THE BABY OF THE CHILD

Written by Dr Weyinmi Erikowa

BABY CHILD.

 

I am a very lazy person in terms of hard work, my mother can testify to that. However, what baffles her is my ability to act like a fierce force when emergencies happen. It was a cool evening and I was just listening to the radio, I don’t like the television for no justifiable reason. The radio presenter was discussing the dangers of teenage pregnancy in our region. I loved the topic, as I get to see young unmarried girls with ‘big belle’ every day.

As I was shaking my leg to the rhythm of the music as the show went on break, I was interrupted by one of my neighbours, she was approaching me and shouting, “Oga please help us oh. My daughter has gone into labour oh. Please, we beg you, help us get to the hospital”. Thankfully, I was dressed up in my khaki shorts and white shirt, I quickly wore my sandals, grabbed my wallet and car keys.

I arrived at the house of my neighbour and saw her 16 years old daughter sitting on the fall, holding her waist and crying out in pains. I have seen pregnant women and I still cannot comprehend their labour pains. So we helped her into the car and zoomed off to the hospital. While I drove, I kept my mind on how she is quite young to give birth to a child and the health impacts. Yes, I forgot to tell you, I am good at analysing situations; it creates solutions to the problems.

So in my curious state of mind, as we approached the hospital, I asked the mother of the pregnant girl, “Mama, your pikin attend antenatal?” She gave a negative response with the reason that her daughter was embarrassed about the whole thing and felt ashamed after attending a session once. “Ok! Ok! Mama, I see!” In my head, I was swearing and cursing but I don’t know who to blame- the mother, the girl or the society.

So we arrived at the hospital, we told the nurse on duty a young girl is in labour. She appeared shocked as she saw the young girl brought in. She quickly asked for antenatal records and any other relevant documents relating to the expectant mother. I quickly explained to her that, there was none. She just changed from a sweet nurse to angry mother; she was furious, she sighed and blamed us and made comments towards the young girl. It is common for us in our area to be judgemental so I didn’t bother confronting her.

No antenatal records meant we had to wait longer for us to be attended to. We have to follow ‘due process.’ I made sure we followed the process in patience and hoped as the hospital is a crazy place to be in and you have to be in good terms with the staff, else… So after an hour of registration and numerous forms signing and what I took to be a brief antenatal or pre-delivery check-up. The midwife walked up to us and asked who’s taking responsibility for the girl. I responded that I was here to support the elderly woman. We asked if there’s anything we needed to do regarding the safe delivery of the girl and her baby. The midwife told us to start praying as her pelvis is still immature to deliver a baby.  “Blood of Jesus!” exclaimed the mother of the pregnant girl! ”Mama! Mama! Please calm down! We need to get more explanation on the matter” I pacified her. The old woman just kept crying in the usual Nigerian way.

So while the wailing about the situation continued, I quickly called a few of my friends. Yes, I have a speed dial for emergencies. While I waited for my calls to yield some ‘fruits’, I went to meet the doctor quietly so the old woman won’t continue crying. “Madam Docki! Good evening Ma! I am sorry to bother you oh. Please, I just want to have a few clarification about the situation of the young girl who is said to have an immature pelvis. Please, Ma, try to break it down in simpler terms, so my Mama can understand”.  She looked at me and said “oya sit down let us talk. First of all, I am not too happy with the current situation. She is too young to give birth, her pelvis is too small as she hasn’t developed fully as a woman and lastly, we are to perform a Caesarean Section. How did she end up pregnant sef? Didn’t she receive home training? (She muttered to herself).  Is that clear enough?”  “Yes, Doctor! Thank you very much! Oh, Dr, how much are we talking about here? You know for the C-Section?” I questioned “Oh that’s not a lot of money, it’s just 300,000 Naira”, replied the Doctor.

“300K for wetin na?” I lamented. All the same, I thanked her and headed out. I smiled as I already sourced for funds with the calls I made. My friends had arrived and all I did was explain the situation and collected the money. And I tried to bind and cast the judgemental spirit that was forcing itself upon them to make awful comments. I thanked them because we don’t get such Father Christmas gifts as quickly as this.

