I still have no idea why this lady told her family’s story publicly and she didn’t even bother to hide her name, when I asked her. Perhaps it was because infertility was the general topic being discussed at that forum, or because she wanted to offload, possibly never having the chance to tell her story and get over the stigma of being a child of rape. I really can’t say, but I got a good story that I can’t but share with you.
Ejiro is a 32 year old woman and the only child of her mother, who is now in her 60s. And this is actually her mother’s story and the history of her conception.
For the purpose of this article, I will call her mom, Onome. Onome was one of the most beautiful girls in her home town, back then. She was the toast of many guys but she had eyes for only one guy, Felix. They were an item, but their relationship was not acceptable to their parents, who were at logger heads over a parcel of land.
Oftentimes, her mother would warn her off Felix but they always found a way to see each other. Their love waxed strong in the midst of opposition to it, until something happened that changed the course of their love journey for a long time.
Onome was raped and she did not tell anyone, because she felt ashamed and thought it was her fault. The issue of her rape might not have come to light if she hadn’t gotten pregnant. She started showing symptoms of early pregnancy and her eagle-eyed mom pounced on her and demanded to know who was responsible for her pregnancy.
She confessed both the crime against her person and the identity of the young man who had done it. Without much ado, Onome was married off to the man who had raped her and gotten her pregnant. It was the “acceptable” thing to do. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotions and thoughts that would have gone through Onome at that time.
Truth be told, Ejiro noted that her mother came to love the man she married. Catering to his needs and building a loving atmosphere at home. Unfortunately, they never had any more children. Onome never even got pregnant once. Every year on their annual visit to their hometown, she would come back loaded with herbs and local concoctions that supposedly boosted her fertility but it did not work. Her husband got his fair share of the concoctions but nothing happened.
It was a source of wonder that for them, a violent sexual act led to a pregnancy but now that they could do it legally and with each other’s consent, a baby wasn’t happening. Some family members wondered if it was not spiritually orchestrated and a repercussion of what had happened in the past, and they diligently asked Onome if she had forgiven her husband his offence of raping her?
Of course, she said she had and indeed, she no longer held it against him, she wanted another baby too, maybe more than he did. It was a frustrating time for them.
However, with time, they directed all their attention to their daughter, Ejiro, giving her the best they could. There were times she even toyed with accepting the fact that Ejiro was going to be her only child, but the longing for another baby was still there.
While she was going through all these, the news started to filter in that her husband had gotten a young lady in their village pregnant. She did not believe it. He couldn’t possibly hurt her deeply twice in one lifetime.
It was true and her in-laws confirmed it with their presence in her home a few weekends later, when they came with her “new” wife, who was indeed rocking a bump, which must have been close to six months of pregnancy.
Right there and then, Onome made it known that they were done. She left after having spent two decades of her life with her husband. Ejiro was in school, so she did not know about the whole drama until weeks later. But upon leaving school, her mother took her to their hometown, where she spent her first long break and got explained to, the movie starring her father, his new wife and the other waka pass actors.
It was during this time in the village that Onome crossed path with Felix; her first love and the duo fell hard in love once more. It was like,\ over 20 years hadn’t been spent separated, as though they hadn’t married other people and left them. It was so tender and loving.
These two middle-aged love birds picked up their love story, right where they left off. They got married right in the face of the same people who had been against their relationship decades past. There was nothing they could do now, except accept the inevitable.
Onome was in her forties, when she got married for the second time, but she got pregnant, less than six months into her new marriage. Something that had not happened in 20 years, it happened in six months. Everyone who knew marvelled. They wondered if, perhaps, she and her former husband hadn’t been meant to be together. The question that prompted was then, how come they had Ejiro?
Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and two subsequent pregnancies ended in losses too. In her grief, all sorts of thoughts went through her mind. From how her ex-husband wasted her productive years, only to find himself a juicy young lady to carry his baby, to if she had tried earlier, with the right person, she might have been able to carry to term. The thoughts came but the deed was done.
How she blamed her ex for her infertility! She would wake up at night and be filled with so much anger at her ex but she was healed by the love of the good man she had by her side. He never pressured her; they both had kids; he had three and although it would have been nice to have a child together, he was simply grateful to be united with the love of his life, for the rest of his life.
According to Ejiro, the middle aged love birds are the epitome of true love till date.
And that is enough consolation. They might never have the kind of connection that a baby brings but they do get a chance at love for the rest of their lives. Not many people get that.
I have often heard about this scenario, where a couple might not be able to have babies together, but with other people, they are able to have kids. Even though, there are scientific reasons why that might happen, like Rhesus factor, where a woman’s immune system sees an embryo as a foreign body, and thus gets in defensive mood and destroys the baby. There is still a lot to be learnt about why such scenario happens. Until then, we can only pray for the best.
Godspeed and may God illuminate our paths.
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