In honor of Father’s Day, we are celebrating the role fathers play in improving families.
Recently, World Vision Ethiopia released the report Practicing Faith: “Four stories from Ethiopia.” This report focuses on the role faith leaders can play in improving maternal and child health in communities. Below, Aberra Golo, a father and evangelical minister at a local church, shares his story.
Excerpt from Part 4 — A Model Family
My wife, Shitaye, and I already had three children when I decided that I wanted to go back to school. I knew that if we kept having a baby every other year, it would be impossible.
Over the years I had been observing the people around us. I saw that those who were educated and using methods to space their children had more time between pregnancies. I saw that they had fewer children and that they could easily afford to feed them and give them everything they needed. I saw that their children and their wives were strong and healthy.
I brought all of my observations to Shitaye. I told her about my idea. I told her what I had learned from studying the Scriptures and from watching others in our community. I also told her that I could see her getting weaker with the birth of every child. I told her I wanted us to use methods to space and time our pregnancies. She listened, and she agreed.
We have been using these strategies on and off for almost eight years now. Over that time, I have come to understand that doing so has nothing to do with going against the Word of God. It is about being responsible for my wife and children. I must take good care of all of them. If I don’t, my conscience will not set me free.
We have clearly seen the benefits: I finished high school and Bible school. And because she wasn’t pregnant at that time or caring for a baby, Shitaye was able to manage the house and the children and help me with the farming.
But, for me, the best example of the benefits of timing and spacing our pregnancies is my youngest daughter. Jitoo is our fifth child. She was born three years ago, after a five-year gap that was the result of using strategies to space pregnancies. Because she is our only young child, we can give her better care. And she has advantages our older children didn’t have: she is still breastfeeding because no one is going to come along and grab the breast away from her; we can afford to provide her with better food, so she is strong and healthy; and when she is old enough, we will have the resources to send her to a private school and eventually educate her as far as she wants to go.