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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 2

This week’s script is the second in a special series that is sure to captivate you and your listeners. Through eight interviews conducted over a period of one year, the series tells a story that is both personal and universal – that of a young couple planning for their first child.

In this second installment, we learn that our couple has succeeded in conceiving a child.. And we learn what decision the husband takes when his wife needs help with cooking and water gathering – tasks that are traditionally rejected by local men. In the coming weeks, the series will continue in FRW’s Script of the Week section. We will follow the couple through pregnancy and the birth of their child, learning important lessons about how couples can make decisions about maternal health and child care along the way.

Notes to broadcaster

When couples are expecting a child, many men and women are uncomfortable talking about issues such as child care, pregnancy, delivery, and the role of men and women in these issues. In some cultures, the husband is the primary person with whom a pregnant woman would discuss such matters; neighbours or close friends can also be involved.

In other cultures, female elders, midwives, and the mother-in-law have a special role to play in encouraging discussion and providing advice to the pregnant woman. Today, however, younger women frequently do not want to follow their advice, even when they advise women to go to a health facility for care.

To talk about these issues, we have visited a couple in a village in Arusha district, Tanzania. They were married one year ago, and have made plans, including how they can make their life prosperous and take care of their children.

This script contains eight separate interviews with the couple, spanning a period from before the wife was pregnant until after the child is born. There are several ways to use this script. You could use it as a guide to interviewing an expectant couple in your own area. Read closely through the kinds of questions and issues in the interviews. Find out how couples in your area prepare for childbirth. Who makes the decisions? Do husbands and wives discuss these issues together? You may also choose to air these interviews as they are, making adaptations to your local situation. The eight interviews could be aired for eight days in a row, or once a week for eight weeks.

This script is based on actual interviews. If you choose to use voice actors to represent the couple who are being interviewed, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interview, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on a real interview.

Also, some of the cultural customs and traditions followed by the couple and their families may be different than those of your listening audience. Feel free to adapt the script to the cultural context of your listening audience. Or you could present the story as occurring in a different culture with different values and traditions.

Second interview – second month of pregnancy

Characters:
Producer
Wife
Husband

Presenter: Many people think that when a woman is pregnant, it is bad luck to make advance plans or decisions about childbirth. Others believe that even announcing the pregnancy can invite witchcraft or some other misfortune. We’re talking about these issues today with a young couple, aged 23 years and 22 years, who live in a village near Arusha, Tanzania. They are self-employed and poor, depending on daily casual work. They have been married for one year and plan to have a child soon.

In the last programme, we talked about family care and planning. The couple talked about beginning married life. You heard that they are planning to have a child. They have lived together for almost a year now. They said that this decision would be made together, between the husband and wife. Three months after their first meeting, the producer visited the family again. They will tell us if they have succeeded at conceiving a child as they had planned.

The discussion with our producer and the couple continues.

Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

Producer: How do you feel when you think of having a child?

Wife: I am feeling good and I thank God I have succeeded in my plans, and I feel that I have conceived. I have been pregnant for two months now.

Producer: How sure are you that you have conceived and are pregnant?

Wife: I feel different than I used to. I haven’t had my menstrual period, and I started vomiting, sleeping, and feeling tired. I feel like eating only certain types of foods, and if I eat one type of food today, I can’t eat the same food tomorrow.

Producer: What is your husband’s reaction to that?

Wife: I thank God I have a good husband. He has left behind all bad traditions. He can cook for me and do other work. In this area, men are not allowed to do such work, but my husband is different. He can cook and fetch water while I am just sleeping. This month I had problems, but my husband was really encouraging.

Producer: Husband, how did you feel when your wife became pregnant?

Husband: In the beginning I felt very bad, because I started worrying about what will happen. In our area, it is completely not allowed for men to cook. But my wife is tired. So I took my own decision to change and do the work to build my own family. I learned also from my close friends, and I was able to help my wife. And of course I knew it would not last forever! (Husband, wife and producer laughing)

Producer: As a husband, what do you think needs to be done?

Husband: What’s important is that the mother knows her own needs and makes sure she eats a balanced diet and gets food at the right time. As a father and husband, I should know that today she likes this kind of food or not, so I can provide the food she likes. And I think foods like fruit are important to the pregnant woman, and it is the responsibility of the husband to make sure all her needs are taken care of. (Wife laughing)

Producer: Have you been successful in that?

Wife: I thank God that fruit is available. (Wife and husband laughing) I can even have juice at midnight, and fruit is available all the time. He really does a very good job of taking care of me. (Laughing) If I need oranges, I get them!

Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

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