By Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee/Freelance Journalist
A 36-year-old married woman, Mrs. Deborah Lartey, has shared a sad story on how she endured infertility stigma from people very close to her.
At the time that she felt weak in her marriage and needed the strengthening arms of her pastor and family head, these two rather turned against her.
Speaking in the Ending Infertility Stigma Series with journalist and gender advocate Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee, Mrs. Lartey revealed that her pastor, one she highly revered, advised her husband to divorce her.
The pastor, she recounted, went behind her to blame their childlessness on her family background, and encouraged her husband to divorce her and get himself a new wife because there was no way she could have a child.
“There was one pastor from my church who told my husband that I could not have a child because of my family. He blamed the situation on my family background. He told my husband to divorce me and get a new wife,” Mrs. Lartey narrated.
Her church members did not help matters when they kept bombarding her with the nagging questions of when they were going to see “their baby”.
Some of them even went to the extent of pressing her belly and asking when she was going to give birth – an unfair and offensive act!
The church, as expected, is an institution where the wellness, peace, and happiness of its members would be at the core of all its affairs. However, in the case of Mrs. Deborah Lartey, the pastor and members were fighting against her and her marriage.
This pastor clearly proved to be in opposition to God’s command found in the Bible in Matthew 19:9 that marriage should only be dissolved on the grounds of sexual immorality.
Uncle in opposition
The opposition didn’t end with the pastor and church members. Deborah’s own uncle, the one who comes directly after her mother, kept talking down on her, pinning the whole situation of childlessness on his niece and always found ways to belittle her.
This uncle would not fail to pose his popular question “So, Akweley (Deborah’s house name), when at all are you going to have children?”
She narrated how this uncle went to the extent of telling Deborah’s mother that he found out from a doctor who confided in him that Deborah was the cause of the childlessness in her marriage.
“My uncle claimed that he saw me coming out of a consulting room at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. He claimed that he went in to see the doctor the moment I came out and the doctor told him that I had a problem and could never have a child. It was not true, I had not gone to that hospital at that time,” Deborah debunked the uncle’s claim.
She wondered why the uncle was nosing into her marital affairs, and why he was always bent on making her miserable anytime he set eyes on her.
Severing ties with church and family member
For the sake of her mental health, Deborah took a bold decision to cut ties with her church and uncle. She had been stumbled at church and she had been denied peace of mind by her own family. Thus, she had to cut ties with them.
Out of her disappointment in the pastor and church members, she declared that enough was enough and left the church. She also stopped going to the family house.
At the time of this interview, Mrs. Deborah Lartey had stopped going to church completely and said she had lost faith in the church. As for her family house, she resumed going there only after the death of her uncle.
Watch Deborah share her experience in the video here:
Disappointment followed marriage of sweetheart
She had married her husband in a beautiful ceremony in August 2016 and had high hopes of conceiving in that same year but it didn’t happen.
Year after year, Deborah and her husband kept trying for her to get pregnant, but the young couple felt disappointed at the end of every month at the sight of her menstruation.
It took her five years to have her own baby, a daughter, and this brought her a measure of comfort as it meant no more stigmatization.
She described her husband as patient and gentle as he stood by her all those times, calming her down and making her feel appreciated with or without a child.
Just like Deborah, there are a lot of women suffering in silence because of infertility stigma. It is for these women that the campaign of infertility stigma continues unabated!
If you have a similar story or any related to infertility to share, please contact the writer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the username name Emmy Aryee.