot be separated, I once tried it but they both fell ill.

“One of them got terribly ill and I didn’t know what it was until the other twin returned. If you separate a set, one will fall seriously ill and while you are staying with them if one catches a cold, the flu or cold also affects the other twin.”

Makanda said she experienced some side effects such as irregular bleeding while she was using contraceptive pills.  This has forced her to move from depo provera to jadelle, another form of contraceptive.   

Four of her children are going to school at Bimha Primary and Secondary School with the support of Reaction of Orphans Supporting Association (ROSA).

In a separate interview coordinating director of ROSA, Forbes Chikobvu, said authorities from Bimha Primary and Secondary schools approached him concerning the issue sometime in 2013.

“Our duty is to look after the less privileged individuals in our society and in this case, we got to know about Eunice through authorities from Bimha Primary and Secondary,” said Chikobvu.

“We went to asses her situation and saw a need. So we started supporting with food, clothing and school fees. Currently we are paying fees for four of her children who are currently at both schools.”

He said Eunice’s case shows that information on contraceptives in rural areas is less and there is a need for family planning facilities to establish more sites in remote areas.

Eunice’s case has been described as a result of incorrect use of contraceptives by a Zimbabwean medical personnel, Dr Ashton Chikwana, who is based in Harare.

“Correct and persistent use of contraceptive pills and depo provera has less than one percent failure.  It is very rare for the methods to fail,” said Dr Chikwana.

“There are high chances that this woman (Eunice) was skipping the pills or delaying to renew her depo provera which has led to her having unplanned pregnancies.

“However, her case is common to people who use fertility pills.

“On the other hand, her twins and triplets are fraternal and it means they were made from two eggs. Therefore, the woman could have genes that releases both eggs at once.”

He said contraceptive access centers should be increased in rural areas to ensure everyone in the area is well educated on how to use them.

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