Top Secret!!!!!!

In 1996, there was an extended ASUU strike that led to a mass exodus from a lot of Nigerian universities. When the strike was called off, we resumed to half empty classes and hostels. For those of us for whom schooling abroad wasn’€t an option, we pretty much just settled down to life as usual. Some of the leftover students were still making attempts to leave, and I had heard rumours that a friend of mine was planning to travel as well. Nobody had seen her all semester, and a few of us finally ran into her at the Faculty. After exchanging pleasantries, we asked her if it was true. “€Ah, me ke? No oh! Where will my Father see that kind of money??”€ she responded, laughing hysterically. €I’m graduating with you guys oh!”€ Ronke travelled to the UK that very night.

That was the first time I experienced anything like that. I was soooo upset by the deception, and gave our mutual friend an earful! Did she think we were going to jazz her or something??! My friend, who did not take it personal at all, tried to explain to me that it was normal for people to keep such information to themselves.

Fast forward a few years later, when I had cause to travel frequently, first for school, and then work related. I was always so irritated by my Mom’€s constant reminders to keep my travel information on the down low. So often would I roll my eyes at how paranoid Nigerians could be!

As the years progressed, I encountered it again in small measures, but it didn’€t bother me much, especially as it was usually from distant acquaintances. This was until I ran into a good friend at a bridal shower, and happily inquired about her new husband (I had been her bridesmaid only a few months before). “Kunle is fine oh! He’€s at home”€. Imagine my shock when I later found out that Kunle was, in fact, abroad in Grad school, and his wife had gone to join him a few days after the bridal shower. I was so disgusted! Why lie??

Then I got married, and started this wonderful baby journey. One of my closest, longtime friends (our friendship dated back to our Primary school days), was also trying for a baby. She and her husband had relocated to the States, but we chatted on instant messenger every single day, giving each other comfort. She had a very late miscarriage at some point, which was devastating, but she soon got back on the TTC wagon. You can imagine my shock when she called me on the phone one evening to tell me she had had a baby boy that day. It felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I congratulated her but then proceeded to cut her off, complaining to anyone who cared to listen about how betrayed I was by her deceit.

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It wasn’€™t until my first IVF cycle failed that I understood why she had done this, and why most people are driven to being secretive. FEAR! And not fear of being jazzed, fear of disappointment, and the subsequent fear of having to face the people they have shared their happy news with.

Last week, I talked about how the heartbreak from the failure of my first IVF cycle was reignited every time I had to face any of the many people I told we were cycling, because it meant having to face the questions, the concern, the sadness all over again. For my 2nd cycle, I just couldn’t deal with that. So I found myself becoming a secret agent myself! After my embryo transfer, I took it upon myself to hide away in the clinic for a few days, on self-imposed bed rest. I told some people I was away on a course, some I told I was travelling, and for the rest…well, their calls went unanswered. Then we got our positive result! We shared the news only with close family, and a few of our close friends. For me, that was a BIG DEAL, because anyone who knows me can testify that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have no poker face whatsoever, and everyone typically knows what’€™s going on with me. I have absolutely no grey area. But not so, this time, not so.

At the 11 week mark, my bump became prominent, so there was no more hiding…well, that was for those that were able to see me. For the rest, I all but dropped off the face of the earth. Prior to my pregnancy, I was Madam Facebook, with status updates probably every hour, and picture uploads at least weekly. All that changed when I got pregnant. I’€m not sure I even replied wall posts. And on BBM, only pre-pregnancy display pictures were allowed. Once, I put up a picture of my fingers, to show off a nail design I’€d just gotten, but quickly pulled it down when a friend, who knew I was pregnant, said my fingers were beginning to look puffy. And the fact that I was having twins was even more classified information! I can count, probably on one hand, everyone who knew I was having twins. I remember eventually, but grudgingly, allowing my friends incorporate the twin theme into my baby shower. In fact, if my brother was not so quick to upload, on Facebook, a picture of me with the twins the very day I gave birth (and proceeded to tag me, to make matters worse), my Facebook family might have found out about the twins maybe on their 1st birthday…lol!

What was I afraid of? Having to face people with bad news…period! I wasn’€t afraid of anybody “€winching me”€. I wasn’€t afraid of any “€bad belle people”€ or “€haters”€. I wasn’€t scared of anybody stealing my babies from my womb. I just knew that, at any point in time, the circle of information would have to remain small enough for me to manage, in the event of anything going wrong.

A few months after I had my children, I picked up my phone to call my friend in the States, and we tearfully reconciled. And it was just as I had thought. After her first miscarriage at 22 weeks (a pregnancy she told me about pretty much as soon as she had peed on the stick), when she got pregnant again, she and her husband agreed they would not tell anyone at all. They only informed immediate family when they hit the 9-month mark. And I was one of the first people she called the day she had the baby…but yet, I chose to act like an insensitive brat. I was so ashamed of myself.

Since then, I have learnt not to take things like this personal. Everyone is entitled to privacy, in whatever mode or method they choose to express it. I got a call some days ago from a stranger, who was given my phone number by a mutual friend’€s husband, to help plan a surprise baby shower for this mutual friend. Funny thing is I didn’€t even know she was pregnant!!! A few days after the call, it was this mutual friend’s birthday and I sent her greetings on BBM. She thanked me, but still didn’€™t mention anything about the pregnancy. But rather than get upset, I have proceeded to actively plan the shower with the girl who called me, and hopefully the Mommy-to-be will have a wonderful time on the day.

