So I’m currently pregnant, and very excitedly so! I mean, I can finally rest from all the nosy questions and suggestions. I took in a year after my wedding, but before then all my ‘uterus monitors’ or well-wishers as they claim, already had their pants up in a bunch.
Apparently, in Nigeria, if you don’t get pregnant within the first year of marriage, you must be battling infertility. I had explained that hubby and I planned on spending the first year of marriage preparing financially and emotionally for new additions to the family; but they were having none of it. ‘Men of God’ were being suggested for spiritual cleansing; a story for another day.
As excited as I am about my pregnancy, some things kill my joy. There are some peculiar problems that pregnant women face in Africa, and I just can’t deal!
1. Poor maternal health care
I will kick off my rant by addressing the biggest elephant in the room. Where do I even start from? Is it the poor structures and medical facilities? Or the disgruntled government doctors who receive meager salaries/are owed salaries? Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some good private hospitals and doctors, but are their services affordable and accessible to the poor masses?
I won’t go into all the heartbreaking details of the numerous preventable maternal deaths that have been recorded in this part of the world, but I will send a little shiver down your spine. The Nigerian maternal death rate ranks 11th in the world! Even the Nigerian Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Folurunsho Adewole, said that “Nigeria is one of the worst places to deliver in the world. We rank at par with some war torn countries like Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and so on, and this ought not to be”. And let’s not forget the sad story of a pregnant woman who died in a Ghanaian hospital as the theatre roof caved in during surgery.
I don’t blame the parents running abroad to have their babies, who sufferhead epp? Their reasons range from seeking better healthcare to securing a better future for their children, but it’s all really shameful. Something has to be done urgently.
2. Mean nurses
Nurses deserve a separate rant from health care because it’s no longer a joking stuff. Seriously, who annoyed our nurses? Why are most of them perpetually mean and rude? What happened to empathy? You would think a fellow woman would understand what you are going through, but they are usually the ones screaming and threatening you in the labour room. I’ve met some good professional nurses though, it’s usually the quack auxiliary nurses that have this ‘and so?’ attitude. One even asked my friend who was in labour why she didn’t scream for help when she was enjoying the sex. Ha! No chill mehn!
3. Dirty public toilets
If you’ve been pregnant before, you already know that frequent urination is one pregnancy symptom that is no respecter of time nor place. Once you get the urge, you just have to go. If you are unlucky and suddenly get the urge to pee in the middle of Oshodi, or Aria Aria market, where exactly will you run to? Oh, you want to go and use the restroom in the restaurant down the road? In fact the kind of smell that will hit you when you get to their restrooms will quickly send that urine back to your kidneys!
To pee, or not to pee? That is not the question. You are already screwed! The question is which of the urinary tract infections (UTI) can you handle? The one from holding in your pee, or the one from using a dirty public toilet? I’ll let you resolve that amidst your little peepee dance.
4. Monitoring spirits everywhere
This one is baffling. Is it that people have nothing better to do? Once you get married, the monitoring spirits start counting and calculating. Aunties, co-workers, church members, even social media friends, everyone starts sniffing and eyeing your tummy area suspiciously, to see if oga has scored a goal from your trips to ‘the other room’. If you spit, you are pregnant; if you have a bloated tummy as a result of the big mound of eba you demolished last night, you must be pregnant! They can sense pregnancy from afar even before you announce that you are pregnant. Uterus monitors leave us alone o!
I was very unfortunate to fall pregnant in the hot season, and to add insult to injury there was fuel scarcity at some point. Scorching sun, no diesel, no gen…I almost ran mad! Of course NEPA always showed themselves, taking the light when it was needed the most -at night! What exactly happened to the Ozone layer this year? No, seriously, the sun was too harsh, abi na end time sun? Normal human beings were dying of heat, how much more a pregnant human being like me?
In addition to the heat, you also have these blood suckers to deal with, especially Lagos mosquitoes. They are relentless! No wonder we are usually given two doses of Fancidar in pregnancy; one at 4 months and another at 7 months. Thank you doctors for understanding our plight. On a positive note, thank God the mosquitoes we have here don’t transmit the Zika virus. I shudder to think what would become of us if they did.
8. Few female gynaecologists
Calling on all our female doctors! Please help our ministry, and try to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology. Not all of us are comfortable opening wide for all these male OB/GYNs. Now that my bump has blocked my downward view and I’m not able to shave down there properly, don’t you think it’s embarrassing for a male doc to see an unshaved ministry? Also, have you seen the hands of some of these male doctors? Very wide like hand shovel! I start to squint uncontrollably when they come forward to examine my pelvis with their
weapons of mass cultivation hands.
