Lada and her husband Philip.
Alwell and his wife Eunice.
MUSIC(Program Theme … run for 20-30 seconds then fade under headline).
MUSIC ...bring up Program Theme…
But do you have control over other choices about your body? If you are a woman or girl, perhaps not. What happens if you have too many children too quickly? You may have health problems because your body is weakened by having your children close together. Your children may suffer from malnutrition..
How do you take control of your body when custom and tradition says that you have no right to do so? The following drama, “Bittersweet Choice,” shows how one woman found the courage to take control of her reproductive health and the consequences of her difficult decision.
MUSIC (A brief musical break — about 10 seconds — of instrumental/soft tones).
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS (Bring up background sound of street noises, then fade under dialogue…).
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS(Fade out background sound).
[Lada narrates to begin next scene.]
[The next scene moves to Lada and Philip’s family home where the two are in conversation.]
[The drama begins again with Lada narrating.]
At the same time, I became more and more concerned about what would happen if I were to become pregnant again. I had come so close to death during my last pregnancy. If I die, who can take care of my six children as well as I can? Nobody. Eventually, I made up my mind that I would go to the family planning clinic on my own, but I would not tell Philip about it. I just wanted to hear what the doctor had to say. As it turns out, visiting the family planning clinic was not a secret I could keep forever.
[Scene three takes place in Lada and Philip’s family home following the evening meal.]
SOUND EFFECTS(Sound of cutlery clanking on dishes).
SOUND EFFECTS (Sound of Lada being hit and crying out. Lada is sobbing as Philip speaks…).
SOUND EFFECTS (Sound of a baby crying and children’s voices calling “Mama”).
SOUND EFFECTS(Philip is beating his wife…she is crying…the children are wailing… Run sound for 10 to 20 seconds then fade out).
I knew if I went to my father’s house, my mother and father would tell me I had been a bad wife and order me to return home to my husband. Certainly his family would not support my actions. My sister Akosua was my only hope. She might not understand my choice to leave, but she would not turn me away and she would not force me to return to my husband’s house.
But if Philip does not want to compromise, then I must make my own way for myself and for our children. I know I can do this. It know it will not be easy, but it can be done.
So, now do you understand why I say that today is a bittersweet day?
Contributed by: Adiat Junaid, Researcher/Writer, Toronto, Canada.
Reviewed by: Nancy Drost, Gender Specialist, CARE Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
Women’s Health and Development: A Global Challenge, Beverly McElmurry, Kathleen Norr, and Randy Spreen Parker, prepared for the World Health Organization, Jones and Bartlett Publishers (Boston), 1993.
Reproductive Health Outlook (RHO), the reproductive health website produced by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
The State of World Population 1989, Dr. Nafis Sadik, United Nations Population Fund, New York, NY 10017, USA.
“The Day of Six Billion and Women’s Reproductive Rights,” United Nations Radio Features, Feature Interview with Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UN Population Fund
UN Radio Feature Programs, Weekly Program on Women’s Issues
A Study of the Childbirth Beliefs, Attitudes, and Practices of Ibibio Women and Their Families in South-East Nigeria (Final Report), Dr. R.L. Walley and M.K. Matthews, International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, January 1997.
Women Watch: United Nations