‘‘I was forced to live alone in shame’’
Posted by Samantha Andrades on Friday 14th December 2018
Today you can help women living with obstetric fistula come out of hiding and live happy, healthy lives today.
This is Abrehet’s story, a young girl that was married at the age of 12 and pregnant at 14.
Being so young, her body wasn’t ready when it came time to give birth. She was in labour for days and with no hospital nearby, she had to endure it without any medical help. When her daughter finally arrived, Abrehet was so relieved to discover that she had survived the traumatic experience - especially when she knew many babies do not.
But her joy was soon cut short. She realised she couldn’t hold on to her bladder or bowel anymore. She was incontinent. And one week later, her husband passed away.
It’s unimaginable, isn’t it?
When I think about what I was doing when I was her age, it’s hard to fathom how someone so young could go through such horrors, one after another.
But this is Abrehet’s story. Like thousands of other women and girls living in rural Ethiopia, she experienced an obstetric fistula caused by being in labour for five days. And like the vast majority of these women, she was immediately ostracised by her community because of it.
As someone who gives to us so generously, you will know that obstetric fistula is almost entirely preventable - and it’s curable.
When a woman is in labour for so long, the baby’s head compresses on the walls of the bladder and rectum, cutting off blood circulation. Eventually, the tissue dies, leaving a hole and resulting in incontinence.
Usually, the baby will be stillborn. Many women also experience severe nerve damage that can affect their ability to walk. They can leak urine or faeces, develop a chronic smell and get skin infections from urine burn.
But perhaps the hardest part about this condition is that most women are forced to live with the agony and embarrassment alone.
Please help us make this senseless suffering a thing of the past by making a generous gift today.