A friend of mine shared a pregnancy scare story and the thanksgiving that came with finally getting her period. Babies in this economy? Heck no.
But then, the conversation shifted to the irony of it all. Some women want to have babies, economy be damned, but it’s just not happening. I spoke to seven ladies, and they told me about not being able to conceive in a society that attaches a woman’s value to marriage and kids.
“It’s a personal hell”
— Cara*, 28
I’ve been married for two and a half years without a child. I had pregnancy scares with my boyfriend (now husband) before we got married, but now that I actually need it, nothing.
My husband is the only child of his mother, and though she hasn’t said anything, I can interpret the worried looks she gives me any time we visit. We’ve done medical tests, and the results say we’re fine. My husband keeps telling me to ignore it, but isn’t he a man? He can just wake up tomorrow and decide to mess around with someone outside to “test” his fertility.
Then there are the womb watchers whose stares linger when I’m slightly bloated from my period or overeating. I can’t let my worries show because people would pounce on it and start giving me stupid advice. It’s a personal hell. I’m tired, please.
“I feel very alone”
— Ijeoma*, 26
I’ve been trying to conceive since my wedding night three years ago, but so far, it hasn’t worked.
It’s even more painful because I married young, and everyone thought I’d just start popping out babies. Even now, most people think we just aren’t ready for kids. The few people I told about our struggles made me regret saying anything. Why would you tell someone, “But you still have time now”? I feel very alone because most people my age can’t relate to my struggles. People are just starting to be more vocal about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), but even that is still shrouded in secrecy and fear of judgement. I desperately want to form an online community, but I’m scared of my friends and family members finding out about this side of me.
“It feels like a test, and I’m failing”
— Fadeke*, 33
I’ve been trying to conceive for four years, and it’s starting to feel like I’m failing at a test. The pressure from our parents isn’t helping. Every time they call, they end with prayers for a baby. My partner and I have tried almost everything from drug supplements, to an IUI and even “womb massages” (traditional women basically pound your lower stomach like yam, all in the name of rearranging your womb). I couldn’t walk for three days after getting the massage, and my period came five days earlier than expected. At this point, I’m just looking at God. If we raise money for an IVF, we’ll try that. If not, I give up.
“Nigeria isn’t helping matters”
— Christine*, 39
I have a blocked fallopian tube, and my husband has low sperm motility. In other words, we have almost zero chance of conceiving naturally.
I’m fine with it now, but I was a mess when we first got the diagnosis ten years ago. When I saw a pregnant woman on the street, I’d go back home to cry. I once cried when our dog got pregnant and gave birth to five puppies. It was like; even dogs can get pregnant.
I’m better at managing my emotions now, and we’ve been trying to adopt, but Nigeria isn’t helping matters. We’re hoping to adopt a baby, but it’s next to impossible here because orphanages tend to have older children. We’re still trying, though.
“I’m focusing on the positives”
— Dana*, 31
My partner and I have been trying to conceive for two years with no luck. We decided not to get medical intervention because we didn’t want to focus on negative reports. We just keep our faith strong and trust that God will do it at the right time. At least, I can sleep and wake up anytime I like, cook when I want and just spend time with my partner without interruptions. I’m focusing on the positives. Babies will come when God says so.
“I’m just tired”
— Oretha*, 37
I’ve been married for six years, and I’ve not gotten pregnant once. I’m in my 30s, so I know that’s already a risk factor even though my doctor says I’m medically clear.
The problem is my husband. He refuses to get tested because he has a son from his baby mama. According to him, if anything was wrong with him, he wouldn’t have his son.
It’s painful because the societal pressure is on me. People would message with unsolicited advice and invites to prayer sessions. Nobody stops him on the street to say, “I’m praying for you”. It’s just me. I’m honestly considering leaving this marriage.
“It’s a lot”
— Ada*, 29
It’s my fifth year of trying, and frankly, it’s a lot. There are days when you’re happy and filled with hope. Other days, you just cry and cry. My husband tries his best to console me, but he doesn’t fully understand my deep yearning. Without my online infertility support group, I don’t know where I’d be. I tell ladies in similar situations to always look for a community. You can’t walk this road alone.
*Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.