Editah Hadassa wears many hats. This dynamic Kenyan woman is not only an entrepreneur and business management consultant, but she is also the founder and CEO of Waiting Wombs Trust an organisation that seeks to create awareness of infertility and reproductive health matters. She will be one of the key speakers at the forthcoming Fertility Show Africa (FSA), a fully interactive two-day online event that takes place on October 9 & 10, and which will offer visitors access to a wide range of world-leading fertility specialists, experts, and clinicians.
Says Hadassa: “Waiting Wombs Trust exists to avert the medical, physical, socio-cultural and psychological factors that undermine acceptance and positive living among childless and waiting families, consequently depriving them of the opportunity to live a more fulfilling life.
“Childlessness comes with a lot of stigmatisation in Africa hence the need to talk about it.”
Hadassa herself is an involuntarily childless woman who, despite also battling various illnesses, has not allowed her childless status to put her down. Her mantra ‘One Day at a Time’ is also the title of her talk at FSA.
We asked Hadassa some questions about her own personal journey as well as about her organisation Waiting Wombs Trust.
After more than 13 years of marriage you and your husband have not been able to start a family. Can you tell us why and what treatments you have undergone?
I suffer from endometriosis and adenomyosis. I have also previously suffered from fibroids and ovarian cysts. I have been to the theatre four times to try and fix the stage four endometriosis and adenomyosis, but it keeps recurring. I have tried natural remedies, hormonal replacement therapy, herbal treatment, contemporary medicine, you name it. We feel like we have exhausted all known avenues and finances and now just living in the present and trusting God all the way. We are Christians and believe that conception is divine.
Why do you think childlessness comes with stigmatisation in Africa and what is your key message to those who do stigmatise childless couples or women unable to conceive?
Womanhood is defined by the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to full term. A marriage is considered incomplete without a child. The sad bit is that the blame is often squarely placed on women even in cases where the infertility is male related. Society should acknowledge a marriage as complete with or without children and that infertility affects men too. The pressure placed on women is unnecessary.
Your mantra is ‘One Day at a Time’ and that is also the title of your talk at FSA. Can you tell us more about what you will be presenting at FSA?
Childlessness/ infertility is a journey. Sometimes it feels so lonely that the only way one can live is to take it one day at a time. An attempt to have it all sorted it out in a month, a week, a year often leads to depression and disappointment. Procedures fail, medicines fail, some work, some don’t. How can one live through it all? How does one cope as a childless man, woman, or couple in a highly stigmatised set up? One day at a time, one minute if need be is my mantra and will be my focus at FSA.
Can you tell us a bit about your Waiting Wombs Trust?
My husband and I had lived in our childless – not by choice – marriage for over 10 years and we were looking for a support group having undergone stigmatisation and heartache and found none. We decided to start Waiting Wombs Trust to create awareness around the subject and bring together those in similar situation, particularly in Africa. Our membership currently stands at over 10,000 with a following of over 100,000. We are based in Kenya but have membership and representation within East Africa and beyond. We work in partnership with fertility specialist and relevant organisations and individuals. We envision a society where women, men and couples battling infertility or sub-fertility are empowered, encouraged, and supported rather than stigmatised, shunned, and crushed. Further details on our work and partnership opportunities can be accessed via waitingwombstrust.org. We are also working on building a campus as part of our bigger mission and vision and currently fundraising and seeking support and partnerships. You can read more about it at waitingwombscampus.org
Hadassa’s talk, One Day at a Time, will take place on Sunday, October 10 at 15h00.
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