I really don’t know why I’m writing about abortion again but I guess it’s because there is a lesson to be learnt that and also the article from last week got some unexpected reaction, from an unexpected quarter, that I didn’t see coming at all.
It came from a man, whose ex-girlfriend “got rid of the baby” they had made, because they weren’t ready to become parent just then. The feelings he expressed range from deep grief: “If you have similar experience, please tell me how to get over this guilty feeling.” Worsened by the fact that he had kept things pretty bottled up (abortion is not an east subject to talk about). “For me it caused to cry ‘inside’ hysterically. I couldn’t let it out. I had to be a ‘man’.”
That should give up an idea of the torment, this man, I will call Akin had gone through over an act that had happened close to two decades ago. One I must add, he said, he doesn’t regret in itself but he definitely regret the high level of irresponsibility that led him and his then girlfriend down that road.
Akin had just started work when he met his then ex-girlfriend, Nkem; she was the life of any gathering, because everyone literally was drawn to her. She had this aura of a natural leader about her, so people paid attention to her; they did what she said, even though she wasn’t a management staff. Even the management knew, she had influence, so, she was like a link man, in the organisation. You want something done, then Nkem was the girl to get it done.
Her methods were not browbeating or forcing you to do her bidding at all. She would get you to do what she wanted, making you feel, it was your idea right from the start.
It was that image of a powerful, go-getter woman that appealed to Akin and when he asked her out, she accepted, because she had feelings for him too. There was nothing regular about their relationship; it was hot from the get-go. Strong emotions were attached to the whole process and there was just no hiding that they were both in love with each other.
Five months down the line, Nkem found out she was pregnant and when she told Akin, she said it as though it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to abort the baby. That was shocking, as Akin had expected they would do things completely differently, like do the conventional stuff; get married. They were both working, they could afford a baby. He could get a job elsewhere; he would get a bigger apartment etc.
None of this was working for Nkem. For her, they were not compatible; they argued a lot, too much sef. And this wasn’t the time to have a baby, according to her timelines. That was the beginning of the end of their relationship.
Nkem went ahead to meet a doctor; schedule an abortion without telling him. He knew a few days to the date, but he was told to pretend, he didn’t know. The days leading up the abortion were filled with lots of nerves. He wanted to storm Nkem’s house and tell everyone, her flatmates, her parents, that they were expecting a baby and she was planning on terminating it.
He thought about going on his knees to plead with her to forget and give them and their baby a second chance. Perhaps, she knew that was going to happen, she became inaccessible to him. He got scan images of embryos at the same week as the baby in Nkem’s tummy and that only increased his torture. He could relate to that baby but not the woman carrying the baby.
On the day of the abortion, he had felt morose, listless and unable to function properly. In the end, he had pleaded a headache and left work early for a pub close to his house, where he lost himself in alcohol. It was his younger brother, who lived with him, who found him there, later in the night and took him home.
Not even this inebriated state dulled the pain, as he cried and cried for his lost baby, for his lost relationship with Nkem, for not being loving enough that she would consider abortion, rather than be tied to him in the most intimate way possible: baby.
That same week, Akin resigned from work, even when he hadn’t gotten another job. He just couldn’t bear the sight of Nkem, knowing what she had done. In as much as he felt a failure, felt he had failed Nkem, he couldn’t help but think that she didn’t do enough. So, his emotions were all muddled up.
For years, Akin did not date and when he dated, he refused to have sex. He just wasn’t prepared emotionally to find out the outcome.
Akin is now married with three kids but the first time, he had held his first child, he had cried. The memories of the child, who would have been his first child, came to him. That was the foundation of the bond that still exists between him and his first child. In fact, he admits to being over-protective of his kids. More like, someone was going to take them from him. This is only an aftermath of his past relationship.
When I asked about his ex, it had taken a while to get a response but I did. Nkem is now married with children of her own too. That is a blessing indeed.
Akin’s hesitance in telling me about the current state of his ex tells me, there are lots of unaddressed emotions. Hopefully, by sharing his experience, he gets to find some relief; forgives himself and Nkem.
Abortion on its own is a very sensitive issue and when you consider the fact that men’s emotions are rarely addressed, you have a fireball of emotions left unattended to, So the more men, who talk about their experiences, the better their health and the society at large.
Food for thought!
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