Lived experiences of child brides in Abim district
Akech, Brenda Faith
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Despite the several attempts by different governments to eliminate child marriage, it still remains a threat to many young girls and boys. There is little documentation on the lived experiences of the child brides and therefore this study seeks to address that gap. This study provides insight into the lived experiences of the child brides in Abim district. The study objectives include, 1) to explore the child brides‟ transitional experiences to motherhood in Abim District. , 2)to describe the nature of support systems experienced by the child brides in Abim District and 3) to describe the challenges experienced by the child brides during marriage in Abim District. The study is based on in-depth interviews with 7 child brides and 2 key informants. It took on a qualitative narrative design. The findings of the study were analyzed using Braun and Clark‟s approach to thematic analysis that consist of six steps that is familiarizing yourself with data, coding the data generating themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes as well as writing up the report. The study findings revealed that child brides experienced painful labor pains, lack of knowledge about pregnancy, unhappiness about pregnancies, unhappy marriages, having children, antenatal care visits, lack of knowledge on how to take care of their children. Besides emerging from the study finding include; domestic violence, poverty, torture, being chased away from home, suicidal thoughts, stress and depression. To overcome the challenges they encountered, the child brides used coping mechanisms such as spirituality, endurance and hard work. The social support these child brides received were from parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, communities as well as from the health workers. The lived experiences of child brides in Abim District can be described as a painful experience as most of them are denied access to education and a bright future since they are made to assume adult duties at a young age and yet they have no knowledge on what they are supposed to do. Therefore, the study recommends that, government of Uganda should re-enroll all those child brides who still want to go back to school so as to be able to attain their dreams. More to this, the RDCs and LCs such as the LC1s of every community should be involved in the act of curbing child marriages in their different districts and communities. Strict orders should be given to them to refrain from taking part in such acts and whichever community practices that, the LC1s must be arrested.