So reality is here. You got pregnant and he married you, yes! Praise the Lord!! But you knew from day one that he didn’t love you. He loved someone else but because you got pregnant, he HAD TO do ‘the right thing’. But a few days after you gave birth to your first child, he comes in at night drunk and with his arm around another woman, orders you off the bed where you were sleeping with your new born daughter. You end up sleeping on the cold, hard floor with a piece of cloth as your mattress. You didn’t see that as enough reason to leave him because you’d just had a baby. But he hasn’t even paid your bride price; he just promised to do so after the birth of the child. Now the child is here, he’s waiting for the baby to be old enough. Well, now the beatings have become more frequent. Of course he didn’t just start it. Even while you dated he beat the crap out of you, but you thought only a real man would beat his girl and go back to apologise to her.
Then there’s a second child: another daughter. The beatings become almost a daily affair. He doesn’t take you anywhere for fun. He gives you N500 (not an exaggeration) to prepare food. He comes home drunk, if he comes at all. He snaps at the kids and hits them for no reason. Now you foolishly think to yourself, maybe if you had a son, this maltreatment would reduce to a great extent and your life would be bearable. And so it happened that on one of those drunken nights and savage acts of sex, you become pregnant and you get on your knees and pray for a baby boy. Months later, yaayyy!! Another baby: another GIRL. You almost die of heartbreak because this time you know you are ‘dead’ for sure. Now he doesn’t even bother to speak to you and does so only when he HAS to. He comes home very very late and speaks to you like a slave master does his slave. The beatings go on with a renewed vigour and aggression. You continue to explain your swollen eyes to your neigbours as something else, even though they hear you screaming almost every night; and they can tell it’s not screaming from pleasure, hmm-hmm. You go to the ‘chemist’ almost every week to treat a broken this, a swollen that or a dislocated that.
But they say when there is life there is hope and if you have lost hope of everything else, you haven’t lost hope that you would have a son, because to you, that holds the key to your marital happiness. You get pregnant again and you start going to church more often, making all sorts of vows to your God so that he gives you this one thing. And then when you give birth months later, finally ooooo!! A baby boy! You give thanks to God and for once since you got married, you feel like a new bride. The man finally paid your bride price and throws a big party because he has a son finally! He opens a provision store, buys you a few clothes and makes you feel like a queen. You think, “YES! I’ve done it”. But all that euphoria lasted for what, 8 minutes and it’s back to normal beatings (for you and 3 daughters) and ‘by-force’ sex. N500-for-food returns with vengeance. You try to keep up appearances by buying nice clothes for yourself and your kids on credit. Since the money he gives you isn’t even enough to feed a baby lizard, how much less 5 humans. You start to eat into the meagre profits from the provision store and in no time, the store looks very empty. Oh and the beatings continue and the way he beats the children, you would think he played no part in producing them. He beats them like they are his mates. He uses anything he lays his hands on to hit them. The eldest daughter (now in JSS3) has a big scar on her head from when her father threw a giant padlock at her when she was like 4 years old.
Now you wonder what you have done to deserve a life like this. You rarely see something to smile about these days. When people look at you, they see a very sad woman. They pray over-thinking and sadness doesn’t kill you someday. In all these sadness and after having 3 daughters and a son, you still become pregnant. AGAIN. But this time, it’s a dangerous one that could take your life: an ectopic pregnancy. It had to be removed or you would die. The surgery almost took your life but thank God for his mercies. You have resigned yourself to your fate. You have given him a son and he still treats you like a worthless piece of rag. You have erroneously believed that giving him a son would wipe all your sorrows away, and give your marriage a clean slate. You forget that you ignored a lot of things in the beginning including the fact that you KNEW he had a serious girlfriend whom he loved. But you still “chook your head inside”, deliberately got pregnant so he would have no choice but to focus on you; destroying a happy relationship in the process. And you still have the guts to ask what you did to deserve all this.
Well, shey they said ‘marriage is for better, for worse’? Ehen you will have to bear and remain in it ‘till death do YOU part’ na, abi? Or would you be bold and courageous enough to tell yourself that in spite of your boyfriend-snatching past, you realise you made a mistake being with this man at all; and as a woman, you deserve to be with someone who would treat you the way you would love to be treated. So even though you already have four kids, would you take the bold step and dare to look for happiness elsewhere? The ball is in your court.