Have children you can manage

What would you do if at a very tender age your parents told you they could no longer support you because they had a lot of children to look after?

As far as many children in the country go, this is their typical story. For girls, the only option is to get married and be in someone’s care, but what about boys?

A young mother with her five children

Aged 16, Mayeso is repeating Form Four, but his dream is to study Agriculture in one of the local colleges. However, his parents had to let him go and fend for himself so that they could concentrate on educating his younger siblings.

He found a job as a gardener which helps him pay for his school fees.

Are people bearing children despite having no means to take care of them?

In a social media discussion, Deliwe Gama felt that it is wrong to have children when one clearly knows that they cannot take care of them. She regrets that most people have children just for the sake of it.

“Why should you have 10 children when you can barely afford underwear for three? God should forgive us for having a lot of children only to put them through trouble in life,” she says.

Elita Mwale on the other hand, believes that it is best if parents think about contraception instead of having too many children they can hardly take care of.

“Why should you put your children under such a distressing life experience? That is just being selfish. The child never chose to be born, but as a parent you brought him/her into this world. For that reason, it is your responsibility to care of the child,” she says.

Data from the 2015/16 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey report indicates that about six in 10 married women between the ages of 15-49 use family planning methods; and 58 percent of those use modern methods while one percent use traditional methods.

The report further indicates that over one-third of married women delay childbearing (delay first birth or space another birth) for at least two years. Additionally, it says 41 percent of married women do not want any more children.

“Women who want to delay or stop childbearing are said to have a demand for family planning. The total demand for family planning among married women in Malawi is 78 percent. In Malawi, 59 percent of married women use any family planning method; 58 percent use a modern method and one percent uses a traditional method,” reads the report in part.

According to the report, when it comes to exposure to family planning messages most people hear on the radio as four in ten women indicated and people were less likely to have seen a family planning message on television or in a newspaper/magazine.

Overall, 42 percent of women and 17 percent of men were not exposed to family planning messages through any media source which would render them ignorant of any family planning measures. 

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