So when we started dating, we had dreams just like every other couple who has the intention to marry someday. We were both young graduates looking to establish ourselves so we didn’t have over-the-top kind of dreams. We looked at our lives and sewed a dream that fit. It wasn’t about living in the biggest mansion with house helps running around at our beck and call. We wanted a two-bedroom house at an affordable price in a place where we can have peace of mind. We dreamt of buying a car at some point. Not Jaguar or a Range Rover. Just a metal on wheels that can carry us from one place to another. The aim was to dream achievable dreams and not fantasise about things that only take a miracle.
When it came to how many children we should have, I kept my silence. In my mind, I’ll deliver whatever my husband puts there so I didn’t have a say then. He said two. I said fine. He asked, “How many do you want?” I answered, “If you want two, put two there and I’ll deliver them.” He said, “No, it’s not all about me. It should be about you too. If you think two are too many, let’s discuss it. If you think two is too small, bring it out.” I answered, “Kids are God’s gift. If he decides to give us one, two or three, we are humans. We’ll obey and do just that.”
He didn’t buy my answer. He pushed me here and there, asking me to put a number to it. I answered, “I want two too. A boy and girl will be beautiful but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll take whatever God decides to bring our way.” He nodded and added, “That should be our prayer, that we get a boy and a girl and then put a stop to childbirth.”
We had this discussion around 2014. We got married in 2015 and 2016, we had our first child, a boy. Right at the hospital, he told me, “This boy looks exactly like me so I’ll name him after myself.” I looked at the boy. He looked like a baby who’s yet to decide who to look like. He didn’t have anything that looked like me or him yet he was able to see the resemblance. He indeed named the boy after himself. His father heard the name and he got angry. This issue brought a huge family feud that it took delegations to resolve. My father-in-law didn’t get why he was alive but his only son will choose to name a grandson after himself and not him. He called it disrespectful and even threatened to disown my husband.
When push came to shove, my husband decided to change the boy’s name and name him after his father. His father said, “No I don’t like it again. You named him after you, keep it that way. If you had any respect for me, I would be the first person you thought of when the child came.” Finally, when the issue was resolved, my husband decided to name the next one after his father. The next one came and it was a girl. He wanted to give the female version of his father’s name to the girl, again his father raised an objection; “I want a boy to be named after me. A boy who can emulate my steps and put my name in a great light.”
My husband told me, “Herh, let’s forget about him and live our lives. What about names that he’s fighting about it? Is that a property?”
In my mind, his father has lost the opportunity to have a child named after him because we were done giving birth. I told my husband, “It’s his loss then because this is our last one.” He laughed and said, “Leave him. Unless my sisters plead with their husbands to name one of their children after him.”
That day, my husband confirmed that indeed we were done with having children but he didn’t do anything that supported his stand. One night after shuperu, I asked him, “Are you sure you don’t want kids again?” He asked me why and I told him, “We haven’t done anything that says we are done. We are still living dangerously as couples who want more. What if another one comes?” He said, “Take care of yourself then. You’re the woman. I can’t do anything about it.” I told him, “Then learn to withdraw until we settle on something.” He accepted to do it but never did so I resorted to post-pills. Our shuperu life wasn’t that intense so I figured morning-after pills should handle it just fine.
I figured it out wrongly. I don’t know when I forgot to take a pill and why I did not. Our second child was barely over a year when I started getting the vibe of a new pregnancy. At first, I doubted but as days go by, I kept receiving signs from my body that suggested that all was not well. One morning I checked and I was positive. I checked again days later, and I got the confirmation. I wanted to be hundred per cent sure before telling him so I checked from the hospital and they told me, “Congratulations, a baby is growing in you.”
“Eish, how am I going to tell this man that I’m pregnant again?”
I got home and threw the test results at him. His first word was “How?” I answered, “The same question I asked when I saw the results. How?” He asked me, “Does that mean you’ve not been protecting yourself?” I answered, “I have but I don’t know what happened. These things are not hundred per cent effective. I think the last one failed or something.” He didn’t say another word. He got up and left the room. Since then, my husband has been giving me attitude. He doesn’t talk to me, he doesn’t eat what I cook, and he doesn’t even give me housekeeping money. He wakes up, engages with the kids and leaves home. Not a single word to me. Even on weekends when he has to stay home, he’ll leave early morning and come back late at night.
One day I told him, “This thing is still young. We can still decide not to have it but I can’t do anything when you give me the silent treatment. If you don’t want it, let’s sit and talk about it and stop playing hide and seek with me.”
I was giving him a hand to hold on to but instead, he decided to slap my hand off his way and move away from the discussion. He said, “I have nothing to tell you” and then walked out of the scene. I thought the days ahead will bring him back to normal but as I write this, it’s been over a month since I told him about the pregnancy. He still behaves the same way. If anything, it gets worse each day. It looks like he wakes up each morning and thinks, “What should I do today to hurt this woman?” He’ll then form the craziest idea and then go ahead to implement it.
At first, he created a barrier in our bed and asked me not to cross to his side. I asked why and he said, “Your skin will touch my skin and you’ll tell me next morning that you’re pregnant.” I said, “You’re a grown man, stop being petty.” He took a pillow and left the bedroom. Now he sleeps in the hall with our first child.
I’ve had enough of his antics and want to do something about it. He has warned me about bringing our parents into our issues. I know if I tell them, things will rather escalate than calm. What else should I do to bring his mind back home? I can just go ahead and ignore him but it looks like the longer I ignore him, the longer the issue goes on unresolved. I need a different approach.