By Itohan Ferguson
While the act of coitus for a man is just that, for a woman it is like a drop in a pond, with a ripple effect that may change the course of her life forever. This ripple begins with a woman, hoping she is in the safest time of her cycle when she engages in unprotected sex, flashes of trepidation until her next menstrual flow, fear if she falls sick innocently, the sigh of relief if her period eventually comes and the sudden plunge into despair if her flow is too short or not enough. Indeed coitus isn’t just coitus for a woman, it may become a cycle of emotional highs and lows.
Clearly the burden of procreation is left upon the shoulders of a woman, and to fall from that societal pedestal that condemns premarital sex is to face judgement and ostracism, even worse if her sin is glaringly displayed in the form of an unwanted pregnancy.
While an unwed mother must bear solely the consequences of her ‘whoredom’ by keeping her baby, whether she is ready or not, the role a man plays in the creation of life is all but negated. If the fact he is not held accountable, for ‘fornicating’ is an indication, he is allowed to move on with his life and endeavors as if he is not complicit in making a baby.
Since the journey of motherhood is one of self sacrifice, emotional and psychological altruism, oftentimes in extreme cases, a decision of this magnitude, means it is a woman’s right to choose, if she is psychologically, financially and physiognomically ready to be a mother. Thus the culture of bullying a woman into accepting that role has to stop, if a man isn’t forced to be a father, why must a woman be forced to be a mother?
Because as a people, we would rather bury our heads in the sands of fault finding rather than acknowledge the reality of premarital sex and unwanted pregnancy, so many women are forced to the very fringes of legality to hide shame and stigmatization.
The judgement and hypocrisy of many whose condemnation forces her to keep a child she isn’t prepared for is all the more made blatant by the thousands of children uncared for on the streets. We are forced to confront a pertinent truth, isn’t abortion better than the neglect of a child?, doesn’t adoption eclipse giving birth to a child only to dispose of that baby?
Heartrending photos of newborns abound on the internet with many cursing the mother, with none thinking of the father, giving off the illusion that she impregnated herself. If we were more open as a people about the reality of premarital sex and unwanted pregnancy, perhaps, a woman will be inclined to have an abortion in a certified clinic not the horrors of botched abortions, among young women in this day, conceivably a young woman won’t be inclined to shroud her pregnancy in mystery, because her intentions are malevolent at the birth of that child.
Therefore it is up to the government to put in place structures and agencies for effectual adoption and surrogacy, this will check the reality of illegal baby making factories and indiscriminate disposal of children by mothers who are yet children themselves.
Couples who are childless but with the means of caring for a child should be able to adopt children through proper channels and without difficulty. It should also be their right to employ the services of surrogate mothers, without obloquy.
Parenthood should be seen as a choice not a consequence; a thing of joy not an offense.