The Prodigal Daughter

The Unplanned Child.

…the Prodigal Daughter.

She is a smart, capable young lady, recently employed for her very first time and in a far off place, too. She got a chance to live by herself, cook and clean and pay the rent off of her own sweat. She knows the heady freedom of stepping out into the big world; Strong. Educated. Accomplished. She has dreams and goals which are not entirely her own (and if you know her well, you could say that they have been influenced by her parents). She is young and has so much to give! But stories rarely start and end on that note. Do they?

I’d get excited, the way that girls do, when I’d come across a former classmate that’s recently married ….carrying a baby bump that’s obviously older than their new union’, she admitted, guiltily.

This young lady was born to an even younger lady who was then at the tender age of 22. This young mother was also holding her very first job, at the time. She was a young secretary working for the government, in the bright sunny city of Nairobi. She had so much to give, when she met a handsome light-skinned fellow working just a floor beneath her, in the accounts section. Three months later, our friend was conceived. Let’s call her baby ‘S’.

S is all grown up now and is experiencing the past of her mother, in real time. For, you see, she too is with child. Now. Granted, her story is not exactly the same. S does not live and work in Nairobi. Neither did she conceive just 3 months after knowing the baby’s father. She did some things right.

Also true; she is currently looking for a job, living with her parents and though she’s in a stable relationship with the father of her baby, she is not married to him just yet.

‘’How do I pray for this child, when the reason he/she is here is sin?’’

 Even I hesitate a bit when it comes to helping her, here. What do you do in a predominantly religious country like our own? There is guilt strewn all over a child born outside of wedlock. What a scandal! When she found out that she was with child, S didn’t know who to tell. Yes, she is 25, she is smart and capable….but is she responsible anymore? That’s why S has tried to keep it a secret all along, though her belly keeps growing. She is happy to hold life and knows that she is blessed to have an involved partner, but she cannot shake the feeling.

‘Am I an outlaw? Should I be punished?’

Oh, it’s definitely something women have spoken out about. Single women have come together to support each other through the stigma that is a child out of wedlock. What we don’t realise is that the stereotypical picture of a single mother is dynamic. There are the young widows, the divorcees, the women in stable relationships on their way to marriage and there are those who choose to have a baby independent of any romantic relationship with the baby’s father. Weird, huh? But isn’t it beautiful, too? It’s a story of motherhood. It’s a choice for life in all life’s circumstances. After all, how often is life ever ideal?

‘…sperm counts in Western countries have dropped by more than 50% over the last 40years.’

S knows better than to feel sorry for herself. So many people have had issues with conception. After reading this in a recent article in the Daily Nation Website, she realised that there are couples held captive by infertility. Who speaks up for them? Just as the topic of Family Planning is being opened up for discussion, so should the topic of infertility be expounded? Every woman has a story. That is what this magazine is about. Our main hope is that you find a voice here.

Moni.

Dr Stephanie Wakaba

I am a young professional keen on day to day issues affecting women of all walks of life. I have interests in maternal and child health and I am passionate about dispelling relevant medical content to our readers in an easily accessible and understandable way, incorporating people’s personal stories and experiences in bringing our concerns to life. Knowing full well that mental health is essential to our overall wellbeing, matters such as self-confidence and self-expression are close to my heart and it is my aim to give readers an avenue to identify and express themselves here. Here’s to a beautiful friendship!

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