In 2012, I met a young lady while I was doing a research project in a small community. She was an apprentice then. Her dedication to her work is what caught my attention. I approached her and we became friends. Along the line, our friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. We were both so in love with each other that we did everything lovers did. By December of that same year, she got pregnant.
Our relationship was still new and I was only twenty-four years old, but the news of the pregnancy made me happy. She on the other hand expressed different sentiments; “I can’t keep this child. It will interfere with my apprenticeship. Not to mention how disappointed my family will be if they find out. I want to get rid of it.” I did my best to assure her that everything will be fine. Then I convinced her to introduce me to her family so we tell them about the pregnancy. When she agreed I informed my mother and my older cousin and they accompanied me to meet her family.
We shared the news of the pregnancy with the lady’s family and asked about the way forward. The lady’s family told us, “Per our customs, you cannot perform any rites while she is pregnant. So you’ll have to wait until she delivers before we discuss the way forward.” We thanked them and went our way. From that moment, I took care of the lady and our unborn baby until she put to birth. God being so good, she delivered a set of twins. The arrival of the babies made both our families elated. Whatever discontent was brewing underneath the lady’s family’s polite smiles were forgotten. They gave my family the go-ahead to perform the knocking rites, after which the lady moved in with me.
In 2015, I quit my job and started my own business. This made me work at all hours of the day. I didn’t want her to be without help so we relocated to a place near my mother’s house. Things worked out in the beginning. The kids were doing so well that we enrolled them in school when they turned two. I was also busy trying to establish my business. My lady wasn’t working but I didn’t mind because she was taking care of the home. We lived peacefully until she started acting out of character. She became a security guard, who prevented me from having female friends. She wouldn’t allow me to even talk to my friends on phone. Sometimes she went through my phone and picked ladies’ numbers and called them to insult them.
I tried to assure her, “Listen, you are the only woman in my life. I haven’t desired another woman since I met you. You need to trust me and stop acting so possessive.” But my assurances didn’t stick in her ears. If anything, it only made her act worse. Soon, we got a reputation in the neighbourhood due to the way she went about insulting any woman who got closer to me. After some reflection I concluded, “Maybe she is acting this way because of the neighbourhood. The women who live here tend to be aggressive. I am sure that is what is influencing her behaviour.” So when our rent expired, we relocated. This time we went to live closer to where her mother was living. I thought being close to her family would help calm her down but her actions rather escalated. She went as far as locking me up in our room so I wouldn’t leave the house.
I understood she behaved that way because I had to work a lot, and so I didn’t spend enough time with the family. But what I didn’t understand was when she involved her parents in the matter. I would be busy meeting with clients and my lady’s family would call me. I would excuse myself thinking it was an emergency, only to be at the receiving end of unwarranted insults. My mood would be affected and I’d be thrown off my game. It got to a point, I was sick and tired of all the hostility I was facing from them. The regular insults and public humiliation became too much. I wanted to let her go but then I would think of my twins and I’d decide to keep trying. The only thing I could do was to spend as much time away from home as possible.
By the time I was twenty-eight years old, I was drinking excessively. Each time I closed from work, I had to pass somewhere and take in something. It was the only way I could put up with my lady’s attitude. She complained about it but I mostly ignored her.
In April 2017, I was working on a project outside Accra when she called that our daughter was sick. I asked her, “Is it serious?” She responded, “No she is just warm and she is refusing to eat.” I said “I’ll be done with my project in a few days so I won’t be home until then. Why don’t I send you some money to get her some drugs?” She agreed and I sent the money to her. Later, I called to check up on them, and she told me the little girl was doing well.
The next day, I hadn’t finished with my project but I went home to make sure that my daughter was really okay. And truly she was fine. So I went back to my project. On the following Monday, which was a holiday, I went home to check up on the family. I didn’t meet the kids at home, they were at my mother’s place so I went to see them there. After that, I headed to the mall for a meeting. When I returned, our door was unlocked. To my surprise, my lady had packed all her things along with the kids’ things out of the room. They were gone. She didn’t answer any of my calls that night. I called her the next day. “Where did you take my children?” I asked immediately she answered. “We are at my mother’s place,” came her response. I was both relieved and angry at the same time.
A new chapter of my troubles began when she left with the kids. I’d call her and ask, “How are you and the children doing? I want to talk to them. Are they near you?” She would say, “No they are asleep. Call another time.” If I called again, she’d tell me they were busy playing. This became the routine. No matter what time I called, she’d give me an excuse as to why the kids couldn’t talk to me. One day I said, “You are doing this on purpose. You don’t want me to talk to my children. Why are you doing this?” Her only response was, “Now that you get the message, stop disturbing me with calls. I will not allow you to talk to or see the kids.” I tried to reason with her but she wouldn’t listen.
Along the line, her family called me for a meeting but I couldn’t go. My younger sister was sick. Unfortunately too, my sister passed away. While we were preparing for the funeral, her family sent a delegation to my family’s home. I was out running errands by then. And no one was in the right frame of mind to host them.
After my sister’s burial, I went with my family to see them. That was the day I got to know that my baby mama is a weaver of tales. She spread lies about me to her family and they believed her. In their eyes, I was the worst person ever. Her family told me, “Our daughter and the twins will return to you after you’ve come to perform the marriage rites.” I explained my financial situation to them, “I have spent all my savings on my sister’s funeral. I don’t even have money to pay for rent right now. Give me some time to prepare myself.” That didn’t sit well with them. They called to insult and threaten me from time to time. I ignored them and sent a monthly allowance for my children even though they wouldn’t let me see them.
Eventually, I reported them to social welfare. It was agreed that they give me access to the kids. I enrolled them in a new school and made sure they were well provided for. In December of 2017, they spent the holidays with me. I noticed then that the kids weren’t doing well academically. I spoke to our mediator about joint custody so that I would spend more time with the kids and help them with school work. The mediator didn’t give me a response. When it was time for the kids to go back to their mother, I refused to let her have them. I got arrested as a result of that. And the kids were taken from me and given to her. I kept sending her money for the children’s upkeep but she wouldn’t let me see them.
I reported her to their clan chief but she never responded to any of his summonses. So I proceeded to court to fight for custody of the kids. Not knowing she had relocated and no one would tell me where to. This made it difficult for the court to serve her. When she eventually showed up in court, she had changed the names of the children. Her entire family rained insults on me and threatened to hurt me if I didn’t withdraw the case from court. After the back and forth, nothing was happening in my favour so I dropped the case. The last time I saw my kids was four years ago. They are turning nine this September and I wish I will see how much they have grown. I miss them so much but don’t even know where to find them. Right now I am praying and trusting God that someday, we will be reconciled.