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The stigma around having the ‘talk’

Aline Uwera had a conversation with her mother that most young people dread. The kind of conversation that makes every part of your body cringe. They had ‘the talk’ I bet you already know what I am talking about; they talked about sex!

Young people hate having the talk let alone with their parents, but because of the degree of misinformation there is around sex and birth control it is important that they do.

It is not new to say that Rwadan parents rarely have ‘the talk’ with their children. the lack of education on sex and contraceptives is one of the reasons why young people are having unwanted pregnancies.

Families that ignore or avoid such conversations are gambling their children’s health because it leaves them with the only option to check internet sources.

When the research is done wrong, the information a person obtains from the internet can be dangerous to their lives. It is often misleading and untrue.

This is why it is important that families, guardians and educators should push themselves against religious, cultural or any other belief that would stop them from having these difficult conversations with their children.

Aline Uwera is one the girls who was lucky enough to have this conversation with her mother. She explains how it changed her perspective on contraceptives.

Uwera says that she was aged 16, when her mother just walked in her room, looking out of place, eased in the conversation with simple talks.

“I was actually young, around maybe 16, when my mother came into my room and started asking me very weird questions while she sat on my bed looking uncomfortable,” she says.

After they all got common understanding after some time, Uwera reveals, her mother started asking questions that she would have never dared to say in front of her before.

“After we got a little comfortable, we had a discussion about my periods which I have to admit was a little too late. Then we had a very uncomfortable discussion about sex,” she discloses.

After talking to her mother about sex; Uwera thought that was the end of the discussion.

However the mother was curious to go deeper with their conversation. She went on to ask her about how much she knew about birth controls, to which a 16-year-old obviously said nothing.

Uwera says that her mother thoroughly explained to her in great detail everything she needed to know about birth control as a woman and as a human who will eventually be sexually active.

She recounted her situation considering the impact such discussions had on his life later as an adult and plans to do the same for her children in the future.

There might be a shift in the relationship between a parent or guardian after such discussions, as some will get more shy and hide away while others will be more open.

Whatever changes it may bring, the important thing is that more and more young people are protected from unwanted pregnancy.

In schools, educators teach students the basics and the importance but it is important to remember that not all students are comfortable asking questions in front of others. That is why this requires a more personal one on one discussion.

With the introduction of morning-after pill, young people are engaging in unprotected sex thinking they will use this pill after.

One girl who wished to remain anonymous shared with us her experience on using morning after pills and the stress underwent when she took the pill.

“I had just realized we didn’t use protection. I was scared and I didn’t know much about contraceptives. Luckily, my partner did and bought me a pill and said I’d be okay,” she says.

She explains that she was scared thinking that using the pill would be like a mini abortion. The girl says that she expected a little blood and as scared as she was, she decided to go on the internet and find side effects the pill would have on her.

After reading the side effects she waited to have any of them but nothing happened and then her worries increased.

“My heart was racing; I thought experiencing no side effects meant the pill did not work and that I was pregnant. I started to look at my body differently, and started to think of alternatives in case I was actually pregnant.”

She explains that this feeling of uncertainty from not knowing if she was pregnant went on until she had her period but she was still scared.

When asked if she had asked anyone for advice on this, she said that she would ask no one, because she did not want anyone to disclose it to her guardians.

Parents and guardians should aim to be safe zones for their children to get information without feeling judged and get guidance instead of waiting for them to learn it on the internet.

Even some young people who are using contraceptives do not enough information.
Chris says that his partner uses contraceptives but is always worried as to what dangers they could have on her in the future.

“I know we are safe from unwanted pregnancy but worried about what will happen when we want to have a child. I am afraid that these contraceptives will leave us barren.”

This goes to show that because young people can often be fed misinformation when it comes to sex and birth control. It is why they are encouraged to have ‘the talk’ with professionals whom they can trust.

You shoould not be afraid to ask; having questions is totally normal

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