Role Reversals: I Couldn’t “Heal” My Husband But I Found Ways To Help Myself


“He was the one with the challenge, yet I suffered the most. I couldn’t eat or sleep well, and my work suffered. Everyone asked me what the problem was with me? What was I supposed to tell them? The truth? Of course not.

So, I told everyone who asked, whether sincerely or not, that, I was fine, just a bit stressed. It was as though I opened up another subject for discussion. “Are you sure it’s stress and not omolaria?” Geeezzz!! Can I at least breathe, without someone coming at me with that pregnancy talk again? I have a lot on my plate.”

You see, I go home, only to meet my solemn, sober, withdrawn, depressed, (I don’t have any more words), husband, who has been that way since the doctor told us he was all semen with no swimmers. I don’t know that man again. I lost my husband in that doctor’s office. Why did the doctor not just tell me alone? I can handle it. I have handled worse.

I’m almost as good as a widow. My husband died on me. I see him, I mean, his body, the shell but the spirit is gone. Gone is the man, who swept me off my feet with his poetic prowess, or the adventurous fellow who could plan a weekend getaway on a Friday and we would still have a great time. Long gone was the fellow who boldly told my Dad he had already legally married me abroad and was just doing the traditional rites for doing’s sake. Such was the crazy man, I married. Yet, I lost him.

I lost him not to a babe hotter than I, or one sugar mama that was using money to ‘spoil’ him silly. I lost him to TTC, of all things. Something lifeless yet so life-sapping…so life giving. I have tried to reach my man, that man I know is somewhere in that man that still sits on the couch when I get home, channel surfing listlessly, before going for a smoke and sometimes, he would even include a shot or two of alcohol.

Hmm, I have sat down with him and he has stared through me, more times than not, that I knew he wasn’t here. I have badgered the body of my husband to go see a doctor. He went and came back the same way. I have called his mother to talk to him. He stirred, I got a glimpse of my Akanni, and then the light went out again. His mother couldn’t reach him, I can’t reach him, and the doctors cannot reach him. Who can reach him?

His work suffered, his side hustle has since packed up and he couldn’t be bothered. No even when the landlord came knocking for his house rent, was he stirred. He just told him we would pay next week. When I tried to talk to him about it, he blanked me out. The next week came and I had to cough out the rent; my husband had no idea he had promised the landlord next week, nor did he make any plans to pay the rent.

That was the beginning of my ordeal. I had gone from wanting a baby to dealing with an over grown baby in the form of my depressed husband, who has refused to deal with life, since his diagnosis of zero sperm count, forget motility or morphology. Ko need, there is no sperm to do all that analysis on.

You see, when we got married, we had wanted to go straight ahead and have children. We were both over 30, and for as long as I could remember, my mom had moaned about her inability to have more children than my brother and I. All through my twenties, she had screamed blue murder that I was following all these oyinbo boys, who had no idea about a woman’s biological clock.

Jaiye was my first African boyfriend, and I ended up marrying him, Mom must have been praying really hard… because the kind of welcome she gave him was on another level. Anyways, we got married and got right to trying for a baby.  

One month, two months, three months and I knew something was wrong. What was, I had no idea, so I suggested we went to the doctors. I was the first to be put through the wringer. I had to undergo preliminary tests, went for appointments to review the results, which showed one of my fallopian tubes was partially blocked and a significant amount of water was in my Pouch of Douglas. Nothing too serious I was told. And the search light turned to my husband, who was told to come in to drop some sample.

Sample dropped, a week later we went back together, as it was the day we were going to take a decision on what step to take next. Thank God, we went together, because sometimes, I think Jaiye might have wandered off, after hearing what the doctor had to say.

He was no longer listening to all that talk of IVF plus ICSI or sperm donor, if that fails. When he saw me stood up, he stood up and we left, without him having said a word. I asked the questions, I prompted him and he just stared, as though what we were talking about had nothing to do with him.

black-woman-smiling-e1335533188258Anyways, it’s been two years. We never tried the IVF plus ICSI and I’m not going to do it with the shell of a man that’s with me right now. I wish I could but I can’t heal him. I wish the few times we have sex would result in a pregnancy, but no such luck for now, but I have found ways to stop looking scattered and engendering poke-nosing questions. I will share with you.


  • I stopped comparing myself to others.


Especially the couples, who got married after me and they are already a three-person family, like my sister and my second cousin. I can’t keep doing that to myself. I don’t want to get into a depression like my husband. There is only room for one person to be depressed in my life. Only one!


  • I’m learning to accept my husband’s depression and not ‘force’ him out of it.


You see, it took me a long time to accept that my macho husband was depressed, because the doctors said, he couldn’t impregnate a woman. Agreed, we wanted kids and I had tried to force him out of his shock, by pushing this IVF agenda but the more I pushed, the more he withdrew.

So, now, I have stopped. I will only encourage treatment for his depression and let God do the rest.


  • Now is all I’m promised:


Too much stressing about what tomorrow would bring has gotten me nowhere, so I’m focusing on the here and now. Tomorrow shall take care of itself.”

That was Wonuola, an actively, yet not active TTC mom, who is dealing with a depressed husband.

May the lines fall unto us all in pleasant places.




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