First Word: The rural vs the urban...
Posted Saturday, March 9 2013 at 00:00
When I was in Senior Two, a 15-year-old boy looked me in the eye one day and boldly stated, “Back where I come from, you would be a mother of not less than three babies at your age.” He was from the countryside in western Uganda and was living with us in town for a while. In relation to babies and maturity, he also often talked about how he would need to catch up with his mates when he returned to the village, as they would all have got wives by then, or at least moved out of their parents’ homes. Last I heard, he had gotten himself a wife who had suffered one miscarriage but was hopefully carrying a second pregnancy.
That was about two years after he had returned to the village at 16, meaning that, unless he had married a girl older than he was (not very likely), that wife of his could have even been as young as 14! And such are the tales that come from most rural parts of this country.
In the urban area, the trend flips. The enlightened woman seems to be increasingly putting school, financial independence, finding self and the Lord knows whatever else, ahead of the reproduction role. Resultantly, there seem to be more women having their first child somewhere in their 30s where the average age used to be 20s.
The trend in the villages is clearly risky, and that young wife’s miscarriage is but one of the numerous risks these young mothers had to contend with in the villages. But even to the men who do not have to deal with these high risk pregnancies, how prepared are they to head families? Psychologically, financially and all else?
It may therefore seem like the lets-have-babies-after-everything-else trend would be brilliant, after all, the woman will know better to venture into it while her fertility clock still ticks. And even if it had stopped, she has surely by then amassed enough wealth to buy her way, even fertility-wise, not so?
As it turns out, however, there are risks involved with having your babies too late, however psychologically and financially ready you may be to venture into parenthood. When, therefore, is the ideal time in one’s life to have babies?
That there, is the all-important question our main feature seeks to answer this week. With it, the story of a woman who had her first baby at 48, as she relates the difficulties of her late pregnancy, delivery