Before, every time I talked or wrote about my two pregnancies, it was always with an undertone of shame. I never felt proud that I got pregnant, the two times I did. I was not looking to get pregnant. Yes, I was in a relationship, but we were not looking to start a family, at least not right away.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when I found out, late 2007, that I was pregnant. Shame nearly killed me. My bulging stomach was my own scarlet letter of shame; I had done the deed and here was proof. I wished that the ground would open up and swallow me, from the sight of the questioning stares. More so, I was still in school and had two more years to go, as long there were no shut-downs due to regular strikes.
A baby was not on my radar at all, but then I discovered that I was carrying twins. I think the day I got that scan report was the happiest day of my life. It was the day my heart gladdened at the news that I was pregnant. Even my babies then felt the change, because they were extra active that day, which meant a long night for me. But then, my husband and I did not feel like sleeping that night. We had become a foursome, and that was an awesome feeling that we wanted to savour.
From that day, I embraced my pregnancy. My shame disappeared. I flaunted my bump more, if that was possible. I had become ultimately happy to be pregnant.
But the shame and self loathing returned again when I discovered that I was pregnant in September of 2011. I had gone to the hospital like twice in a month, had been treated for malaria but I was still feeling weird. I was never ill the first pregnancy, so I did not know that I was pregnant. I did not think about doing a pregnancy test. I just couldnât possibly be pregnant. Don’t ask me if I have not been doing my bedroom duties o!
But when the scan showed that I was carrying twins again, I broke down and cried, right there in the scan center. I cried at my foolishness and procrastination in choosing a contraception method. I felt incapable of dealing with another set of twins; I was barely coping as it were with the first set.
You see, I had a whole brochure on family planning methods, detailing what each method entailed, what the advantages and disadvantages were, and other information. I had determined the one that I would like, but my husband would not agree to it. So, I was in limbo. I did not want to do it behind his back. So, I waited and suffered the monthly anxiety of waiting for my period to show up. This life is quite ironic, how much I wanted to see Aunt Flo back then like my life depended on it.
And then, we found out we were pregnant. I was not really nice to DH for most of that pregnancy. I felt like it was his fault that I had not chosen any family planning. I had just started a small job that I was doing, pending when National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) letters would arrive, and then babies? I had plans mehn!
Also, I would have preferred that the older twins were five years old before trying again, but I suppose I should be thankful, they were four years old by the time the younger twins arrived the scene. So, I thanked God for small mercies.
But, you know what? I did not start any family planning until they were over a year old. Albeit the fact I was breastfeeding, but I was also menstruating and ovulating, which means anything could have happened. But nothing did.
An older mom was not so lucky; she got pregnant six weeks after giving birth to her first daughter. It was a pregnancy she did not even know how to tell the man responsible for it. It happened the first time, they had sex after the baby’s birth and it led to a pregnancy.
Eventually, she told her husband, when she was about two months gone. It was such a shock to her, as she was not menstruating and was actively breastfeeding. Besides sex at that time was not enjoyable for her, because of the tear she had suffered while birthing her daughter.
She found out herself, when she took her daughter to the clinic for routine immunization and mentioned in passing some symptoms she was having and added that her daughter preferred bottle feeding to suckling her breasts.
The nurse suggested that she went for a pregnancy test. She did and got a BFP. She felt overwhelmed. There she was having her first baby in her mid 30s and then getting pregnant right away. Who would have thought she was such a fertile babe. That a “mere touch” would have gotten her pregnant
It took a while for her to tell anyone, apart from her immediate family, that she was pregnant again. In fact, when her bump started to show, the stares and open mouths she got from people almost killed her. She wanted to die of shame, but she definitely was not about to do anything to her darling baby. So, she bore it all and bore it well.
In the end, she gave birth to the second baby when the older girl was almost a year old, and both girls could almost pass for twins, given the resemblance between them.
But you know what; the other woman in this story and I would not have felt as much shame, if we knew that people were not going to judge us based on how we could just get pregnant without thinking, and planning, for the child (ren) to come.
I say different strokes for different folks! If a woman decides to plan her child bearing, and all factors work in her favour, thatâs great! But if, like me, you had two unplanned pregnancies and still want better in life, it might be wise to try some family planning. And you quickly learn to roll with the punches of life and coming out tops, because you can never fail.
Whatever, the circumstance of the unplanned pregnancy comes; it should always be seen it as a blessing in disguise.
Because that is what it is; a blessing!
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