Molatelo Mainetjie is the filmmaker behind the doccie which reveals how she juggles rural and city life after finding out she’s infertile.
Molatelo tells DRUM that the aim of When Babies Don’t Come is to empower women who can’t conceive naturally and to get women in black communities to speak out and put the spotlight on this topic.
This is her story.
"In 2006 I found out I can never have babies naturally and the only way I could do it was through IVF. I immediately started the process of IVF that same year. It failed the first time and I decided to give it another try in 2007 and again it failed. I lost myself through the process because all I could think of was the positive aspects. My dreams came down crashing when I was told I could not have children.
In 1999, in varsity, I had an ectopic pregnancy. When I went to the hospital the doctors did all they could to save my life by cutting off my tube and removing the blockage, but they didn’t explain to me that once one tube is blocked there’s a 50% chance the other is blocked too. So from 1999 to 2006 I had a blocked tube and I did not know. By the time I was ready to start a family, the other tube was just as good as not being there. If I understood my condition better, I could have checked if everything was fine with my tube but I did not know.
I’m the firstborn of four daughters, who are all mothers, and one brother. At home when you become a mother, you don’t get referred to by your name but you’re called so-and-so’s mother. I was the firstborn and today I still get called by my name. This is a consist reminder that I could not have babies. My family had suggested I go the traditional way but I know what’s going on inside me. I don’t have both my Fallopian tubes so the sperm will never meet the egg.
People would always ask me, “Why don’t you go to TB Joshua” or “Why don’t you go to [Prophet] Bushiri?” I can go there and strip myself naked but nothing is going to happen. My faith is as weak as that. People spend lots of money on fertility treatment because medical-aid schemes don’t cover for that. On my first treatment in 2006 I spent about R25 000 and in 2007 I spent about R36 000. For my third try lats year it was estimated that the cost would be between R130 000 to R140 000. My husband and I couldn’t do the third treatment because it was just too expensive.
I just hope people will realise it’s important to get educated about things like ectopic pregnancy and not only pregnancy prevention because as we become more educated about those things, we will be able to prevent infertility."
When Babies Don’t Come is currently screening in Maboneng, Joburg at The Bioscope.
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