Who’s in charge of deciding number of children?
I went visiting my friend and came across her nephews; three very boisterous boys between the ages of 7 years and 18 months, the boys were flipping, tumbling about the sitting room, hopping in front of the TV and singing along on the Ceebeebee channel. Soon after their dad came by straddling an enthusiastic baby and attempting to calm him. So I asked, ‘this one is your last born…for now?’
I was being cheeky.
He was quick to respond. ‘This is the last born for real. There’s no for now.’
‘Huhh! Who says you have the final say on this matter?’ I asked him. I then turned to his wife, ‘Ehen, so when are you going to try for a girl?’
Her husband was vehement, ‘This is the last born for real, we have agreed.’
She nodded and smiled echoing her husband’s words, ‘This one is the final, the last born for real.’
I smiled the smile of the elder. Issokay, o, na here we dey.
A few years ago, a close male friend came lamenting over how he had ‘agreed’ with his wife to have just three children but his wife had ‘trapped’ him into a fourth child.
‘Haba bros, which kind tory bi dis, na? Biko, how does a wife trap her husband into having a child after three others?’
He went on and on about how he felt trapped, even betrayed, how his wife had stopped taking her pills, how this new born will upset his arrangement…how this and that…
I just smiled and let him continue.
Same conversation took place with another male colleague, who went on a tirade when I congratulated him on the birth of his new born but I teased him, ‘I thought you’ve hung your boots.’
He didn’t even respond to my goodwill, instead went off on how he felt betrayed, his wife whom he had ‘agreed’ with not to have any more children after the first child suddenly decided she wanted another child, ‘a companion for their first. She stopped taking her pills even when her husband would ask before they had sex, ‘Did you remember your pill?’ She would nod and then oga would off trousis…
Then came pregnancy number 2 and oga was mad!
Incidentally, his wife is also a friend of mine. So when I visited bearing gifts, I asked her why she ‘betrayed’ my friend.
She recounted how at first, she claimed the pills failed; she pretended to be upset that she had got pregnant despite being on ‘contraceptive.’ She demonstrated enough drama to convince oga she was unprepared for baby number two. We laughed as she recounted the story.
Then, oga began to suggest an abortion, ‘Let’s try and see a doctor about this, ’ he suggested. Madam told him, ‘…pregnancy is 4 months, I will die if I try anything.’
Lo ba tan!
Madam began to help him see the benefits of having baby number two. She told him it wasn’t a bad idea after all they could afford to have another child as they were both doing well financially and a good thing she hadn’t hit 40 or the baby might be deformed.
Oga, being a smart man himself began to piece things together and realized he’d been had. Madam planned it all!
Unfortunately, madam didn’t take Oga’s plan into consideration. Oga had planned on just one child, a girl, whom he would lavish his love and his income on; he planned to send their child to school abroad and live comfortably upon the girl’s graduation. By his estimate, Oga figured he would be seeing the world on a cruise ship or doing some mundane things he always wanted to do with his own life. Now, thanks to madam, a second child, coming 9 years after the first would ruin his well laid plans, so he was maddddd!
‘He contemplated divorce at some point,’ she told me.
Haba! Over his own child? Abi is this child from another man? I asked.
She showed me the baby, like fada like son ni o – the child, is a spitting image of the man. I told his wife, ‘He will come around…they always do. The child is born anyway, what will he do?’
Here’s the thing, men think very differently from women; when a man says, ‘I don’t want any child,’ he wants to focus and plan with what he has. Women are more emotionally driven; she’s not thinking long term, she wants a child to hold, to fuss over, to nurse and to love for as long as the child remains her child. The man wants to let go of the child so he can live his own life. He has made investment plans for the next 25 years and by that time, most men think they should be done with child matters.
Today, thankfully the two men have stopped their rants over their new born, who by the way have grown to be such lovely creatures and their fathers are loving them like kilode. They have also forgiven their madams.
But really, should women just be ‘agreeing’ to something their hearts do not ‘agree’ to?