Endometriosis forced me into an early marriage – Orode’s story

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I was doing some catching up with my elder sister, when she mentioned in passing that one of her friends, who had gotten married way before any of them thought about marriage, had gotten divorced.
I was like “Iro o!!! (tell me, it’s not true)!!!”

She had been married for almost 12 years…how come she got divorced??!”

Honestly, I was just so surprised at the news. I could not wrap my head around the fact that this big sis, whom for the purpose of this article I will call Orode, had divorced her husband, after three children. While I would have wanted to talk with her, we are not buddies, and the reason she married early was because she was at serious risk of being unable to have kids, if she waited. My sister narrated how the whole journey that unfortunately ended in a divorce started…and here is the full gist.

My sister recalled that in their secondary school days, Orode was one of the girls who, when they were on their period, the whole school knew. She suffered very painful menstruation, and heavy flow. She could always bet that someone would tap her from behind to tell her she was stained, on at least one of the days of her menstruation, which could come any time.

So she took to always tying a cardigan around her waist every school day, whether the weather was cold or not…she just did. The school was not receptive to the idea at first, but they soon allowed her. One would think that having such a condition would keep her down, but no! Of all her friends, Orode was the most athletic one. She would participate in all the school sports, and even won laurels for the school in some inter-school competitions.

However, one day, after resuming from mid-term break, Orode was unusually quiet. She was withdrawn, and was practically melting into the shadows in her attempt at pulling a disappearing act. All her friends were worried, my sister inclusive and they waylaid her on the road back to their hostel on the third day after resumption. That was when she broke down and told them a doctor had advised her parents to let her get married as soon as possible.

 

All the ladies back then were in their teens…SS2 students. Orode was just 15 years old! She told them that during the break, her parents had taken her to a doctor because of her painful and heavy menstrual flow, and after a battery of tests, it was discovered that she had endometriosis, and that if they wanted her to have babies in her lifetime, then she needed to get married early, and start the baby making business as soon as possible.

It was a sobering moment for all of the then teenage girls. Here they were, trying to face their studies, testing their relationships with the opposite sex, and all of a sudden, Orode was at risk of marrying just anybody, simply because she experienced heavy menstruation. The name for the condition was inconsequential then.

Orode did not get married in secondary school, but every time she came back from school, her parents, her mother especially, would take her round the homes of her friends, some of whom had sons she considered very eligible bachelors. They were husband-shopping. She felt like a piece of material meant for sale.

At a time, when she refused to go on all these visits as she was tired of being showcased and thrown in front of young men, her mother had broken down. She had cried and asked Orode if she felt that she, her mother, liked parading her own daughter like that? Did she think she was doing it because she did not care about her? “No.” her mom screamed in pain, “I’m doing it because I want you too to become a mother, to have a child suckle your breast, like you did mine. I’m doing this, so you can have your own child.”

By this time, Orode was crying too, so they had a really long pity party, going back and forth about how she came to have endometriosis, and why all the treatment she had been undergoing had not helped her condition. They talked about the vexing issue of her marrying as soon as possible, and how it was not a wise, but necessary decision. Eventually, they came to an agreement. Her mother would stop with the match-making attempts and she, Orode, would take active interest in seeking a suitable mate.
But then, what would a teenager know about marriage and settling down with one man, when she had not even had her first official boyfriend. She finished secondary school and got admission into the university the same year, which was a good thing. And that was when she actively started searching.

Obviously, the boys on campus were not ready to settle down, so, she switched lanes and started rolling with the aristo class, and that was how she met the man she married, who is now her ex husband. He was way older than her 20 years of age when they met, but he was very kind to her, and very understanding of her irregular menstrual cycle; the days she could not go out, because Aunt Flo had taken over her life, or the countless hospital visits for when she needed medication for her anemia.

The only thing that was an issue was he lived mostly abroad, and was a divorcee. Even her parents had an issue with that fact, but in the end, after graduating from the university, and she was still dating him, their wedding preparations started as soon as he proposed. My sister was one of the aso ebi ladies and had some input in the planning of the wedding. Her first impression was that the man was so old, but that he treated her friend well.

Well, that nice treatment did not last the first month of their wedding, as he travelled out of the country two weeks after their wedding, leaving her alone with a driver and house-help for company. How was she going to get that baby?

He came back three months later, and God being faithful, she actually got pregnant and gave birth to their first child…and that was how, gradually, they started to build their family. When she got pregnant the second time, she needed some help to ensure the that pregnancy stayed in place, as she was bleeding for most of the first two trimesters. So, she was on bed rest from the beginning till the end. Her mother pulled double duty during that period, seeing to her own home, and caring for her pregnant daughter and grandchild.
But the time the third child was born, who was a boy, it was pretty much obvious that Orode and her husband were just tolerating each other. There she was, still a very young woman, while he was aging faster, with a lot of mid life crisis and trust issues to add to the tension.

However, neither wanted to leave. Orode did not want to be accused of using him and dumping him, and he did not want another divorce on his bio. In the end, Orode was the one who made the move, when he went on yet another one of his long trips abroad.
She knew in her heart that she would not have married him, if endometriosis had not been a major factor in her life. She knew she would have married someone else, if she had more time on her hands, and they had understood the fact that her period was on another scale entirely.

But here she was, regrouping and moving on with her life, alongside the kids she got, in spite of endometriosis. Now, no one dares talk about settling down again to her. She is done and has closed that chapter of her life.
I just wish her all the best in life, and her story just offers hope for other Endo ladies out there, your babies are closer than you think.

:dust:   to you all!

 

 

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Photo credits:

1. https://.pinimg.com/

2. https://theghanaianboy.files.wordpress.com/

3. http://d236bkdxj385sg.cloudfront.net/

 

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