Whenever I decide to publish an article based on a close friend’s experience, I consider getting their consent. Since most of my friends are nearly as private as I am, I literally have to reassure them that their real names will be coded or that I will only disclose as much detail as they are comfortable with. You would think the pretentious name substitute would provide sanity on any doubts about the security of their identity. But I understand that despite whatever edit is made, it is still their story, and sharing it strikes a nerve that makes them feel vulnerable to public opinion.
In this rare case, my friend Jayden* actually reminded me to write about his situation. I never forgot to. I was just unsure as to how to go about it without invading his privacy in my quest to know just enough for a meaningful article.
Jayden and Cookie dated for about three years and have been married for four years now. When Jayden and I first met, he was only about nine months into his marriage. He was as happy as any newlywed should be. During one of our random conversations at that time, he mentioned that he and Cookie were holding off on having kids for the first two years of their marriage because they just wanted to enjoy each other and take their time. I responded with a sign of approval. It sounded like a fantastic plan for a young couple. At that time, he was 28 years old and she was 26 years old. They seemed to have all cards in their favor: no parental pressure to bear kids, and even more importantly, they were both on the same page.
Unfortunately, that seems to have changed and their folks are not the problem.
Cookie no longer wants to have children.
She told Jayden she wants to relocate to New York City in order to aggressively pursue a career as a makeup artist. She even took time off her full-time nursing job to attend the recent New York Fashion Week. Since she is pretty much focused on going big in that industry, she cannot envision how she can achieve her goals with children in tow. Although Jayden fully consents to his wife’s career ambition, the “no children in tow” portion completely took him by surprise. After all, before they decided to get married, that was a deal maker for them! They both desired children and yearned to raise their mini replicas with all the love and affection in the world.
At least before tying the knot, Jayden and Cookie were completely in-sync on becoming parents, unlike the mayhem another close friend of mine trapped herself in.
While still dating, Ibikunle had made it clear to her that he absolutely did not want children. This was extremely contrary to her desire; she was drooling to have kids. She successfully psyched herself with the hype that you can change a man’s mind on any issue and went ahead with the marriage plans. She was so certain he would budge because she calculated that as a Nigerian man there was no way on earth he would not want children to carry on his name. When she got pregnant, he literally disappeared. He didn’t take her calls or those of her family members. Unfortunately she had a miscarriage. Days after she lost the pregnancy, he actually showed up at the hospital and as inhumane as this sounds and as painful as it is for me to write he told her that if she had delivered the baby and she had died from any complication, he would have given up the child for adoption.
Well, they were separated before their first wedding anniversary. No surprise.
But Jayden and Cookie AGREED to have children. Jayden has searched and searched for answers. Did he do something wrong? I am not in his head, neither do I know all his movements, but as much as I know of Jayden, I can vouch for him as a faithful, loving husband. So what could have changed her mind? I can understand pushing the breeding plan out a few more years, but selfishly bailing out on such a sensitive life decision for no plausible reason, even a medical reason, is just disturbing behaviour.
Jayden and Cookie have considered divorce. It was actually her idea. He wants to keep his home together and like any practical, optimistic Christian man, he does not want his life story to go in that direction. He even suggested that he relocates to New York with her believing they can both work it out. With his accounting background, he should not have a problem continuing his career there. This man loves Cookie dearly and is fighting for his home. But he is both sad and angered that he is the only one fighting to save their marriage. He said he sometimes feels like he is living with a stranger whose bills he pays. They both just go about their own business. This was neither the plan nor the future he so confidently envisioned having with her. Off and on, something snaps back and she comes around and starts “playing wifey” again. During one of her ‘on’ seasons, they were standing in the airport security line, near another couple and their little toddler. As is normal with most kids, the toddler suddenly squealed, screaming for whatever reason. Cookie turned to Jayden and said, “Well you see why I don’t want kids?!” He heard her, but did not respond. He just wanted to enjoy the present state of affairs but wondered how long the ‘attentive wifey’ episode will last.
Aunty Bella, Uncle Bella…
What’s a man in this situation to do?
Photo Credit: Melanie Dean