Mazar E Sharif— I’m Laila and I’m 30 years old. I’m married and a housewife. I have nine children and I live in Khorasan. I survived pregnancy nine times, but I lost two babies and now I must not be pregnant again so we use condoms. It’s enough. I’d like to train the children.

During my pregnancies, I had to go for a checkup several times and they gave me an ultrasound and some medicine. There is some difficulty for women during pregnancy and if they are not rich some mothers suffer. We were rich and my husband cared for me when my children were small.

My first child was a boy and then I had a daughter who died. All of my children were born at home except for the last one when I went to the hospital because I was older and weaker.

My husband doesn’t care about the gender of our children and he never asked me about that. Because I have six daughters and three sons, he says that it all depends on dear Allah. I live in a large family with my mother-in-law and my sisters-in-law. Some of my sisters-in-law have children and some do not. All of our children live with us too.

If a husband and wife could choose the number of children, it would be a smaller family. It’s good to have fewer children so they will be trained in the best ways. They can go to school to study and get knowledge and their parents can feed them well and care for their clothing. This is not possible when having lots of children.

I wanted to have fewer children, but I didn’t know how to. It all belongs to Allah. I accepted it. I don’t think that when an Afghan man gets married, he thinks about the future of his family or children regarding feeding and clothing them. I know my brother didn’t think about it. The husband of one of my sisters-in-law doesn’t care about that either. He has many wives and he doesn’t care about one of them so she went back to live with her parents. I think it is better to have only one wife.

By Laila as told to Nilofar