Kabul— I am Zarghona. I am 28 and I have been married for eight years. I work at home because I have six children. Here in Afghanistan having children is not something a woman decides. Whatever men want is what happens. If my husband wants it, I will surely have more children.

Most men usually want more than six children, but it will be whatever the man wishes. If in a family where there is only one wife and the man desires to have six children, then you can just imagine if there is more than one wife, then for sure there will be more children—maybe twelve, but sometimes up to twenty children.

In Afghanistan men don’t think about the future, they just want as many children as possible. They don’t worry about how the children live or whether they are healthy or not. I don’t know why this is.

I have no good experiences to tell about my pregnancies. I have faced many problems. Because our house is far from the city, I cannot visit doctors very often. When we are pregnant we don’t have the ability to pay to go to private clinics or hospitals.

In the hospital, only if a patient pays money to the doctors will they take care of you. You can lie there for one or two weeks and no one will care for you. Anyway it is better to die at home than go to a public hospital. The doctors treat you like orphans from the desert. They don’t care about you, even if you die right there.

By Zarghona as told to Arezoo