By Uche Amunike
I am sad. I am fuming. I am really embittered. I presently feel an overwhelming sense of anger. As I type these words, my tears are warm on my cheeks as they roll and fall on my computer. My heart is truly heavy and on the verge of breaking into tiny fragments. Oh my God, I hurt so terribly. My pain is numbing. My heart truly bleeds. I know you are reading this and wondering what it is that's making me lose control. I'll tell you what the problem is. Just tarry a while. Perhaps after telling you what the problem is, you'll begin to understand my frame of mind.
You see, one of the biggest gifts God gave to humanity is that of the fruit of the womb. This explains why happiness is never complete in any home where there is no offspring, no matter how rich that family is. Children are the reasons why many marriages haven't crumbled. Children are the real reason why the word 'forgiveness' makes a lot of sense in homes. A woman can forgive her husband for something that hurts her very deeply just because he is the father of her children. The same thing goes for the man. A man can decide to divorce his wife for doing something that he finds very painful and unforgivable. He can however change his mind about the divorce simply because he doesn't want his children to come from a broken home. A woman who commits certain abominable acts can be sent away by her husband's family but if she has a son, she could still return to her matrimonial home when the son has come of age and has declared his intention to bring his mother back home. Nobody will dare challenge that decision. Not even his father. I guess it is because of some of these reasons that some children are given the names 'Nwamaka', 'Nwabundo', 'Ginikanwa'. Etc. These names buttress the importance of the presence of children in the home. As far as I'm concerned, no home is a home without the presence of children. This therefore, brings me to the crux of the matter on ground. It is now time to state my grievance. That grievance is the reason why am not happy as I type.
I am a very active member of a media Whatsapp group. So, on this particular morning, I was online and this newsflash came in. It was the news that a new born foetus was thrown inside the gutter at the Majuo area of Ziks Avenue. A picture of the lifeless baby was also sent to the same Whatsapp group and that made me go weak in the knees. The baby was lying face down in a wet smelly gutter. Oh Lord. I cannot stop imagining if the baby was flung inside that gutter from a far distance, thereby instantly killing it. Or perhaps, the heartless mother carefully entered the gutter and lay it face down right inside the smelly gutter. And I kept on asking, why in a gutter? How can the heart of man be so wicked? I ask again, why not wrap up the baby in a basket and drop her off in front of a church or a motherless baby' s home, or even any doctor's doorstep. The baby would have been very safe.
There are so many marriages today that are on the verge of collapse because of the problem of childlessness. I know a number of childless couples who can do anything just to have children of their own. I know a number of couples who have paid through their nose for adopted babies. I know quite a number of them. Go to so many homes and see women going from one prayer house to the other and from one native doctor or prophet to the other, all in the bid to have the fruit of the womb. These women are made to drink all sorts of concoctions with the promise that once they drink it, they would conceive. Some are deceived into paying outrageous sums of money for treatments to no avail. A certain woman once confessed that she was made to have sexual intercourse with the native doctor who was supposed to make her conceive. And yet it all turned out to be a scam.
And yet, God sits back on His throne and watches every action, every thought and every deed perpetrated in the name of bringing forth children. He listens to every tongue that calls His name in vain. He sees the hearts of all His children, whether male or female as they go about dragging His sacred Heart in the mud and in the gutters. He really is a merciful God. I look at the picture of the baby thrown inside the dirty gutter, once again and shudder. What was the mother thinking? How can one carry a baby for nine months and reject her? Was she even thinking when she flung it into the gutter? Where was her heart? Whatever happened to conscience being an open wound? I thought mothers are supposed to bond with their children even during the duration of the pregnancy? Isn't that bond supposed to make the mother look forward to holding that baby and fighting that he may live even after birth? What happened in this case? How can any woman carry a child for nine months and throw that child away and in such a heartless manner?
We really do live in perilous times. I've also been wondering, what is the status of the mother? Is she married? Is she a teenager still in school? Unanswered questions begging for answers!!! I wish I had answers to them.
I really do want to make an appeal. This appeal goes to parents, guardians, care givers and even school principals. My appeal is for you all to use your various positions to save our girls. The rate of unwanted pregnancies is really on the high side, just as the rate of abortions committed too. This is the reason why the Catholic Church has mapped out ways to fight this scourge. When our daughters do not learn from us, they happily learn from either their peer groups or worse still, the internet. This is the reason why it is really important to inculcate good morals into them right from their early years. The bible says that if you train a child in the way he should go, he will never depart from it. Those words are true. How many parents are even available for these children these days?
Every morning, the fathers rush off to their places of work, same as the mothers. The children are left to the mercy of schools and society. In the school, they are saddled with their friends and their very busy teachers who have their own responsibilities too. In society, they have all sorts of influences, especially the internet. Remember, Google is ever ready to supply information, whether positively or negatively influenced. So, you see, these children are really helpless and vulnerable. Either way, they are slaughtered on the altar of negligence. They are victims of circumstances. These circumstances include the moral decadence in society, a system that is quick to stigmatize her own, parents who are hardly there for them because they are very busy working under the strain of the economic decline in the country. Who is to be blamed? Is it the teachers who also have their immediate families and at same time, their jobs to take care of? I really do want to know.
Well, my appeal is to society at large. The Catholic Church has made provisions for these unwanted pregnancies by our children. There are congregations dedicated to caring for unwanted pregnancies. These reverend sisters take in these young girls and take care of them until they are delivered of their babies. Then the parents are left with the option of either taking the baby or giving up the baby. After that, the young girl can go back to her normal life. These are measures taken in order to avoid abortions done due to the fear of stigmatization. These are measures taken by the Catholic Church to avoid the spate of abandoned babies.
I implore school managements to take care of these young girls as soon as they fish them out with their pregnancies. With proper counseling, they wouldn't consider the option of abortion. They would be secretly taken to these Reverend Sisters and be taken care of. This not only saves their family from the problem of stigmatization, it also saves more lives. So many girls have died in the hands of quacks while having abortions. These things cannot keep happening. So many girls have opened up to me about their fears of their impossibility of having children in the future due to numerous abortions they have had. Some are scared of their parents. Some are scared of being stigmatized.
A particular girl told me that the young man responsible for her pregnancy denied responsibility so she had no choice than to go for abortion. However, because she couldn't afford to pay for the abortion, the quack doctor that carried out her abortion told her to have sexual intercourse with him as a form of payment. She had no choice, according to her and accepted his terms. They made love and shortly after, he carried out the abortion on her. That's how bad the situation is. That's how come I keep mentioning society as a factor in all this madness. The moral decline is really telling on all areas and our children are direct victims.
Please, it is better for your child to put to bed than to die while aborting a baby. It is better for unwanted babies like the one thrown into the gutter at Awka to be handed over to the right authorities so that childless couples can adopt them and show them love, than to let them die in such a wicked manner. Every child is a creation by God and has the right to life and good living. Stop the killings. Stop the abortions. God is watching. God is weeping too.
Please, abortion is evil. Throwing away your own child is equally evil. The Catholic Church has proven that they indeed have value for human lives. If you want the contact of the congregation in charge of these Rev Sisters, kindly call my number and I'll give it to you. Let's all contribute our little quotas to the sanity of this crazy world we live in.
We can't go on like this. God is watching!!!