The extra pressure they feel, Weli
said, is a product of Somali society's tendency to measure women's worth by their ability to bear children.
"In our community," Weli
explained, "there is an expectation that pregnancy will happen right away after marriage.
If it doesn't, all eyes are on the new wife.
Family and friends ask questions: 'What is the matter with you?
Why are you not getting pregnant?' " These questions reflect a societal attitude that views motherhood as the only proper fulfillment of womanhood, Weli
said, which propels many women who can't conceive into a cycle of shame, isolation and depression.
"And because both infertility and mental illness are taboo topics in Somali culture," Weli
said, "these women won't talk or get help.
There's no way out for them."
Ms. Weli served as moderator for the roundtable, and also welcomed several Somali women to share their insights with the audience.
The Isuroon Project was founded last November to provide support and education for Somali women contending with infertility, emotional distress and other health concerns.
"The response so far has been amazing," Ms. Weli
told the crowd assembled for the roundtable.
"The Somali Community is embracing the idea that infertility shouldn't be taboo and that women should be loved and valued with or without children.
"We also know that we still have challenges," Ms. Weli
said, "because acknowledging the issue and changing behavior are two different things.
is reaching out to Somali women who have struggled with infertility.
Leave a comment
, 40, kicked off her
efforts to educate the Somali community about infertility at an event in November.
Somali TV's report includes the opening speech from Isuroon's founder, Fartun Weli - a courageous account of struggling with infertility.
Listen to Fartun's dream for Somali women, and our entire community, by clicking the link!