abortion

Fall On My Sword 9

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“Didi, I am pregnant,” Chichi said.

I almost fall out of my chair in shock. She is the most careful woman I know and her cycle is as predictable as the clock which is why she has had only 1 abortion that I know of. I remember her telling me that she and Moses had to be careful not only to avoid getting caught but also not to get pregnant. The church would not wed them if she was pregnant. They would have to do a “marriage blessing”; probably in some“ office in Shepherd centre without the normal fanfare of church weddings or wed in another church.

“How did it happen?” I ask.

“O buro Moses (Is it not Moses)? He claims he reacts to condoms and I told him it wasn’t my safe period but he said he would be careful. Lee nu ya (Look at the result),” she said folding her arms.

I was at hers because a tailor was to come there and take our measurements for the clothes for her wedding. She was running late.

“Ke ihe I ga-eme (What are you going to do?)”

“I don’t know. Moses says we can’t keep it. He can’t lose the job in church.”

“Will they fire him because you got pregnant?”

“You don’t know these people. They can be petty. Even if they don’t fire him, he won’t be seen in the same light ever again.”

“Well…I don’t know how that is a loss. Maybe they need to see him for the hypocrite he really is!”

“Didi!” she gasps.

“What did I say that is not true? He has everyone fooled that he is on a high spiritual plane or something yet, he is asking you to get rid of his baby.” I spit in disgust and cross my arms before the thought hits me. “Wait, is it his child?”

“How should I know?” she replies non-pulsed. “The child belongs to whoever I decide to keep it for.”

“Chichi!”

“O gini (What is it)?” She rises from her couch to pick the remote from the centre table and proceeds to flick through channels casually as if she just announced that it rains in Nigeria.

I gape at her, mouth open as she stands with one knee on the table and her left hand on her waist. She has crossed many lines in the past but now I feel like I can see into her soul and what I see is frightening. I feel like in place of her soul she has a yawning hole; deep and dark and menacing, filled with the souls of all the men she has been with. I shiver with repulsion.

How did I ever admire her so much that I wanted to be like her?”

She takes her seat before speaking again. “Why is that tailor taking so long?”

“Chichi why did you continue sleeping with your boss when you knew you were engaged to Moses?”

“Who will pay for me to maintain my lifestyle? Is it Moses who can hardly fend for himself? I had to give him money to secure a venue for our traditional wedding. His rent just expired and his car is on its last legs. Why doesn’t he ask where I get all the money from?”

“He is afraid to ask…” I realize.

“Does such a man deserve…never mind.”

She picks up her phone, dials a number. I overhear her scolding the tailor for being so late and urging her to hurry.

I find myself wondering whether Stan would ask me to abort his baby if he found I was pregnant. Then I find myself wondering what Nedu thinks about abortion.

“Why am I thinking about Bro. Nedu?”

“That woman is testing my patience. I will change tailors if she doesn’t show up. The last time she kept me waiting like this it turned out she was lying and had never left her shop. Ndi mmadu di nno unreliable (people are just unreliable).”

“How far gone are you?”

“Six weeks.”

“Is there any one apart from your boss?”

She nods. “There’s Chief Braithwaite and Felix.”

“But…but…Felix is married, newly married. I thought you guys broke up?”

“Is it my fault his wife doesn’t know her duty? He said she is frigid. All these “sisters” who don’t want you to test before marriage: She was hiding her issues. The guy came to me in tears. I had to put him out of his misery.”

She reaches for her glass and takes a gulp. With her it is never anything light. It’s go hard or go home. Even when she used to smoke she was smoking Cuban cigars. She gave them up last year when she felt she was losing control. I hug myself. There is a chill in the air.

Maybe it comes from us coldly discussing the future of a child who did not ask to be conceived by a mother who exists solely for the next thrill.

Maybe it is because of all the alcohol we have consumed.

Maybe it is about to rain.

I feel sad but I can’t explain why. Though I am the less adventurous of the two of us, I always defended her actions. Now I find myself wondering if there will ever be an end to the excuses.

“Where does it all end really?”

“Hmm?”

I realize I have spoken out my thoughts. “What will happen after the wedding when Moses finds out he has been fooled?”

“Like the good Christian that he is, he will accept his lot and make the best of it. Come to think of it, he is getting me.” She points at herself. “All this gorgeousness for one man?”

I laugh despite myself. She has a point; a woman as highly coveted as she is only comes at a price and Moses will pay it whether or not he realizes it.

 

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My phone jars me out of my reverie at work the next day. It is Nedu. I realize I didn’t call him.

“Hi. Bro. Nedu good evening.”

“When did it become “Bro. Nedu?” he asks.

I almost blush and I wonder why. “Why am I so nervous around him? I feel like a bumbling fool, barely able to string two words together. Even pastors don’t make me this nervous.”

