Women dealing with fertility issues are put under unnecessary pressure and if they do not have adequate support from people who matter to them; especially their spouses and family members, the pressure becomes aggravated. One woman who has gone through the pain of TTC and who decided to be selfless about it is this amazing mom-of-three and the Visionary of BeiBei Haven Foundation, Omotade Alalade.
Omotade, in an interview with Punch talks about her fertility challenges and how she stayed true to herself in spite of the challenges.
Below are some lessons women trying to conceive can learn from her coping strategies;
1. I was in constant pursuit of happiness, so I used to pamper myself a lot. I made sure that I bought clothes in moderation, got my hair and nails done once a week and traveled with my husband. I chose to be happy and used to avoid certain events that I felt could make me sad.
2. I held on to God, because once you understand that you are going through something for a reason, you have to hold on to your faith to see you through.
3. I always stayed true to myself. If I wasn’t comfortable about anything or event, I would avoid it till I could handle it.
4. I learned not to let my situation define me. I chose not to put my life on hold till I had a baby. The most important thing I learned is that you are not in control of your life, God is.
5. Always choose to be happy in the middle of afflictions and never accept defeat. Keep trying and trying for a baby without looking back. The moment you look back, you may start to pity yourself and go down a road that’s hard to come out of.
6. Also, never stop learning and researching about your fertility diagnosis. Knowledge is power. No matter how bad your situation is, you are stronger than it and you will get past the trial you are in.
On why she founded BeiBei Haven Foundation, she told Punch;
After dealing with infertility, I got pregnant with twins. I thought that was the end of my journey without knowing that it was just the beginning. I lost them through a late miscarriage and I almost lost my life. After that experience, I lost who I was and everything therein.
I became depressed and had no one to talk to or help me get through the struggle. Eventually, I got help from someone close to home. Once I got out of my depression, I knew I had to help others. That desire was what birthed the foundation.
So far, BeiBei Haven has support groups that meet at least once a month. This is where women struggling with their fertility challenges or baby loss, can meet and discuss their fears, worries and get help in a safe environment. We have raised donations to give out free treatment to 15 low-income earners.
Honestly, that’s the success I’m most proud of because when I initially needed a fertility treatment, I didn’t have the funds. We have also successfully organized a pregnancy and baby loss summit with more than 300 people in attendance.
Last year, Omotade Alalade and her media practitioner husband, Funmilade Alalade welcomed a set of twins after spending over 11 million Naira on IVF treatments.
The joyful mom took to her Instagram page to share her story. Sharing lovely photos of the new addition to her family, Omotade recounted how after multiple miscarriages, finding out that her husband and herself are AS after they were married, and after spending over 11 million Naira on IVF treatments, their status finally changed.
She joyfully prayed for every woman to experience the kind of joy she has now. Her testimony below…
“After spending more than N11 million on IVF treatments my husband and I finally complete our family with a set of twins. @tadealalade has TWINSSS ooooo ????????. This post would be too long if I start going into details on what I’ve been through trying to conceive.
It’s bad enough I more or less had no choice but to conceive through IVF but when you start having multiple miscarriages and having to deal with the fact that my husband and I are AS, it takes my journey to another level. I found out we were both AS after we got married (I’m still trying to decide if it would have made a difference if I found out before).
The amount of tears I cried during my journey can fill an ocean. Majority of the tears came when I lost a set of twins (boy and girl) late in a pregnancy. That was when I truly knew what depression was. Now my lord God finally completes my family with a set of twins.
TWINSSSSS ????????????. Gosh my God is too awesome!!! He can truly move mountains. Absolutely nothing is too big for him. I cry every time I realise how merciful the Lord is. I pray every single married woman experiences the kind of joy I’m feeling. Thank you Father ???????????????????????????????????????? @beibeihaven ????: @bbphotography_uk Thank you for taking these amazing picture”
Omotade, in another interview with TheFertileChickOnline, narrates:
How easy was it for you to go public with your infertility story?
It was extremely difficult. Initially, I didn’t want to go public with it. I’m a very private person, and so is my husband, so telling my story wasn’t something I even considered. But when I had a bad miscarriage, I started to help people.
I would just go to a random person that I knew had been married for a few years without children. I would tell them my story and from there, they would open up, that was how I started.
The beginning of this year, God made it clear to me that I needed to go public. He told me I needed to tell people my story. He used a certain someone to let me know I needed to come out and tell my story.
After that, I still had to settle it within myself. I had to decide if I was ready to deal with the fall out of going public with my story, and anything that had to do with it.
Once I was ready, I then had to speak to my husband about it. That was a mission in itself. It took a while but once he actually gave his blessing to it, that was when I was able to publicly come out and tell my story.
What were some of the reactions you got to it?
Majority of my friends were like, “Don’t do it! People are going to talk about you.” They were not discouraging me, they were just being protective, not wanting people to speak negatively about me.
However, there were some of my friends who believed in what I wanted to do, and they would send me all sorts of messages, articles, and text messages, encouraging me to come out and speak. They sort of gave me the strength to come out and do this.
Did you ever think having a baby was something you would struggle with?
Well, with baby making, my mom had my sister when she was 21. She more or less had her children back-to-back. She never had a miscarriage, never had any issues.
With her sisters, I was never aware of any issues that came about with fertility. All I knew was some people waited longer than others. But I had no knowledge of any issue that could come about from carrying a baby, or trying to have one.