The morale of the story is that we need to understand everyone’€™s situation before jumping into conclusions. And we also need to accept that we are not on a need-to-know basis with everyone. Accept whatever anyone decides to share, and accept that they have the right to keep some things to themselves.

And for my dear secret agents, ekushe oh! It’€s not easy at all, on the contrary it is extremely energy consuming! But you must absolutely not allow yourself to be bullied or forced to share information before you are ready to. You must only share WHAT and WHEN you want to. Never mind if anybody chooses to take offence. Hopefully, the people who really matter will understand, and be there for you when you are ready to share.

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Comments

  1. ahunnaya

    Totally on point with this article and I deeply related with u on this. I truly appreciate ur sense of reasoning,maturity and frankness in discussing issues. May God strenghten u n embellish u with even greater wisdom n understanding.

  2. Osa

    I completely agree with this point ” Accept whatever anyone decides to share, and accept that they have the right to keep some things to themselves”
    I am too open, i tell everyone anything ‘cos for me it frees up my mind/heart and makes it easy. I have learnt to understand that not everyone is like me, whilst having my miscarriage it was then i learnt lots of others around me had in the past. Now i’m planning IVF, i found out some had or are planning also. So it seems most talk when you talk, some keep their ish to themselves but yea we need not judge because we do not react similarly to situations, also our backgrounds differ. However, i do not tolerate such blatant lies like being in the hospital and lying when i call then calling me a week later for a baby naming. Baby dust to us all!!!!

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      Gosh, that naming ceremony one is just the worst. But people will always be secretive and rather than give ourselves high bp, it’s best to just accept them like that. Like you, I also used to be very open…but I am learning slowly :haha:

  3. Profile photo of Funny Girl
    Funny Girl

    Just last week I was so angry at a close friend who I usually call regularly to pray with for conception not knowing my darling friend was pregnant all the while.

    She just called to say “join me thank God, I have given birth”. I was so numb cos like 3 weeks back, I had done my regular call with her where I prayed for her to concieve and she was shouting Amen Amen.

    I can’t do that. Nahhh, I can’t even phantom that. I am an open book, I talk alottttt.

    I am hurt, reading your article is making it easier but abeg make I vex small.

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      My dear! It is always painful, but I have found that the best remedy is to just move on…because if we dwell on the pain, betrayal and annoyance ehn…we won’t even have energy for our own TTC sef. Na them sabi!

  4. Chidimma

    I love your article cos it reflects my personal experience, I have vowed to keep my issues to myself until they become fruitful, my mouth is zipped.

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      My dear Chidinma! I don’t blame you at all. Experience is really the best teacher. Wishing you loads of success hun!

      :hug:

  5. Naa Kaay

    After my stillbirth drama, I chose to keep my ish to myself. Which was all good because after that, I found out I was pregnant with our rainbow baby. I didn’t say a word to anyone, not even my mum. When I miscarried at 9 weeks, I was happy I hadn’t told anyone cos I had the luxury of experiencing a private loss unlike my very public loss the first time. I found out that it was easier to heal without having to explain to anyone what you just went through

  6. Profile photo of Naa Kaay
    Naa Kaay

    After my stillbirth, I decided to keep my next pregnancy to myself which was all good because a few weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone not even my mom. I had a miscarriage at 9 weeks and i was happy I had a private loss this time round unlike my very public loss the first time. For me, I found that it healing was a whole lot easier when I don’t have to explain to anyone what happened

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      You are so correct, Naa Kaaay! It is much easier to handle the grief in private. I’m so sorry about your recent loss hun. I pray God blesses you with your forever babies soon :hug:

  7. Profile photo of MrsD
    MrsD

    I agree with this issue of not sharing much. I ddnt even tell my family bout my 1st IVF and it was easier for DH and i to heal in private after it failed. I intend not to tell anyone when I get my BRP too except my mom.

  8. Profile photo of princess
    princess

    Very true talk….I can recall a lot of this happening among my friends..but the most painful was one of my friends who was more like a prayer patter cos we were both ttc…imagine my shock when like some 4 months later I saw her in church with a bump….I was soon stunned. ..of course I was happy for her but ma dear I had a good cry in the car….not sure if it was cos I hoped to be the pregnant one or cos I wasn’t told but I think d’s is common amongst we nija babe’s. ..well wat ever the case I had to learn to respect pple…wat ever their choice is is fine by me…Make heart ache no go kill me.

  9. Dedei

    I amexperiencing the same thing after experiencing 4 miscarriages, I have not told any one abt my pregnancy. No one except my husband and even tho I am 20 weeks with an obvious bump,I don’t confirm when I asked abt my pregnancy I just smile and evade the question. As for my family I am avoiding them like a plague.I miss my mom so much but it is a Lil sacrifice for my bundle of joy

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      My dear Dedei, sometimes it’s necessary oh. And after 4 miscarriages, you have every right hun. Praying for a smooth and safe delivery for you hun. At the right time, everyone will rejoice with you :hugs:

  10. Eby

    My dear Nicole, I won’t blame anyone for keeping tins to dem self becos d world we are is full of wicked ones, I’ve realized that abt 80% of women who opened up always end up miscarrying, me too after 2 miscarriages I and DH of recent decided that if God blesses us again we will keep it away from everyone including our parents, becos pregnancy dosent hide wen d time comes it will speak for itself. Make we no wetin dey do us wea e from cos our bundle of joy is worth d sacrifice, and women ttc always want to announce the good news.

    1. Profile photo of Nicole
      Nicole Post author

      You’re so correct hun. A lot of times, it’s just better to keep mum!

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