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This story of courage and sacrifice shows that even in Africa, there are people who understand that having children you cannot afford is not a good idea

By Nina Steele 

Childfree African womanI was told a very inspiring story recently of a young Liberian woman who gave her only child away because she could not afford to look after her financially. She and her partner who also happened to be the main breadwinner, split up by the time the child was born and so she was facing the prospect of raising the child alone. Luckily, a few years later, a woman moved in her area. She was well off and her children had long flown the nest. The young woman became friends with her, and the woman showed great interest in the child and eventually decided to adopt her. The child is now attending a good school and her future looks bright. She will have the kind of chances that her own biological mother could only dream about growing up.

Now in her late 30s and with a job and a new partner, the young woman recently suffered a miscarriage. When I asked if she regretted giving her child away, knowing that she may never have another child, I was told that she had no regrets whatsoever. She was determined to make the most of her current life, and if she ended up not having another child then so be it. As far as she was concerned, the child was no longer hers. She had long made peace with it and nothing was ever going to change that.

I hope her story inspires the many childless women across Africa who believe wrongly that you can never be childless and happy in Africa. Even though this woman is not technically childless, giving away her only child shows that it is not so much that you can never be childless and happy in Africa, but rather that the lack of courage for many of these women, is the real issue.

The one thing I know about Africa is that people often admire and respect women with strong characters. When you build a reputation as a strong woman, no one dares bother you. People will only make your life hell as a childless woman if they sense that you are not strong enough to stand up to them. Show people weakness and they will use it against you. As they say, character is destiny.

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