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16 year old Mi Aye lives in Poner Su, a squatters’ quarter in Bago, Myanmar. Married at 13, she had her first child at 14. She tells us how a visit from a Marie Stopes health worker has allowed her to take control of her future.
“My family is very poor. My mother is a vendor and my father does odd jobs – he works when there’s work and stays at home when there’s none. Growing up in a large family, there was never enough in our home and our family couldn’t find a way to solve this problem.
“I became a grown up at a very early age because I got married at just 13. To be honest, I’d never thought of the consequences that follow a marriage. Nobody told me how you have children or how I could avoid getting pregnant, so of course, I got pregnant. I was ‘a child giving birth to a child’ because I was only 14. And afterwards I was really frightened about getting pregnant again but I didn’t know what to do to stop it.
“I must say I’m lucky because health workers from Marie Stopes visited us. I asked them what I could do to stop getting pregnant, and they told me about all these different things I could use. I wanted the contraception that goes into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.
“When I said I couldn’t pay, they assured me that I could get it for free. it was like being thirsty and falling into a well. I don’t have to worry now. I can raise my child properly and do business to get money.
“I think you have to plan properly to have a child. And thanks to Marie Stopes, we have been able to decide that we will only have another when we are ready.”
Marie Stopes International has been providing integrated sexual and reproductive health services to women in Myanmar since 1998. We work to bring quality family planning to under-served women and with two thirds of the population living in remote areas, we can provide extensive clinical outreach across the country to reach their needs.
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