After her story, I asked her whether she had thought of the possibility that the girl was either miscarrying or had a threatened miscarriage? After all, nobody does an abortion and comes to work the next day. She stared at me as though I was from Planet Mars.
So of course, I had to educate her about how one in four pregnancies end in some form of loss. I think I scared the poor girl for life. But that is not the point of this article. The level of misconception amazed me. My very educated bestie falls into the category of an average Ghanaian. So because the young lady was unmarried, the pregnancy was definitely unwanted, and she definitely must have tried to abort. According to the bestie, she probably didn’t even know who was responsible for her pregnancy. I found myself feeling sorry for the young girl. I couldn’t stop wondering how many people thought this girl had tried an abortion. Maybe, she did try an abortion, but what if she was genuinely miscarrying? No shoulder to cry on? People would instead tell her to thank her stars the baby didn’t stick, no kind words because this is Ghana.
How many people even know that miscarriage is even more common than we think it is? In Ghana, it is one of those things no one talks about, not even those who have lived it. Before my loss, I knew nothing about stillbirth. Yes I had read a bit on the Baby and Bump app I downloaded but in my mind, it was one of those “white people problems”. After my loss, I had no one to talk to. My mother warned me even before I left the hospital to never tell anyone, my dad and mom-in-law told me to stop crying if I ever wanted to have other kids. Random people asked me all sort of stupid questions. Someone even wondered if I didn’t pray enough. Basically, no body really cared that I had delivered a completely formed but dead baby because of the misconception that surrounds child loss. Some even thought I was cursed or that I spoke evil about the baby when I found out I was pregnant.
How many people know that there are several conditions that can lead to preterm labour or child loss? How many people know about incompetent cervix, placental abruptions, eclempsia and all those other factors which put both mother and child at risk? But this is Africa, it is easier to blame the demons than to figure these things out
The typical African misconception is really a sad thing. So sad that it cuts accross the borders of the various countries that make up this continent. Isn’t it time that we stop thinking of everything as a taboo so we start educating ourselves? Prevention, they say, is better than cure and prevention starts with education