In a heartfelt post Gaona Dintwe spoke about being called the “barren one” and the challenges people face as a results of fertility issues or perceived fertility issues. See her post below;
“I remember how it used to break my heart when people labeled me “Gaona o sa tsholeng, the “barren one” in sensationalized tabloid stories, in conversations, or on social media. Being called an attention seeker because I was sharing publicly what is perceived to be a private matter between a couple (because whether one likes it or not they get to see those kinda posts and comments, if anything someone you know will say “a o bone gore gatweng ka wena nemma? 😅). I remember how people have said they
“get” why I am divorced, of course assuming that I was left for my barrenness, men being honest gore bone ba ka se kgone tota, women talking about how they wouldn’t want their uncle, brother, cousin or friend to be with a barren woman.
It used to break my heart 💔and I was shattered by the thought of being viewed as defective or not woman enough and not worthy of companionship, until it dawned on me that this is bigger than me, I may have become the face of infertility because I shared my story, but this is not as much about me as it is instead a true reflection of how society views infertility – the raw reality of infertility, being rejected by society, your life being dissected to figure out what you had done in the past to deserve the ordeal of being infertile, being turned into an outcast for failing to perform one of the most basic functions of humanity. It happens across the world, but especially in Africa, we are harder on women, women get sent back to their families from their marital homes, bogadi is demanded back (re batla dikgomo tsa rona), women are battered and even killed for embarrassing their families, husbands and in laws, so why did I think I should be treated differently?
I am but just a case study of the reality on the ground of the stigma surrounding infertility. I decided to speak up when I did, so I could give infertility a face, start a dialogue around it and de-stigmatize it, and of course people were talking, emotions had gotten evoked, and the everyday reality of multitudes of people dealing with infertility had been exposed. The impact may not have been packaged as I had anticipated it would be, but this is the reality of activism and advocacy and I would choose it over and over and over again. But when all Is said and done, our stories are all similar as people dealing with infertility, I wish we could speak up, in one voice, lobby government for affordable access to treatment in our country because fertility treatment cannot just be a luxury service available to those who have lots of money or access to loans, and even then, we cannot have families being impoverished because they have to spend their last dime on attempting to achieve the dream of becoming parents.
And May we boldly seek fertility treatment because we are fortunate to live in an era of advanced assisted reproduction, and while at it, share information with others in need, because we know how lonely the journey is, we understand. But of course you don’t owe anybody your story, so you don’t need to go public like I did, but know that you are not alone, there are a lot of us out here, battling stigma and ostracism due to cultural misconceptions, but you are worthy of love and a beautiful joyful life, showcase your talents and celebrate your achievements. Be brave enough to share your pain and strong enough to seek help and above all be kinder to yourself as you are doing your best, and things will work out for your greater good in the end 💖”