Driving through Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in Victoria Island Lagos, a couple of weeks ago, my eyes strayed towards this female vagrant in full bloom. There she was, a forlorn figure lounging on the busy sidewalk. She probably wouldn’t have made any impression on me if she didn’t look all ready to pop. There was nothing to suggest that she was ‘not all there’ but she was definitely destitute. She sat by the traffic light, lost in her own world and you wonder what was occupying her thought so. But then there are no prizes for guessing!
There was the possibility that she was pondering on the dilemma of her imminent childbirth, an event which ordinarily should be a momentous event, but which under the circumstance was nothing but a burden, one more mouth to worry about! Then there was perhaps the uncertainty of what the future held for her and her baby. Surely, there can’t be much fun in raising a child by a busy sidewalk, with human and vehicular traffic contesting for a right of way…and where no consideration is given a homeless vagrant.
As I drove past her fragile frame, I began to ponder again on the paradox of life. Here was this vagrant with no place to lay her weary head; no family to look out for her, no friends to treat her to an extravagant baby shower now bearing the one thing that continues to elude the best of women. How many women out there wouldn’t give anything just to be able to know what it is like to feel a child kick, to know the pangs of labour…and the ecstatic joy of being told “congrats, you’re a mother!” only those who have walked that path truly know it.
And not long ago I met one of such women, “you don’t know what it is Betty. I have been trying for nine years and I feel less of a woman with each passing day. You do not know what it’s like to be poked at and prodded by doctors…or the sympathetic whispers and glances from your friends when you walk into a room. You don’t know what its like when, at old girls’ meetings everyone talks about the various challenges of raising children and all you can do is pretend to know what they are talking about. Life can be so unfair! You have no idea Betty, you simply have no idea! She finished as the tears welled up and she drove off.
No idea? Well, she was wrong, for I once walked that road too. I remember once losing it at a clinic in Apapa when after a most uncomfortable HSG test which lasted forever, I got dressed to go, relieved that I had completed one more test, but was told by a most sullen nurse, “Madam, we have repeat the test (again) because the picture is not clear. You shook when we injected the dye.” That was more than I could bear – and something inside of me just snapped as I threw a mother-of-all tantrums that sent the medicine trolley flying in all directions and left everyone wondering if some of the dye had strayed to my brain and caused a short-circuit. Needless to say, I neither repeated the test nor return to that clinic, ever again…and I didn’t have to- I got my daughter about a year after, six long years after I first started out on that journey often travelled by women (and a few good husbands) So you see, I do have an idea! My prayer for you this Easter dear woman is, may His gift to you be your very own bundle of joy.

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