9. Secrecy/Lack of information
What is it with African women and secrecy? People don’t share their experiences, everything is kept hush hush. With the way everything surrounding sex is hidden, you’ld wonder how people even get pregnant in the first place. Abi is it immaculate conception ni? Girls please spill the tea for your fellow sisters. Are you undergoing fertility treatment? IVF? Where? How did your pregnancy go? Any complications? What was the solution? Enough of the secrecy! Let’s open up and share our experiences so others in need of information can learn.
10. “Na you first carry belle?” syndrome
This one is really pathetic. Some people don’t care if you are pregnant or not, they will drag bus with you. I still remember one obnoxious man that dragged position with me in a queue last month. Despite my big belly, he squeezed himself in front of me, claiming he was there before me. I raged and ranted, but the man didn’t budge. Even when someone advised him to let the pregnant woman go first, he eyed me up and down and asked if I was the first to carry belle. If he did that to a stranger, I wonder what he does to his wife at home.
So don’t expect any ‘awwws’ or sympathy, after all, “no be you first carry belle.”
Announcing your pregnancy to some of our African husbands is like ringing a bell for cheating to proceed. Like seriously, who has the heart to cheat on a vulnerable pregnant woman? One of my colleagues told me he was cheating on his wife because he couldn’t stay a whole 9 months without sex. Liar liar pants on fire! You are just showing your true colours, don’t use pregnancy as an excuse. Who says pregnant women don’t/can’t have sex? Even if your wife doesn’t feel like having sex, can’t you hold body small or try alternative forms of romance . There is God watching all of us, and know that you’ve already failed your unborn child, you cheating a** dog!
12. Pregnancy pillow. I repeat, I need a pregnancy pillow!
My belly is humongous, and I am in dire need of a pregnancy pillow, I haven’t been able to get any quality sleep in a very long time. Someone should tell me where to buy one before I go crazy! And it had better be affordable!
By the way, any smart money-minded person reading this should take it up as a good business idea. Wink!
13. Stylish maternity clothes
I am born slayer and I want to be a pregnaslayer too; though on a budget. Where do people buy all those beautiful maternity clothes they flaunt on Instagram? I’ve combed Balogun market, and most of the things I saw are dashiki tops and trads. Will I wear dashiki to the office or to parties? When you manage to find decent clothes in a boutique, the price will be competing with the cost of a bag of rice. Why do I have to spend that much on something I will wear for a few months? These boutiques should fear God o! If you know where I can get beautiful and affordable maternity clothes, please hook me up ASAP. I need to pregna-slay like my mates!
14. Fear of Jazz
This one is the beginning of wisdom! Don’t be offended when you ask for my due date or sex of my baby, and get a blank stare in return. We are only scared of jazz. Can you really blame me? Strange things have happened in this Naija, and will continue to happen. Infact a lot of people disappear from the social scene and social media. Nobody wants to catch otumokpo. Maybe my fear is unfounded, and a result of too much African magic TV; but brethren prevention is better than cure. I can’t come and be the scapegoat for my village people […makes the sign of the cross].
15. You can’t show your baby bump on social media and go scot free
So you are one of the emancipated women that don’t believe in all that jazz bullcrap, and you start posting your baby bump on social media. How dare you show your baby bump to the world? You want to show off abi? It’s unAfrican, must you copy oyibo? Abeg cover your body, only your husband should see your baby bump.
The bullying is unbelievable, the surprising part being that the hateful comments come more from your fellow women. Well, I’ll leave you bullies with this profound quote from Uche Jombo Rodriguez – “If the sight of a pregnant woman’s belly makes you uncomfortable, you need Jesus.”
16. “You never born?”
The most annoying question you can ask a woman that is near or has gone past her due date. What exactly is she supposed to do? When these oversabi womb watchers feel you’ve been pregnant for too long, they start to plague you with the you never born question. It’s so annoying! of course I never born. If I don born, you for hear am. It doesn’t help that you are already impatient, they will now be adding fuel to fire and getting you worried.
17. Public Stares
Oh my god, the stares are the worst! The doctor said we should do exercise, that we should take long walks. Try walking alone in the busy streets of Lagos, you will be the cynosure of all eyes. What is it? Una never see pregnant woman before? And they don’t look at you with ‘awww’ eyes, they look at you with ‘eyaaa’ eyes, like eyaaa this woman’s husband can’t buy her a car, or eyaaa, this woman’s belle is big sha, maybe she’s carrying twins.
Your turn! Which of these frustrations did you experience? Did I miss out any?