Written by: Admin_SheEvo

The worst plan one can ever have is no plan at all. I was born in a family without a plan. My parents lived on the greater part as reactionaries to their unfortunate experiences. Every major decision they made came as a result of something rather than as a properly plotted course of action. But this does not mean that they weren’t ambitious then or now, or that they had no foresight, rather it means that they built their achievements on fragile foundations.

The Beginning.
In August of 1986, my parents got married in Mbuya parish church under the mission of the Communion and Liberation(CL) movement, a Catholic movement founded in Italy by Father Luigi Giussani to spread the mission of the Catholic faith and strengthen its influence in the world at large. My parents were consumed by his philosophies, and his ideologies and teachings
became their compass in faith. Before their marriage, my parents struck up a friendship that would have probably never graduated into a romance had my mother not become orphaned very suddenly.

My father, in support of his friend, my mother, had travelled across the border to Kenya in the company of his fellow congregants to offer comfort to my mother as she sent off her parents to the afterlife. The news of her parents’ passing had come at a crucial time in her life. She was seventeen and in the middle of completing her Ordinary level exams (O Level). Her class was a historic one. They were the first class to sit for all the science exams separately in Uganda. They were to write Physics, Chemistry and Biology exams separately with practicals for the first time in Uganda’s curriculum and this called for excitement given the fact that her ambition was to become a doctor. She was one right answer away from her dream career and one exam away from vacation with her parents in Kenya. She had missed them and after that year of education, she planned on staying in Kenya for the rest of her educational years. But tragedy had befallen her family and both her parents were killed in a car accident almost at the same time during her final exams. She did her exams with an unbearable grief. “I cried during many of my exams” she had recounted on various occasions and once again grief stood in her eyes like as if her parents had passed that very day. And then she would retell the entire story from start to finish. She would tell us of how our dad had come during the funeral and watched as her
uncles scrambled for property, how her brothers had talked down on her, and how all that he saw had prompted him to protect her from the hellish path that awaited her had she stayed back in Kenya.

Mom recounted all this with staunch misery only to be struck by a streak of hope when she recounted what my father had said to her. “Let’s get married,…and give your sister a home” he had said and in as much as this was abrupt, it presented itself as the best available option. My mother was the second to last child of her parents and her younger sister was barely sixteen when this tragedy befell their family and so, while everybody else sought to enrich themselves from what the dead had left behind, my father had sought to protect my mother from the ill fate which awaited both my mother and her sister after all the ruckus was put to rest. They say that theirs was a love that grew in a hopeless place. One that they wouldn’t have known of had they not faced adversity and opposition. But many love stories come as abruptly as this and falling in love does not in any case qualify for a bad plan.

Our Horrible Plan
For my parents, the worst plan they ever had was us. All nine of us, including the three who died under the age of one. And by saying this I do not exonerate myself from whatever dismay may be brewing up in the minds of whichever moralist has taken the time to read this text. Yet still,I stand firm on what I say. My parents should not have had so many children as they have today. Had they been more industrious and less academic than they are, then maybe their reproductivity would receive much respect from me. However, I was born to a pair of selfless, academic and rather too religious human beings who were bound to fail in the
economic framework of society. They were more focused on their moral standing and appearance in the community than they were focused on their actual problem. They didn’t believe in modern methods of family planning as they went against their religious beliefs and cultures at the same time. In the African Traditional Society, many children are a sign of great wealth but this isn’t the case in my family.

In my family’s case, our big number means and meant great deprivation. As a child, I had four knickers. Two for my time at home and two for going out to school and Church or to the hospital. I had two pairs of shoes, black shoes for school and white kitten heels for Church and visits. I never got a new dress until Christmas time and I could have had only six visiting dresses by the age of six had I not had three older sisters whose dresses I took on once they could no longer fit into them. And yes, we did attend great schools and that is a great plus sign for my parents, but we survived on the bare minimum despite assuming spaces in these great places and schools that our parents struggled to put us in.

To many who are reading this text, I am simply an ungrateful child, and for that I apologise for making you think that way. But planning your family, is like cutting your coat according to your size. It’s like knowing all your resources and allocating them correctly or wisely in order to  secure a wholistic growth for your family. Children born in better planned homes are in most cases able to develop in all aspects of life, and this I have been lucky to witness. I once went to school with a girl called Lorie.(this name has been altered to protect her privacy) Lorie and I had the same abilities. We both loved art, and music, and dance and we certainly had a similar outspokenness on the issues we found concerning. But, in as much as I tried, never in my school life did I beat Lorie at anything. In my family, music was just a hobby and so learning to read it or to play an instrument was simply a luxury so no body bothered with it. When I requested that I be sent to a music school over the holidays to learn something, I was told that my desires were nonsensical luxuries and it was more important to focus on my school work. And so, every time I went back to school, Lorie ranked excellently on talent shows. I was good. I was talented but not skilled as she was. She also always managed to top the class not because she was better than I was, but rather because her parents could afford extra classes, and she always came to school on the first day.

