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Nigerian Dad Who Welcomed Triplets With Wife After 5 Years Of Trying Shares On Their Struggles, Fatherhood And His Polygamous Family

Nigerian Dad Who Welcomed Triplets With Wife After 5 Years Of Trying Shares On Their Struggles, Fatherhood And His Polygamous Family

Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development and founder of the anti-corruption platform, Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, has shared with PUNCH how his wife successfully gave birth to a triplet through IVF after five years of trying to conceive.

He went further to talk about his fatherhood experience, his first wife, polygamous family and how economic factors made him reconsider having a dozen children.

How did you meet your wives?

I met my first wife at a wedding reception after secondary school and we started dating. We dated for over eight years before getting married. My second wife, Aminat, and I share similar interests. She’s also a social worker and humanitarian who I met through work.

What comes to mind when people mention fatherhood?

Responsibility and commitment. Fatherhood is exciting, but it demands a lot from a man. It is thrilling because children carry our names, beliefs, and values forward. However, it also challenges and teaches one about commitment, patience, and sacrifice. When you have kids, their well-being and welfare become your top priority, and you will always put them above everything else.

What was the first thing you considered when you wanted to become a father?

Interestingly, marriage taught me that children come from God. We got married in 2015, and we had our first children five years later, in 2020. That period took a toll on us emotionally and psychologically. We were stressed and wondering.

We underwent various tests both in Nigeria and abroad, but shockingly, every consultant and doctor said we were both fine. Finally, we decided to try in vitro fertilisation. Luckily for us, the first IVF attempt gave us a triplet.

After going through the IVF procedure, I was told my wife was pregnant, but I didn’t believe it. We went for a scan, and they told me it was triplets, but I still didn’t believe it until she gave birth to three children.

I was surprised to see three human beings on the bed with my wife and thought, ‘Oh my God, I am now responsible for three kids.’ Most couples I know have one child first, but we have three. So, nothing prepared me for fatherhood, especially with a triplet. Whatever you want to buy must be in three pairs.

How easy was it adjusting to being a father of three?

As time went on, I adjusted, and we started living a new life. However, those children also brought blessings and a lot of joy. When I posted about the birth of the triplets, people from different organisations and even strangers from abroad started sending gifts.

To my surprise, many of these people came to our naming ceremony because they wanted to see the triplet, claiming they had never seen triplets before. It was an adjustment, and I had to tighten up my career.

We thank God; that my wife has finished her Master’s, pursuing her professional accountancy certification, and has completed various professional courses, passing them all, including her MBA.

Were you with your wife in the labour room when the three children were delivered?

Interestingly, after the IVF, she started going for antenatal check-ups at a hospital and that was when I had my health insurance. I used to accompany her whenever she had an appointment with the doctor. During one of the scans, the doctor informed us that it was a triplet. I was concerned and asked if they had the equipment to care for the babies after delivery, but they reassured us not to worry.

One weekend, after our morning devotion and prayers, I noticed that water was coming from my wife and it was too much, it dawned on us that her water had broken. We immediately rushed to the clinic where I met the doctor while my wife was in labour.

The doctor seemed confused and said they only had one incubator. He mentioned that normal incubation for a woman is supposed to be 38-40 weeks, but she was only at 35 weeks, so the babies were premature.

The doctor also said they couldn’t accommodate three babies in one incubator. I was frustrated and asked why he hadn’t mentioned this earlier since he had been handling the case. At that moment, there was no time to argue and to be an activist, so I called another hospital and explained the situation.

They assured me it was not a problem. When we arrived at the new hospital, they took her straight to the theatre. Alas, they didn’t allow me to go into the theatre, instead, they asked me to settle the bills.

The delivery didn’t take long because it was surgery. After the successful surgery, they placed the three children in incubators. My children spent over four weeks on oxygen and in the incubators.

However, my wife was discharged from the hospital, but our children were not because they still needed proper monitoring and oxygen. It was challenging, but we thanked God that after four weeks, we finally had our children with us.

ALSO SEE: Expert, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi Speaks On The Role Of IVF, Fertility Drugs In Conception Of Twins

How did you feel when you first held your children in your hands?

They didn’t allow me to carry them at first; only my wife could, and she had to wear some special equipment. It wasn’t until we got home that I could finally hold them. I was excited and held them like delicate eggs since it was my first time holding newborns and I was scared of them. It was a magical and wonderful feeling. I even took some days off work to savour the moment.

