The quest to conceive and have children in Nigeria where so much value is placed on parenthood is a big challenge, especially for women. For many women dealing with fertility issues, the journey to motherhood is long and one of frustration.
Three Nigerian women have shared their experiences of the tortuous journey to having children of their own with PUNCH…
No two situations are similar -Simisola Akinseye
Did you conceive soon after you got married?
I conceived four months after I got married and miscarried. I wondered why it had to happen, what caused it and if there was anything I could have done to prevent it.
How did you deal with people who wanted to know why you had yet to have a baby?
Lack of knowledge makes us so ignorant and insensitive to the person on the receiving end of our endless questions and comments. Anyone who didn’t know I had had a miscarriage and stillbirth would ask what I was waiting for. For those who were aware but chose to be insensitive, I shut them out of my life completely. It also made me less open to talk about myself and my issues.
How did you find comfort?
After my stillbirth, I received two words from God, Jeremiah 31: 17 and Isaiah 9:6. The former right after the stillbirth and the latter was closer to when I found out that I was pregnant. I also had a praying and loving support system; husband, siblings, parents, in-laws and friends. These people gave me the space I needed to grieve and it helped my healing process.
Were there times you felt like giving up?
After the first miscarriage, I told my husband that we should quit trying till the following year. After the stillbirth, I sort of gave up on so many things but somehow, I found the strength to move forward.
What advice would you give to women who find themselves in a similar situation?
No two situations are similar. You are running a race separate from the next person. Run your own race and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. Talk to your partner and be in constant agreement especially when facing family and friends.
Do you think the society pressurises women who are waiting for the fruit of the womb?
I believe it does and we as women also put pressure on ourselves. It’s like it has been embedded in you to marry and start having children. Meanwhile, there is so much more to marriage and life than children. This is not to say children are not important.
What lessons did you learn from your situation?
Job 42: 2; I know you (God) can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted.
Now that you are a mother, what do you think about motherhood?
It’s all and more than I expected. I am grateful for the opportunity I have been granted to be in motherhood.
READ ALSO: Actress & Mum-Of-Twins, Bukola Awoyemi Relives Her Journey To Motherhood As Well As Surviving Her High Risk Pregnancy
When did you realise that you had fertility challenges?
Mine isn’t an infertility issue per se, it was a pregnancy loss. It happened about five years ago, after I had my first child. I would say that I lost my second pregnancy.
How did you deal with your loss?
You know when you hear other peoples’ stories, it doesn’t resonate until it actually happens to you. I was about 16 weeks pregnant which was approximately four months. I had a little issue, so I went to the hospital to do some tests and the doctor noticed that there was no heartbeat. He did a scan and noticed that the baby had stopped growing so they did the measurement to ascertain when I lost the baby.
What happened afterwards?
I went home and had to come back to the hospital to be induced because the baby had already been formed. I had to go through the whole process of labour to push the baby out which was quite heartbreaking. We found out that it was a boy. I was still bleeding a bit and had to go through an evacuation.
It must have been a painful experience…
I knew that I wasn’t happy because I was constantly fighting with my husband. The thing about a pregnancy loss is that you start thinking about what went wrong. I asked myself if I did something wrong and blamed my husband.
How did he react?
For most men, they don’t want to react. They just feel upset because they know what you are going through. I didn’t want to say much because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. It was after a month my husband told me that the whole situation had affected him as well and he begged me not to push him aside.
Another person that snapped me back was a friend of mine who lost her baby at eight months. The placenta was around the baby so there was no more movement so that was even a full-grown baby. She just called and told me to remember what she went through and she urged me to focus on my son.
How would you encourage women who have suffered the same fate or those dealing with infertility issues?
There is always light at the end of the tunnel. You can’t really tell someone to get over it and move on because it is not that easy but let them just know that there is hope and God is always there to turn things around. When you are hopeful and positive, things will work out in the long run.
SEE ALSO: The Journey To Motherhood As 3 Nigerian Women Narrate Their Stories Of Pain And Frustration
Are there any lessons that you have learnt from your experience?
One of the things that I have learnt is that women should speak out more. If my friend had not called to speak to me, I wouldn’t have gotten over the experience. When I was having babies, a few of my mates were not even married. We should speak out more because we are each other’s support.
Have you had another child after your miscarriage?
Yes, I had a daughter a year after.
How did you hear of Beibei Haven Foundation?
A friend of mine who had been looking for the fruit of the womb for a while called me and said that she is part of the foundation. Being that I had had some of these issues in the past, she wondered if I would like to encourage other women by sharing my story. The foundation covers people struggling with infertility, women who had stillbirths or miscarriages.
Which did you suffer?
I have had two miscarriages, so you can also call it pregnancy loss.
It must have been quite traumatic.
The first miscarriage happened at a rather early stage but the second one happened when my pregnancy was at an advanced stage. I had a miscarriage and eventually, I did an evacuation. Afterwards, it was one hospital visit after the other because I wouldn’t stop bleeding. There was a lot of pain and the possibility of being dragged into depression. What helped me was the fact that I knew I had God. Also having a husband who supports you and encourages you to just pull through and know that there is always life after that traumatic experience, is rewarding.
Do you now have children?
Yes, I do.
What is your advice to women who are experiencing similar challenges?
It is hard when you have fertility issues because you really can’t express how you feel. There are often feelings of guilt. Of course, your also have issues with the medical providers themselves so having a support group and having people that you can talk to is key. As a woman, you should be able to express your concerns.
Encouragement means that there is always somebody that can tell you that they have been through a similar situation. There should be that somebody who gives you the hope to continue. Sometimes, you can pray together and come into a place of peace with God.
The women should also know that all of these things happen for a reason. As a survivor, you are able to stand tall. If nothing else, there is fulfilment in knowing that you can be a source of strength to somebody else.
Tags: Lola Opaleye, Motherhood, Oyinkan Awosika, Simisola Akinseye
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