If you have been following my writing, you would have gleaned that I was born by a mom with just us, three girls. She pined for a baby boy for a long time, until she had to give up the dream, when nature took its course. While I have never felt a loss because my mom did not have a baby boy, my sisters and I grew up in an environment where boys were revered.
The honest truth is there are people in my family, who still hold the opinion that my mother has no “legs” just because she has us girls only. Not that their opinion matters though. It’s just sad that there are people who hold such thoughts in this age and time. I know someone who upped my mom by one girl. She has four girls and is married to a man with a healthy appetite for anything in skirts.
I must tell you, she is a very beautiful woman, even though she has had two sets of twins, and been married for more than half of her 40 year old life.
This woman, whom I will call Betty, got married quite young to a young man too, who had just finished his military training. He had gone to his home town looking for a wife and Betty, having just finished her secondary school education, was chosen to be the perfect fit for him.
Honest to God, Betty had a bit of crush on the dashing young military officer. The fact that he picked her from the lot of other beautiful damsels in the town, just sweetened the crush and every time she thought about the fact that she was going to Lagos and would be wearing fine clothes whenever she came to her hometown, was enough to make her say yes, even before her parents pressured her too much concerning the man they would want her to marry. What innocuous thinking.
She got married, she got pregnant before she was 20 years old, and had twins!!! That was a first in her husband’s family and they certainly were more important than the fact that they were girls. Her husband took care of her and the girls quite well.
He even went as far as fulfilling his promise to send her to the university. She re-sat her secondary examination while pregnant and this time, she passed the needed subjects for the course she wanted to read. She also sat for her JAMB and passed it but she was very much occupied with her twins. When the results came out, and with the support of her own mother and others who did not understand what she would be doing in school with a set of twins at home, they encouraged her to defer her admission. She did.
Interesting, the same set of people who encouraged her to defer her admission started to badger her with calls to get pregnant. Just imagine, she was young and naïve and the people who should guide her were doing a poor job of it.
Even though, she was not planning on getting pregnant, she did while her twins girls were less than 18 months. That just elongated the Omugwo duties of her mom, who was yet to leave anyways. From the moment his wife discovered they were having twins again and that they were girls again, he changed. He started to keep late nights. His drinking increased, as though he was dousing his inner devil.
He started to chase anything in skirt. It was like he just felt the need to act like the typical military hot head guy and he did a very good job of it. He soon gained a notoriety within their neighbourhood. His ways broke Betty, but she also found the strength to become a better person. She had to grow up faster than she would have wanted.
She was less than 25 years old with four children, and a husband who had literally abandoned home in search of whatever it was he sought. She was, more or less, on her own. Betty said she suffered, having to care for her children on her own. There was only so much reporting him at his commanding unit would do, even if they handed over his pay for a month to her, as his superior officer did once, it did not remove the fact that her husband had abandoned her.
I was surprised and I’m sure you would be too, when the only solution her family offered her to this situation was if she got pregnant again, but this time with a boy. So, for years, Betty juggled trying to get pregnant with going back to school, with taking care of her two sets of twins, all on the meagre income that her husband was dropping at home.
Unlike the last few times when she had been likened to a “pig” (yes, she was likened to swine), because she was getting pregnant anyhow, getting pregnant became a herculean task. She wasn’t getting pregnant. It just was not happening now that she wanted it the most.
Her husband wondered once in a while when he was finally going to get a boy in this sea of females, and then, he would go about his jolly ways. There were times he was attentive enough that she begged him to stop his philandering ways, for the sake of their children, if not her own. She begged him not to bring home dangerous diseases from all of his trysts. But he had gone too far. There was no way he was going to be that ideal husband anymore.
By age 30, Betty was told to praise and bless her God for getting pregnant and having kids early in life as, if she had waited for longer than necessary, she would have been unable to have any children. She had suffered premature ovarian failure.
Even with that diagnosis, she still held onto the hope that she would be able to still have children. Meanwhile, her girls were growing and doing extremely well in school. It was a mini competition between them to see who racked in the most A’s. She was also through with her bachelor’s degree, a testimony of her doggedness. So, at least in some areas of her life, Betty’s life couldn’t better. Expect this one itch that couldn’t be scratched; a baby boy.
At this stage in her life, she has made peace with the fact that she is only going to be a mother of girls, and that’s fine. Not everyone is going to have a baby boy and you know what, that’s fine too. Betty might never have the full attention of her husband, he might be chasing girls young enough to be his daughter, he might even catch a dreaded disease, but she refuses to be put on a high jump to nowhere. She refuses to put her life on hold or feel sub-female, just because she’s yet to have a boy and might never have one.
I tell you, gone are the days, even if some people wish they weren’t, when having girls was as good as not having any child. I recently read of the four sisters who are all lawyers and, even more recent, the wedding of four sisters who were all medical doctors, no less. A child can be whatever, whoever you want it to be, with the right guidance and love. Gone are those days, and they should really stay in the past.
Betty’s twins may not have chosen the medical or law field, but they have chosen fields in which they hope to find fulfilment in life, and do awesome deeds in their own right, and that is not too much to ask for a girl. Or is it?
Food for thought!
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