Millie Odhiambo has opened up about her inability to conceive saying that childbearing does not define her and further urging women to rise above it.
In an interview with a local tabloid, the outspoken 52-year-old lawmaker said: “For me, not having a child has been both by choice and not by choice.”
“I love children so much and fighting for their rights was a vocation for me, not a career. I got sucked into it and forgot myself, ending up in marriage at 38 years.
“My love for what I was doing made me push my wedding forward for a year, even after I had bought the wedding dress. So if I really thought having a child was that big a deal, I would have sought to be married earlier than at 38, when it would be biologically proper to bear a child, the MP told the Star.
The three-time MP said had fibroids for a long time, a condition that got diagnosed in 2001 in New York, but only got surgically removed in 2006.
“I used to have extremely painful monthly periods and heavy menses,” she said. “In fact, I would be hospitalised every time I had periods.”
Millie said another factor that worked against her conceiving naturally was the long-distance relationship with her husband. She said both were “not willing to sacrifice our engagements to be in one place”.
“I had just got appointed executive director and my husband also just got tapped as a ranking executive of a chain of hotels in his country, so we thought it would have been unfair for us to let either of us sacrifice our careers, especially in a changing world, where distance no longer matters,” she said.
“Zimbabwe was also going through hard times when we got married, and relocating there was really not favourable.”
While acknowledging that countless women and men are battling stigma for not being able to conceive, Mabona said she never grappled with such because “I have always believed that having or not having a child is not what defines me”.
“I do not want to take the pain that childless women go through and trash it. But for me, childbearing is not really an issue I give serious premium. It does not define me and women should rise above it; it should not define who they are,” she said.
“In any case, if I really wanted a child, I would have sought other interventions,” she said. “Am I going to die because I do not have a child of my own? I don’t think so?”
The Mbita MP also spoke about Mike Sonko attacking her on social media over her inability to conceive.
“For an idiot like Sonko who does not know me, the joke was on him. In fact, I think I’m wired differently, not like other women. If you tell me I’m childless, it is like you are saying I have breasts. It makes no difference at all,” she said.
Read the full interview HERE