Stories about family planning

Pakistan must ensure that women are included in the family planning process

Her backache is better, and she is feeling relieved for more than one reason. An hour ago, Azra got an Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) which she calls a challa (ring) inserted, with her own free will; the IUCD will potentially give her a break of five years from conceiving a child. This 30-plus years old mother of three, who does not know even her own exact age, knows well now that to remain healthy to look after her three children, and to possibly give birth to healthy children in the future, her body needs a break. Azra had come to the Naudero ...

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“Mera jism, khandaan ki marzi”

It was a particularly tiring emergency day in the obstetric labour room. I was writing down patient notes on a file when a woman came pleading to me, “Doctor sahibaa, mehrbani karain, mainay jo sign kiyay hain wo kaat dain, hum nay waqfay ka chalaa nae rikhwana.” (Please doctor, nullify the signatures I just did on the file, we refuse to take intrauterine device for contraception.) IUCD (commonly known as Cu-T) is a small contraception device placed in a woman’s uterus to delay the next pregnancy and ensure better health opportunities for both the mother and the child. When I tried to ...

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5 reasons why every Pakistani family will love and relate to ‘Aangan’

Pakistan’s flourishing drama industry is touching on a lot of stereotypical and taboo topics lately, proving that it is making strides in the right direction. We have produced dramas such as Kankar, Udaari, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Khaani and Baaghi to give centre stage to issues that remain hidden behind closed doors. However, stories depicting traditional joint family system were missing from our TV screens for quite some time. Writer Faiza Iftekhar noticed this fact and tried to fill the void by scripting the drama serial Aangan. Though Aangan is just an ordinary story of a traditional joint family, but the way it is portrayed is what gives it ...

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She came to me for a contraceptive but her husband dragged her away

It was a few years ago when a 40/41-year-old mother of five children (her eldest in his late teens) came to me asking for contraception. After we discussed the pros and cons of the various contraceptives available, she decided to pick a pill that was appropriate for her age. Half an hour later, her husband, a man in his early 60s, stormed into my clinic, flashed me the same medication in his hand and asked, “What is this?” “This is a medication for women,” I said. “Is this a contraceptive?” “Yes.” He threw it in the dustbin and warned me that if I ever dared ...

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Will #HeForShe work for me, a man?

The recent HeForShe campaign by Emma Watson, the UN Women goodwill ambassador, has gained significant repertoire, with many men posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook with placards, articulating their support for the campaign. The campaign speaks against gender violence and inequality. It is particularly a feminist movement and although it realises the bias against men, it does little beyond recognition. Emma herself stated that: “The more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” There is indeed a need for gender equality, and abuse against either should be equally condemned. Women are mostly ...

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Oh great government of Pakistan, take notice of the female aid workers in Balochistan, don’t alienate them!

On my recent trip to Balochistan, I came across examples of how women folk fare in tribal set-ups. While we, in the urban centres, believe that women are usually ignored and not allowed to contribute to society in tribal arrangements, the Baloch tradition has a very unique way of putting their women to good use. Tribal feuds and enmities usually span over generations. So when all else fails, the hidden asset – the women – is consumed. The women of the tribe seeking to reconcile are sent to the other tribe. These women then beg for forgiveness for the men folk of ...

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10 situations which highlight why educating women is vital in Pakistan

Being the daughter of a surgeon, and being a lawyer myself, I hear and read stories everyday about how certain mishaps which have occurred could have been avoided with the simple proviso: education.  The government needs to encourage the right of women to be educated. Listed below are 10 real-life situations where education would have prevented unfortunate outcomes. 1)  A woman who is encouraged to abort a daughter or is killed or divorced upon producing daughters. If she was educated, the woman would know that the gender of a baby is decided by the male sperm and not by a woman’s eggs. This is basic ...

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10 reasons why you should NOT marry a Pakistani man

1. ‘Ammi jaan’ – the famous monster-in… I mean mother-in-law. She is the idolised queen of the domestic domain, ‘lovingly’ referred to as Ammi jaan.  Her precise duties can vary from lovingly criticising you in front of your husband, taunting you with scathing remarks while your husband is not around and haunting you in the middle of the night, even in the privacy of your own bedroom! She will not forgive you for the smallest of mistakes and enjoys watching you squirm in your chair, embarrassed. She will not allow you to change anything in the house, even though the ‘you’re just like my daughter’ ...

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I killed my unborn baby because I have too many

She had no remorse on her face as she sat in front of me sharing the story of her third induced abortion she had gotten done a few weeks earlier.  “I already have five children. I am working for your mother in Karachi. My family is in a village near Rajanpur. Who’d look after the baby?” said Sughra, my mother’s maid, when I asked her why she kept having abortions. “In my village, it’s a done thing baji. Every woman gets it done. All married women. The daai (midwife) takes Rs 300. She uses dawaai (medicines) or any sharp instrument. I nearly died in the second one, ...

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“Yes, I don’t want children”

At forty, Faiza Abbas has been married for 15 years. The pitiful looks she receives started a couple of years after her first wedding anniversary. Initially, they were accompanied with encouraging and humble words like:  Oh, it’s only been three years, you’ll have kids soon enough, I’m sure. Don’t worry, there’s still time, you’re still young. About these remarks, Faiza states with a laugh: I used to think these aunties were more worried about my childless situation than I was! I didn’t really care for children, personally. At the beginning of my marriage, my career was just starting to take off and I didn’t want ...

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