According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), over 410 births were recorded between August and September 2015 and 187 marriages were conducted at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Borno and Adamawa states.
Hmmm.. Let me just break down the sentence above in layman terms for better understanding.
In only two months (August & September), the number of babies born in the IDP camps (which is where people whose homes were destroyed by Boko Haram are sheltered) has risen to a toll of FOUR HUNDRED AND TEN (410) and the marriages conducted in these camps were ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN (187).
This information above drives me to ask the question DO WE REPRODUCE BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO (optional) OR BECAUSE WE HAVE TO (compulsory)?
Aside from the IDP camps, the question above applies to individuals who are married and feel the need to replenish the Earth with numerous offspring.
Let me give you an example of a couple.
This couple are married with a child and live in the outskirts of town. They can basically afford a very simple life – no luxury and they live in a one bedroom apartment. They also share a car which was donated to them by their church.
Five months after their son was born, the woman became pregnant with their second child and surprisingly, it was planned by the both of them.
Fast forward few months later, their son is about to turn one and the woman intended to throw her son a birthday party but sadly, her husband couldn’t afford it under the claims that they have another child coming soon so it wouldn’t be wise to waste money on a party.
As much as there might be a point to what her husband was saying, I cannot help but wonder why they should even be having another child if they cannot afford to cater for the one they already have.
There are series of examples. Here’s another of a family who had three kids (2 boys & a girl) yet they went ahead and intentionally had a fourth child which forced them to withdraw their kids from the very good school they were attending and enroll them in a cheaper school of lower standard.
Now I ask again, did they really need to have a fourth child especially as they did not have the financial capacity to cater for all four of them? Or was it a case of the more the merrier?
Going back to the IDP camps, I honestly cannot comprehend how people who cannot afford the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter) can consciously bring another human being into this world to the toll of 410 in two months?
Granted, it isn’t their fault they are in this situation as they had lives before the Boko Haram raid. But now that they find themselves in these IDP camps that are barely enough to contain all of the misplaced, why do they still choose to reproduce in massive numbers?
In Africa in general, people believe once you are married, you must have “children”. Not just one child but as many as three or maybe four regardless of if you can afford to take care of them or not.
I always say that if I have only one child and that one child gets to have the best of the best, then SO BE IT!
I refuse to bring a child into this world only for that child to suffer all because I want to bask in the glory of having multiple children and being “fertile”.
I also believe that this should be the mindset of every married couple out there.
Whether you’re in the IDP camp or a banker, doctor, entrepreneur, unemployed and what have you, the number of children you bear should be directly related to the number of dependants you can afford to cater for.
Basically, if you can afford to cater for only four people, with you and your partner making up the first two people then you shouldn’t be having more than two children – to complete the four dependants.
Having more than two simply means you will be unable to cater adequately for everyone and like I said earlier, why would anyone intentionally put themselves in such a tight corner.
This particular topic of reproduction is one that I cannot completely wrap my fingers around. I honestly cannot make sense of couples who can barely feed themselves yet they intentionally get pregnant and have multiple children.
It honestly beats me because it is not a matter of education or contraceptive as the literates as well as the illiterates are equally guilty of this crime.
The Nigerian government provides contraceptives FREE OF CHARGE in government hospitals so that is out of the question.
So I really cannot understand why majority of these couples “plan” to have multiple children knowing fully well that they cannot afford to.
It is also no longer the case of wanting a particular sex as even couples who have both sexes (like the one in the example above) still intentionally reproduce over and over again without sufficient means to cater for their offspring.
I genuinely believe that the best way to solve a problem is to determine the cause of the problem. So far, I have not been able to decipher why these people make these decisions.
So if you know why couples choose to saddle themselves with the responsibility of having multiple children knowing fully well they cannot afford to then kindly enlighten me.
Feel free to share your comments, opinions and suggestions
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PHOTO CREDIT: THE BOSTON GLOBE & NERD WALLET