Did your first wife have other children through IVF?

Surprisingly, no. In fact, we weren’t expecting it. She felt feverish and went to the hospital for a test. They added a pregnancy test and it came back positive. She didn’t believe it. She went to two other hospitals and they confirmed it positive.

She brought the three results home and told me to see what she found out. Allah has a way of showing us his wonders and that was another moment for me. It was least expected and it happened. We had the child last year.

Do you miss those days when you had no responsibility?

Not at all. This experience has made me more responsible and focused. Being married to my two wives and being a father to six children has driven me to work harder to provide for them. I don’t miss being single. Although my life has changed, I still find time for my hobbies but I don’t miss being single. I even regret not marrying earlier.

You mentioned that you’re a father to six children already. Is it your wish to have those numbers despite the economy?

It is my personal decision and choice because I have always wanted to have 10-12 children. However, due to the current economy and the increasingly unsafe world for children, providing a decent and good life has become quite expensive.

I respect people who have three or fewer children, but we all make our choices and work towards them. One thing I have learned in life is to accept my destiny. When I took a second wife, many people questioned me, but I always told them I had the right to pursue my choices, and my religion allowed me to marry up to four wives.

What is the emotional responsibility that comes with managing two wives and children who are not from the same mother?

I am a very present father, active emotionally, physically, and mentally in the welfare and well-being of my wives and children. It requires a lot of investment, effort, and energy. It doesn’t matter that the children are not from the same mother, they are all my children. It has been a great experience.

One thing I have learned is that every child has a different experience with their father and mother, so they all have different personalities. I try to meet their individual needs and not treat them the same way. I also ensure they have strong connections as brothers and sisters and invest in them differently.

Some of my children are now independent and act and behave independently despite being children while some aren’t. I spend a lot of time with them and study them, ensuring a strong connection between us as a father and children. Even when I am not around, they use their mother’s phone to video call me to stay connected.

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In what ways has fatherhood contributed to the advancement of your career?

Yes, I would say both of my parents are the sources of my success. My father worked very hard when he was young, travelling and working across continents, and I inherited that drive from him. On the other hand, I got my activism from my mother, who is a woman leader with a strong presence in the community.

She is the go-to person for marital issues and stands up for children’s rights. She ensures that people’s rights are protected, which inspired me to become an activist. My mother told me a story about how, after finishing secondary school, she wanted to continue her education at a higher institution, but society pressured her to get married instead.

This experience of hers motivated my activism and policy work, as I have seen her consistently stand for what is right and what she believes in.

What do you think about corporal punishment for children?

When I had children, I told my wives that no one should lay a hand on my children because the case wouldn’t end easily. I don’t believe in beating children. I think it only hardens them. When my children do something wrong, I speak with them like adults.

Although I spank them sometimes, I always follow it with a hug. I tell them how much I love them, explain what they did wrong, and why it is wrong. I see them change and learn from it.

SEE ALSO: Singer Teni Spills On Growing Up In A Polygamous Family And Why She Loves It Compared To A Monogamous Home

What is the greatest thing you took from your father that you’re instilling in your children?

Being a family man, being committed to family, and putting family before anything else.

Many have blamed the loss of culture and tradition on poor parenting, noting that parents prefer the ways of the West to our ancestral way of life. Is there a pathway to mix both?

The world is changing, and it is changing fast. My wives are careerwomen who also have their businesses. They do a lot of things. I remember when I was a child, my mother was a full-time housewife, and my father did everything else.

Her 24-hour job was to take care of us. But now, the world is changing. We talk about gender equality and women’s empowerment. Of course, the family system has broken down and lost many values.

We see children being abandoned because parents are not invested in them, chasing their careers and dreams instead. This is why society is in such a bad state. We urgently need to find a balance where parents take responsibility for their children.

What is your advice for up-and-coming fathers?

There is no script for being a father, and life has its ups and downs. Once you become a father, you must keep going and always be there providing for your wife and children. It is not only about money; a father must be present and committed.

What was your first wife’s reaction when you married another woman?

She handled it maturely. Although no woman wants to share her man, it comes with its challenges. However, when your intentions are pure and genuine and you communicate them well, things become easier and go smoothly.

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