Though the benefits to the community may not be seen now, some benefits are long term, and so I have also decided to speak to the younger women on the benefits of family planning so that they do not make the same mistakes that I made.
– Jara Isa
Jara Isa was married at the age of 14. The eldest of her 15 children is now 20 and her youngest is nine months old. Before a neighborhood campaign run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs-led TCI-Nigeria project, she didn’t even know there was such a thing as modern contraception.
“I had no idea that family planning could help a woman to space her pregnancies,” says the 38-year-old farmer. “It has been challenging for me to feed, clothe, and even shelter these children.”
Jara lost her husband a year ago and, after the mourning period, will marry her brother-in-law.
A social mobilizer and a health educator visited her home in rural Nigeria, where the state capital – and standard medical care – is nine hours away. They told her about the benefits of family planning. She had serious complications associated with some of her pregnancies as well as miscarriages along the way. After one episode, “I was rushed to the clinic and had to be transfused with three units of blood and given drugs to treat the infections that developed,” she says.
But in November, after being counseled about her contraceptive options, she received an IUD. “I feel relaxed and at peace now knowing that getting pregnant for the next five years is impossible, and even when I get remarried, there is no fear of getting pregnant,” she says.
Jara adds: “If I had known earlier the benefits of family planning, I would have adopted a method, even without the consent of my husband. Though the benefits to the community may not be seen now, some benefits are long term, and so I have also decided to speak to the younger women on the benefits of family planning so that they do not make the same mistakes that I made.”