For me, this wasn’t the case. Many times my parents had to prioritize my older siblings who were in much higher classes. They had to make sure they went to school before they cared about the rest of us in the lower classes. Had they had children their finances could handle in surplus, I would probably have gotten at least one chance to rank above Lorie. When I think back on that time and remember the hard work I put into everything despite registering continuous failures, I realize that so much potential among the poor and the middle class is stifled by their meager resources which are often a result of poor planning or no plan at all.

And “children are a blessing” as they say, but this is only so if you can actually take care of them. I know the amount of stress that goes into having stringent finances in regard to one’s responsibilities. I witnessed my parents’ moods and characters go bizarre because of their inability to promptly provide for us. I watched them fail to be able to offer emotional support to all of us because they couldn’t completely understand all our temperaments as we were and still are too many for them keep up with while trying to make ends meet and understand their own psychological predicaments.

Raising a child takes a lot. It’s not just a financial journey. It is an emotional and psychological one as well for both the parent and the child. A child raised in an emotionally stringent home has higher chances of being an under achiever as such conditions breed personality disorders which are listed by many studies as the leading detriments towards development. Therefore, family planning is a major requirement in the fight against poverty.

My high-school headmaster Mr.James Park; God rest his soul, once gave me a sex education talk when he learned that I had a boyfriend then. I was sixteen at the time. He wasn’t happy about it but he knew that this was part and parcel of human growth and so he went on to do the best that he could as my teacher and headmaster”…boys don’t carry these things” He said. “Men are mostly careless but women carry the responsibility of their carelessness” so he added. “I want you to carry a condom. Always. Because only you can protect yourself” I still remember those words as if they were said to me this morning and their impact on my reasoning in regard to development is very vivid.

It is my belief that women should spear head development as it is their responsibility to protect themselves as well as the next generation. So what am I trying to say? What am trying to say is that women should understand that pregnancy happens to them and not to their partners. Therefore, we must take charge of when we have children. We must protect our families and societies from the impact of unplanned pregnancy and child birth as it’s long term and it’s immediate effect is poverty.

Children are not rocks, but even rocks go through weathering, therefore, we must know that the children we bare will grow and as  they grow, so will their needs. This means that your expenditure will go up as you enlarge the population of your family demanding profound financial investments to be made, but if not made, you will succumb to poverty. I took the time to find statistical evidence to back my claims and this is what I found. I urge you to extensively read these texts as they will offer a less emotional outlook on the matter.

Evidence:

1. Global Evidence on Family Planning and Poverty Alleviation: Numerous studies have demonstrated the critical role of family planning in poverty reduction. According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, family planning programs have been estimated to prevent approximately one-third of maternal deaths worldwide by enabling women to delay or space pregnancies, thus reducing the risk of maternal mortality (Singh et al., 2014).

2. Economic Impact of Family Planning: Research published in The Lancet indicates that investing in family planning yields substantial economic returns, with every dollar spent on contraceptive services generating an estimated $120 in direct and indirect benefits, including savings in healthcare costs and increased productivity (Bongaarts, 2017).

3. Educational Attainment and Family Planning: A study by the World Bank found that family planning has a positive impact on educational attainment, particularly for girls and young women. By enabling women to delay childbearing and pursue educational opportunities, family planning contributes to higher levels of educational attainment, which in turn correlates with higher income levels and reduced poverty rates (Adamchak et al., 2019).

4. Gender Equality and Reproductive Rights: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) emphasizes the importance of family planning in advancing gender equality and reproductive rights. Access to family planning empowers women to make informed choices about their bodies and futures, enabling them to participate more fully in economic and social life and escape the cycle of poverty (UNFPA, 2020).

Conclusion:
The lack of family planning represents a fundamental obstacle to poverty alleviation, perpetuating cycles of deprivation and inequality for generations to come. By empowering women to make informed choices about their reproductive health, we can chart a course towards a much more stable economy as women do not just drive their families towards proper allocation of funds when they take on family planning. Women also passively contribute to the economy by purchasing modern family planning methods such as pills, condoms and injections.

Science has yet to balance the boat when it comes to sexual reproductive health, but before it does, we must take charge of the way we reproduce. We should ask questions like; am I ready mentally, physically, emotionally and economically to raise a child? How will this child impact my life out of the emotional scope? Can I take the consequences that come with child birth? And so on and so forth. As we answer these questions, we must also aim at more concrete and logical answer in regard to our situations. Only then shall we be armed and in turn arm our society against poverty as well as conquer other biological detriments such as maternal mortality rates which could come as a result of poor preparation or the lack of it in regard to child birth and could contribute either directly or indirectly towards a poorer community.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Mutshidzi

    July 5, 2024

    This is a mouthful. I agree for the most part. However, I was raised in a family of eight and my father passed way before I was one. And throughout my upbringing, I have always been grateful for my siblings. I always tell my partner, who has only one sibling that I don’t think I would survive without my brothers and sisters. In other words,I can’t imagine how my life would have turned had been the only child or one of the two.

    It is a really interesting topic you have brought up Luiza.

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Admin_SheEvo

My name is Yasmine Luhandjula, and I am the Chief Editor for She Evolves World. My role is to plan, manage and produce quality, engaging and informative content for our readers.

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