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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Child spacing: How desirable?

The new generation men and women see children as much as nine as a burden.

Today’s men and women say that as a medical doctor, the woman would have devised means of spacing the children. This, therefore, brings us to the issue of family planning, or better referred to as child spacing.

In a typical African setting, if you ask a man how many children he has, he feels reluctant to respond because, it is somehow a taboo to count or number the off springs, (which are believed to be gifts from God).

Funny enough, the African man forgets that in a modern world, demography statistics is vital to government planning for its citizenry.

Gaping or allowing a fallow period between one birth and the next is simply known as child spacing. The method could also allow one to determine and produce the number of children he is able to cater for.

For instance, during the former military President Babangida’s era, four children were proposed for a typical Nigerian family. Whether Nigerians have conformed to this or not is a different tale.

No doubt, when you talk of family planning, the religiously inclined will be quick to quote… ‘be fruitful and multiply”, from the scriptures. But don’t forget that the responsibility of bringing up the child in the way pleasing to the Almighty, (for him to be responsible to the home and the community) lies in you and not spirits or angels.

Certainly, raising children can be one of the most challenging yet fulfilling; a frustrating yet rewarding task any human can attempt.

Is child spacing really necessary? According to Dr Hauwa Larai Goni, a public health physician, “child spacing is good for the womb and the body of the woman to recover fully after delivery”.

Speaking further, she said “this will help the baby’s breastfeeding optimally before the next pregnancy”.

Sadly, most couples do not discuss family planning. It is like a no-go area coupled with the myths surrounding it. “My husband believes that a woman becomes promiscuous with child spacing”, Amina, 28, a mother of six, told TalkShop.

Pitifully, women like Aminat look quite wrinkled and older than their age because their bodies have sagged due to non stop delivery – un-spaced child birth.

Asking who bears the brunt of un-spaced children is crass. For some men, getting sozzled after the birth of a desired sex (as it is in some culture, where only a male is a child, and the female is cheap and irrelevant) is the ultimate; the burden of rearing and educating the child is left to the mother, who some times vends for the children in thick and thin of times.

Rather than take up responsibility, such men build harem and take pride in having many children as assets.

What is the essence of bearing children you will starve of love? Children need love, wither and without. Anthropologist M .F. Ashely Montagu wrote: “what the human organism requires most for its development is a nutriment of love. The source of virtually all health is an experience of love, especially within the first six years of life”.

Children suffer serious crippling effects when exposed to inadequate diet of love. A loveless and selfish world, no doubt, is a strain in family bond. A place where love thrives regardless the status is a healthy environment.

Children need the best we can give, and the best affects their overlapping physical, intellectual and emotional needs.

What is best or at least good for children is and must be a human development priority for every home or government.

Making it such a priority is the surest proof that one is committed to ensuring the well-being of its people and stemming the tide of poverty, and suffering that threatens to engulf us all.

The truth is that ignorance kills silently and faster than a virus. Let us be responsible and cater for the children who are the future. Visit any family planning centre near you today, there you will be told what is best for you.

Below is TalkShop’s sampled opinion on child-spacing:

“Ever since I found the right method for me, I am relieved. Child spacing has helped me out of the fear of getting pregnant and avoiding unwanted pregnancy”, Nancy, 38, mother of six said.

“My husband believes women become promiscuous with child spacing methods”, Aminat, 28, mother of six explained.

“I am still looking up to God for a child, so I don’t think family planning is for me”, declared Marie, 31.

“Because of the economic crunch, I subscribe to family planning”, Kantudu, 40-year-old father of four and a grocery seller submitted.

“I have not found any method that is suitable for me. All the ones I have tried failed me. If I get any that is okay for me, I will stick to it. I believe child spacing is very good”, Aisha, 41, mother of nine confirmed.

“I have always dreamt of having two kids and I have got them now. Though my wife says three, I strongly recommend family planning, it allows you to give the best to your kids, Arch A.L, father of two noted.

Story by Imabong “Ladipo-Sanusi

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