Monday, 29 September 2014

Pressure to "born pikin"

Today, we are talking about our society and the pressure it heaps on couples who don't have kids yet for one reason or the other.

Now,in Africa it's rare not to want kids but in Obodo Oyinbo it happens quite often. I have yet to meet any  person in Nigeria though who doesn't want children. Yet i am sure they exist but are very coded about it.
Nigerians love kids.I don't know whether it's as a result of love for kids or societal conditioning to have children.
In Nigeria, God help any newly wedded couple especially the woman who doesn't have a protruding tummy six months from her marriage date cos people will not allow her to rest.
 She may have a few moments of panic if little time has passed but if it's gets to a year, then she gets worried oh.

 It takes support from a super supportive,super loving, intelligent husband to calm his wife's fears and tell her that "God gives children" or "I didn't marry you for the sake of having kids".
Unfortunately,the husband is sometimes part of the people heaping pressure on the wife. Meanwhile the fault may even be from him. Some men can be so wicked that they know the fault is from them but they join in castigating the wife as if she produces babies in a factory and simply refuses to bring one home.

In laws can also be part of the problem.
Sometimes they are the ones who are verbally and physically abusive to the wifey.
However while there can be evil and sadistic inlaws, there are also great and wonderful ones who support and encourage.

My mother had delay in having kids for about four to five years. I think she had a miscarriage at the very beginning. She heard orishirishi insults ehn. There is one of my dad's cousins that she found it difficult to forgive because that one said to her hearing that 
" We won't ever repeat the  mistake that we have made with this one,we will shine our eyes well before we marry any new wife into this our family and make sure she can get pregnant".
Imagine oh.Cousin! Not mother or even sister oh.

Do you know that this woman came to meet my mum years ago to ask where she went to that she was able to conceive and give birth to me,because her two of her kids had married for about ten years and five years then without giving birth. It was only the third who got pregnant BEFORE the wedding and had a secret " no church" wedding who got pregnant.
My mum was like "Where did I tell you I went to. Go and pray".lol

I sha told her to let it go and pray for them cos it may have been an impulsive comment which she didn't really think through. Besides it was such a long time ago.
Thankfully sha the second one had a child and the first one had a girl too years later.
I am sure their mum learnt her lesson to keep her mouth shut and out of people's businesses.
Truly! Words can hurt so we have to think about things we say.

When I was younger,it seemed like everybody married and had kids. Of course I realise now that not everyone had kids. My dad's friend married to his School love but they had to divorce when no kids were forthcoming.
Weirdly enough, he has kids now, and she does too with her new husband.
Does that mean they weren't compatible?

There are instances when infertility may be caused by a medical issue. Could be  fibroid, low sperm count of the husband or some other reproductive issue.
The whole thing can be confusing sef especially if medical tests show that there's nothing wrong.
Who then is to blame?
The witches in the village?
The devil?
Bad luck?
No one really knows.

I think that it is in such instances that the type of husband one marries really matters.
A good husband will give his wife all the support she needs even if he is hurting himself.

One day my mum went to a bookshop and  met the shop padlocked. It was very strange as the owner  was always prompt.
Only for her to call him and he said that his wife gave birth after thirty years.
I almost jumped out of my seat cos the man was older than my dad sef.
My mum had to ask how he coped all these years and his answer was that he held on to God and resisted firmly the "advices" to marry a second wife and test his manhood.
I was amazed sha. And I shouldn't have been.
But the fact is such men are rare.

Some women actually get kicked out of their husband 's home if they fail to get pregnant within a stipulated period.
This happened to my boss when i was serving. She remarried and had triplets.
Isn't that amazing.
Some have to deal with the indignity of wives being married for their husbands.

I know personally lots of couples going through this after years of marriage.
 Do you know what I do?
Nothing! Except pray for them.

I don't go asking the wives "why" "what the problem is" or "what they are doing about it" .
Because they are worried enough and pressured enough by their in laws, their family, Church members, their husbands friends, their friends, Concerned gbeboruns association, etc. Believe me they KNOW.
They don't need me to point it out to them. I see their faces wan and drawn from fasting and praying, I know that they are holding on to God.

They have to put on a happy face when their friends have their second babies, when their sister gives birth, when they see other people's kids on the street even though their heart is breaking.
They have to go to family events knowing that everyone is measuring the wife's tummy if it has changed,God help her if she mistakenly eats dodgy food and vomits or faints.
Everybody starts asking "Na belle"?

I also don't assume that because a woman is of marriageable age that she is married, or that because she is married, she has kids.
Its painful for a woman who is believing God for children and you ask about her kids and she is forced to explain to you that she doesn't have kids.

So let's talk.
Is it right as a society to pressure people who don't have kids yet or have any sort of delay?
If a husband abuses or castigates his wife for having delay does it mean he doesn't love her?


  1. My cousin did not want a kid but ended up having just one. The worst ones are those men who know the problem is from them but keep quiet. The worstest are those who would not even go and check themselves out.

    1. Hey Babe. Sorry I am just replying ehn. Na work oh.
      Lol @ worstest. I feel you owe it to your partner to go check yourself out and at least know if the problem is with you.

  2. If he loves her, he will stay.

  3. The pressure society puts on people especially women to born pikin is really unfair.... Everybody has their timing... it's either they're not ready to born pikin or God just hasn't given them... Society should understand this

    1. Yep Babe.
      I totally agree with you jare.
      Its the pressure I hate. Why not just back off.
      Its like they think that the more pressure the more things are going to happen.

  4. Ms. Reese, how was ur weekend? Is there a reason this blog is so quiet today? I could have sworn I saw three comments on this post earlier and by the time I came back to open them, they had vanished! Abi my mind don dey bend ni? - Harper

    1. Lol. Astute Guy. Yep there was a reason.
      I needed it quiet.
      Yesterday's post was written for a nice BV.
      And I didn't want any pro/anti comments and my replies to distract it so I deleted my replies and kept it on moderation.
      And for all the pro people. Its ok.
      Hehehe. Harper! So Your mind wasn't bending. It cannot even bend ni.Lailai.

  5. A real man wouldn't blame his wife for infertility.

    1. A real man wouldn't but a lot of them take it out on their wives

  6. The pressure that society places on women to have children is very unreal and very unnecessary. They need to understand that some people may want to enjoy married life because they procreate or they may not want children. It could be the man's fault like you pointed out. How can one give birth when she is constantly stressed as a result of the pressure put on her? They probably do not understand the link between stress and trying to conceive.

    Nice post as always, Funmi

  7. You are right!
    Whatever happened to waiting two,three years after wedding to get to enjoy your spouse and know them better.
    Whatever happened to not wanting children at all?
    Yep!Just yesterday in the office, We talked about stress and it's impact on trying to conceive.
    Its not coincidental that some women get pregnant when they adopt or resign themselves to their fate and stop worrying.

  8. The marriage should be established before it starts, we all have these fairytale expectations of happily ever after until someone douses a jug of cold water on those dreams. I am 30 years old, most of my peers are married with kids, even though i want to be in the situation i feel i also need to find myself and am i ready to be joined with someone else.
    The pressure of have kids is a biggie and i think it is also an African Mentality, we are in the jet age where anything is possible. I feel that two married people should consult and consent with each other before the backseat drivers in their relationship.

    1. I totally agree with you jare my sister.