Lockdown: Managing crisis due to “Unwanted” Pregnancies

 

 

By Michael West

Things are not going on well in some homes due to the results of bonding and intimacy during the recent Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Naturally when one eats consistently, defecating the waste after due digestion is not a matter of option. So, when husband and wife sustain unprotected sexual intimacy in the “other room” long enough, they should know the resultant outcome is inevitable; and in many cases, it is pregnancy. But when the pregnancy becomes a bone of contention, the home comes under tension.

 

In November last year, a man attempted to broker peace between his close friend and his wife over a pregnancy that caused their disagreement. The husband, according to the mediator, had refused to accept responsibility for the pregnancy not because his wife had done anything wrong but that he had earlier told his wife that he didn’t want more than two children which they already have. Luckily, the children are male and female. The wife also was said to have concurred with her husband, and to avoid any possible mistake, she opted for family planning.

But when it was time to change or renew the contraceptive, the man, who arrived from a trip on a Thursday, asked the wife to postpone the clinic to the next Monday so he could have his wife to himself satisfactorily for the weekend. Thus, she did according to the dictate of her husband. She did renew the contraceptive but not knowing that the romp they had at the weekend had scored a goal. By the time the whole thing manifested a few weeks later, the man insisted he was not ready to father any baby because he has an understanding with his wife that they already have enough. On the other hand, the wife said she warned him throughout the weekend that she was not safe to have unprotected sex. “He ignored me. He was busy enjoying himself. Now he wants me to get rid of the pregnancy. I’m sorry, I won’t.” She was quoted as saying.

 

When the mediator seemed not able to broker a truce between the couple, he invited their relatives to resolve the impasse as the situation was festering. I learnt that man is the only child of his mother. His mother had persuaded him to have more children but he refused, saying he preferred to live a good life with a family size he could conveniently manage. When the news reached his mom, the ageing woman stood her ground that abortion was not going to happen. In conclusion, he agreed that his wife should keep the pregnancy but he won’t be responsible for the antenatal and postnatal care of the baby. Pronto, his mom gladly obliged to foot the bills. On that note, the rumbling eased off and peace was restored to the home.

 

I am familiar with cases of “unwanted” or “rejected” pregnancies in families on account of not being in need of more babies or on allegation of “ambushed” through devious tricks by women. I believe that no child is an accident or a mistake in a family setting. This is so because sex among couples is a deliberate, mutually planned activity. Therefore it is wrong for any responsible parent to want to terminate the pregnancy they excitedly and intentionally brought to being.

 

Early this week a caller shared the traumatic experience she’s currently undergoing in her home. According to her, the lockdown had really helped to reset her family life. Her husband is a man who spends more time outside, weekends inclusive. “It is when he has no money or when he falls sick that he stays at home. I have complained several times to no avail. After close of work, he usually marks a ‘daily register’ at pepper-soup joints.

 

“The lockdown pinned down my husband at home. I was very happy with that development. Expectedly, it was non-stop romping for solid three months. Throwing caution into the wind, my hubby was not ready to listen to any explanation whenever he chose to ‘browse the website’ – that’s his euphemism for sex. The problem brewed since June when I tested positive to a pregnancy test. Every shred of doubt has been removed as my tummy protrudes every week. He said he has no plan for another baby again since we have stopped making babies. Our last born is seven years old.

 

“I hate to externalise my marital issues that is why I refrained from reporting the issue to anybody in our families. I decided to seek your counsel on how I should go about the situation. I’m sure he will read this story in your column because he reads you a lot. Sir, he actually introduced your column to me. He respects your opinions and counsel on marital issues. I’m in a quandary as we speak. I sincerely don’t know what next to do. How can I be pregnant for my husband and yet, he rejects it when he knows he’s responsible for it? Men are indeed funny and weird beings. It is not out of place to say they are wicked and very selfish. It is not all of them though but many of them are so unpredictably irresponsible. What will you suggest that I do now in the face of living like a single mom in marriage? This is sheer wickedness.”

 

The Covid-19 lockdown which caused major disruptions to health services during the pandemic could result in seven million unintended pregnancies in the coming months, according to data released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners. They estimate that the number of women that are unable to access family planning or facing unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices, could “skyrocket” by millions due to the crisis.

According to Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, “This new data shows the catastrophic impact that COVID-19 could soon have on women and girls globally.

 

“The pandemic is deepening inequalities, and million more women and girls now risk losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health,” she added. Disruptions to global supply chains could lead to significant shortages of contraceptives, the partners said, while gender-based violence – already on the increase due to the pandemic, as UN News has earlier reported in June – is expected to rise still further as women are trapped at home for prolonged periods.

 

Unable to plan families, globally, around 450 million women across 114 low and middle-income countries use contraceptives, according to UNFPA and partners. It is projected that if health services remain disrupted and lockdowns continue for six months, some 47 million in these countries may not be able to access modern contraceptives, resulting in around seven million unintended pregnancies.

 

As at the time this column went to bed, the man was yet to pick my calls or respond to my SMS. I surely know that all will be well.

 

From the Mailbox

Re: Inordinate Desire

The last week’s story depicts my own situation. Two years ago, I got fed up with the nagging attitude of my wife and I abandoned the home. I was expecting her to apologise but she didn’t, claiming that she didn’t offend me. I went ahead to squat with my girlfriend. Barely two months down the line, I returned. Some women are better appreciated in absentia. I stylishly engaged people to wade in to broker peace. I have learnt to manage her weakness better now. – Mr. Anonymous, Abuja.

 

Quote:

The Covid-19 lockdown which caused major disruptions to health services during the pandemic could result in seven million unintended pregnancies in the coming months, according to data released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners.

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