Rosemary (In black t-shirt) with her children at her house in Siaya
Far right is Caroline the Huduma Poa Community health volunteer who counselled her.
Rosemary Atieno had just gotten married as a second wife in Udida Village, Siaya County and like in many polygamous relationships she enjoyed a lot of attention and affection from her husband.
The first wife had given birth to one child and had been unable to conceive thereafter, so when Rosemary bore a baby girl within their first year of the marriage the husband’s family was delighted.
That was 23 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Rosemary now 38 years old, is a mother of seven children who she has to support by herself.
Her first born daughter born in 1991 completed primary school and got married off due to what Rosemary terms as hardship within her home.
Her husband who is a casual labourer has since given her house a wide berth and spends all his time in the first wife’s house claiming that Rosemary’s house is too crowded and chaotic because of the children.
Rosemary says that she feels like her spouse is blaming her for having given birth to too many children, yet it is the man who had been constantly asking for baby boys in their marriage.
“Sometimes I ask for money and he says the little he earned has been consumed and at a point even asked me why I could not do family planning like other mothers do.”
The state of affairs at Rosemary’s house caught the attention of one community health volunteer (CHV) attached to a Huduma Poa Health facility nearby.
The CHV known as Caroline counselled the mother and referred her to Future Life Health Clinic for a method of contraception. Unluckily, Rosemary tested positive for pregnancy and could not have a method then.
She had to wait until six months after delivery to get a 5 year implant.
“I wish I had this information earlier, my life would have been better “says Rosemary. “I feel bad I knew too late” she sombrely adds.
She says she is contemplating having a permanent method of contraception meanwhile she is on a five year implant.
Like many other ladies, Rosemary says she had only heard about Deprovera as a method of contraception prior to talking to the Huduma Poa Community Volunteer but did not go for it because of the side effects ladies say it has on them.