5 months after the death of Bisi’s husband, her mother-in-law started noticing some changes in her. She was growing pale and she always vomited all that she ate. Not only that, she complained of being dizzy all the time. At first, her mother-in-law took it for malaria, but when the symptoms persisted, she knew something was wrong.
“Bisi, my daughter,” she called her one evening, “I have been watching you for some time now, I first thought it was malaria, but this is more than being just sick. Tell me, are you pregnant?”
Bisi’s husband had died in an auto accident on his way to Akure from Lagos. She had been married with him for 10 years and the marriage was blessed with 2 children, a boy and a girl. Now, she was pregnant and could not explain how.
Her mother-in-law had been living with her since the death of her husband so as to keep her company for she was an only child of her parent and an orphan at that. She knew the old woman did not like her, she was only tolerating her because of the children. And more, Bisi had refused to be inherited by her husband’s younger brother, Dotun, as their tradition demanded. Not even her mother-in-law’s, intimidating influence in the family made her change her mind. Never! She had sworn never to allow any other man sleep with her. Everybody was against her in this regard. They even threatened to throw her out and deny her and her children of their inheritance except Baba Timilehin, the family head. Now, this pregnancy would make things worse for her. Who on earth would believe that it belonged to her dead husband. She was not sure herself but how could she explain that she did not know anything about the pregnancy. She was totally confused.
“I am waiting for your answer, my daughter.” her mother-in-law said again, impatiently.
“I think I am pregnant” she replied.
“You think or you are really pregnant?”
“I think… I mean I am pregnant” she stammered.
The old woman smiled scornfully. The smile, which lasted for just a split second before it disappeared, said so many things.
“So, whose work is it?”
There was silence. Bisi did not know what to say. How could she tell her mother-in-law that she did not know? What would she say?
“I’m still waiting for your answer.”
“I think… er… I don’t know”
“What do you mean by I don’t know?” silence….
“Answer me, or you have become Virgin Mary? I’m sure your husband, my son did not do that from his grave.”
She kept staring at her mother-in-law, she could have sworn that the pregnancy belonged to her husband, but she was not sure. She did not know how it happened. She had tried hard to convince herself that she was not pregnant, but she had been through it twice so, she knew she was pregnant and her husband’s mother was going to make sure she was ridiculed.
The old woman ran out of the house and after some time came in with Baba Timilehin. Bisi greeted the old man who merely nodded and sat in one of the armchairs in the room. Bisi’s mother-in-law told him everything about the mysterious pregnancy.