The Shame that Comes With Having A Toddler On Your Arms And A Bump

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I was having a conversation with my tailor recently about why I was looking tired. I joked that it was because I was pregnant. She laughed hysterically and said “Of course you are not serious. Do you remember what the doctor told you after the birth of the last twins? You are playing with triplets! That’s what you are doing.”

She was so concerned about this matter that she proceeded to tell me all sorts of stories about women who had gotten pregnant soon after having one baby, to those who had twins after singletons, when they were merely hoping for one more child. Even though I know she meant well and was merely thinking of my welfare, considering she had witnessed so many phases of my motherhood journey, her own too much abeg! Shebi na me dey carry de belle.

Anyways, it’s not on the radar and while I can considerably control my fertility now, I might have become like one of the moms whose stories I’m about to relate, if not that God is so mindful of me and doesn’t want me to disappear. I don’t think I would have coped very well at all.

So, there was a mom of two sets of twins around my neighbour, she’s moved now, but before that time, we had been hi-hi friends, thanks to our “entourage.” Hers were two sets of same sex twins. So she has boys and girls like I do.

From merely looking at the age gap between the children, it’s so easy to deduce that the older twins were not up to a year before she got pregnant with the second set of twins. And by the time they were less than two years old, her hands were full with four children, who all needed her attention.

o-and-k-apples-1The older twins were known to be very demanding. They had been known to demand that she take them on a stroll with her big bump leading the way.  And they had particular routes that they liked to take. This was a woman, I’m sure, who would have wanted nothing more than to sleep in and rest her body, but there she was on the streets, going on a forced stroll with 18 month old babies and enduring plenty “Pele Iyabeji” (Sorry, mom of twins).

To Titi, who is married to one of my cousins, this is a regular scenario, one in which her husband, my cousin, doesn’t botherto tell us he’s gotten her pregnant again or that he has a new baby.

This might seem judgemental because it is actually is. My baby sister and I saw him a few weeks ago, with his oldest son, at a family gathering, and we both told him, when he tried to greet us, that we were interested in being nice to him. We hadn’t planned it or talked about it before hand. I guess we felt same way.

His 42 years of age didn’t matter at that time. Sometime this year, my mom told me Titi had moved to her husband’s site somewhere on the outskirts of town and while I was digesting that, she told me she just had a baby.

I was like, “She what?”

I was angry at her idiocy (I know it’s none of my business how many children she has, but I couldn’t help it). I was angry with my cousin for not having more sense than to be having babies, as if that was all life was meant for. I was angry with the two of them but I also pitied Titi more. While she lives on the site with five children on her own, her husband stays in town with their oldest son, who schools in town.

I don’t think there was ever a time she wasn’t pregnant. My memories of her were often of either pregnancy or childbirth. And most of her pregnancies were so close together, back to back, without giving herself, her body or even the children, time to recover or enjoy her attention.

In this case, I feel the shame on her behalf, because I personally feel that she isn’t doing herself or her children any favours by getting pregnant that quickly.

Even if she wanted to have 30 children, she can still pace herself and still end up with 30; she’s got time on her hands. And as the older children grow, they will help her and my cousin take care of their siblings.

Well, for Bukky, whom I met a long time ago through my younger sister, the shame is real. Bukky had gotten pregnant from a 41 day action between the sheets with her husband. It was the first time they were having sex after she birthed their first child, only for the mom to discover, weeks later, that she was feeling pregnancy symptoms all over again.

She had complained to the doctor, during one of her visits to the hospital with the baby. He had joked that he hoped she wasn’t pregnant oh. Well, Bukky said that was not possible, as she was yet to see her period and that she was actively breastfeeding.

They ran some tests, including a pregnancy test and in the end, it was discovered that Bukky was pregnant, 8 weeks gone. She nearly fainted. It was a very dejected mom that went home with her baby that day.

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All sorts of thoughts chased through her mind.  How was she going to cope with two children so close in age? How would she tell her husband? What would people say?

Well, the questions came, but it didn’t remove from the reality of her situation.

She tried so hard to camouflage herself during her second pregnancy but pregnancies have a way of announcing themselves. Her mother-in-law asked her to stop breastfeeding and she gladly did, even though it wasn’t good for her baby but then it wasn’t good for her too.

Nine months later, she had another baby on her hands. Her first daughter spent her first birthday as a big sis. She took to dressing the babies in matching clothes and if you called her Iya beji, she answered, which I think she’s entitled too.

While we all have the right to make our decisions regarding our fertility, people like my cousin should pace themselves and give the woman’s body a chance to recover from childbirth and the baby, a chance to grow some muscles.

Just my thoughts!

 

 

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Photo credits:

1. http://i1.mirror.co.uk/

2. http://johnson-mccormick.com/

3. http://i1.wp.com/christinabaglivitinglof.com

 

 

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