“I am sorry: Nedu. I should have called to tell you I will be unavoidably absent but if there is another class next Saturday, I will be there.”

“Will he let you come next Saturday?”

“I beg your pardon?” A cold feeling of dread descends slowly down my spine.

“I know you heard me. I had a dream last night and I saw you had a star on your head. Most people who are born to be stars find their destinies derailed early in life. It is never easy getting them to commit.”

“I don’t know who you think you are but…” My legendary temper has unleashed itself like a rottweiler that smells blood.

“Ndo Nne. Enjoy your weekend and come to class next week. I pray the angels of God protect you till you are ready to take the leap. Jesus loves you.”

“He ended the call! What is it that gives this man airs, biko nu?” I fume when he cuts off. “Who told me to attend that church and even come forward and write down my name? I should never have.”

If I had been tempted to cancel on Stan, the thought perished when he sent me flowers in the morning with a handwritten poem telling me how much he looked forward to our outing. By the time I got off the phone thanking him for the flowers, a package arrived for me. It contained the most decadent lingerie, my favourite perfume, chocolates and red wine. I had had great boyfriends but this one surpassed them all.

Which girl in her right mind would ever give up all that for a bible study class? Am I the first girl to get born again? I know a number of born again folk who live double lives; they have the right lingo, attend church regularly and go through the motions but when it is time to party, they take no prisoners. That is more my style. Not for me the life of the miserable minority who actually give up their former lives when they get born again.

That just sounds so unnecessary.”

 

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Esau’s Pottage

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When I was still single, I had this patient who was middle-aged; a politician with a lot of cash to throw around. The reason he got my number(which I usually withheld) was that I referred him to an ENT specialist and he requested to be able to call me to speak to him if need be. Subsequently, he kept in touch, calling occasionally just to say hello and so on. The staff of course loved him cause he was a big tipper. Whenever his posh car with the government license plate  rolled in, even those who should have closed for the day would hang on, hoping for a “blessing”.

One day, he called me in the afternoon.

“Good evening, sir”, I greeted. (Note he had a leadership position in church that came with a title).

“My doctor! How na?”

“Fine sir.”

“I am eating **** in **** restaurant. Would you like to join me? Let me send my car for you.”

Now picture me, fantasizing about myself being chauffeured in that posh car with good air conditioning, insulated from the harsh Niger Delta sun, arriving said restaurant like a ‘queen’, being served all sorts of delicacies, where I proceed to eat myself to stupor. The smell of hospital antiseptic jars me back to my senses.

“No, thank you sir. I have had lunch.” (Aunty long-throat whispers in my head ‘Liar! You have not!” but I ignore her voice.)

“Are you sure? They have**** and ***. Have you tasted****?”

(By this time I am shaking my head like MFM prayer warriors muttering in tongues to bind the devil)

“No, thanks again. Have a good meal. I have to see a patient. (Another lie!). Bye now.”

He never asked again even though he called me for many other reasons through the years. A few years back, I was married and living in Lagos at this time, he called me out of the blues. I greeted him heartily.

“Doc, I don’t know how to tell you this. I need a favour.”

“Shoot.”

“Well…it’s just that…I wish you were in town I would have come to see you to ask for advice.”

I wonder why he is stuttering. What could be making him so nervous?

“Why not tell me what the problem is; I could be able to help even though I am far away.”

“Is it not all these small small girls? They don’t know how to do the right thing.”

“Small girl? Is your daughter ill?

“No, not my daughter. It’s one small friend I have…(Big shot actually sounds sheepish). She said she did not see her period.”

I am tempted to sound obtuse and ask him to go to her house, take permission from her mother and help her find it but “Not today Satan! Stay professional Dr. N!)

“How old is she?”

“19”

“Haba! That is too young. An older girl might have known to use protection. Why didn’t you use protection?”

I can feel him squirming over the phone…even MTN can feel it. His money, cars, connections cannot protect him from the wrath of an Igbo woman.

“I used condom. She said…I don’t even know what she said…”

“Are you sure she is pregnant? Have you done a test?”

“She showed me the pregnancy test she did. It was positive. Doc, how do we flush it out? Is there any friend you have who can do it for me?”

“You know I don’t do such things!” I scolded.

He winced. “I know but maybe your friends?”

“I don’t have friends who do abortions. You know it is illegal. Why not keep the baby?”

“Ha! You know my status. I am an *** in church and she is a small girl.”

I thought for a while. There were 2 possibilities.

  1. She was pretending to be pregnant to con him out of money
  2. She was actually pregnant and if I didn’t intervene he would take her to a quack and she would end up with a septic abortion or even worse die.

“Go to the hospital, call one of the doctors aside and tell him you need to ask him something privately. If he is willing to get involved, tell him your predicament and he will make sure it is done right. But first, he should do another test to confirm she is actually pregnant. If you insist on going ahead, ensure it is done under the strictest of sanitary conditions, and keep an eye on her afterwards to prevent any complications.”

