Two were in high school while one was a single mother struggling to raise her child after her partner left.
Veronica, Gladys and Nancy decided to terminate their pregnancies for various reasons. While Veronica and Nancy survived with life lessons, Gladys did not make it.
We bring you stories of three women who resorted to terminating their pregnancies. And since abortion is illegal in Kenya, they used crude means to get rid of the foetuses.
But they are not the only women who have procured unsafe abortions in Kenya.
A recent nationwide study by the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) revealed that more than 500,000 abortions are conducted annually in Kenya.
Many of these procedures are unsafe and result in various complications.
The 2018 study, “Incidence and Complications of Unsafe Abortions in Kenya”, showed that about 158,000 women go for post-abortion care annually following complications.
Globally, unsafe abortions account for 47,000 maternal deaths each year. Some 90 per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
Here are the personal stories:
I was only 17 years old and straight from high school. My boyfriend was 21.
One afternoon he invited me to his house. He wanted to have sex with me, but I was not ready. He tried to penetrate me. I struggled to resist, but he eventually succeeded.
A few weeks later, I got ill. I went to a hospital and was told I was pregnant.
I told my boyfriend, and he said I had to get rid of the pregnancy.
I was scared and afraid to break the hearts of my family. They were preparing to send me to university, so I couldn’t imagine being pregnant.
Finally, my boyfriend took me to an unskilled abortion provider, who carried out a surgical procedure on me at 10 weeks. It was quite painful and was done in a dirty environment. After the procedure, I started bleeding. I was scared that I would bleed to death.
A month later, I became ill, and when I went to the hospital, they did a scan, and I learnt I was 14 weeks pregnant.
Afraid of bleeding to death, I told my parents. As disappointed as they were, they told me to keep the pregnancy. I had a stillbirth at 35 weeks.
Thirteen years later, I still blame myself for what happened to my baby.
Gladys’s story as told by her mother Rebecca Atieno:
I lost my daughter Gladys in 2011. She was 16 and the only daughter I had. I didn’t know that she was pregnant. I was told by one of her friends that she bought drugs over the counter to procure an abortion.
I only found out about it five days later when she started bleeding very heavily. I tried to take her to the hospital, but unfortunately, she died on the way.
She was in Form Two. When she realised she was pregnant, she asked her friends what to do.
Older girls in her school directed her to a local chemist in Mathare, where she would get two tablets.
But she needed Sh5,000 to get the tablets and her boyfriend, a boda boda operator, was willing to pay the money.
She was given the tablets, took one at the chemist and the second at home, two hours later.
About one hour after taking the second tablet, she started having cramps and bleeding.
But she did not tell me until after three days of heavy bleeding.
I rushed her to the local hospital, but she was pronounced dead on arrival.
I was 25 when I first procured an abortion. My boyfriend denied it was his child and left me. I was jobless and already had a seven-year-old daughter to care for. I was already struggling to raise one child, how do I manage a second?
I spoke to a few friends and they advised me to terminate the pregnancy.
A well-known abortionist in Kibera offered to treat me for Sh3,000. He suggested I undergo a surgical procedure as the pregnancy was 20 weeks old.
The elderly woman inserted a plastic tube into my birth canal and told me to sit for several hours on a bucket. I felt something hot from my stomach coming out. Thereafter, she gave me some medicine and I went home.
After bleeding for two weeks, my friends took me to a nearby clinic and I was given an injection that stopped the haemorrhaging.