Dear friends ~
I found this article to be both enlightening and touching, and wanted to share it with all of you. The article details a Nigerian woman’s reaction to Melinda Gates’ recent announcement that her foundation would be allocating $4.6 billion dollars to providing contraceptives in poor countries. If Bill and Melinda Gates were to spend some time talking with the women of Africa, they might find that that these funds are quite unwelcome. Unlike some Western societies, which fall into the trap of viewing children as problems rather than gifts, 32 year-old Obianuju Ekeocha of Nigeria says that her fellow Africans ”love and welcome babies. The first day of every baby’s life is celebrated by the entire village.”
Ekeocha goes on to explain that with all of the daily sufferings that the African people endure, “our babies are always a firm symbol of hope, a promise of life, a reason to strive for the legacy of a bright future.” Although Africans generally talk openly about their trials, she says, “‘I have never heard a woman complain about her baby,’ either before or after birth.” What a far cry this is from Western societies, where many married couples proudly proclaim that they “don’t want children,” and where TV shows glamorize life pre-children and make parenthood seem like a chaotic mess of dirty diapers, temper tantrums, and strained marriages.
While philanthropists like Melinda Gates might be well-intentioned, they are missing the mark. What the women of Africa really need, says Ekeocha, is proper medical care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period; in other words, women “are not dying because they are having ‘too many’ babies but because they are not getting even the most basic postpartum care.” Furthermore, Ekeocha believes that the introduction of contraceptives will do great harm to African society.
“‘I see this $4.6 billion buying us misery,” Ekeocha said. ‘I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children. I see it buying us disease and untimely death,’ she added. ‘I see it buying us a retirement without the tender loving care of our children.’” We have only to look at the crisis of shrinking birth rates in many European countries, and the epidemic of unfaithfulness and divorce in our own, to know that she is right.
I think that we Americans have come to take the birth of a healthy child for granted, and that in the process we have lost much of the joy that comes with being a parent. I think that we love our children, but that a contraceptive mentality has warped our mentality and damaged the fabric of the American family. I think that before we try to impose contraceptives on the people of Africa, we should take a look at what they have done in our own country over the past 50 years and re-evaluate. What do you think?
God bless you all as we begin this new week!