When I sent my daughter out of the house, I didn’t do it because I wanted to wicked her or because I am a bad mother.
I did it out of frustration. I know my daughter is quite wayward, ha, I know her well, she is my daughter; but sending her away from the house after she told me she was pregnant was just the best way I could cope with the situation at that time.
I had her, her name is Gladys, for another man 19 years ago. She was not even the product of a relationship; she was the product of rape! Yes. I was raped by a boy, who was my age mate at that time, his name is Sunny. He was a family friend. That time, I still lived in the village with my people. Sunny, I believe is still live, I heard he is a drunk, walking all over the village like a fool!
How did it happen? I really don’t like thinking about it, not to even talk about it because I was just 19 years then. But like I said, Sunny was a family friend to us; my parents knew his people. I was coming from the farm one day when he just waylaid me. I wasn’t afraid of him, at first, when he said he had been thinking of having sex with me. I just thought he was being foolish like many boys in our village at that time. They would just walk up to you and start talking nonsense. I told him to get out of my way but he just seized my wrapper and tore it off! Before I could even say, are you mad, he had slammed me on the ground.
I fought him but you see i could not really fight him…he raped me, there!
I couldn’t tell anybody what happened. I was just crying because, who would even believe me? Who would believe I was a virgin? I was planning to marry one brother in our church at that time. When I eventually told him what happened to me, he told me he couldn’t marry me because God told him he must marry a virgin. So, what could I do?
I was sent to live with my old aunty in town and that is where I gave birth to Gladys.
My aunty was the one who took care of us until I met my current husband, about 6 years after I gave birth to Gladys. That was how I followed Musa, my husband to Lagos. He married me and we have three children.
Why did I not take Gladys?
My sister, after I left my aunty, I was always checking on Gladys as she was growing, it’s not as if I completely neglected her like that. We told Gladys that my aunty is her mother and that I am her sister, so my aunty was the one who brought her up but my aunty was very old even at the time I went to live with her and so she wasnt quite firm with Gladys. She let her do whatever she liked, that is why Gladys became wayward as she grew older. There was no one to be firm with her and I couldn’t keep her because I didn’t have a job for a long time after I came to Lagos with my husband. We lived in a one room, face me I face you. And when I got pregnant, even that one room became very tight. So how would I have brought Gladys inside that place?
We had our three children in that one room until just two years ago when we moved to a room and parlour. At that time, I was working as a cook at one of the secondary schools around Yaba. From the little money I was making, I was able to add to my husband’s own and we were able to rent a room and parlor but even that was not enough space with children that are growing.
We were planning to save money so that we could move to two rooms but like I said, it has been difficult, especially when you have children, with school fees and hungry mouths to feed and clothe. And it was at that time that I found out my family planning method had failed me.
So, tell me, if you were in my shoes at that time and your daughter came with pregnancy, what would you have done?
I couldn’t keep her in my house, at all!
Why did Gladys come? Because my aunty sent her out of the house when she discovered Gladys was pregnant even she said she was raped!
Do I believe her? I don’t know what to believe my sister, I don’t know. I know I had her from rape, I know she is very wayward because my aunty told me she goes out with so many friends but I also know that a girl can be raped after all, I was raped at exactly her age!
I sent her out of my house because, I was also pregnant! I told you my family planning method failed me. I was already three months pregnant when I found out. So how could I have allowed Gladys live with me? Me, her mother was pregnant, she was pregnant, so we would both have children at the same time?
I just couldn’t deal with it, that was why I sent her out, I just couldn’t handle it!
Well yes, she gave birth to a baby girl and I lost my pregnancy along the line. So I have taken the child and I will train her. As for Gladys, well, she is living with a man she says will marry her, I wish her well; I wish I could do something to help her.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)