Twenty-four years later….Déjà vu
Written by Mofoluwake Omololu.
“Anu, why are you so bent on being miserable? I’ve told you we will figure this thing out together. There’s no pressure on you, is there? It’s not your fault so you shouldn’t have to carry it alone”, Emmanuel was saying to Anu as he adjusted his tie in the mirror.
She’d sulked through the night and was now looking forlorn as she remained in bed watching him move about.
They were in their second year of marriage and had just found out Anu couldn’t have children.
At twenty-four, Anu had darned all ambitions and chosen to settle into family life with her best friend of five years, Emmanuel. They had met the year Anu gained admission in the university, she was eighteen and he was twenty, in his final year. They had kept in touch and developed a very unique relationship that led him to ask for her hand while she was serving. It was the best idea, and why wait anyway, so they got married right after her service year.
She feigned a smile for him as she walked him to the door and gave him his lunch, but broke down in tears the moment he drove off.
The plan had been for her to be a wife who cared for her home and family, comprising of a husband and children. She didn’t have a career and wasn’t inclined to get one, all she wanted was children to care for and now she knew there was no way she was getting that.
It was bad enough she was an only child, it hadn’t been the easiest thing to handle and her parent had tried but never really been enough. She had wanted a sister to talk to about everything and share dresses with and a brother to run to defense or at least one she could defend. She had always wanted a big family and that had spurred her decision to marry early, the situation she found herself in was not one she wanted to bear and she was confused.
She picked her phone and dialed one of the only three numbers she had to call on when she was in a bad place and needed a shoulder.
Her mother picked up on the third ring.
“Hello honey, how are you this morning? Are you coming over?”, Lara was saying cheerfully on the other end.
Anu sighed. “No mum, good morning. I’m fine, how are you people?”
“We’re fine dear. What’s wrong with you, you sound dull?”, Lara inquired.
“I’m fine mum but can you come over soon? Something has come up.”, Anu pleaded.
“Alright dear. I’m expecting a client shortly, I’ll see her and attach one of my girls to assist her and then I’ll come. Do you need anything?”, Lara asked.
Anu thought for a second, knowing her mother and her thoroughness with work it could be another three hours before she came so she said, “lunch will be fine. Thanks mum, see you later.”
Lara showed up four hours later with lunch and a listening ear.
Anu had cheered up a bit and was chatty with her mother as they ate. When they were done Lara asked her what had come up.
“Mum remember how I always teased you about not having more children and how I’ll birth a football team when my time came? Okay, now remember how you had asked me to at least find something doing before Emmanuel and I got married so I wouldn’t be stuck at home and bored? Remember my reply?”, Anu asked her mother.
“Yes honey, I do. You said you didn’t think you needed anything else but a family to care for since Emmanuel already had a good and secure job. Why all these questions though?”, Lara replied.
“Mummy, we can’t have kids. We were at the hospital two days ago, we’ve been going and getting tested these past few weeks. The results came and I have a condition which the doctors say can’t make me have kids, mum.”, Anu started to cry.
Lara sat dumbfounded, it couldn’t be happening again. They had prayed, affliction shouldn’t rise again. Her heart was pounding so hard she felt it in her head as she stared blankly at the daughter she had in ways she didn’t wish to remember.
She stood up like a zombie and went to her daughter, sat beside her and held her as they both cried, Anu hysterically and Lara quietly.
Anu regained some of her composure after a while and explained to her mother the options that she had been given – adoption or surrogacy.
Lara consoled her daughter as best she could, assuring her that things would be better. She didn’t bother to ask about all the medical details or jargons as her daughter tried to explain. She knew the root of it all.They prayed together and Lara returned home with the heaviest of hearts. She wept all through the way.
This circle was vicious and it was now coming for her innocent daughter.
Kola was just as stunned as his wife had been when she recounted her visit with Anu to him, they were both paralyzed by the news and confused as to what to do for their daughter. What advice could they give? They had kept their secret well enough through the years but apparently, not well enough that they escaped from it.
After over two decades, Lara saw her husband weep, as he questioned heaven. He was completely distraught; and unable to help his pain, they wept and prayed throughout the night.
They were guilty, guilty of having brought it upon their daughter. It was the only logical reason they could come up with and it hurt them very much to be the cause.
They were at their wits end and needed help for themselves and for their daughter, quickly. They decided together and went to the only friends they had who would offer their candid advice without judgement, the old pastor and his wife, Lara”s ‘foster’ and trusted mother..