For as long as I have known Anike, she has had a protruding tummy. She has always been full figured and well endowed, but her tummy could never be hidden. It has just always showed. Then, as an unmarried lady, she had worried about how her post pregnancy body was going to be.
Luckily, or unluckily, for her, when she was ready to start that business, she realised she was one of those ladies whose bump does not grow separate from her body, like mine, announcing its separate presence. Instead, the weight seem to dwell mostly in her boobs, hips and her nose. Her nose was so huge, it dominated her face. No amount of contouring could solve that particular problem.
When she gave birth, every part that had previously enlarged its coast went back to near normal…except for her tummy, which simply refused to go back down. It was an extension of her that she did not want, but there it was.
Some people, who had not known she had given birth, were still calling her Iya beji, and the ones who were privy to the fact she had given birth, wondered, if she was still expecting another. But it was all her new look, her new mom body.
On the other hand, Denise is battling with fibroids that are taking up space in her uterus. When she had her first child, while the fibroids were still small, it was discovered that the fibroids were growing just as the baby in her womb was growing. It was a life threatening situation, where Denise was asked to prepare to lose her baby, or her life, at some point in the pregnancy.
With prayers and the right treatment plan for her, she gave birth, but the grown fibroids made sure she still looked pregnant. Even when she had given birth, she never lost the bulge. It is the fibroid, yet Denise is afraid to have a myomectomy, out of fear. She says she hasn’t finished child bearing, but the point she had missed was that, with the growth of the fibroid, it was unlikely that she would be able to conceive, never mind that the baby might be choked out of nutrients and its life’s force, given the position of the fibroids in her womb.
So, she carries her bump around, and people keep calling her Iya beji. At first, she told them she wasn’t pregnant, but no one believed her. “So wetin you come dey carry up and down?” some close to her have asked, but she usually gives no response.
As for those who like to touch a pregnancy bump, telling them she wasn’t pregnant was the fastest way to get them to leave her alone.
And for my cousin, Alaba, who has been trying to conceive, since before I got married, she had a bump, that even my untrained eye could see was not normal. At times, she would look as though she was about to give birth and at other times, she would look as though she was just six months pregnant. But pregnant, she did look.
And then the different concoctions started. Everyone who knew a cure brought theirs; some soaked in water, some in the local gin, some for insertion, some for specific days in her cycle. In fact, she was one of the people who brought a cure for my mom, when she was battling her own fibroid. But as I write this piece, she is yet to have a child, which is a worrying subject matter for her aging mom, and even her siblings, most of whom, have stopped childbearing, while she’s staring 40 in the face, without a child of her own. This situation has made her to stop attending family functions, and I can’t say I blame her. My family has a first class degree in asking intrusive questions. And they are really just asking out of love, but they don’t know when to stop.
Last time I saw her was November, two years ago, and she was still carrying that bump around, the fibroid taking up precious baby space. Let’s not even talk about her period. That was is in a class of its own back then. She would look pale and ill, when menstruating. Thank God, she was on the big side, otherwise, she might have disappeared.
So, for people like me, who are so eager to welcome people to the twin mom’s club, not every bump is a baby bump. Some are just the aftermath of a baby bump, others as a result of large fibroids, and sometimes, madam just get big belly. So before you call “Iya beji” or worse, try to pat a bump, not knowing what’s occupying space beneath, ask.
On asking a woman if she’s pregnant, I found this hilarious meme. It showed women at different stages of pregnancy, from the peekaboo bump, to the you-can’t-hide-me-anymore bump, to the post-partum bump, and under each image, the question was asked, “when, can you ask her, if she’s pregnant?” The answer was always no. It concluded that, there was no appropriate time to ask a woman with a bump, if she’s pregnant ever.
Instead, pray for her, if you can.
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