Many couples are delighted when those little stripes on the home pregnancy tests change colour. Spare a thought for those who are filled with fear, dread and alarm when they discover that they are pregnant.

Pregnancy means many different things to different people. For some couples it is a religious or spiritual experience and a logical blessing of a union. For others it is a duty, and for yet others p pregnancy is an unwanted burden sent to punish them, ruin their lives or shatter their dreams. There are young ladies who believe that a pregnancy can be used as a manipulative tool which will open doors. It’s difficult sometimes to comprehend how cultures and religions, other than our own, view pregnancy.

In some areas of Africa it is very important to have children, especially males who will remember you after your death. This aspect is vitally important if ancestral worship is practised. In some areas of Africa, children are important assets needed to lighten and share the many duties required for daily living. A man’s wealth is often judged by the size of his family. In a multicultural society we all need to be very sensitive to other cultures and beliefs, try to understand and help them to feel accepted.

In South Africa health educators have a very difficult task to promote family planning, HIV/Aids awareness and condom use amongst poor rural communities, because children are so important within the families.

The health educator needs to use every skill and every resource at his/her disposal to pass on her message. Whatever advice is given about the pregnancy to the unmarried mother-to-be, all possible options should be explored. She must be given the freedom to choose the option that will be in the best interests of her and her unborn infant. We need to support her, no matter what the decision that is taken.

Now that you have established that you are pregnant it is vitally important that you go to your health professional to be examined as soon as possible.  There are many conditions that could affect you and your baby’s health and well-being in the pregnancy.  You need careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy.  For those who feel that this wonderful event will enrich your lives, the following months will bring many happy hours of planning, shopping and preparation. When eventually that long awaited event occurs, mum-to-be, you will be ready to welcome your little stranger.

© Teresa Denton

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