Phulmaya never got the opportunity to go to school as a child. She was married to her husband when she was 17 and had her first child, a girl, the following year. Now 31, Phulmaya lives with her husband and two children in a mountainous rural region of Nepal, northwest of Katmandu.
Through adult education classes, Phulmaya learned to read and write in basic Nepali. “I make lots of mistakes though. Sometimes I struggle to read what I wrote myself!” she explained, laughing. But she learned enough to get by, and can now keep accounts for the shop she runs.
Family planning had been a short-term consideration for Phulmaya most of her life: her husband worked abroad for many years, and she would prevent unplanned pregnancies with a 3-month Depo injection when he would visit home.
“My mother-in-law wants us to have more children, but my husband and I don’t want any more children. It is hard enough to provide for the two we have. Everything is so expensive these days.”
Phulmaya recognizes how access to contraception has changed her community in just one generation. Her mother gave birth to twelve children, and her husband has seven siblings. In Phulmaya’s family, most of the boys went to school but none of the girls, except her youngest sister, were given the opportunity.
“Our mothers’ generation did not have access to contraceptives. My mother learned about Depo injections after her twelfth child, and that is how she stopped having more children.”
Now that her husband is living at home again, Phulmaya has been worried about the consistency of the Depo injection; in the past, she sometimes forgot to get her injection on time and risked becoming pregnant. So, when a Marie Stopes Nepal Female Community Health Volunteer told her an outreach team would be visiting the area to offer voluntary long-acting contraceptive methods, she decided to visit.
Phulmaya walked for about thirty minutes to reach the outreach team’s camp, and after counseling, decided to get a five-year implant.
“Outreach camps like these make life a lot easier for people like me, as otherwise I would have had to spend a full day to travel to the closest Marie Stopes Nepal center to get this implant.”
She is looking forward to being worry free.