So I went to meet the nurse on duty and told her we are ready for the procedure as we have the money. She was just grumbling about how this money wants to be wasted on a silly girl who didn’t know her left from her right. Oh well, I don’t blame anyone for making the angry comments towards the teenage girl. I believe everyone is accountable for his or her actions; my only exception will be a rape case in this situation. So I pleaded with the nurse, that we get things done as quickly as possible, in my mind, I was preparing the questions I had for the girl and her mother after this whole wahala subsides.  Come to think of it! We had spent 6 hours at the hospital already. Oh yes! You are curious about how I have that kind of time for people? Well…..I am a Nigerian with a twist. My life revolves around people and finding solutions to problems.

After two hours of waiting, the young girl was wheeled into the theatre, while I listened to the numerous prayer requests family and friends were releasing into the atmosphere. Gosh! I can be very sarcastic especially when I am on my worst behaviour. When the sex was sweet and things were rosy, they weren’t thinking of the future prayers of today. I reclined on the long chair at the edge of a window and gave in to my thoughts. Where is the young man that is responsible for this pregnancy? How could they have sex without protection? Who will be responsible for the newborn? What happens to the girl’s education? Are we giving enough sex education to our young ones? How did we get to this situation, were our eyes blindfolded?

I felt a hand touch me, I quickly realised I was still at the hospital. The doctor was still dressed in her green scrubs but without her gloves or mask. “Please, we need your help if you can. It is a matter of life and death. The young girl is bleeding severely and we are trying our best to stop further bleeding. She has lost a lot of blood and would need a blood transfusion as quickly as possible” she said. “Ok doctor”, I replied. “Doctor, please what about the baby?” “Oh! She had a baby girl but she’s under supervision for now, as we are trying to keep the mother alive” the doctor answered hurriedly.

I sighed! “Lord let this not be a bad day for us, I pray”. I quickly went to the nursing station and asked for the location of the Blood Bank. One of the nurses gave me the direction to the Bank, however as I moved away from their station, they called me back. ‘’Oga, you sure say you want make that girl survive?’’  They asked me. I looked at them like strange beings, wondering why they asked such question. As if they read my thoughts, they told me to go and try my ‘’luck’’. I was furious about their attitude towards critical issues, but I don’t blame them.

So I found the Blood Bank, I asked for blood as the young girl has type O, the attendant told me, there was no blood available. “Oga sir, no vex oh! Blood no dey. I fit direct you go one place inside town” the attendant replied. I played cool for the few minutes and asked if I could donate blood for the girl as I was a type O. “Oga, me I no fit do all that procedure for now. My chief no dey duty now, you know say night duty get as e be” he replied me. In my mind, I felt like using koboko to flog the young man. Arrant nonsense!

“Okay, no vex as you no sabi anything now. Where I fit buy blood now now?” I asked him. He gave me an address, which was not too far from the hospital. I drove down there and asked for blood. It took an hour to get type O blood after so many explanations and protocols. I headed to the hospital, gave one of the nurses the blood and she replied,” hope this blood no get kwanta oh?” The atmosphere was tensed, the old woman was sobbing quietly and it felt like death hovered around us. We kept our prayers to ourselves as we lacked the strength to pray openly, God saw our hearts, and I guess the angels wept with us as well.

The dangers that lie with teenage pregnancy was all I thought about as we waited for news. Who sent this girl to have sex at a tender age? After all, this suffer, she will enter the streets again to continue her bad behaviour? What will be the fate of the baby girl? Another life without supervision or a lesson will be learnt?

I heard the Mama call my name, “Doctor said we should come inside”. I followed her down the hall and got to the ward the young girl was admitted in.  She was awake but too weak to say anything. Mama beamed with joy.  I was welcomed back to reality with a fantastic Itsekiri song….trust me, the old lady was dancing like there’s no tomorrow. I guess she forgot all her worries for the time being. I beamed with joy but my mind was filled with questions, no one seems to know the answers.

As I stared at the little baby, I asked within me, “will your mother learn her lessons and care to share her experience?” Teenage pregnancy doesn’t pay. The pathway to motherhood is not for the unprepared.

