The fear of shame is the beginning of wisdom.

Igbo mothers love The Bogeyman. That’s a reason why a lot of Igbo folklore has to do with actions and consequences, mostly of people who have disobeyed their mothers with dire results. For the longest time, the shame of pregnancy was the major one. Many an Igbo girl crossed her legs for fear of rubbing poti (Putty; figuratively, shame) on her family’s face. It was all very Victorian.

Then HIV came along … and that was the end of the pregnancy lecture.

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