Before we got married, I ensured I knew everything about him. I knew his dreams and what he wanted to become. I knew he had a son—a five-year-old boy he had with another woman he was once in love with. He told me; “That boy is a mistake of my youth. He came when I didn’t need a child. He’s here now and there’s nothing I could do about it.”
When we got married, the first thing on my mind was to make my babies as quick as I can so I can settle and follow other dreams but he said to me; “No need to rush. Where are we going that you need to rush through this? Let’s settle. Let’s enjoy this marriage before we welcome kids.”
He made a lot of sense.
You know what they say about men—they want to have their wives to themselves for as long as they can before baby distractions. So I asked him; “For how long?” He answered; “We could use this two years ahead of us to put our lives in order, save for our future and plan very well before kids come.”
I trusted his intentions and got committed to his plans. I had a family planning injections to ensure a child doesn’t happen by accident. I wouldn’t like my child to be referred to as an accident.
Soon the two years was over and we hit the road of trying to conceive. We tried for a whole year but we couldn’t succeed. A lot of hit and miss here and there but we kept going. Taking drugs and visiting the hospital as often as we could.
One night he said to me; “That my boy is growing and it would be too bad for him to grow without my influence. he’s a mistake—my mistake and not his. I, therefore, implore you to let us allow him to live with us so we all could grow as one family.” Again, I fell for the purity of his intentions. I said; “If his mother wouldn’t have any problem with such an arrangement, why not? bring him in.”
The boy came to live with us. I’ve been honest in raising that kid. I’ve given him nothing but motherly care and ensured he had the best of environment to grow up in.
But all wasn’t right. I was still struggling to conceive. It’s been three years since we started but I’ve had nothing to show for it. Doctors told us we were sound medically to have kids but in reality, we’ve not been able to.
I got worried. It hit my emotions and I started losing weight drastically. I wanted an assurance from my husband. I wanted him not to blame me but see my struggle and appreciate my worries. I picked the conversation up with him one night and what he said nearly killed me; “Gina, stop worrying yourself about this pregnancy thing. It’s not your fault, I actually don’t want kids between us. I don’t want babies and I’m ensuring it doesn’t happen.”
“Are you serious?” I asked. “How could you do this to me? Why didn’t we talk about it before? Nooo, that’s not what we agreed to do!”
He answered; “I didn’t want to tell you this, but looking at the emotional trauma you’re going through, I have to tell you. I’m not able to make babies. It’s a personal decision.”
I told him he was being selfish. He had a son if nothing at all, but how about me? Isn’t it human that I also had my own child? He insisted and rather tried convincing me to see it his way. I’ve always seen things his way but not this time.
I informed our pastor about it but that didn’t help things. “Is the pastor going to take care of our kids? what concerns does he have in my family issues?” He got angry but I was happy. I wasn’t going to sit down for him to mess with my future. I traveled to see his parent one day and gave them the news. They were more astonished than I was. His mother said; “Anytime I’ve brought up the topic with him, he said you two were trying hard to conceive.”
His parent did all they could. They said their mind but he was not ready to have it their way. He’d already decided and wasn’t going to change his mind. The only option for me was to decide what I was going to do with my life. But before I could decide on anything I wanted to have a deeper conversation with him and be sure I was doing the right thing.
So I asked him one night; “You seem so sure about your reason not to have a child but you haven’t given me any concrete reason you don’t want to. Talk to me, why don’t you want to?” Then he said…
“You are my family and I’m content with that. Children will draw us back. They’ll be the reason you can’t progress in life. After they come, you have to make all your decisions with them in mind. I can’t do that. I will fail. I blame my father for a lot of things and I know this boy we are living with will grow up and blame me for not being a good father. I can’t lie to you, I don’t want to spend the next twenty-something years of my life raising people. You are enough!”
He tried getting to me emotionally but I could see beyond his words. He was lying about something. All the things he said were just empty words. I wasn’t going to buy that. So I told him, “Eventually, I’m going to leave this marriage. I can’t go on like this, trust me.”
I was thirty-one having married for five years. I felt I’ve wasted my youth on a senseless man. Somehow I was scared to leave. I felt I wasn’t going to find another man if I leave. I felt old and not worthy of any man’s love. I mean love enough to make me a wife.
I had hopes. And that hope kept me staying with him a day after another. But nothing changed. The only thing that kept changing was my age. At thirty and still childless, I decided enough was enough. I moved out one day when he had left for work. He called in the evening to ask where I was and why I’ve packed all of my things out.
I told him I wasn’t coming back. “I’m initiating a divorce very soon. It’s over.” I told him. Somehow he thought I was threatening him with a divorce just so he changed his mind. He trusted I would come running back to him in no time but he was wrong. At that moment, even if he promised to change his mind, I wouldn’t have changed my mind to come back. Deep down, it was over.
It’s been three years since our divorce. I haven’t had a man yet but I’m happy every day for having the strength to leave him. I can have a child now with whoever I choose. Even if I don’t end up getting married to them, I would end up having a child I could call my own.
-Georgina Addai, Winneba-Ghana.