*                                  *                                  *                                  *                                *                                  *

‘Palava you dey find’ sang Fela!

I enjoy listening to Fela’s songs because they are meaningful. While I was seriously nodding to the tunes from my phone, someone called my name. I turned to see who that amazing person could be. Jisos e! It was the child and her baby, the teenage girl who gave birth a few months ago. “Doh oh” I greeted her while I looked at her carefully. She had tired eyes, a crying baby and dirty clothes on her.

How are you doing? I asked her. She adjusted her wrapper and said she was fine but not too well. “I am just managing myself”, she replied. “I haven’t eaten well in the last three days. Since I cannot go to school, and everyone in my house is always busy; I am helping my mother sell at the market. It is not easy at all. The baby is always crying and I have to breastfeed her all the time. My mother keeps yelling at me. I get frustrated with the whole thing; sometimes I just sit down and start crying. Please, I am begging you; can you help me with some food or money to buy some food for myself?” She asked.  “Eyah! Kpele! Doh!” I sympathised with her. “You see my young friend, what is happening to you now is called life. You hear me so?  Life happens when you don’t prepare for it. I have some food to give you, but it is not only the food to eat I have got. You need to eat the food of knowledge and understanding, so you can have value for yourself and what pertains to your life.”

I beckoned her to come sit with me as the baby had stopped crying.  I went inside the house and brought a bowl of rice, stew and fried plantain; I served her and she ate voraciously like a very hungry lioness. I shook my head in sorrow, “poor child, how did you get yourself into this mess?” I thought to myself. After she ate, I served her a chilled Zobo Drink. As she drank with great delight, I started with the food of questions and answers. Yes na! Nothing is for free, even animals know that. “Where is the father of this child?” She almost fell off her chair. “Why are you scared? Where is the father of the child?” I probed. She bowed her head as she cuddled her baby. “He is at home inside this our village. He is the son of well-known petty trader”. She replied. “Eh-en! You mean he is as young as you are and you decided to play love play?” (My sarcastic behaviour was playing out) I was already getting somewhat angry. “Hmm! He said he loved me and that nothing would happen to me” she quickly added as she saw the look on my face. “My friends were doing it with their boyfriends; I didn’t want to be left out; so I did it out of love and to avoid my friends from laughing at me”. “Chai! You say?” I exclaimed in a soft voice so I don’t scare her. “My dear, who is laughing at you now? Where is the love now? Why would you think your boyfriend loved you so much? And why did you trust your friends? Did you have a class on sex education? Or at least your mother telling you about the dangers of early sex and pregnancy or STDs if you are not married?”

She started crying softly. “Sex was taught during our Biology class, we joked about it. We really didn’t know about the consequences of pre-marital sex. My parents are more concerned about their own activities and they felt I was just a ‘small girl’. I didn’t let anyone at home know I had a boyfriend. He gave me gifts and I hid them or used them only when I was in school. Besides he said, nothing will happen even if he didn’t wear a condom.” “You are so naïve. So how did you know you were pregnant?” I asked her. She gave out a soft laugh, “I didn’t. It was my mother who detected I was pregnant. I wasn’t conscious about my menstrual cycle, so didn’t care too much when I missed my period” “Interesting! What about the Biology class on Menstruation?” I queried. “Oh! That was one difficult class I didn’t understand and there was no one to explain to me properly. So my mother was just shouting ‘you are pregnant, you this girl! You have killed me!’I ran to my friends, but they kept laughing and advised I do an abortion. I was too scared, so I went to meet my boyfriend. He yelled at me and almost had me beaten up. He said he wasn’t responsible for the pregnancy and I should never visit his house again. I felt like dying but I had to summon the courage to live with my actions.” “How does it feel to be a teenage mother?” I asked her “It is not a thing to take pride in. It is very difficult to start life again except you have people to encourage you and it is not advisable to have a baby as a teenage girl. Now I have learnt my lesson, I wish others will learn from me.” She answered soberly. “Now you have eaten the food of the elders,” I said smiling at her.

