It started like a joke. I had completed training school and had returned home. Mom saw me and she was like, “Now that you’ve completed school, the next thing you have to think about is giving birth.” I laughed at her. She said, “Don’t laugh. I’m very serious. What does a woman need after completing a higher level of education? Children have to be your priority.” I told her, “Maybe I will go back to school again soon. There are so many things I can do but if along the way I meet a man that I like, I will marry him and then we start a family.” She took a long pause before saying, “No, you don’t have to marry first before you give birth. Give birth with the man you want to marry and later go ahead and marry him. It’s safer that way.” I looked at her with a dint of surprise in my eyes. I said, “Mom, seriously?” She answered, “It’s advice. You don’t need to understand it but if you’ll listen to me and do it, you’ll thank me later.”
When it comes to love and everything that comes with it, my mom isn’t the best person to take advice from. We are three siblings; two boys and me. We all have different fathers. According to my mom, my father was the man she nearly married. They went far with their preparation until my dad pulled the plugs along the way because he got another woman pregnant. He ended up marrying that woman he impregnated. The fathers of my brothers are not known up to now. How could I possibly take love advice from this person? I ignored what she said that day. I wasn’t going to do what she asked me to do so there was no need to take what she said into my thought.
I got posted and started working. Each time I went home to visit, she hammered on what she told me. She wouldn’t explain when I asked further questions. All she would say is, “You’re a child. I was here before you so I know what you don’t know. Don’t let your education lie to you that you’re the most intelligent. Listen to me and live a life of fulfilment.” She would then walk away from me.
A year after I was posted, I met a man who swept me off my feet with his eloquence and vision of life. He is a son of a pastor so his lips drip with the gospel each day when we talk. He would talk about the word and still do what was humanly possible to keep the flames between us alive. I loved him and started dreaming of our future together. Our relationship was barely a month old when I wanted to take him home to meet my mother. I was happy about it because I thought it would make my mom happy. I called her on the phone and said, “Mom, there’s a man I want you to meet. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for and he’s the one I’m likely going to have your grandkids with.” I waited patiently on the phone to hear her happy reaction. She said, “Don’t bring him here. I don’t want to meet any man.”
I was quiet on the phone and she was quiet too. I was waiting for her to give me reasons but it looked like she wasn’t going to say anything apart from what she had said. I broke the silence, “But mom, I thought you said I should have a child? How can I have a child if you don’t want to meet my man?” She answered, “I told you to have a child. I didn’t ask you to bring a man to me. After the child, you can bring the father home, that’s alright. What don’t you understand about this?” I screamed, “But mom, why do you want me to start from the end? It’s always marriage before a child but why do you want it the other way round?” She spoke slowly. She said, “I have two sisters and you know them. Which of them has a child? They are married right?”
That revelation shook my foundation. I was like, “Wow, what’s happening here?” I asked my mom, “So what are you implying?” She answered, “I was here before you. We eat and finish the food but we can never finish talking. Just do what I say but if you think your way of thinking is the right way, I would allow you to go ahead with it but don’t come and make complaints to me when things go bad.”
My mother’s senior sister has three children. They were all adopted. She’s a good woman married to a man with a golden heart but throughout their marriage, they haven’t had a child of their own. There’s nothing they haven’t done about it. My aunt has suffered abuse at the hands of the family due to her inability to give birth. She’s the eldest but my mom is well respected in the family than her. She’s doing well in her marriage but because she doesn’t have a child of her own, no one gives her the proper regard. My mom is the second child. The third aunt is also married. She’s in her third marriage actually but there’s no child. Her two marriages collapsed because of her inability to have a child. This man she has now came to the marriage with three kids and she is the one raising the kids as her own. I guess she’s also happy. Then there’s my mom who is not married but has three kids and all the glory that comes with having children.
