“It’s a girl”
Amara walked away from the clinic despondent. This could only be described as the worst day of her life. Several thoughts crossed her mind as she walked blindly to the car park. She had had enough.
Amara and Ezekiel had been married for 9 years. He was her first love and her childhood sweet heart. They had faced opposition from Ezekiel’s mother and sisters, but eventually true love triumphed, and the wedding had gone ahead despite the odds. Even till this day, the expressions on the faces of her in-laws in the wedding photos amused Amara.
The dejected faces of Ezekiel’s mother and his eldest sister were a testament of the battles of the yesteryears.
Ezekiel’s mother was known to friends and family as O so di eme which translated as ‘her husband’s helpmeet’. She was not given to diplomacy. She did not crack a smile throughout the ceremony. His sister, was wilier in her approach, but was no less lethal. Nevertheless, Ezekiel was resolute, he was besotted with his bride. The future was bright. One boy one girl that was all they wanted, and after that she could dust down her certificate and get a job. Ezekiel would be the bread winner, his job as an Accountant with Dafione & Co would sustain the family. That was the plan.
But then man proposes and God disposes.
O so di eme was having the last laugh. She seemed to delight in my failure to produce an heir. I wanted my first born child to be a girl, and when we had our first girl Onyinyechi, Ezey and I celebrated our good fortune. Our second another girl arrived within a year. A tad disappointed, we called her Kosisochukwu. 10months later Onyekozuolu was born. I was hoping for a boy child, as was Ezey, although he assured me he would be happy with whatever sex our baby was. When we were blessed with another girl my disappointment was palpable.
After the birth of Zulu, due to Papa’s illness my mother could not come for omugwo. Oso di eme volunteered to come and help out. The gloves were off. She became openly hostile and made my life hell, mocking and jeering at every opportunity. “If na before, we for chase you commot this house, useless woman!”She would say, careful to ensure Ezekiel was never within earshot when she dropped her missile. “Na so so yeye girl full your belle!” and on and on and on. The 3-month sojourn was so stressful, I was tempted to persuade Ezey to send his mother home; but I knew that would only stoke the fire.
Though Ezey sensed my misery, he attributed it to my overwhelming feeling of failure. Regardless of what he said, I intuited Ezekiel really longed for a son. He was the only son of his mother, it was up to him to perpetuate the family name. I knew I had to deliver the goods. I perceived Ezey’s disappointment. His disappointment made me feel insecure. Fear gripped my heart. What if Ezey decided to try for a boy outside? It was to stem the probability of this threat that I took in again.
The gods had me in derision. Our fourth child needless to say was…you guessed right… a girl. We called her Odinaka .
I decided this was it. I was not going to try again.
I was fed up and then I became indignant.
I had put my life on hold to have our children. Nothing else had gone according to plan. Ezekiel’s family put the blame squarely at my feet. Ezekiel was despondent, but he remained steadfastly loyal. He was a loving husband and an affectionate indulgent father, but deep down in me, I knew it was a ticking time bomb.
Paranoia set in, I begun covert surveillance ,searching his pockets, briefcase, pigeon-hole, mobile phone, shirt cuffs to see if there was anything happening behind my back. For the first time since we got married, I insisted on condoms. It was a tough decision, but in my insecurity I no longer trusted Ezey.
I did not want to have another child, nor did I want to catch any disease even though nothing in Ezey’s lifestyle suggested it. He seemed relieved. His mother began visiting more frequently, hinting to her son about picking someone from the village that could do the job I couldn’t do. During a recent visit, she had in tow, a nubile 18 year old baby-sitter whom I promptly dispatched back to her origins.
I prepared to start looking for work, to repackage my life, and recoup what was left of my youth. I rekindled my sense of purpose.
And then one morning getting ready for a job interview, I felt nauseous.
I was pregnant again. I contemplated abortion. Ezekiel and I discussed it, his response was equivocal. Well meaning friends cautioned me “Amara don’t…! This could be the boy you have been waiting for”. I was so confused. I did not want a baby, certainly not another girl; not now I was trying to make a life for myself.
Eventually against my better judgement, I decided to keep the baby. I was already 30weeks in, but I did something I had never done. I went for one of those special scans. I did not want any surprises. I needed to know. I did not tell anyone.
“It’s a girl…”
I felt cheated. I was trapped. As I left the clinic that day, I contemplated a late abortion, I entertained suicidal thoughts. My mind in turmoil. What was I to do? I wanted to end it all. I would prefer it to end quickly. Rat poison. Carbolic acid. Cut my wrists. Caught up with plotting my quickest, tidiest escape from the shame of the birth of another girl, I did not see the molue bus approaching from the corner until it collided with my car.
“Doctor, how is she? My wife…? Is she ok? How is the baby?”
“Sir, your wife was brought in unconscious, she has lost a lot of blood, we need to stabilise her first and then we will try to salvage the foetus”
“Please do your best Doctor, do what you have to do”. Ezekiel was inconsolable “Oh God, please save my wife, please give me my wife back, please” he sobbed “How will I live without her, please God spare her life!”
Finally, the doctor emerged to deliver the news to Ezekiel. “We had to perform an emergency C-section. Your wife remains in critical condition”
“Oh God please save my wife”
“Baby is premature and on life support, but is clearly a fighter”.
“Will she be okay…the baby?”
“It’s a boy!”
The news took Ezekiel unawares “What…?”
“Yes, you have a baby boy…”