Fatima's Story

Fatima’s Story
Fatima is a mother with five children – a son, Aziz, and four daughters.
Her husband, Jalal Din, is a reliable man and a good father. He and Fatima are farmers and they work hard together in the fields.
They all live together with Jalal Din’s mother, who is a widow. She is a good woman, but she is always critical and nags at Fatima. In fact, she talks from early morning until she goes to bed. “When are you going to light the fire? It is broad daylight already!” And, “Wives should obey their husbands.” Sometimes she criticizes Fatima for work not done, sometimes for spending too much money. And she always complains that Fatima has produced only one son and burdened her dear Jalal Din with one daughter after another!
Fatima has learned to live with her mother-in-law and to keep her mouth closed. In this way, she is a very dutiful wife and daughter-in-law. But she did do something in secret last month – well, it was a secret between her and Jalal Din – that they didn’t tell Jalal Din’s mother. Fatima started practicing family planning. The big reason she made this decision was that she wasn’t feeling very well. As you know, having 5 children in 9 years can make a woman feel unwell. She has a backache and she is tired most of the time. But she has so much work to do – finding firewood, carrying water, preparing food, washing the family’s clothes, working in the fields – when can she rest?
But there was another reason Fatima started using family planning. It was because of her eldest daughter, Zarin. She is the first child and a lovely little girl, a joy to everyone. Zarin goes to school along with Aziz. Every afternoon she brings her exercise book home and proudly reads to her mother what she has written. She is so happy in school! But Fatima knows that if she has another baby, Zarin must leave school to care for the new baby while Fatima works in the fields. There is simply no other way all the work can be managed. In a way, Zarin knows...