(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)
The reason I left my wife and our new baby is because I suspect she bought the child! That’s why I walked away.
How? Oya, let me start from the beginning.
My wife and I had been married for 7 years and we had no issues, I mean, no child. We are both educated as you are aware. I am a lab technician and she is a teacher. We don’t earn too much but maybe because we didn’t have children early in marriage, we lived well, we even have a car.
So this is what happened.
I wasn’t worried after we didn’t have children in the first few years. I know children are God’s gifts, so I told my wife to be patient. When the time comes, we would have children of our own. Fortunately for us, we both love children, so I believed that our love for them would bring them to us.
After about three years into the marriage and still no child, my wife began to run from pillar to post, looking for a child, from pastor to imam to sisters that gave holy water.
You know, for me, it was what I was just telling myself, women are like that, they like to panic. Whenever she went to these places, she would come home to recount what had been told to her: do this, do that, eat this, wake up at so and so time and pray facing the sun, don’t do that, don’t eat palm oil, don’t eat meat…you know, each of these people she went to meet, always had something to tell her. And since she never dared to tell me to follow her or eat those things, or drink those so called holy water, I didn’t bother much. I knew that when God wanted us to have kids, we both would especially as we had been medically certified fit to have children.
Wait o, let me also add that in all of these years, it was not as if my wife never got pregnant, o. She did on about five or more occasions but the fetus never stayed, it was always miscarriage after miscarriage. So that’s what mostly happened. It’s not as if she was never pregnant.
Then she met this sister from Akwa Ibom; I don’t really know whether the sister was a reverend sister or maybe they just called her ‘sister’.
This sister was practically controlling us in the house. As in, she was the one who told my wife when to sleep, when I could sleep with her, when she should eat, to the point of telling her when she would go to work.
See, as a husband, I tried to support my wife in all of these child seeking ventures, after all, the child she was seeking was also going to be my child, right? But with this sister, it was different. The woman, I mean the sister told my wife that that on certain days, we were to totally abstain from sex.
I said, “Who abstains from sex when he or she is looking for a child?”
Then she would ask us to send money to one account, for her to buy so and so to prepare things to help my wife’s womb to hold a baby.
We were regularly paying money to her account for one need or the other.
See, it sounds like I am a stupid man, enhn?
I am not, if you are desperate for something, you will do foolish things.
Then one day, my wife brought home one concoction in a plastic keg, she said ‘sister’ said we should both be drinking. I refused of course but my wife so much believed in this ‘sister’ that after many pleas, I finally gave in.
I began to drink the so called secret water with her. It was a tasteless liquid and remember, I am a lab technician, I own my own lab. I was at first reluctant to drink it but when I found that it was tasteless and mostly made of coconut water, some spices…nothing I should be worried about and for the sake of my wife, I drank it with her…even though she was the one who needed to get pregnant.
Then one day, my wife announced she had taken in; she came back from one of her usual visits to ‘sister’ and said, ‘sister’ told her she was pregnant but we were never to go do a scan or blood test to find out if she was truly pregnant.
I said, ezi okwu . I own a lab; though I don’t own an ultra sound scan, I have senior colleagues who will let me check for free, besides, how much is ultra sound scan? More so, I can even do blood tests for her so we can be certain.
But my wife refused, she said if we disobeyed the ‘sister’, we would lose the baby.
Tell me, how can that happen?
But you see, we had succumbed to so many weird things by this ‘sister’ that, I said, ok. No worries, we will wait and see; it won’t pass 9 months, now, right? What is 9 months to people who have been waiting for more than 6 years and counting?
So my wife would go to ‘sister’ like twice every week for antenatal but I never went with her to antenatal. I was told to keep away.
A few months later, truly, my wife’s stomach began to bulge!
So you see, we had been pregnant several times before but she never carried the pregnancies to term, so I was still afraid that maybe this one too would be something like that…
But the relief I got was seeing her stomach was swelling and she would even tell me she felt the baby kick…you know that sort of thing?
Well, a few weeks before the calculated delivery date, ‘sister’ said my wife would not deliver the baby in a hospital but she must travel to Akwa Ibom to have the baby.
I said, “what is that?” Remember I said, we had done several other strange things requested by this ‘sister’ and at the prospect of finally having my own child, I said, “ok, go.”
So my wife left for Akwa Ibom…no she flew there, she didn’t go by road.
When she got there, she wasn’t even told the address of the place but when she got to the airport, someone was there from ‘sister’ to receive her and take her to the place she was to stay for delivery, after a few days, nothing happened.
I was in constant touch with her on the phone.
My wife stayed there for six days, then they gave her something to drink; she said they wanted to induce labour that the baby was delaying…
How will a baby we don’t know the due date delay?
You get me?
Anyway, after she drank that thing, she said she fell asleep; that she became unconscious and by the time she woke up, there was a bay bedside her!
Just like that?
I asked her, “did they perform operation on you?” She said no.
“How did they ‘help’ you deliver?” I mean, I didn’t understand this thing o. She told me I should be happy we have a girl. Yes, the baby is a girl.
Ok. We thank God o.
Then she came home after two weeks of delivery…
What can I say? I was a happy man but my mind was giving me no rest.
A woman who has just given birth will be lactating, she would feel pain in her abdomen…you know, when a child leaves the womb…my wife was not lactating and she didn’t feel any soreness in her stomach, no surgery marks to show maybe the baby came through CS.
When I pointed out these things, it was always met with quarrel. Serious quarrels and tears and accusations of me wanting to go and marry another woman.
I asked her, “My darling, don’t I want a child too? I do. But so many things aren’t adding up.”
Does my wife know that this baby may not be ours?
How can you give birth and not even lactate if indeed you had been pregnant?
I tried to study the baby, people say she looks like me, I don’t see it; my spirit rejects the baby because I don’t truly believe she is mine. When my request for the truth was always met with anger and fight and complete shutdown from the ‘Sister.’ I packed my kaya and left the house.
Yes, I want a child but that baby isn’t mine and I will not pretend she is. I am not accusing my wife of infidelity but if she connived with this so called sister to steal another man’s baby or buy another man’s baby, I need to know what I am dealing with but to bring a baby and lie that she is mine? No!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)