WE WERE FORCED TO MARRY BECAUSE I GOT PREGNANT FOR HIM
We were young lovers going around having fun. I guess that’s what people do when they’re in love and have nothing else to do. They wake up in the morning and all they think about is how to meet the subject of their love, sit and talk, kiss somewhere along the line and if the night is good, they go out there and have a drink and later deep in the night, return home and sleep all day till they wake up late and repeat the whole cycle again. That’s how we lived our lives—I and Andy
We both didn’t have a job. I was a new midwife waiting to be posted. He had completed his National service and waiting for a call that would invite him for an interview. I lived with my parents and he also lived with his parents. My dad didn’t like to see him around, not because he hated him. My dad was the elder of his church and was held in high esteem. He didn’t want to be seen as a father who allowed his daughter to engage in a flagrant affair with a man right under his nose and said nothing. He always prevented Andy’s visit when he could and those times he couldn’t prevent it, he would tell Andy not to stay until late. The good thing was, he and my mom knew we were dating.
Andy’s parents didn’t care so much as my dad did. His mother loved me to bits and his father did everything to make me feel welcomed. One morning, I was lying in bed with Andy when my eyes caught the calendar on the wall. I looked at the numbers of the days and asked Andy, “What’s today’s date?” He said, “Today is 25th.” I told him, “I should have had my menses three days ago. I don’t know why it’s still not in.” He said, “Get a test kit and test as soon as possible.” I laughed. “You are scared that I might be pregnant? Don’t worry, it happens sometimes.”
We both went on with our lives—carefree and always looking for an opportunity to have fun until two weeks later I started having this feeling of uneasiness in my body. I told Andy, “I need to go to the hospital. I’m not feeling well at all.” He asked, “Has your menses come?” I said, “What has that gotten to do with it?” That night we bought the test kit. Early morning the next day, I did the test. The two stripes on the kit were the reddest I’d ever seen. I took a photo of it and sent it to Andy. He said, “I suspected it but you won’t listen to me.” I asked him, “So what are we going to do?” He asked, “What do you mean? You’re pregnant. It means you’re going to be a mother. What else can we do?”
The first person we told was Andy’s mother. Andy’s father got to know later. It took me an ocean of courage to be able to discuss the situation with my mom. When I finally did, she said, “Who’s going to tell your father that you’re pregnant?” I told her, “Maybe we can wait until he sees it himself.” Early the next morning, my dad knocked on my door. Immediately I saw his face I said in my head, “She snitched on me. That woman snitched on me.” He was angry but he tried to suppress it. He said, “The harm is already done but I won’t allow you to make me a laughing stock in the church. That guy would marry you as soon as possible. If I say as soon as possible, I mean before anyone else gets the hint that you’re pregnant.”
Andy didn’t have a job. I didn’t have a job either. The only bank account Andy had was his student bank account which had nothing in it. We both had nothing in our names to think about marriage. Andy wanted me to give birth first and use the following nine months to find a job so we could combine the marriage and the outdooring of the baby but my father said no. “Why do what married people do when you know you don’t have what married people have? Thanks to the benevolence of Andy’s parents, we got married when I was three months pregnant. Those who had eyes saw through my thick skin and knew I was pregnant but who cares?
After the wedding, I moved my things and went to live with Andy in his parents’ house. Each dawn, I would wake up and see Andy still awake—thinking and sighing repeatedly. Early morning, he’ll dress up and pick his bag and go out there to look for a job. Nothing happened for him. We worried for our future though we didn’t luck anything in our present. His parents went out of their way to make me comfortable but we wanted to move out and be on our own. I gave birth and a week later, I got posted. All my life I’ve never seen anyone start a job from maternity leave. I did. After maternity, I started working fully and for close to six months my salary wasn’t coming.
When the salary finally hit the account, we got ourselves a decent accommodation closer to Andy’s parents. We moved in with only our clothes. We had nothing in our names except copies of Andy’s CV that decorated the center table. But that guy was a diligent man. I never knew this about him until I got pregnant and gave birth. When I’m going to work, I’ll send the baby to his parents. While I’m at work, he’ll wash baby’s clothes and mine and keep the house together until I return. If there’s something to cook, he’ll cook and wait till I return so we eat together. On weekends, he never left my side. He scrubs while I wash. He carried the baby while I cook. At dawn when the baby cries, he’s the one who wakes up and picks him up. The baby was his than mine.
In 2017, our baby was two years. I wanted him to start school. He said, “He can’t start school now looking at our finances. Let’s keep him until he’s three or four. By then something might have changed in our lives.” I said, “He has to go to school. My finances can support it. You worry too much.” I meant no malice but he took it the wrong way. He said, “Your finances, right? You women are all the same. When you get small money, no one’s opinion matters. You walk over everything and call everything your own. It’s ok do as you please.”
No apology would suffice. He went on with his daily life without talking to me or getting me involved in anything. In the evening, he will go to his parents’ house to spend the night there. Nothing I said could calm him down. They say men have egos, I didn’t know how deep the ego goes until I was met with that issue. One day I asked him not to go to his parents’ house. When he tried, I stood in his way carrying the baby in my arms. He said, “If I continue staying here, one day you’ll ask me to sleep while standing because it’s your house. I won’t wait for that day.” We nearly fought. Had it not been for the baby in my arms, it would have turned physical. He stayed. We worked things out until his mood got right.
Three months before our baby turned three, he got a job. When our baby turned three, he carried him in his arms, walked out of the door, and found him a school. Six months later, he told me, “Get ready, we are leaving this place.” A week later, we were living in a two-bedroom apartment. When a man has money, it looks like he doesn’t consult. But then, he was hitting the right notes so I had no cause to complain.
We are in our sixth year of marriage. We made mistakes in our youth. We had the wrong beginning. We married on the edge of a cliff—little push would have plunged us into destruction but here we are. Three kids later, I wake up every day and count myself lucky because I know what the story could have been. The only difference is Andy.