Like a script in a movie the beginning of any romantic relationship is filled with sunshine and roses. For the first few months the two of you are inseparable. The relationship is nothing short of a fairytale as you create all these wonderful memories together. You suddenly exist as one and at this stage there’s no doubt in your mind that this love story will ever end.
But what happens when this relationship goes south and everything goes terribly wrong? What happens when things turn sour? When the butterfly in her tummy turns into a bundle of life? Having a baby changes the entire dynamic of a relationship for good or for worse. What makes the situation worse is when both couples are neither financially nor mentally prepared to become parents.
Imagine the amount of fear that a female is filled with once she hasn’t had her period for the month or two. She thinks perhaps it will arrive late but two months down the line she is filled with anxiety, fear and frustration. She is a module away from graduating and the guy in her life has not exactly been very consistent in the relationship. She is encouraged by her friends to take a home pregnancy test to confirm her suspicions and it’s confirmed she’s pregnant. In unbelief, she decided this isn’t evidence enough for her so she goes to her nearest clinic and the doubt is sealed as nine months from now she will be a mother.
What would this mean to her relationship or even greater how will she break the news to her boyfriend. On the other hand the young man just recently graduated. He has to pay off his varsity loan and also take care of his siblings. He wasn’t too serious with this relationship and his girlfriend falling pregnant was not part of the plan.
Unplanned pregnancies are some of the main attributes towards couples breaking up, street kids, baby dumping and the hardest hitting topic in the country namely adoption. Soon the spark in the relationship dies once a baby is conceived. What is the next step and will getting rid of the baby salvage the relationship. The Lounge engaged young people and few professionals to comprehend the issue.
When the fairytale ends
“With the prices of diapers at nearly N$500, my girlfriend and I now had to opt for kapana as a date,” said Vuyani who became a father at the age of 23.
Old habits had to die as the outgoing young dad now had to prioritize life. Their trips to Wambo beach were cut short as the little finances now did not allow.
“I must admit that our relationship took a hard knock as we basically had no alone time,” the young father said. He further explained that when he had initially found out that he was going to be a father the thought of abortion never emerged and being a father is something he is very proud of.
For 21 year Idda Jacobs, the love story was entirely different. “He blocked my number right after he found out that I was pregnant.” After being in a relationship with the person for nearly four years, Idda never imagined that her relationship would end in a blink of an eye. He treated her like a queen during those four years and she thought that he was ‘Mr. Right’. With no relatives to support her through this time and an absent boyfriend, she pondered for months as to what she would do. She was then advised by a friend to buy abortion pills. She had to drink one with vinegar and insert the other one into her anus. She bled excessively afterwards but she has never gone to the doctor as she feels her health has not been implicated. In her opinion, problem solved.
Who decides whether to abort?
Abortion, a topic hotly debated is illegal in Namibia. Abortion and Sterilization Act was inherited from South Africa in 1975, and since then abortions have been a no go area for women and girls (except in extreme cases: rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother’s or child’s life). According to Dr Nambinga, an industrial psychologist “in most cases men would opt for an abortion. We live in a society in which some men are very inconsistent in relationships and it’s much easier for them to walk away from their responsibility,” she said.
But in cases such as the one of Idda Jacobs, she made the decision to abort the baby as the “father” was absent. In other cases family members like parents make the decision on behalf of the children.
Dr. Lee Swarts, a life coach says in most African settings it’s the grandparents that end up taking care of the baby. “Parents opt for their children to have an abortion because they don’t want to be stuck with a financial burden,” he said.
And then what next?
According to psychologist Nambinga the nature of the relationship will determine whether the couple stays together. She says that married couples or lifetime partners are more likely to stay together whereas in ‘one night stands’ the individuals would likely go their separate ways. When abortion becomes the solution “abortion changes the way couples view each other,” she said. Women generally feel that they have been betrayed by their partner.” This feeling of anger and the will not to forgive drive the couples apart,” says Nambinga. Beyond a doubt, irresponsible behavior will bring about negatives consequences.”
It takes two to tango but making a decision about your reproductive health is your responsibility. However, there are happy endings too and the couple remain committed to bring up their child together.