Naivety and sudden motherhood

(BY OYUNGA PALA) In the absence of grandmothers, radicals and religious zealots pretty much decree what women should do with their bodies when it comes to reproduction. Grandmothers saved you the hassle by giving you instructions on how to use your body. Virginity was a virtue upheld until the wedding night, hence the white dress and the famous stained sheet. We scoff at those attitudes now, calling them old fashioned, outdated and even repressed. Nevertheless, if I have said this once, I probably need to say it again on behalf of grandmothers; boys cannot be trusted. Play with fire and you will burn. Nothing has changed.

Random motherhood on your terms is a personal fantasy, stuff that fairy tales are made of. It is important to separate the two, love and sex. Many girls somehow believe that their case is always unique. The feeling is labeled as ‘special’, that temporary, seemingly heart-warming sensation. How misinformed.

I am tired of hearing that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Honestly, I don’t even think we are from the same galaxy. Physically, we appear deceptively alike but logically on this topic, men are just about as similar to women as onion is to chocolate. So invariably, sexual behaviour in Kenya should be monitored carefully. With AIDS still going strong, twenty plus years later, one would suppose unwanted pregnancies would be the least of our worries. Four decades of advanced birth control and women are still finding themselves in that precarious position, cradling a rapidly bulging stomach and a man who refuses to commit. Perhaps, this what they meant, when they said, “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.

Avoiding pregnancy is not nuclear science, but somehow as soon as the heart gets involved all caution is thrown to the wind. What is happening to girls? Don’t they realize that premature pregnancies are no longer in vogue? Contraception today is the sole responsibility of the woman. Men are basically just sperm donors since time immemorial and if you believe otherwise, then you might as well believe anything politicians spew.

Any woman who has participated in the dating game long enough will agree that the reality never mimics the fantasy. Love as advertised is hogwash. Its only guarantee is a broken heart or worse the unwanted baby. Women know this, yet why are they still not responsible? Contraception is your responsibility. Not the man’s. Granted, sex with a compatible partner feels good, no denying it. However, the unplanned pregnancy is not. This is precisely the crux of the problem. Do not indulge addictively if you are not married. One can lecture all day long about the consequences of pre-marital pregnancies but with naivety and lack of experience, girls routinely put their personal pleasure above all else.

The number one culprit leading to this saga is love, a prescribed golden stairway to happiness. One can understand why. It is not like the young lady is dragged into these matters blind folded. She just never had a grandmother to tell her about the illusion of love. Many young girls will preserve themselves for years, keeping the pack at bay, regularly turning down requests, waiting patiently for that scripted man who will respect and marry them. Consequently, somewhere into their early twenties, naivety intact, they eventually succumb to pressure. Virginity past twenty-five is not highly regarded anymore and don’t ask me why? At twenty, most young people are convinced that they know it all. They quip, ‘but he loves me’.

Given the frantic search process for the alleged ‘good guys’ (whatever that means), one would expect a more informed selection process. Foremost, has he been tested? How does he treat women? What is his sexual history or orientation for that matter? These questions hardly ever pop up. I have never met a woman who asked me about my HIV status and I not even handsome or rich. Instead most women tend to be interested in only two things: romance and its accompanying gestures. All the man needs is the ability to say the right things at the right time, buy some Black forest cake, email plagiarized poetry for the young girl to drop her guard.

Woiyee! most of these young girls never realize is that this is a totally new playing field. The boys she was previously exposed to, the ones she so easily manipulated are left behind in school. Beyond college, men come in all shades of pretense, each cowering behind practiced masks of deceit. Try telling this to the young lady and chances are, her ears will be plugged. Love is the air. When she finally experiences her first true orgasm she is reduced to singing “Halleluyah! I saw heaven”. Soon talk of the future follows and guys can throw in a load of crap when they are having it good and easy. They may seem very serious to the point of commitment but so are politicians before an election. So much for, “We can make beautiful babies together”. Liar!

Unfortunately, the girls swallow it, hook, line and sinker. Every single lie including the famous, “You are the One”. This honeymoon phase always leaves young ones giddy and giggly. Condoms are abandoned, pregnancy disregarded for this naïve reason, ‘We love each other’. Nonetheless, the consequence of naivety is way too much regret, bitterness, and far too often, the unexpected child.

That is why I repeat, anything a man tells you before sex, should be dismissed. Anything added afterwards should be taken with a pinch of salt. A man with a mission can be very convincing. Young women must realize that avoiding pregnancy is their sole responsibility. The law doesn’t protect unwed mothers nor does society in general anymore. It is not that men do not want children. Most are just not ready for them. It is more a question of timing. Which is why the church drags them in, Shepherd them down the aisle and makes them swear and sign a certificate in front of witnesses.

Kenya is now full of absentee dads, the kind that derive extreme pleasure from scattering their wild oats and abdicating the responsibility that follows. In this country, it is unfortunately just one of the many other undesirable elements. Look hard before you leap and if you must, always have some emergency rubbers before you hit the road. You may not choose the situations you find yourself in, but you can choose not to be naive under those circumstances.


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