I felt like the worst sinner on earth. It touched me deeply because I knew I was one of the ladies Kendra was talking about. I should have been by her side, dancing, jubilating and thanking God for her miracle. Instead, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me because of the shame I felt.
This shame started 5 months ago as ‘gist’ amongst 4 church workers. I, being one of the four. “Just look at her, with no shame at all, flaunting her bump in public”…Dara spat as she completed her sentence. “May God save us all, kai! The things we do just to have a child”, Zara completed. “So it’s true?” I asked, “Is it true that they are not really pregnant, that she is forming it?”
“Is that what you heard?” Ify asked as they all laughed. “Make una talk to me na, I have just been hearing bits of the tale, I don’t have full intel”, I said.
“Well, the gist is that Kendra’s husband, Patrick, has been letting different men grace their bed in an attempt to get his wife pregnant”, Zara said as the rest of the ladies clapped their hands in the usual way Nigerian women do when they hear something negative. The clap usually meant ‘wonders will not end’ (in pidgin, it means ‘na wa’).
I was shocked by what I just heard but the gossip in me needed the full gist so I asked for more details. “Babe, it is no story. They have tried everything and now they have resulted to this demeaning act and the worst part, Kendra agreed to it”, Dara added. “We don’t know for sure now if she is pregnant. Cause there is a rumour about a surrogate which I won’t be shocked it’s true”, Ify concluded.
“So the adoption isn’t true?” I asked, fueling the conversation some more.
We all went silent as Kendra walked past us with one of our prayer leaders. We shook our head as Dara spat again and snapped her fingers. The prayer leader heard her and turned, asking us if there was a problem but we all said ‘no’. Kendra also turned and greeted us but we just mumbled. As they left, we continued our discussion.
“Na wa o, so she is now pregnant”, I continued. “Who knows whether it is truly a baby bump she has in front of her or a fibroid bump”, Ify said as we all burst into laughter. Today, watching Kendra give her testimony and talk about how other women (I included) made jest of her and called her names, spreading lies about her and her family, made me feel so ashamed. She talked about all she went through, trying to have a baby. The IVF that went wrong, the miscarriages she had to bear and the most devastating was a stillbirth. All these she suffered in the first 5 years of her marriage!
I felt her pain for the first time and it made me feel so sad inside. I wish, that day, I had scolded Ify, Dara and Zara instead of joining them to share false stories about a woman going through so much pain when she could have been enjoying her marriage.
It pinched me some more when she spoke of how her mother-in-law used to torment her and how her sisters-in-law made jokes about her being barren. She also highlighted that she heard some of the rumours going round in church about her. Instead of condemning us, she prayed that we wouldn’t experience what she had to go through. This was the most heart stabbing part, especially as years after, I fell victim too.
This, I will share next week. However, I’d like to know if you have been victimized too by fellow women or if you have been a comfort zone to a suffering lady. Let’s share our stories, our learnings and encourage each other to be more loving, more supportive and less abusive to one another.