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Wari gives her age as 32, however people in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea often don’t know their age. When we ask her husband, Stigwan, he jokes that he must be 42 or 43, or 46, or…..
Wari went to school up to grade 2 after which her family could no longer afford the school fees.
Wari has seven children; the youngest is nine months old. She has had a baby every year for seven years. She says they didn’t plan to have seven children but that was just how it was, with no contraception. Now she thinks it’s going to be really hard to send them all to school. She and her husband will try their best she knows that it’s not in her power to send all of them to school.
Wari works the land to bring food home to feed the children. She grows sweet potato, carrot, cabbage, sugar cane, banana and some coffee. Sometimes they are able to sell what they grow but only small amounts that provide some money for things they need to buy like oil and sugar. She does not have any other income and what they earn from selling food is not enough for their needs.
Wari had all her babies at home and her mother in law helped to deliver them. The closest health centre is about 30 or 40 minutes walk. She had some ante-natal care at the health centre with her last child but not for the first six. When asked if she wants to have more children, Wari simply says, “I’ve been giving birth up until now. And now I just don’t want to give birth or have any more children.”
Wari says she’s not well informed about family planning. She doesn’t really know about it and they’ve never used contraception. She has heard that some mothers have had tubal ligation and she says she also wants to have it but can’t afford it.
When Wari was told that Marie Stopes can arrange to provide this service she was really pleased. Other women have gone for contraceptive services and now she can get contraceptives too. Wari talks about the changes she sees in some of the women who use contraception. They look healthier and have gained weight. She wants to look the same. She’s looking forward to getting a family planning service.
She talked with her husband about contraception and told him that times have changed, that it’s more expensive, that they have too many children and that she thinks they have to stop. Stigwan was pleased and agreed to take her to the outreach session.
With family planning, Wari hopes she will gain back her strength and her health. She worries that if she continues to give birth, she might lose her life and she wants to focus on looking after the children they are already have.
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