                                       THE END

In Nigeria, teenage pregnancy was being predicted to soar over 60 million by 2015 according to National Population Commission (NPC). One out of ten teenage girls in the south is likely to get pregnant. Related to this are pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, poor antenatal care and curtailment of education attainment. We all have roles to play, every sister, brother, mother, aunty, uncle, father, mother can educate a child. Do your part, begin by sharing this story.

Will you like to take this message further to the screen or radio, kindly contact us

 

Advertisements

OUR ANIMAL COMMUNITY

Written by: Folayemi Emoruwa

our animal community.

How our kids can save our environment

Narrator: story-story!

Reader: story!

Narrator: Once upon a time!

Reader: time-time

Narrator: There was a kingdom known as the animal community. Three families were first to move into the community. The first set was Mr. Lion, Mrs. Lion and their little baby- Cuby,

lion-with-family

The Lion and his family

the second, grandpa elephant, his 3 children, their spouses along with 7 grandchildren, the third, Mr. and Mrs. Pigeon. The animal community was very beautiful with lush green forests and trees; it had two very big rivers- River Blue and River Clean. They decided to have River Blue as the recreation river where they held picnics around the river shorelines and have fun with their families on Saturdays and Sundays.

article-0-1430B45D000005DC-401_964x642

River Blue

Mrs. Pigeon was the English teacher who taught the community children Mondays through Fridays. Mr. Lion was elected as the community leader, grandpa Elephant was his assistant and they both made every decision for the community. The community had a very good organization, the environment was very clean and peaceful, everyone was healthy as all the foods they ate were natural.

One fateful day, Mr. Tortoise walked into the office of Mr. Lion who was not expecting any visitor. He was surprised and curious at what could have brought the Tortoise into the community and immediately they got into the serious business of his visit.

“My family and I will love to relocate to the animal community, we have seen the peace and stability you enjoy and we want our children to grow up in such a community” the Tortoise said. “My first son loves to swim, we all call him water turtle while his three younger ones are into series of sports”, he said proudly. “You must be very proud of them,” replied Mr. Lion so his visitor wouldn’t see him as being unconcerned. The Tortoise also hinted that some other families were interested in relocating to the animal community but feared that the Lion might not approve being the community head. “I was chosen for the task” he simply stated.

All this while, the Lion listened patiently without interrupting him. When he had ended, Mr. Lion asked him to come back for a reply after a month as he needed to consult other community members. After the tortoise left, Mr. Lion gave it some serious thought considering the fact that allowing others to migrate into their community implies more population. “The tortoise said he has four children, a family of 6,” he thought aloud. The increase in waste production would imply an increase in consumption too. The serenity they experience in the animal community would be disturbed either. With a heavy heart, he locked the door to his office and headed home to assist Mrs. Lion in preparing for Cuby’s one-year birthday party. Since the other families were invited, they had decided the party would be an outdoor one as the Elephants’ were too big to come into their living room. All through the preparation, the lion kept asking himself if this was going to be the last beautiful birthday they would have with the families present. The following day was picnic day so he would have to raise the issue and ask everyone to give their opinions.

The following day, at the picnic ground, while the children were swimming, the adults gathered together, the lion narrated the entire incidence while they also kept a keen eye on the children. For a few minutes, no one offered to speak as Mr. Lion had carefully laid the good and bad sides of things to them. Alas, Mr. Pigeon spoke up, “well, for me I think I like the idea of a bigger community, we will be able to have more people we can communicate with,” he stated. Mr. Pigeon also noted that urbanization would be brought into the animal community. Grand pa Elephant spoke up next, “more people will mean our forest trees will soon be gone and used as firewood to cook; smokes will be released from the firewood and the health of our children and even adults especially a 65-year-old man like me is threatened,” he said with great concern. Grand pa Elephant also said that resources such as water will be used up rapidly and they may not have picnic time again as rivers Blue and Clean would be dried up or polluted since an increase in water consumption will arise. He also buttressed the point of Mr. Pigeon that modernization, new houses, new industries will have to be put up to improve the way they live now which is a good thing too. “No one has said anything about sanitation and waste generation,” Mrs. Lion noted and her husband nodded for her to speak.