What was your infertility journey like?
My journey was a very lonely one. I dealt with too much on my own. As I said earlier, I’m a very private person, so I didn’t want to talk to anyone that hadn’t gone through it. I didn’t want to be a pity party. I didn’t want my story to elicit any “Eeeyahh sorry.” I only wanted to talk to someone who had been there, but I didn’t find anyone like that.
I basically went through it alone. I went through the ups and downs. It affected nearly every area of my life. But after a while I got to understand that it wasn’t my fault, it just happened to me. I had to let go, and let God take control.
That meant not being in control. I’m the type of person who likes to be in control. That was a big issue as I had to learn how not to be in control. I had to learn to live with not being in control, and to be happy not being in control.
That was the biggest thing that could have happened in my journey to conceiving. Even before I conceived, I had gotten to that stage where I was happy with my life, even without a baby.
Did you at any time feel overwhelmed and unable to carry on? How did you pull through?
There were so, so many times that I felt overwhelmed. There were times, I felt so depressed. Before, when people said they were depressed, I never understood. I thought Nigerians didn’t get depressed, and for me, I was always this pillar of strength for everyone.
For me to have gone through depression was so hard for me to get my head around. I didn’t even know I was depressed.
All I knew was I kept on supressing my emotions and looking for things to make me forget my emotions. I used to wake up sad. During the day, I would just cry. I didn’t see anything to be happy about, I stopped talking to people i cared about. I was just sad and angry.
The honest truth was, I started getting out of it after I began opening up and getting help regarding my journey. I had asked God to send me help and He did, because as soon as I started to get help, I started to pull through.
You have spoken twice about this person God sent to you, do you mind sharing?
It was my husband’s grandmother. She called me. You see, things like infertility and miscarriage are not written on people’s heads. It was people knowing about my miscarriage that opened me up for people to want to help me. That was when she got the conviction to talk to me about it.
Initially, as a quiet person, I didn’t want to open up but from her talking about her own experience, I was now able to open up and talk about what I was going through.
That was the moment I knew you really should speak up. No matter how much other people tell you to keep it to yourself, you will be better off speaking majority of the time. You just have to select the people you speak to about it.
How far along do you think we have come removing the stigma surrounding infertility in our society?
What I have come to realise is, it is not as bad as people tend to think it is. People just need an avenue to come out and speak about it. The challenge is, there are not enough avenues for people to come out and speak.
Obviously, the society still plays a huge role in discouraging people from speaking out but what I have realised is the society is changing, as there are more people speaking up about the matter. .
When we started our project, I thought a lot of people wouldn’t want to come out because of the society we are in, but I’m slowly getting to realise that if measures are put in place, then people will come out more and speak and remove the stigma.
Take The Fertile Chick for instance, when your platform came, it gave a lot of people the opportunity to speak up. Without it, you would most likely think that there is a huge stigma attached to it. It gives people an opportunity to talk about this thing. I think once more platforms are available, more and more Nigerians, whom we think are private, would come out and speak about infertility.
That is what our foundation is about, to create as many platforms as possible for people to come out and speak about what they are going through.
What do you think about the pressure society places on new couples?
When a couple is struggling to conceive, it overwhelms them worried and concerned. The extra burden that tends to come from the society is something they really don’t need.
What I tell “the society” is if a couple has been married for 6 months try not to put pressure on them to get pregnant because you have no idea of what they are going through. The truth is some people going through the journey actually want to speak to ones close to home.
Not mentioning anything about the fact that they haven’t conceived doesn’t help. People don’t want to mention anything because they don’t want to offend them but the thing is you just need to learn how to say the right thing in the right way. People just need to find the right things to say.
If one of my friends had asked me a year after my marriage, “Hi Tade, how are you with childbearing? If you need someone to speak with, I’m here for you and I want to be there for you.” I won’t have been offended by that. I would have thanked them, and even if I hadn’t said anything then, guess what, I would have known that there was someone there for me, if I needed to talk, someone who cared for me and my well-being.
Just know that you should not pressure them. Find a way to speak to them about this one issue but never think you shouldn’t speak to them about the issue, or act as though it does not exist.
I think you need to let anyone close to you dealing with infertility know that you are there for them, if they need you, but don’t pressure them, or make snide comments or act inconsiderate regarding issues about fertility.
How has having a child change your life?
What I have come to realise is, a lot of women who go through this journey tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to be a perfect mother for their child. They force themselves to be the best, because they have been on the journey for so long, and are now blessed with a child.
They want to be the best and when they fall short, they get confused and pressured. I actually went through it.
When I had my baby, I wanted to give him every single atom of my inner being and I thought he deserved the very best, but I did it at the expense of me, of my mentality and the expense of what I could physically do, because I wanted to be the best.
I slowly realised that I couldn’t be that perfect mother. I struggled with that fact. Breastfeeding was so difficult for me. I was thinking that if I didn’t do all these things I wasn’t giving my child the best and made me sad. I had to slowly accept the fact that I couldn’t be perfect all the time.
You may not even be as perfect as most women who have had a baby, but the most important thing is for you to be as perfect as you can for your child. Which means a lot of the time, you may not be the best.
Once I got to that space, I started to enjoy motherhood. I didn’t want to make mistakes or accept that they were part of the journey, but they are.