What can I say? I can’t help draw analogy’s between how unwed mothers were treated in the West in the 50s and 60s and how we treat unwed mothers in Nigeria today.
In the past year alone there have been more than 6 reports of baby factories in Nigeria. Young women are held in coercive conditions till they deliver and forced to hand over their babies for unregulated ‘adoption’.
No one is asking them how they feel having their babies taken from them with no informed choice on their part. Its become part of the punishment for getting pregnant before marriage. I could have been reading a story out of today’s Nigeria.
Punishment for being a ‘slut’. My brethren would argue the mother stands a better chance of survival without the baby. Probably true in Nigeria where there are no single parent benefits and no population crisis.
If you have a baby you are on your own in Naija. You alone are responsible for it. A long cry from the village raising children. Its urban living some will say. Others will call it western influence.
Because the responsibility falls on families they are left unmonitored to decide the best course of action for their daughters. Many of the girls in these baby factories were sent their by well intentioned if poor and ignorant parents.
I’ve met several ‘social mothers’ as the Catholic Church likes to call them from middle class homes too. They’re hidden away till after the birth to protect the family honour. The condition they stay in is irrelevant. They brought shame. They deserve to be punished. Right?
Wrong. They are children that need our protection, understanding and guidance. We can’t make it right increasing their trauma or exposing their babies to an uncertain future.