• July 4th, 2020

Struggling with infertility in silence

A 38-year-old woman yesterday shared her emotional ordeal of experiencing a miscarriage and failing to conceive in her marriage of nearly four years.  

Linda Haiduwa, a health assistant worker from Odibo in Ohangwena region, had to endure questions from people as to when they will have a baby.

“Emotionally, I am affected by infertility that I am going through,” said Haiduwa as she wipes tears from her eyes during the Merck More Than a Mother campaign launch in Windhoek yesterday. One Economy Foundation under the First Lady Monica Geingos’ office, in partnership with Merck Foundation under Rasha Kelej launched the campaign. 

Haiduwa had a miscarriage while she was between five to six weeks pregnant, three months after getting married in 2016.    

 “Until now, I don’t know what is causing my infertility. I cannot afford treatment. I was told to consider in vitro fertilisation (IVF). My husband is unemployed and I am a health assistant worker therefore I cannot afford IVF,” stated Haiduwa, who added with her income, she financially supports her 84-year-old mother.
Luckily, she said her husband has been supportive.

Her mother and in-laws have also supported her through this difficult journey. 
 “My advice to fellow infertile women is to believe in yourself. Don’t take advise from people who are not experts as it causes damages in our bodies,” she advised.

She urged government, if possible, to train doctors and nurses to counsel childless people. 
She added pastors also need to be counselled.

Venasiu Salote, a 47-year-old man from Oshana region, who is also infertile due to a low sperm count, also spoke of his ordeal.

 Media personality Roux-ché Locke who was directing the programme during the launch also shared a personal account of her ordeal, which included having five miscarriages before falling pregnant with her second born. 

She said the stigma which society creates made her feel unwanted and not woman enough. 
“I could not bear walking past pregnant ladies. I would take a huge turn around to avoid the baby clothing section and the list goes on,” said Locke.
“It is not just women - men suffer too.”

She said the pain that one goes through causes so much damage and people can be insensitive asking why is the couple taking long to conceive. 

“We need to become sensitive and supportive and need to start appreciating that you don’t need biological children to be called a women or mother,” shared Locke.

ELCIN pastor Likius Namutewa shared similar sentiments as Haiduwa, saying they need training on infertility. He said members of the congregation are open and trust pastors with their problems and approach them often to get help. However, Namutewa said sometimes people go back home frustrated. “Most of us don’t have correct information about infertility and sometimes we tell them to have strong faith or pray harder and God will make it happen. They go home and pray and nothing happens. We need training as pastors,” said Namutewa.

Deputy health minister Juliet Kavetuna said infertility is described among the community as a curse or situation caused by ancestral issues or miscarriages that one has hidden for sometimes -but with real facts at hand, this is not the case at all.

Kavetuna said infertility is a condition not a sickness. She said there might be factors involving both a woman and man, which might delay getting a child. 
Kavetuna said Namibia did not contact a research on infertility to be specific.
 “We might not know how infertility affects our community. But for sure we know it exist, we have siblings and relatives that are affected by infertility,” she said.

Acceptance… Linda Haiduwa (left) consoled by Dr Suzana Malunga as she shared her story on infertility.
Photo: Selma Ikela

Aletta Shikololo
2020-03-12 07:21:02 | 3 months ago

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