For me, its that time of the month. The usual painful cramps and severe irritation took over. A friend called to ask how I was doing. I told him exactly how.
"This your monthly stomach pain, I've told you what to do about it o. If you take my advise, the wahala will end."
Although I wasn't feeling well, I laughed. "Let the husband come first na. Then I'll take your advise and get pregnant."
"Which husband? Don't wait for husband o. Just fire down. You must not be married to be a mother."
"No way! That one is not for me. Besides, in this economy? Single wetin? Na naija we dey o!"
"You no even know what's up. You just dey there dey suffer. You go soon old o! Hahahaha..."
"Chai! I no old before?" I laughed. "Anyway, if I go carry belle, and they ask who get am? I will say its you o!"
"Ehen, no wahala." He laughed. "I will claim responsibility and call family meeting. That's when we will discuss the best way to support you. Before the meeting start, we will ask, when are you due?....."
I laughed and laughed and forgot about the cramps. Our discussion then moved to the country's economy and ended with asking after each other's family.
Although I know he was joking, I couldn't help but think over what he said. What's wrong if I have kids all by myself? I know for sure that when the children arrive I'll be too busy with them to think about my single status. What's wrong with that?
But our society frowns heavily at women who get pregnant out of wedlock. Whether you did the deed with a willing sperm donor or went to the sperm bank, it makes no difference. Such women are tagged 'Second Hand.' But in western countries, women have a choice to either be with a spouse or be a single mother. Some of them visit sperm banks in order to get pregnant. When they take in, they get a lot of congratulatory messages. True, some friends or family members may ask ' Are you sure this is what you want? Are you sure you're making a right choice? But the bottom line is that, these women are supported and the society does not frown at them. Everyone lends a helping hand just to ensure the baby comes out in good health.
Let's come back home.
Yes, our society is different. If you take steps towards being a mother out of wedlock, gossipers will have you on their lips till further notice. Family members will frown. Your parents might disown you or beg you not to rub the family's clean name in the mud. Your dad, despite his age, might pick up a cutlass and chase you. Lol. But truly, if you look deeper, one gets to see that we treasure good name than true feeling, true comfort and personal decision. I once saw a meme that read "Instead of asking, ARE YOU MARRIED? Ask, ARE YOU HAPPY?" That statement says it all. We must not tie ourselves to marriage in order to be happy. However, our culture does not support that.
So what do you do when
1. You love kids, but you're still single and age is not on your side? You're already approaching your forties. You want to have your kids but because you have no husband, you can't. The society says so.
2. You love kids but have never had a good relationship with the opposite sex? Its always one terrible problem after the other. So you decide, I want to be a single mother. I just want to have kids I'll love and raise to be great men and women in the society. I must not be in a relationship/marriage to have kids. A husband isn't a must. But the society says a husband is.
Will you ignore your desire to be a single parent and agree to marry a man first? Will you throw away your happiness just to please your parents and the society? And if you do go ahead with being a single mother, what negative impact will being fatherless have on your child?
I won't lie that the thought hasn't crossed my mind in the past, even before my friend mentioned it. But I'm too much of a Nigerian who still believes in SOME of our cultural values. Hence, I'm at a cross road.
What about you? Ladies, please drop your comments, let's discuss this together