Photo credit: Seun James Taiwo

Model: Favour Fola Robert

 

Would you believe me if I told you I was married to four different men? Well technically, I’m still married to five men! If you ask me, I will tell you the figure is no longer as important as the pain I endured; a recurrent misfortune that has left a huge scar in my tender heart; the same pain that left me still fetching firewood in the village with my mother and my younger siblings–at age 38. That Saturday evening was the first night I would be spending with my family after I was sent packing by my husband, the fourth in my life, and glaringly, the fourth time I would be thrown out like a piece of used and dented can from my matrimonial home. Perhaps you would ask why was I this unfortunate in my marriages? The reason, I never understood initially, even if I had known why all men were throwing me out of their homes after few years of marriage! The same reason, the same reason…they all said. But do I blame them?

My name is Mariam Danladi, I would be 42years in 2weeks, but as fate may have it, I had spent 23 of those years seeking for fruit of the womb. At age 16 years, my father married me out to an Alhaji in Sokoto state, as at when I was living with my parents in Zuru, Kebbi state. My problems didn’t start until I moved to Sokoto to start living with my new husband. I was a teenager, less mature, naive and tender. My Megida treated me like I was a first lady, he satisfied me with everything; jewelleries, gifts, cloths and everything a teenage wife would ever demand. The treatment even got better with my first ever conception, I thought the popular saying ‘life is not a bed of roses’ was invalid, misconstrued and outdated! Hmm!…

 

My hope for a lasting ‘heaven on earth’ would soon vaporize into the still air when at 5th month of conception I started seeing blood drooling down my private part, I was at first confused; the last time I saw my own blood drain from my part was 5months ago when I had my last ‘haila’, well the feeling was familiar then, I mean which lady would not recognize her monthly menstrual flow? And so, the blood continued the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th day and increasingly drenching few of my old wrappers that I had cut into smaller pieces to use as pads. All this while, I had kept this to myself. Secretly, I washed and dried and re-washed those cloth paddings. On the 6th day—shortly after the ‘Maghrib salat’,7pm evening prayer—I was seated outside our home and leaning against one of the front tyres of Alhaji’s old and abandoned Mazda car when this low pain held my tummy, it was low and very severe. The pain never spared my low back, it held me while I rolled on the floor, bawling. My voice attracted Alhaji and his mother, my mother-in-law, they rushed out to my rescue and almost simultaneously I felt this heavy rush down my part, this time like my baby was being pulled down through my part. They met me drained in blood as I had no hiding place. Immediately, Alhaji rushed to get help.

At the primary health care centre where I was rushed to, the news came that I just had a miscarriage! They said it was incomplete miscarriage. It was a shock to Alhaji and his mother, but not to me. For 5days I kept the bleeding to myself. But why would I do something as stupid as that? I was scared of the unknown, I was naive, and I thought the blood would stop soon. It was my first pregnancy not to talk of experiencing a miscarriage in my life. I thought I had to pretend everything was perfect with me and my pregnancy because I had always feared Alhaja would one day do what many of our mother-in-laws do, encouraging their sons to marry other wives! So I prayed to Almighty Allah to make it stop, but who knows? Somethings happen for some reasons, fate I call these things. The remaining of my ‘dead baby’ was evacuated. And that was how I lost my first pregnancy!

 

While at the health centre, I vividly remembered the Yoruba midwife was asking me if I had used any drugs, but I said ‘no’. She further asked her translator to ask me if I had been taking herbal Concoction, spontaneously, I nodded for a ‘no’, glaring sternly at my Mother-in-law… since everyone became aware of my pregnancy, Alhaja had been feeding me with certain medicine in a bottle. She said it had always protected her grandchildren from dying in the belly and it would protect mine.

 

Author’s note:

In the coming parts, Mariam shares how her problem lingered on for so long before eventually finding medical solution. What exactly was Mariam’s health issue? How did she find medical interventions?

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