I was still a teenager when my mom told me about one “bad” mom (that was the impression she gave me) who took her daughter, who is my namesake, to a doctor, to abort a late term pregnancy.
I know now that my namesake must have been induced for her to have the baby, because my mom said, the baby was given birth to alive and then was “silenced” by the doctor. I doubt if I would ever forget that story because, till date, that story still colours my relationship with that mom and her daughter.
And yes, the story was confirmed several times over the years and that wasn’t even a first one, but she had intended to keep that one, but her mother’s fear of her husband was enough for her to try a third term termination.
Kemi is married now with children, much to every one’s surprise, while her oldest sister, who is a dedicated Muslim sister, waited for several years before having one child and, as I write, has had no other child.
Abortion is one controversial issue and I doubt if the controversy surrounding it will end anytime soon, but the only reason it is controversial, as far as I am concerned, is because it involves life and there will always be people who would frown heavily at any attempt to cut short a growing life, and those who believe a woman should have freedom of choice over her reproductive life.
In our clime, our cultural and societal stance is often against abortion. People who undergo abortions are vilified, painted heartless or black hearted females. So, it is often a hush-hush affair. It’s one of the reasons quack clinics thrive. And many lives have been lost as a result. Most ladies who have undergone the procedure, never ever talk about it, for fear of repercussions and someone telling them, “I told you so” should they ever suffer a delay in having children.
Well, the moms in this article have been through it, kept quiet for years about it, and were pleasantly surprised and shocked in some ways by the reaction that followed them breaking the silence around their abortion experience.
One of the moms is 42 year old Oyinkansola, who is mom to three children now, a teenager and two tweens. But before all these babies came along, she got pregnant when she was 20, for the same man she ended up marrying.
When she did not see her period for the first month, she thought it was one of those months but when morning sickness stepped in, she knew she had a life growing inside her. Her first point of call was her boyfriend, who was just 24 years old then. He had panicked and, instead, asked her what she wanted to do. Quite ironic, when she had gone to him to seek solution.
The two of them went round a few friends of theirs and were able to find someone who knew a doctor who could do perform a D&C, as she called it.
With her heart in her mouth, praying and asking God to keep her through the experience, and promising to stay chaste until she got married, Oyinkansola at that moment was ready to do anything and everything to come out of that procedure alive and with her body intact.
She did and today lives to tell the story. Her mother, who is now late, never got to hear her confess to undergoing a D&C, her elder sisters who did wondered how they could have missed both the pregnancy symptoms and then the after effects of the abortion. They have since termed Oyinkansola the queen of stealth, but as it happens, one of them has gone through the procedure too, again the other sisters had no idea.
You can say, they are a secretive bunch.
When Oyinkansola first shared her story, it wasn’t to her sisters, but with secondary school aged girls, who needed to hear all the sides of the story about abortion and not just the side talks that they had been bombarded with.
Mimi, for her part, took a more dramatic route. She went all out public with her story. But she wanted to share her full story without hiding anything. She simply wanted to be rid of the shame that had plagued her life for years.
As she tried to conceive for years, she carried the burden around, and felt a need to spill the beans, when her miracle baby finally happened. She did not withhold anything.
Mimi was an undergraduate in a teaching college, when she discovered that this guy whom she just started dating, had scored a goal. She had been falling ill, feeling sluggish and whatnot. She had been to the school clinic twice. The second time, the doctor recommended a pregnancy test, which turned out positive. That was the beginning of her nightmare. Right there in the doctor’s office, she knew she was done for and then the doctor started to hint that, he could help her to get rid of it.
Walking out like a zombie, she had found her way to her “new” boyfriend’s hostel. She called him out and broke the news to him and the first sentence out of his mouth was, “Do you want to ruin my life? You can’t have this baby!”
From that moment, Mimi knew the ball was firmly in her court, so she went back to the doctor and opened up to him. The abortion was done, but there were issues, which she only discovered months and then some years later. Weeks after the procedure, she was still bleeding, and then she was booked in for another evacuation as there were still pieces of the foetus left in her.
Years later, when she started TTC, it was discovered her uterus had been perforated from the procedure several years earlier.
As an older bride, Mimi had wanted to start trying for a baby right off the bat, but she waited for seven years, treating all sorts of fertility issues. At one point, the focus moved from her to her husband, whose sperm quality kept dipping, in spite of the treatments he was on.
Mimi’s story ended in praise. She had her son through a surrogate, using her eggs and her husband’s sperm.
It was the arrival of this baby that caused the public testimony. She withheld no detail, she didn’t think of how it would affect some people’s sensitivity and, of course, they were many like that, who felt her waiting for a baby was her punishment for terminating a pregnancy years back. They also did not hesitate to condemn the manner in which she became a mom.
On the other hand, there were supportive people who used the opportunity to share their own abridged stories.
The reality is having had an abortion, or several abortions for that matter, doesn’t mean one would automatically TTC. No, not necessarily. There are virgins who are still waiting for the fruit of the womb, as well as “experts” at abortion, who have dozens of children, when they were settled. There are also women who have had abortions, who are TTC. No one single rule applies.
While I stand firmly against abortion at any stage during pregnancy, I also stand against the silence that surrounds this procedure. You probably know someone who has undergone it. You probably know a young lady, a married woman, who is considering it. What makes the difference is how we react.
Do we rave and rant about the evils of abortion and do nothing, or open up discussion about this prevalent procedure, making it easier for girls and women to want to keep their babies and indeed help them as much as possible?
The first step to doing that is to stop being judgemental. While we might not agree with the reasons (even I don’t think there is enough good reason to terminate any pregnancy), there is no reason to make others feel bad about their choices. Whatever it is you can do to make their lives easier is welcome. Condemn them? No.
Plenty food for thought, I hope.
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