A friend of mine came to visit me recently, and I found myself repeating “You are not being punished. You are not being punished”. Back then in school, Tola* was like your regular female student; she studied well, she went to church and she partied once in a while. In our second year, her boyfriend got her pregnant, and she was distraught. The day she came back to the hostel with her lab results, we were just as perplexed as she was. As a Christian, I couldn’t advise her to abort the baby, but I also couldn’t advise her to keep it because her parents were Knights in the Catholic Church, and she was an only daughter. Her boyfriend sef was going to be in trouble because Tola had three older brothers who could kill for her. In the end, we advised her to open up to her Mom, and we promised to support her in whatever decision she made. She agreed and packed her bags the next weekend, telling us that she was going home to put her mother in the know. Only for Tola to return to school a week later, looking like a washed version of herself. Her boyfriend had convinced her not to go home, and he had taken her for vacuum suction, somewhere around Alagomeji, and she stayed at his friendâs place until she was strong enough to come back to school.
It was an emotional night for us as she tearfully told us how painful the abortion was, and made us all promise to never abort a baby. She said she nearly died on that table and she lost too much blood. Her life flashed before her eyes and she realized that opening up to her parents would have been a better solution for her. Definitely, they would be disappointed, but they sure weren’t going to kill her. Even if her parents were going to ask her to abort the baby (which was very unlikely), at least they would take her to a good hospital and not the quack that Bolaji* carried her to. I learnt firsthand from my friend’s experience that abortion was a total NO, and we all got selfish in our relationships from then on, realizing that it was us girls that were to bear the consequences of premarital sex. Tola never got over that experience, and she broke up with Bolaji soon afterwards. She lost herself in her books and in church activities, almost like she was trying to make up for what she did. Definitely, God must have forgiven her, but Tola had a harder time forgiving herself.
Months before we graduated, she met this nice Christian young man that she liked and she got married two weeks to our convocation. Before she accepted his proposal, she opened up to him about the procedure she did, and the guilt that she still lived with. Just like the rest of us, he encouraged her to move past it and believe in the mercies of God. So they got married and had been trying to conceive for four years. She told me that when they went for investigative tests, the Ob/Gyn discovered that her endometrial lining was thin. Now, the endometrial lining contains glands and is meant for implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall, and if it isnât thick enough, it is impossible for a fertilized egg to implant on the wall. The average thickness of the cavity is 8mm and this increases during pregnancy. Tola’s endometrium was thinner than 8mm.
Further investigations showed that Tola had acquired a chronic bacteria infection during her vacuum suction, which led to inflammation and subsequent scarring of the endometrial lining. Now, Tola had come to my place a day after this diagnosis and she was torn. She kept saying God was punishing her for aborting all those years ago, and in my heart, I knew that God doesn’t work like that. I tried to explain to Tola just how merciful God is, and begged her to let go of the past; everyone else had let go except her. I was finally able to convince her that she isn’t being punished and that God would make her a mom someday soon. She just had to forgive herself and face the future. Tola’s biggest gift is her husband. He was such a huge support system for her, and I thank God for him. With his support, she began treatment for her thin endometrium.
She was placed on estrogen therapy, which helped stimulate the division of the cells in the endometrium. Along with the estrogen therapy, she was also given G colony stimulating factor (CSF) which is a growth hormone that helps the thickness of the endometrial lining. My girl was also on vitamin supplements, and asked to do frequent exercises that would aid blood circulation in her abdomen. Soon after the treatment, I got an excited call from Tola announcing her big news! She and her darling husband are expecting! I couldnât be happier for her! I asked her if she now believed that she wasnât being punished and she said “Yes oh, my sins are washed in His blood”.
A lot of times when women suffer infertility, they try to rationalise it, and give reasons why they deserve to be ‘punished’; for a child they aborted, for someoneâs heart they broke, for being rebels while growing up, etc. While playing the pity party and dwelling in grief, the medical condition is eating away. No one deserves infertility, no matter what you have been told. It is a challenge and it would pass…it is not a punishment.
Food for thought!
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here