My husband is giving me every reason to be scared in this marriage. It’s a young marriage. We’ve been married for only three months. We dated for four years before we finally decided to get to the altar. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. Sometimes I doubted if he indeed loved me. He didn’t keep his promises, especially when it came to our marriage arrangement and that gave me a lot of reasons to be scared of the future. We started talking about marriage when we were two years into the relationship. I was in school then, doing my second degree. He told me, “Right after school we are getting married. We don’t have to waste any more time as the two of us know where we are going.”
I was excited, not because of the marriage but because I had a man who was thinking positively about our future. I couldn’t wait to complete school so we could fix a date. A month before I completed school I got pregnant.
I was shattered when I found out. I knew it was going to push us to rush our plans and I didn’t want it that way. I wanted a clean wedding where I would wear my white and be proud of it. I didn’t want to wear white over a secret—a visible secret I’m keeping from the world. I thought about it for over a week before telling him that I was pregnant. He said, “We can’t have it. It’s too soon to have a baby and this is not what I anticipated when I talked about marriage. Marriage before babies and not the other way round so do something about it.”
He left everything in my hands as if I was the only one who got me pregnant. He would call in the morning and ask if I had done it. He would call in the evening and ask if I was in pain after doing it. My answer was always, “Please give me time to think through my options very well.” That got him angrier; “What options again? It’s between you and me and we’ve decided not to have it so what other options are you talking about? Don’t lay our dreams under your own feet and trample on them. Do what I told you and save the best for last.”
I did it. It wasn’t easy for me but I did it.
I completed school and this guy stopped talking about marriage. Anytime I brought it to his attention, he had a fine excuse to give. At some point, he made me feel like I was nagging him into marriage so I stopped talking about it. He realized the reluctance in my steps whenever I had to go and see him. There was this unseen heaviness between us anytime we were together so he decided to address the issue; “Listen to me, I haven’t forgotten about the marriage. It’s just that something came up and I needed to use the money to solve it. You know a family and how they come up with problems whenever they see you have money saved somewhere. But don’t worry, we are going to get married early next year. Start the preparation for it.”
I didn’t believe the part where he made excuses about how we couldn’t get married but I was trusting him to fulfil this new promise of getting married early the following year. We were like eight months away so I started making my personal preparations. One day he came home with five different clothes and said, “Keep them. I’m getting them bit by bit. We can’t fail this time around. It made me believe him more so I started talking to my parents about it. They knew him from day one and they were very proud of how far we had come. Getting to the middle of the year, I got pregnant again.
“Why does this happen anytime we are close to something big? I remember I took drugs the day after so what happened? It didn’t work?” I thought about it for four days and I was convinced I was going to have it no matter what. “I’m not a child to be hiding away from these things. I will convince him to accept it this time.” I told him about it and again he said, “No, we can’t have it.” That was it. No reason and no explanation were given. I screamed, “Not this time. We are going to have it. With or without your consent, I’m going to have it.” He said, “Have it and marry yourself then.” I answered, “No problem. It’s not a crime to be a single mother. I will have it.”
I stood strong during the exchanges but when I was alone, I broke down and cried. “Why is this guy doing this to me? Is it not a human we are going to give birth to? Why? Why?” I cried and cried and cried until I fell asleep that night. We were not on talking terms for days. We even crossed paths but walked away as if we didn’t know each other. Maybe it hit him that this time I wasn’t going to obey him so he came around with a sweet tongue to convince me to do it; “We have a few months to the fixed date. This time around, I’m not going to fail you so you don’t have to bring external issues that would fail us. Just understand me, it’s for our own good.”
I obeyed him once again. I let it go so the marriage can happen without a hitch.
When we were getting closer to the fixed date for the marriage, he postponed it again citing some flimsy excuses. I was boiling on the inside but I couldn’t drag him by the neck, pull him to the altar and get married to him so I accepted his new date and it was that date we got married.
Knowing what I’d been through and how far I’d come, I was very happy—very happy that it happened finally. We had a beautiful wedding and later went on a one-week honeymoon, travelling from one place to the other. A month after the honeymoon, I started feeling uneasy. It could only be pregnancy because I’ve had that feeling before. This time I was married so I didn’t rush to find out until I got eager one morning and tested with a test kit. Both lines showed red. I took the test kit and threw it on him; “You’re going to be a father!” I stood there waiting for his happy reaction but he took so long staring at the test kit. When he lifted his eyes he said, “Just one month and you’re pregnant? So we can’t have time to enjoy our marriage before pregnancy? No, we can’t have it.”
What came to my mind was, “Abi you day mad? What do you mean by we can’t have it?” I couldn’t tell him that. I asked him, “What’s your excuse this time? We are married so…” He retorted, “We are married doesn’t mean we should rush to have a baby. Babies ought to be planned for. They don’t have to happen by accident?” I said, “You mean you accidentally had shuperu with me? What are you talking about? Just forget it. Not this time. Discussion over.” I left the scene like the boss that I wanted to be. He ran towards me, “It’s too early dear. You have to understand me. Let’s go a year or two. Let’s plan for them properly. Do you think what you have can take care of a baby? We need a concrete plan first.”
Everything he said sounded blah…blah…blah in my ears. “We can plan as we go. Who said plans can’t be made while carrying a pregnancy?” He realized persuasion wasn’t going to help so he resorted to force and aggression but I made him understand that storms won’t move me and even when the skies come falling down, I won’t be shaken. I will still have it. When push came to shove, I reported him to his parents. I enumerated the previous ones to them also and they were shocked I had to go through all that. His father said, “He thinks marriage is for boys. Don’t mind him. He’ll learn how to save money for kooko and buy diapers with his last pesewa. That’s what makes a man.”
He came home brimming with anger that I’d taken our issues outside when our marriage was barely months old. I know his tricks so I disengage whenever he starts talking. Currently, he doesn’t talk to me. We live like tenants. He doesn’t eat my food and doesn’t pay for anything in this house. He goes out and comes when he likes. I play my role as a wife even when he has neglected his husband role. As I said, even when the skies come falling down, I won’t be moved. The pregnancy is getting to three months. My mother is scared that he might do something to make me lose it so she has suggested that I come home and live with them until he comes to his senses.
I don’t think he would go that far and I also don’t think it’s the right time for me to leave my marriage, especially when we are having problems. I want to stay here until I give birth but my other insists that I should come home. That’s my dilemma, whether to go or not to go.