Early Marriage: A Dark Reality
I was very happy those days when I with Saira – my best friend were promoted to 7th standard with A1 grade; this happiness and joy doubled when I came to know that Saira was getting married. Saira blushed when we teased her and her eyes sparkled at her fiancés mention. Thinking about wedding made Saira blush and since the day wedding preparation started there was shine and spark in her eyes. Saira was receiving care, love and attention from all family members, neighbors and friends. In addition to this intangible goodwill she was receiving gifts from everyone. Her mother was buying new clothes, cosmetics, sandals, jewellery and all kind of pretty things that a girl craves for. Saira’s excitement was visible and contagious. Finally, she departed for her new house, her in laws lived in a distant village and it was the last time I saw her giggling and smiling with that spark in her eyes for we never met again.
Saira’s wedding must have inspired all of her friends but it changed my dreams . I started dreaming of being a bride instead of a teacher. I showed less interest in studies and signaled to mom to think about getting me married. My mother talked to Khala jaan (aunt) about immediately as if she delayed it I would again start dreaming of higher education and becoming a teacher. They fixed my marriage with a guy from neighborhood. I was least interested in how he was, what he did and how our future relationship would be.
The day of wedding made me a bit tensed yet happy. I departed from my home happily as Saira departed 4 months back. It was the wedding night; it was so painful. Is this physical relation important; surprises didn’t stop at the wedding night experience. Somebody must have told me this side of marriage picture.
It was miserable for me. I got pregnant the very next month of the wedding. Throughout the pregnancy I was unable to control my health issues and I was even unable to take care of myself. One day I started to bleed; my mother in law called some lady to assess me. After assessment she gave me some soup made up of herbs and she tried this same till two days consecutively. When she realized that it isn’t working out she put in some herbal stick inside me; ensuring me that it will work out and it will sooth my suffering. It only made me worse and I had to be taken to hospital in a critical condition. As I lay on the hospital bed I thought of all the series of events that led me to a helpless situation. This helpless situation became worst when I regained my conscious level and got to know that my uterus has been removed just because of having those herbal stick inside me as it perforated my uterus.
Who was responsible for what I went through? Was I the only sufferer or the man I married was suffering along? How could I make it better for us now that we seem to have lost our way?
We started to communicate with each other openly on matter several matters. The best support I got from my husband was that he helped me continuing my studies and this way we delayed pregnancy. My husband started to take care of my nutritional needs and supported me to recover from the previous situation. Moreover, we started to arrange small community sessions for the people where we talked about the importance of education and good nutrition for the children specially for girls and we encouraged different youth from the community to become peer educators in promoting the message widely in order to improve educational status of the community and preventing maternal deaths because “each and every life counts.”