“I’m much better now, thanks to God. I did sadly lose my baby but I’m almost there now. I would like to share my story with Genevieve; there’s no one else I would trust with it. Please do let me know your thoughts. Thank you”. She concluded. It was something I had pondered on when she posted a picture of herself without a bump on instagram. I mentally did a calculation to decide if she had birth because we knew there was a bun in the oven. It didn’t seem likely, it wasn’t quite 9 months yet. There was only one conclusion. But I wasn’t about to call her to confirm. Even though she wouldn’t have thought I was intruding. I needed to let her be. Just the same way I wanted to be left alone when it happened to me years ago. Then one day I got that text from her and we decided to meet up. She was calm on the outside, she did a good job of reigning in her turbulent emotions; but her pain was palpable. I asked her if she was ready to share her story with our readers. She hesitated and then said yes, she would like to encourage other mums in similar situations to stay strong. As expected, she changed her mind about the interview. She wasn’t ready to open up yet. You can’t rush the process! But here we are. Time, they say heals wounds. Like the strong woman she is, she has picked herself up, especially with an exciting new project ahead of her; the launch of her Sablier plus-size lingerie line. And who best to cater to this niche lingerie market but the curvaceous Radio Princess herself .. Toolz Oniru-Demuren
The last time you were our covergirl, it was to celebrate your wedding; now, two years plus, what are the biggest changes you’ve experienced in your life?
I’m so excited to be a Genevieve Magazine covergirl again! A BIG thank you to the Genevieve team. Between my parents and new parents, I think we bought about 100 copies of that edition. Nothing much has changed…the stress of planning a wedding is far behind us, and now it’s just all about both of us, building our own reality and happiness, and finding what works for us.
There is usually a very fairy-tale like view of what one’s marriage will be like, especially in the first few years. Has it been everything you hoped it would be?
I’m a die-hard romantic, so I did think marriage was going to be like a Disney movie….no arguments, birds singing every morning. (Laughs) To be honest It’s not quite like that, but I’m very happy. I think what I love most about being married is being part of this team. It’s amazing knowing that whatever I’m going through good/bad – someone will always be there with me to hold my hand or cheer me on.
What’s been the biggest misconception about marriage that you’ve had your eyes open to?
That there are strict rules and that you can’t create your own reality. I got so much advice from people telling me, “you can’t do this, or you can’t do that.” What I’ve come to realize is that it’s important to find and do what works for you. For example with regards to cooking and house chores in general, a lot of people think it should strictly be down to the wife, but we always find time to discuss things like this and find a solution. I love cooking, but sometimes I just don’t want to, and I love that I can ask my husband to pick something up for our dinner.
On the outside, and with thanks to curating one’s life on social media, a lot of the difficult points of one’s life tends to stay out of the picture. One of such difficulties was your miscarriage, which you haven’t spoken publicly about. What was going through your head at that time?
I’ve never spoken about it because it was very painful, and it’s still very difficult for me to talk about it.
I have had a miscarriage myself and have an idea of the roller coaster of emotions… There is not one part of that experience that is pretty but what would you say was the worst part of it all for you?
From the point we found out something was wrong till when the process was over was quite harrowing, but the parts that really broke me were going through the pain of labour knowing my baby was already gone. I also had a mini-break down when I had to get a death certificate so we could have a burial. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life.
You posted on instagram last Dec about dealing with Depression. Was that as a direct result of losing your baby?
I had to have surgery shortly after, and also spent so much time in hospital, so yes losing my baby was part of it, but thankfully I was able to deal with it, thanks to my support network.
Was depression something you had to deal with before that experience?
I’m an emotional person. So my highs are very high and lows can be quite low. But this has been the biggest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life.
When we met to talk about it months after it happened, you were still very emotional and raw. How did you get back on your feet?
To be perfectly honest, I’m still healing. I hated being in hospital. I’m a very impatient patient, so I just wanted to get better and leave. I craved for things to distract me, and I’m grateful that I was able to spend a lot of my hospital time working on my lingerie label Sablier.
Was your faith shaken after that?
Shaken, broken, rebuilt… everything. Ultimately it strengthened my relationship with God. It made me realise how delicate life is, and as much as we say ‘I will do this or that’ it is inevitably down to God’s will. In December I wrote that everyone will go through trying times, you just have to pray for the strength to get through it. That’s what God gave me – strength to get through a very horrible experience and for that I am very grateful.