The Meeting

The Meeting

“More wastes will be generated, how do we take care of that? Because an increase in population equals to increase in consumption and wastes generation,” she said. They discussed for the next hour and a half and eventually came to the conclusion that ten new families should be allowed into the animal community. However, they would need to come up with rules and regulations that everyone must abide by, particularly in the aspect of pollution (air, noise, and water), deforestation and waste management as they wanted their environment to remain beautiful and clean.

Three months after the ten families were allowed into the animal community, things suddenly seemed not to work perfectly anymore. Mr. Tortoise had the habit of increasing the volume of his television and sound systems which was generating noise pollution. His neighbors had made complaints about how they couldn’t take a nap in the afternoon because of the noise from the Tortoise’s house but he refused to change. Waste bins were at so many strategic places in the community yet biscuit wraps, plastics, drinking cans and unused legos and toys were often found on the street. The first families had to cancel their weekend picnics after a long while as the River Blue was now running dry and River Clean was now polluted as the new juice factory releases their wastewater into River Clean.

The tortoise polluting the water

The tortoise polluting the water

ACTION POINT

  • Kindly share this story with a kid you know
  • Make a decision not to drop wastes on the floor anymore
  • Gently correct anyone who pollutes the environment
  • Educate others on importance of keeping the environment healthy

QUESTIONS

  1. Who was the community’s leader?
  2. What birthday year did Cuby celebrate?
  3. Who visited Mr. Lion surprisingly in the office and what was the reason for the visit?
  4. Mention the names of the two rivers in the animal world
  5. Why did the first families cancel their picnic to the river?
  6. Why do we need to keep the animal world clean?

About the author: Folayemi Emoruwa is an environmental scientist who is very passionate about environmental safety. You can contact her on folayemiemoruwa@gmail.com


MY WEANING STORY

Story by: Busayo Awodein

weaning mobile

Total weaning was something I really did not look forward to. Apart from the emotional stress being undergone by mother and child that period, I really was not ready to stop enjoying the benefits I derived from breastfeeding – especially that of the mother to child bond. Initially, I had planned to breastfeed for two years or at least 18 months, but a part of me just felt it was time to stop which I did at 16 months. Hence, here’s my weaning story.

story continues after the advertisement

HeartMINDERS RAPE2

Immediately my daughter clocked one, I intensified the weaning process. I stopped breastfeeding during the daytime and breastfed only at nights. I had come to terms with the fact that it would be almost impossible for me to stop breastfeeding completely on my own because I could not bear to see her cry so hard for something that I had the power to give her, so I was waiting for a ‘savior’. I knew I had to stop because I was not having adequate rest at nights; she woke frequently to breastfeed, and she also had little sleep.  Thankfully mother was coming to spend some time with me. So, the plan was baby would stay with mother at nights and when she wakes to feed, there would always be a substitute- pap, chocolate drink or cereal.

story continues after the advertisement

hlcm.

So, the process of full weaning started. It required a lot of determination on my part. The whole weaning took about five painful days…painful physically because of engorged breasts, and painful emotionally because of my baby’s cry. Gradually, after the five days we started, she started sleeping all through the night and forgot about breast milk altogether.

PS:

Script It: did everything change in that 5 days?

Busayo: yes, more or less. After 5 days maybe 3 more extra days after mom left. When she woke up then, I would just pat her bombom until she slept back

Script It: so after a week you stopped she started sleeping all through the night?

Busayo: yes

Script It: do you think their frequent waking at night to suck is not really because they are hungry?

Busayo: for my child, well, thinking back, I think it was just an addiction, bus once she knew that breast milk was not going to show she stopped. That was why I did not want to give her food too because it might just mean waking up to eat, which will become another addiction.

Script It: I like the point you just raised about not introducing food so they don’t start the habit of waking up to eat again. When she woke up for the cereal and pap back then, was she sleeping off immediately after taking them?

Busayo: yes she was sleeping off immediately after taking them. Sometimes she would start sleeping as she was taking it

Script It: during the times when she was waking up to take cereals, did her intermittent wake up frequency reduce?