I thought there was more to the story than meets the eye so I went home one day to sit with my mom. I said, “I want an explanation of things. Why are things the way they are and why are you insisting that I have a child before marriage?” She didn’t want to talk. All she said was, “Just do it!” I said, “That’s the slogan of Nike but it doesn’t apply here. I can’t just do it without explanation. What are you hiding? What are you not telling me? It becomes easier to do what you want me to do if it comes with an explanation.”
The whole thing has to do with what their mother said before she died. According to my mother, our grandmother took a loan from a woman she was selling with but the money she took didn’t yield the profit she anticipated. She should have paid back the borrowed amount but she decided to continue doing business with it until she lost the whole amount. She couldn’t pay and it became a tussle. It was that woman who pronounced the curse on my grandma that her offspring would never bear her any grandkids if they marry. My mom told me, “My mother didn’t believe in the curse until she saw it with her own eyes when my elder sister was struggling to have children. She did consultations and she was told that the curse goes as far as many generations unborn. The woman who pronounced the curse had already died so my mother couldn’t ask for forgiveness from her.”
The story sounded fictitious to me so I decided to do further investigation. I went to my senior aunt and asked her questions. She confirmed what my mother said but she told me, “You don’t have to believe it will happen to you too. We all have different destinies and different paths in life. It could even be a coincidence that we are experiencing this. Don’t fall for that. Just believe in God and also believe in your own destiny. It might happen differently for you.”
My aunt’s words were the only encouragement I was looking for. I told myself, “I’m even lucky because the man in my life is a son of a pastor. That makes things easier for me. It won’t happen to me because I’m a daughter of the most high God.”
I’d dated my boyfriend for two years and we were ready to get married but my mother didn’t want to meet him. She told me, “Immediately you bring him here, it’s over for you. Why don’t you want to understand that? Are you crazy? Or you don’t want kids? Maybe you don’t but I do want grandkids. Won’t you do it for my sake?” My mom believes in slow talking when she wants to make a very important point so I also went slow with my speech and said, “Mom, there’s God who overseas these situations. The man I’m bringing home is also the son of a pastor. Why fear the devil when there’s a greater God?”
She burst out laughing. She said, “You’re a chicken—my chicken and I won’t allow you to play in the presence of the hawk. You kids think your mothers don’t know God. Go and ask your aunts how many prophets they had met and how many spiritual directions they had followed. You won’t stress me. This conversation is over.”
But I didn’t rest. I called her every day and night crying to her to meet my boyfriend. She said she won’t destroy my life with her own hands so I should do what she tells me. I had no option but to explain things to my boyfriend. He laughed when he heard the whole story. He asked, “What sort of Ananse story is that? And your parents believe that?” I told him, “It’s the reason she doesn’t want to see you so just give me some time to work on her heart. Yoofi is a man full of understanding. He said, “We have time. Talk to them. Tell them I’m a son of a powerful pastor. God lives in my house so nothing bad can happen to us.”
My aunts have talked to my mother and I’ve sent some respectable people in the family to talk to her about it. A couple of months ago she called me. She said, “It’s your life. I’ve lived mine and had seen the results. I won’t prevent you from living yours. You can go ahead and get married. You have my blessings. Bring them home. Let’s fix a date. I will dance at your wedding because my heart would be full of pride. I will tell you what Jesus said to the blind men after touching their eyes; “According to your faith let it be done to you”
I have my mother’s blessing but now I’m the one who is scared. I’m the one who’s developing cold feet because I love kids. I want to have them as soon as I marry. I haven’t told my boyfriend about my mom’s new posture. He thinks it’s my mom who is delaying us but it’s me who doesn’t know what to do now. Yesterday, I was so sure that I was going to get married and give birth to three kids. Today, that assurance is no longer there. What my mother had been fighting for has evidence and that evidence is what is scaring me. Two of my aunts. They both don’t have kids and are married. My mom tells me she could have been married but she had a bad taste in men.
The question in my heart right now is; who do I want to become? My mom or my aunts? I wake up at night and I get scared of the future. My boyfriend is also not someone who will agree to have kids before marriage. I’m in between a hard place and a stone now. Where should I go?”