These experiences are so incredibly personal and it is often very difficult to articulate just how much physical and emotional pain and trauma one is experiencing at that time. Did you feel any difficulty connecting with your husband, family or friends during that time? Did you feel supported?
I felt incredible support. From my parents, new parents, siblings and close friends. My husband was an incredible source of support. One moment I will always remember is when I was pretty much broken and all I was doing was crying and crying. It was time to pray, and I couldn’t pray. I just didn’t know what to say or how to talk to God at that moment. He made me pray, and he didn’t give up till I had emptied my heart out.I think this experience brought us closer, and also made us realise how much we love each other. I actually went into labour whilst I was making his breakfast. I tried to finish because he is such a big foodie, but the pain was too much and I was bundled off in the ambulance. Maybe it was the gas and air or temporary insanity, but I remember asking the medics to stop so we could get some food for him. They thought I was mad. We can laugh about that now. My friends and family members were amazing too. From friends and family members that burst into tears when they found out to others that called me and prayed everyday. I am so grateful for each and every one of them, my heart goes out to any woman that had to go through this alone or unsupported.
I’ve spoken to a number of people who confess to not knowing how to interact with or speak to someone who is going through depression or any other type of mental health challenge. What three things would you suggest people do in order to become a “safe space” for their loved ones as they deal with the black dog?
Check on them – just a call or message checking how they are doing could be a massive help. We are all going through different issues, but taking a moment out to check on a loved one is very important.Don’t mind your own business (to a certain extent of course) there’s interfering and then there’s making sure someone is ok.
A lot of Nigerians do not acknowledge mental health as a pivotal part of one’s well being and often dismiss therapy and counselling in the healing process. Did you reach out to professionals in the throes of your depression?
Thankfully at the hospital, they recommended a grief counsellor who had seen many couples that had gone through this, and I was lucky to have a therapist that helped me get through the different stages.
Do you believe in therapy as a healing tool?
I definitely believe in therapy. It was actually easier to confide in a stranger. I went through a stage where I blamed myself, and was certain I had done something wrong, and being able to be completely honest about that actually helped me get through it.
What was it like going back to work after what happened?
It was tough, because I didn’t want to talk about it and I wasn’t ready for the questions. My new parents had told me to put on a pretty dress, to smile and just go about my day…and I just did that. I think I shed a tear or two when no one was in the studio, but I picked myself up and kept going.Shifting gears a bit, your career has only gone from strength to strength.
What big plans do you have for the rest of the year?
I’ve just launched my plus-size lingerie line Sablier!! I’m so excited and nervous about it… I hope people love it. It is a project that is so important to me!
Tell us all about that burst of passion? What sparked the idea and when can women begin to place orders?
This has been a dream for me for many years. As a plus sized woman, affordable lingerie has always been limited in terms of choices particularly in Nigeria. We have lots of beautiful and curvy women in Nigeria, and I’ve been working on the idea for a while and faced so many hiccups. I gave up and started again a few times, but last year I decided to give it one more try. I did a course in Lingerie and Swimwear Design at the London College of Fashion to gain more knowledge on the business side of things. That was an amazing experience although it was strange having to do homework again. Completing that course helped build my confidence, and I also hired an amazing creative consultant (Caroline) to help with the direction of the line too. The photographer (Emmanuel), models and everyone involved in making this dream come true were amazing!
We have a website where you can place orders: www.ShopSablier.com –
A lot of media personalities are breaking out of their comfort zones of radio and television presenting and moving more towards music and TV and film acting. What hidden talents might you be willing to share with us in the near future?
I’ve always loved writing. I have a few TV show ideas I’m toying with. I would love to do more behind the scenes work, so who knows, a ToolzO Production could be just round the corner.
What are you most thankful for at this stage of your life?
For my life. It was difficult to accept, but healthwise, things were quite scary for me last year. The doctors were very worried, but God saw me through. So I’m very grateful to God for my life..healing and much more.
If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
Happiness! I just want to be happy, doing what I love doing, with some amazing people around me.
What do you believe to be undoubtedly true?
God’s love – I don’t have the time to explain it fully, but God’s love has saved me, kept me and renewed me!
An Interview by ISOKEN BELO-OSAGIE
This is interview was first published in Genevieve Magazine May Issue.
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