I have been married to my husband for the past 27 years and right from the start, I knew I couldn’t have children.
But you see I never told my husband that I knew I could never have children and I will tell you why.
I got married very late; I was almost 35 years when I got married to my husband. why did I wait so late?
Who waits late to get married? I didn’t wait, I just didn’t find the right person at that time, and again, I had had two long term relationships that failed so by the time my husband came along, I was well, getting old.
Ok, I said I had two failed relationships that lasted years before they crumbled at different times. The first one lasted five years; I met him in school and we dated throughout university. Everyone thought we would get married and we thought we would be married but after school, NYSC, the mother said she thought we were just playing with one another and she wouldn’t give her blessings to a marriage between us, that’s how we split…it was painful…more so because I had had two abortions for that boy then…hmmn.
The second one, we were headed for the altar, but he died suddenly; he died in his sleep. So that was the reason I was unable to get married for a long time; you don’t get over things like that in a hurry.
So back to what I was saying about my husband; I told you I had had two previous abortions for the guy I was dating at school; one was really bad and that was when I knew I couldn’t have children. I was told at that time that my womb had been damaged because the med student that performed it had to call another colleague of his and…it wasn’t a pleasant experience…I can’t blame anyone for this; I went to meet them at the lab by myself, nobody forced me to; I went with my boyfriend and well, it failed. So, there I was. I was young and I am paying for my foolishness.
When I met my current husband; he was already married with four children. Well as I told you I was no spring chicken; so I didn’t feel any guilt because, he was married, a Muslim, had four children and me coming into the marriage, I had nothing to lose, neither did my husband.
Why did I not tell him?
Well, I was advised by my mother then not to tell him; she told me I shouldn’t say anything about my inability to have kids. So, I never mentioned it.
The only part I feel bad was the part where he went with me to several hospitals did several tests and I still came up empty. The tests were for me because as you know he already had four kids from his first wife. I was the one with the problem and to be honest, for a long time, I went through all of the medical tests because I believed that maybe, just maybe, I would find a miracle; I would find a doctor who would be able to fix me.
So when you asked me why I never told him, I realised it was because, at the back of my mind, I wanted to believe that maybe the diagnosis of damaged womb was a mis-diagnosis, that somehow, maybe over the years, my womb had healed and I could have babies…you know, you always hope for a miracle, a cure, some bit of good news.
I was almost 35 years old too…age wasn’t on my side and yet, I hoped…
Today, the children I have are those of my co-wives…life was very unpleasant for a long time; my husband was my only companion in the house…gradually, after all his children had grown, two of them became my friends, they treat me like a mother, though their mothers still remain…you know, a co-wives, we still have our fights, jealousies…you know.
Our husband married two other women after me and they all have children for him but I am the only wife who shares his apartment; is that favouritism? I don’t know…
Why did I tell my story?
Well, I was in a mood for telling stories.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)