“Okay, doc. Thank you.”

“Sir…you need to choose your girlfriends carefully. 19 years is too young!”

He mumbles something unintelligible.

“And you need to use protection. Carry a condom around. You will protect yourself from scandal and protect Madam from catching something. These girls are not loyal.” I was speaking fast because I knew he had had an earful and would soon end the call.

“Thank you”

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I never heard from him again.

Now the moral of the story… Esau was so hungry that he sold his birthright for Jacob’s pottage. If I had gone out with this man, even if I didn’t have sex with him, I would not have the temerity to call him out.

We are in this world as a light to expose the deeds of darkness. Make your standards evident once people meet you and they will leave you alone.

There are men who cannot call out their friends who are beating their wives just because they are indebted to them. Stop borrowing money you cannot repay to impress people who do not care about you.

There are ladies who paid people to write their exams, now they can’t raise their heads when people who know you were an arts student wonder how you ended up an Engineer.

Stop laughing at crude jokes in order to be politically correct. Even if you are not bold enough to speak against things, stand up and walk out. Psalm 1 talks about how blessed is the one who does not sit in the seat of scorners and mockers. You believe…who knows?

Making your stand known also protects you from undue pressure. I remember my husband telling me how a colleague at work was about to invite him to hang out with him in a club when another colleague interrupted and said “Leave him O! He doesn’t drink or hang out.” One day when the ribbing got too much, I told him to accept their invitation if he felt like it. He was such a bore at their outing cause while they were getting wasted he was worrying about the work he brought home and wishing he had his laptop. Suffice it to say they never invited him out  again.

You have the power.

JUST BE!

Cheers, Dr.N

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If you would like to chat send me an email @ drnsmusings@yahoo.com or find me on twitter @nenabekee

My First Abortion.

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Newborn's Hand Holding Finger

 

In Nigeria, abortion is illegal except advised by a doctor in order to save the mother’s life. There are a few cases where due to some complications in pregnancy, it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy for the mother’s sake. Majority of abortions however, are procured for the mother’s convenience. I happen to be a pro-lifer. Not one of the crazies who burn abortion clinics but I will not offer anyone an abortion, or advise on it.

My first abortion was when I was fresh out of school, yet to complete my internship. I was working in a private hospital, quite green, still finding my voice. A lady came in and said she suspected she was pregnant. I sent her for a pregnancy test and it came back positive.

“Congratulations! ” I exclaimed in excitement. “Who do we call to share the good news? Is yourhusband in town”

She did not share my enthusiasm. Now I am more experienced, I rarely make such mistakes. More women are opting to have children on their own and asking about the father would be a rookie error

.”Im not married”she told me

. “What are you going to do?” I asked. I could tell she was in her mid-thirties. (She had given her age as 31 but my mother always says to add 5 years to any age a woman gives you. I don’t know why people lie to doctors).

“I don’t know. I think I want an abortion” she went on, holding her chin thoughtfully.

“Why?” I asked. “Is there no prospect of marriage? Don’t you know who the father is? ”

“I do”

“What then, is the problem? Have you even told the father of the baby?”

She said she had told him she suspected she waspregnant and he told her he wasn’t ready for a child as his finances were shaky. He felt he could not foot the bills he would incur if he planned a wedding and had to welcome a baby shortly after

. “So do agree with him? What does he do? Does he have a job?”

She replied that he had a steady source of income and was quite mature

. “Do you love him? Is he someone you would love to marry?” I probed further.

“Yes, I love him. I really want to marry him”

“If his only excuse is monetary, I think he can be reasoned with” I concluded. I went on to advice her to tell him her family would not expect him to spend millions. Considering her age, and the fact that she was pregnant, they had more to lose if he didn’t marry her. They would have to take care of both the baby and her, besides answering the inevitable questions from nosy neighbours. It was also an opportunity for the man to get a wife without breaking the bank. I reminded her that many women her age were praying for this blessing and she was reducing her chances of having children in future by trying to procure an illegal abortion. She agreed with me. Thanking me, she left the hospital.

I think those who carry out abortions forget that we have more to gain by keeping those pregnancies. The income from ante-natal care, delivery, post-natal care, immunizations, infant care and so on, far outweighs the income from abortions. Few weeks later, she came back to see me. She had to remind me of who she was because she was so radiant that I did not remember her. Her boyfriend had not only seen reason with her, he went ahead to see her parents and carry out the traditional marriage rites. Not all my abortion stories ended this happily. I have lost several babies I spent hours trying toconvince their mothers to save.

Here’s to all my babies in heaven- ‘I love you ‘

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” Every embryo is a child whose purpose has been planned by God. There are so many options for you. You can raise that baby, or give her up for adoption. Consider this before you take a life that is not yours to take. Be blessed