Maternal and child health is about more than just the mother and child. In the end, the entire family is impacted – either positively or negatively. When births are spaced closely, the health of the mother and child are jeopardized, as is the health of the family.
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 (my wife). 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.
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.
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; 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.
Fathers are positively affected by the healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies (HTSP). Just as mothers and children experience health, emotional, and economic benefits, so do fathers, and the overall result is stronger families.
This infographic is part three in a four part series about how HTSP benefits mothers, children, families, and communities. Join the conversation using #LetsTalkHTSP.
Photo: Mrindwa Manento with his son in Makindube ADP in Tanzania. © 2013 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren