Written by Mofoluwa Jackson.
She was startled from her trance as she heard her neighbor call out to her. She quickly dropped the album, made her face presentable and went to answer the door. Her neighbor wanted to borrow another bucket, they had collected two already. Her neighbor,
Susan, had just had her third child, she and her husband had moved into the same estate as Lara and Kola. Their marriage was a year younger than Lara’s. They had been neighbors for the past eight years and Lara had witnessed Susan carry and birth her three lovely children. The friendship that had blossomed between them at the beginning had suffered lots of strains since Susan seemed to be bustling with fertility while Lara was fruitless.
Lara gave her the bucket and promised to be out to help set up and prepare for the naming ceremony in a while.
Lara had learnt to mask her burden with her bright smile and charming laugh, it always worked, and now as she worked with her other neighbors and a few random women and as they talked about the intricacies of childbirth and motherhood, she smiled and laughed to mask the ache.
She went home to freshen up and change for the Naming ceremony. Kola returned as she came out of the bathroom and he pecked her, she hardly responded to him. He, too, took a bath and came out and dressed in the kaftan she’d laid out for him. They were wearing matching dresses.
The naming was as namings go. The husband, Kenneth, testified and praised his “beautiful wife for confirming his manhood and filling his house with beautiful children and for being an awesome mother to his small babies and to her big baby, himself”
It was very sweet, and Susan praised her husband too.
Lara sat there silently, wondering if she’ll ever testify or get praised or praise in return.
They’d spent their first year together waiting on her to take in by chance but by the 7th month it started to be a bother and people were asking questions. They’d prayed and prayed and fasted and fasted some more but to no avail. Then her mother had asked her to go into a hospital and get checked, maybe there was something wrong with her. This was around the middle of the second year of marriage.
She went to the hospital and saw a gynecologist who ran several tests and told her that everything seemed fine, he gave her a diet to follow and asked her to come back in a few weeks. She hadn’t told Kola about it at first, she was scared that something had been really wrong with her. She’d bothered that some of the injuries she’d acquired as a very athletic adolescent were now taking their toll on her. One of her aunties had taken to telling her how she would distort her bodies natural order with some much sporting.
She followed the diet strictly and when time came for her to go in to see the doctor and another series of test were run with nothing coming up she was confused. She had asked about her athletic streak, and after asking for details, the doctor told her she was still fine, despite that.
The doctor had asked her to come in with her husband soon so they could test him, too. She’d wanted to ask what for? Since men couldn’t be barren. Or, could they? But she chose to bite her tongue.
When it had gotten really hard on them and the strain was constant, Kola had lost all interest in discussing about them having a child, he’d asked her not to worry so much and that it was God’s will and when he was ready he will give them a child. It had become a touchy subject since then and Kola was easily irritated with her when she brooded over it.
Kola had lost his temper over her worry, so much so he even stopped praying about their ‘problem’ just incase “mentioning it in prayer was a constant reminder and maybe pressure on her”.
She thought about asking Kola to go and get checked for a while but gave it up as he got fiercer on the issue.
Lara never went back to that first hospital, she instead got checked in three other hospitals and came up with the same results, she was fine. She ignored the pleas to bring in her husband and instead asked for hormonal drugs to help stimulate her organs.
The drugs had peeked her senses some, she was fresher and more bubbly and more relaxed, she felt that those were good signs and so went about her wifely duties cheerfully and hopefully.
This had led into their third year of marriage and Kola never noticed any of the things she had done or the changes they had had on her for the while had used the hormonal drugs.
He did not even notice how more athletic and creative she had become in their time together. She was seething with frustration as he seemed to have given up, and was getting less interested on their undefined bed.
To his credit, he remained loving. When she could bear it no longer she blurted out!