By Adesida Adewumi MD
I beseech you, dear readers, let me know your wise counsel to this puzzling situation, after reading.
Mrs Tolu ( not the real name) in tears of confusion was asking me the two questions above and also gave me her permission to ask all the readers of this story. She would like to know their opinion on the way forward. Let me tell you what happened to Mrs Tolu and leave you to give your own advice on the two questions she was asking.
Mrs Tolu and the husband got married six years ago. For the period, they had no child. They had been to various hospitals and saw various gynecologists, no solution yet. All they were told after various tests was they were both okay and should keep trying.
I met them three years ago with three years of infertility. They told me their ordeal. They brought to me all their tests results . Everything was truly okay. Their case was a case of what we called UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY.
Medically in case of infertility between couples, 20- 30% of times the husband may be responsible for the infertility and 20- 35% of times also the wife may be responsible. In 25 – 40% of times two of them may have issues, but there is the 10 to 20 % of times where none of the couple is responsible. Both are okay. The baby is not just coming. This is what we call unexplained infertility.
This was the case of Mrs Tolu and her husband. What is the solution to this type of infertility? The couple can do things that will improve their conception chance. A good lifestyle like no drinking of alcohol or smoking if one of or both the couple do drink or smoke . They can use ovulation drugs like clomiphene. Depending on how long the wait has been, they can even go for all these assisted fertility procedures like IVF.
I educated them on this three years ago and counselled them to consider one of such options but Mrs Tolu and her husband refused, insisting they trusted God to come throughfor them. They would not allow medical doctors to take the glory that belonged to God. After so much persuasion with no response from them, I smiled and rested my case.
The second time they came to see me was two years ago, no child still. But that day one event happened in my consulting room that made me to probe further on the marital problem Mrs Tolu was going through. She told me her husband didn’t trust her. I wondered why. She said when they were in courtship, she made a mistake and had an affair with another man which she kept to herself and confessed to him after the wedding ceremony.
Since that day he had been bitter against her in the marriage. So many times she would be ovulating but her husband would refuse to meet with her. She had begged to no avail. Could this betrayal of trust and retaliatory unforgiveness explain the unexplained infertility in their marriage? Another life lesson I picked up in this marriage.
This had been the fragile nature of trust in this marriage despite the fact that they were now “good Christians”.
To fast forward the story,the couple did come to see me from time to time but something happened to Mrs Tolu few weeks ago on her way to a 2-weeks conference in another state. She travelled alone by a night bus . Eight of them in a bus. Six of them were women and two were men. Unknown to her, the two men in the bus were working with kidnappers. When they got to the middle of nowhere where the road passed through a thick forest, they were attacked by gun men after some suspicious calls received by the two men in the bus with them.
They were ordered down and taken deeper into the forest. They collected all their belongings. The men were six in number. She equally discovered that when they got to their destination in the forest, those two passengers were no longer with them. The kidnappers took time to rape them over and again. They collected her ATM and withdrew all her money. They demanded and collected N3million from the husband.
They spent three days in the bush before they were released. She was closer to the venue of the of the conference. So she just proceeded to the conference venue and explained what had happened to her to the organisers but she kept the part that she was raped because she did not want her husband to know. Her husband came to meet her at the conference centre.
She was taken to hospital but she also refused to tell the doctor at the hospital she was raped. Her husband took her back home.
Two weeks after this event she discovered she was vomiting and having nausea. The husband was excited may be what they were waiting for was finally here. Pregnancy test was done. It came back POSITIVE. The husband was overjoyed and it was celebration galore. She too pretended to be very happy but within her she knew what happened. Much more confusion now was that a day before the conference she ‘met’ with her husband before her ovulation the following day. The following day on the very day of the ovulation, she was then gang-raped by six armed kidnappers.
So she came to see me alone in the hospital after all the excitement of the husband at home had died down. She told me everything and the whole truth about the gang rape.
So this was when the two questions arose. ” Doctor do I abort this pregnancy or keep it? Do I tell my husband what actually happened or not?”.
Seriously, I am a Christian medical doctor and would not support abortion and I would equally not support a couple keeping secrets in marriage. That was my stand, but what were the issues at stake here now? Firstly, there was rape which put paternity of the child at stake. Secondly, there was husband who was not aware of the rape.Thirdly, there was issue of the lack of trust on ground already affecting the marriage. Fourthly, here also was the bundle of joy they had been waiting for years.
May be this time around this would just end the marriage. The husband you told nobody touched you two weeks ago, now you want to tell him six men actually raped you and this was after discovering you were pregnant. These issues call for caution and wisdom to handle and this is the reason why you are reading this write up this morning. What do you think Mrs Tolu should do? Tell me your answers to her question, she will read it in comments section or it will be forwarded to her. So this is the dilemma we are still now waiting for way forward….
Meanwhile I learnt so many lessons from Mrs Tolu’s life encounters and these were the lessons I personally learnt from this true life story:
Lesson number 1:
When you are in a relationship or courtship to be married, be faithful to one another so that your marriage is not built on wrong foundation.
Lesson number 2:
Learn to tell your husband or wife-to-be, any secret they need to know before your wedding so the other party does not feel trapped after marrying you, leading to unforgiveness and bitterness from the partner.
Lesson number 3:
I don’t know how easy this lesson number 3 is, but please try and find a place in your heart to forgive your spouse after knowing some secrets they confessed to you after the wedding, or else the unforgiveness and bitterness will render the marriage sour, difficult and turbulent for the rest of both of your lives.
Lesson number 4:
Don’t ever repeat the mistake of keeping another secret in the marriage after first forgiveness. The spouse may forgive the first one, he or she may not have the strength to forgive the second one.
Lesson number 5:
Truth always sets you free and gives you peace of mind. If Mrs Tolu had told her husband all what happened on her way to conference the two weeks ago, may be the two questions above may not have arisen.
Lesson number 6:
My heart goes out to couples out there who are battling infertility for years, but please, by doing IVF or following the advice of your doctor to get pregnant does not mean the doctor is taking the place or glory of God. God and doctor may be partners in progress to help you get your heart’s desire; doctors may be God-sent to help you reproduce.
Lesson number 7:
Please, as much as possible, avoid taking night buses now given the present security situation in this country. This is to avoid agony stories like this from bandits, insurgents or kidnappers. I pray God heal our nation and give it everlasting peace. Amen.
Meanwhile, Mrs Tolu awaits all of you responses. Thank you.
(You can equally add other lessons you have personally learnt from the story)
▪︎ Dr. Adewumi works in the Department of Family Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, Kano, Nigeria. Follow him
on Facebook at “FROM INSIDE MY CONSULTING ROOM “; his health page on YOUTUBE and INSTAGRAM @doctorhealtheducation; on Twitter @doctorhealthed1; and on WhatsApp at: +2348068649694. He gives daily education on health plus free daily consultation.