Busayo: yes, it reduced drastically. Instead of waking up 5 times before day break, it reduced to once or twice.

Script It: why pap and cereal?

Busayo: I guess pap and cereals are more filling so it made her sleep more soundly

Script It: thank you

Download the World Health Organization recommendation on weaning


I HAD AN ABORTION

A TRUE LIFE STORY BY: AYA KENI

2

I actually married as a virgin o, thanks to having a strict mum who would not endorse me having boyfriends until after university, being a born-again Christian, praise and worship leader, hearing the word of God daily aided me (I had my fair share of temptations too, so l am no saint here).

I had two kids less than 1 year and l found out l was pregnant again. Oh my God, my husband, and l were not ready for this. We then came to a decision to terminate it. I secretly wanted my husband to say no but…. I prayed earnestly for a miscarriage but, nothing happened.

I went to the hospital but the doctor touched my tummy and said it was hard, that l was too far gone. ‘Go and do a scan’, he said. I went for the scan hoping the doctor will say he would not carry it out but my scan showed 6 weeks, EDD to be October 2009 and the hardness was as a result of a fibroid. He scheduled the next day which happened to be our wedding anniversary. I was hoping something will happen to prevent the procedure but alas the day came. I went in and l was disgusted at the site of the ‘area’, which was a far-cry from the hospital where l delivered (it was a popular hospital o but with old and archaic equipment). My legs were spread apart and he put the ‘thing’ inside of me and drilling things out. I moaned with pain. My body quivered in unimaginable soreness when the action was taking place. The painful part for me was that my hubby was not there with me. I went in alone. I cried out of the theater, out of the hospital, in the taxi cab, till l got home, cried and cried asking God for forgiveness.

When l got home and the realities set in, ‘what have l done?’ l asked myself. Abortion! Yeepppa… I cried and cried. I do not know of others who have experienced it but l did not heal of it for years. I could not receive God’s forgiveness. I healed physically after two weeks as l was given antibiotics and painkillers but the next months and years were bad as it was full of emotional soreness and guilt. I went back to the hospital to have family planning in place to avoid any more mistakes. The site of the hospital building reminded me of those horrors.

Two years later, the craving for another child won’t leave me. I decided l was ready and l removed family planning but pregnancy won’t come. The next following years were filled with self-guilt. Every menses was a constant reminder of my sin. People’s display of new-born ‘dp’ put a prick in my heart as a sinner. I was jealous of people pregnant and celebration of babies. Although l had two other children but l wanted a child like a woman who never had one. I prayed and prayed, l would not let go.

Finally; l got pregnant. Oh my God! It was like a dream. This pregnancy for me was a sign that God had forgiven me and given me a clean slate. You know what, not only did l fall pregnant again, l found out on our wedding anniversary and guess what EDD was October (again). Do l need any more sign of God faithfulness and forgiveness?

I am not writing this to celebrate abortion. I never in a million year thought l would be part of it, l was disappointed in myself but that experience made me realize that ‘he that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall’.

Abortion shouldn’t be the last option, it is horrible, and it’s like acting in a horror movie. Unfortunately, people don’t talk about it especially in this part of the world. Many times we hear that “Don’t have sex before marriage so that you won’t have to abort and if you get pregnant, birth the child”. But there is another part which is for married women who have unwanted pregnancies, don’t abort!

Get family planning in place before sex resumes after childbirth.

Also stop this rubbish of what people will say, for example, people will say “na every year you dey born ni” (Do you give birth yearly?)? “are you a baby factory?” etc. These people you are mindful of won’t be there where you are reaping the harvest of your guilt but will surely shut up their mouths when you are reaping the harvest of a God-sent child. Also you yourself should stop making fun of people, trust me a silly comment is the last thing a pregnant woman wants to hear. Abortion, D & C is horrible except if your heart is made of stone. Many of us have heard stories of a child that a woman wanted to abort but turned out to be the most celebrated. Some may never have a second chance like me but in all, do know that God is a loving father and not a taskmaster waiting for your mistake. In your mistake, do rise above it and don’t go back to the sin.

Contact Aya Keni on: toesetoese@gmail.com