By Diana Awino

Boy meets girl and, for whatever reason, boy and girl get physical. Girl misses period, takes a pregnancy test and the test turns out positive: the marriage deal is sealed! This scenario sounds funny but it definitely is not uncommon. This is the story of many; especially those who cheat on their spouses, remain in dysfunctional relationships or, worst still, transfer aggression to their offspring.  I am a researcher so I decided to hold an opinion poll. The research question: “Should a positive pregnancy test automatically translate into a marriage proposal?”

Geoffrey and Brenda met in 2009, Brenda got pregnant and Geoffrey introduced Brenda to his family as his wife to be. Geoffrey’s dad refused to endorse the marriage because of Brenda’s tribal origins. Uganda is blessed with diverse tribes and cultures so stereotyping is inevitable. Members of Brenda’s tribe are usually labeled as “cheats”. Geoffrey’s dad told his son that a woman from that tribe will sleep with another man who is not her husband in her matrimonial bed. Geoffrey was at a cross roads for awhile, but eventually Brenda’s pregnancy ushered them into holy matrimony. Today I meet Geoffrey, the divorcee. The one thing he keeps repeating during our talk is that he married Brenda only because she was pregnant and, regrettably, his father was right. One day he travelled back from Mombasa (workplace) to Kampala (home) unannounced. His surprise visit was upstaged by the sight of his wife in bed with another man, a man she had introduced to him as her close relation before.

Isabella and John are staying together because of their beautiful angel Timtim. Abuse, insults, foul language, fights and cheating are the order of the day in their household. When asked why Isabella can not leave such an unhealthy relationship, even though she’s financially independent and a career woman, she says it is because she wants her baby to grow up with both a father and mother. Also, she cannot stand the thought of being ridiculed by society as a single mother or seen as an unmarried woman. How did she get into this kind of relationship in the first place you ask? She got pregnant. She would rather endure a dysfunctional marriage then gather the courage to move on and face society with an open mind.

Ruth told me she is in her relationship because of her son too.  I told her that when you opt for unprotected sex there are two unfavorable outcomes: pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Infections, and on a bad day both. It’s common knowledge and Ruth had to have seen it coming, right?  Now she uses her child to justify her staying married to a man she hasn’t seen sober since they exchanged vows. She told me that before she got pregnant she was like me, she never believed anybody could conceive accidentally. But here she is, turning to the bottle, much like her husband, to cope with her situation.

Jude’s friend fathered a baby girl but, due to irreconcilable differences between him and his daughter’s mom, they parted ways. The mother took sole custody of the girl with financial support from the father. Ever since the marriage broke, the little girl has paid the price. Her mother has transferred all her bitterness to her. You would conclude that this couldn’t possibly be a mother. She deliberately mistreats the daughter to get back at the girl’s father. Numerous pleas from the girl’s father to take full custody of the girl have fell on deaf ears. It appears that she blames her unexpected pregnancy for messing up her life.

Simson is a colleague at work, we reside in the staff quarters and Simson’s door down the corridor. Though his wife and beloved son stay in another town 64km away from his work station and he visits them on weekends, Simson cannot spend a night without a woman. I am a curious person, I always want to know “why?”. My approach: I got really close to Simson, just to know why he openly cheats on his wife with numerous women. His response was that he was not yet ready to settle down but he married his wife because she was pregnant. I fumed, “Your wife does not deserve that, if it was I and my husband told me he married me only because I was pregnant I would walk out of that marriage! I cannot stand such disrespect!”

That same night, I stomped over to where my other colleagues were hanging out and decided to engage them in the discussion: to the gents, “Would you marry a woman because she got pregnant for you?” and to the ladies “Would you marry a man who openly announces that his sole reason for marrying you is because you are carrying his baby?” I was disappointed, my colleagues didn’t see why I was making such a big deal of it. To them, pregnancy had sealed many marriages. Culturally, if a girl got pregnant she had to marry the man responsible for it. Other girls have deliberately used pregnancy to get a man to marry them. To me, that’s stooping too low. Call me a romantic, but I believe marriage proposals should be because of love and not a pregnancy test. One day, if I ever get married, I hope it will be for LOVE!

On a lighter note, a friend shared this joke on my social media page.

Teacher: Give an example of business failure due to careless management.

Student: A prostitute getting pregnant.

Teacher: Out.

It’s related….sort of. Anyway, I still believe that pregnancy should not be used as an excuse for some of the wrong choices we make in life, especially why we end up in a marriages we’re not ready for.