From Pain to Purpose


There was a quote I came across some time ago, along the lines of, there is a lesson to be learnt from every situation that makes you cry, that frustrates you. Until you learn the reason behind it, you will remain unhappy or frustrated. But once you do, you are as free as a bird and learnt a valuable lesson for your life… perhaps even for other people.

Tanimowo, a 45 year old TTC mom was who it took to bring that quote to mind in recent times. What had been a source of shame and regret to her and her family is the same thing, every time she stands or kneels to pray, makes her pour adulation on God, to thank him for seeing her through it all and making her a source of inspiration to others.

She had gotten pregnant right out of secondary school. Oh, what shame that had been! Her father had insisted that since she had gone ahead to not only keep boyfriends, but also get pregnant, while he was thinking of how her life was going to be better, then she was ready to bear the consequences.

Tanimowo became an emergency bride not long after she discovered her pregnancy, and few months later, she became a mom. It was a tough time for her. She liked her baby daddy, but marrying him was not on the cards. In fact, the whole set up was not how she had imagined her life was going to turn out, but that was her new reality.

The situation of two teenagers having a baby led to so many fights between them, and even the boy’s parents. They were just not prepared for parenthood. Tanimowo’s mom supported her as much as she could, but there was only so much she could do for her daughter and grandson, who were living with the parents of the boy who had impregnated her.

That arrangement lasted only until their baby was two years old. Tanimowo said she practically had to run home to beg her father to let her come home. The only thing that changed his mind was the fact that she was being physically abused. That he could not condone from a man whom he hadn’t even officially given his daughter to. He made a huge case out of the business, got the police involved and it took a lot of pleading for him not to go to court.

After coming back home, Tanimowo started to pick up the pieces of her life. She sat for  University entrance examination and passed. She went to school, did very well and graduated at the top of her class.

Unfortunately, it looked like she had a type that she usually fell for, because she fell for a man who was quite like her baby daddy, only she did not realise it at first.  David was a great guy, who did not mind that she already had a kid, even though he had never been married himself, nor had a child anywhere.

The only thing in her favour this time around was that she was not in a hurry to get married. She had time and did not want to make the same mistake twice. Six months into their relationship, David started to show his true colours. He enjoyed hurting her. He would insult her nonchalantly. He made it obvious that he did not care about her feelings.  But Tanimowo still hung on in the hope that he would change. However, the day, he slapped her was when her reset button was pushed and she sent him packing.

Several years later, she got married to her first real husband. He was nothing like the other two guys she had shared her life with. Theirs was a mature relationship. They dealt well with each other.

However, five years and endless cycles later, they were yet to have kids. That was a sore point and led to the demise of their marriage. Tanimowo said she felt like a failure. It was obvious there was something wrong with her in the relationship department, that it just never worked out.

From that time, she had solely faced her grown son and career, which was going fantastically. From being a teacher in a school, she went on to become the head teacher and being ambitious, she went to have a private school of her own with a decent reputation in her neighbourhood.


And that was when the purpose of all that she went through started to show. She found that women were drawn to her. They wanted to be mentored by her. Friends sent their daughters to her. Parents came to tell her their story and, interestingly, there was always something from her experience which she could use to comfort them.

The one that broke her and led to articulation of the purpose behind her pain, was a when a total stranger walked into her office on a Monday morning and broke into tears. She had been sent by a friend’s friend with a note,  that said, “She needs to talk to you.”

This was a woman who had been battling endometrioisis for 12 years and was on the verge of being kicked out of her matrimonial home. There was nothing she hadn’t done. She had gone from the orthodox doctor’s office to the hut of the herbalist, to church, to the Alfa’s place.  She had eaten all sorts of concoctions that different concerned neighbours, friends, mother-in-law, her mom, colleagues had brought to her.

In the process, she had been diagnosed with more conditions than any woman could possibly have, yet, she had no babies. The pain just grew worse as the years went by.  

The final offer of the doctors had been hysterectomy. A verdict she dare not mention to a man, who was already calling her a she-man. Removing her womb would only confirm the fact that, indeed, she was no good…at least to him.

As she narrated her story, it took all within Tanimowo not to cry out in pain. She had been through that trial; she had been called a he-woman, a woman who had swapped her ability to have kids with that of making wealth. Yes, it had gone that far.

After her visitor had been able to comport herself enough, they set to work, trying to find a solution. All approaches, from adoption to surrogacy, did not work with her husband. He wanted his wife pregnant and if she couldn’t be, then it was all over after more than a decade.

Unfortunately, the marriage packed up, but from that experience, the two women, bth survivors, joined arms and set up a telephone support system for TTC women. While not advising women to let go of their marriages, as that was what most women felt when they saw it was two divorcees that spearheaded the program, they got the job done.

They provided a listening ear for other women to pour their heartache to, and it is absolutely pleasing that Tanimowo and her second-in-command could turn their pain to purpose that affected the lives of other people.

If you are ever going through a hard time, ask yourself what you are supposed to learn from it. If you can’t find the answers immediately, it will surely come to you in time.

In the meantime, keep holding on.





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