It takes strong will, discipline,and fear of the Lord, for a woman to watch her husband’s ‘other’ woman give birth to children, without wishing them dead, or praying for some kind of misfortune to befall them.
My grandmother once told me the story of a woman who found it difficult having children-this happened a long time ago, during my grandmother’s era. Nneoma was the first wife of her husband, but after five years of marriage, and there was still no fruit, her mother-in-law wasted no time in bringing the other woman, Ego, and as though fate wanted to laugh her in the face, Ego gave birth to about five children in quick succession.
Nneoma was quickly pushed to a corner, as she was no longer regarded, even during women meetings where she was supposed to rightly take the first seat as the senior wife of her husband, she was being moved to second place because of her inability to have children. Her husband shared, as it was the custom, plots of land between his wives for farming, and Nneoma received the smallest portion, and when she asked her husband why, his reply was that she had no one to farm with, besides she had no children.
Nneoma became a shadow of herself, becoming a recluse and refusing to relate with anyone as it was hard to see anyone who would start a decent conversation with her, without bringing up stories of their children.
One day, her husband’s second wife, Ego, did something grave and wicked that their husband saw no other option but to send her home. Back in the day, the customs of some Igbo lands was that if a man’s wife did something wrong, maybe to the family or the community at large, her husband sent her home to chill with her people for some years before coming back. This, they said, was to help set her head in place because while in her father’s house, the insults she’d receive from her brother’s wives, and people in general, to return to her husband’s place would humble her a little.
So, Ego returned to her parent’s home without her children, leaving them in the care of the first wife, Nneoma. As soon as Ego left the compound, it seemed as though Nneoma’s husband’s love came pouring back and soon they began living like they used to before Ego ever came into their home. Something miraculous also happened, as Nneoma gave birth to her first son, and her daughter, while Ego was still in exile. That was when the ideas began forming in her head, she looked at the vast lands her husband had, and the property, and knew that by tradition, they belonged to Ego’s sons. She hated the idea, besides, she was the first wife, and her son was supposed to be the head of the compound, she thought.
Mysteriously, Ego’s children began to fall sick and die, one after the other, till the last child dropped dead. No one knew what happened to bring such calamity to Nneoma’s husband’s household and when Ego heard of her children’s unfortunate death, she couldn’t stomach it, and depression killed her.
Finally, Nneoma had what she always wanted, her home, her children and her husband without the intervention of the ‘other woman’. She was happy.
Her joy was short lived because no sooner had Ego’s children died than her children followed suit. Call it the law of Karma. In the end, no one survived in that family, and the family’s lands have been shared amongst kinsmen.
Let’s bring this story to the present and relate it to a modern day woman whose husband has children from another woman while she has none. Then, maybe, one day the mother of children leaves for reasons best known to her, and these innocent children are left with the woman who’s still TTC. A lot of women would think, ‘Even if I take care of them, they are not my own’ but a few would see them as harmless souls and do well by them.
For women TTC, fighting temptationis the biggest part of their journey, as, most times,they are faced with decisions that they must make, regardless of whether their husbands have no children outside or whether they do.
The most important thing to remember is that as we walk through life and hold steadfastly to God. He will never abandon us, and even though the roof of the house seems to cave in, he’s there to rescue us at the nick of time.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here