Relationships used to be a scene of boy meets girl, they agree to date, love each other, understand each other blah blah then boy proposes, girl says YES, they get married, have children and live happy ever after. Nowadays relationships scenes are different. Lately, it’s boy meets girl, they start dating, they claim to love each other, long story short, girl gets pregnant and boy must marry!
I recently attended a wedding with my friend Bisola who was a friend to the groom. At the reception we sat with some of her friends who were also friends to the groom. The wedding was quite nice, the hall was beautiful, well-managed with the space, and there was plenty to eat and drink, in all everyone seemed to be having a great time. I got myself acquitted with Bisola’s friends at our table. We chatted about university days, work, music, fashion and general chatter, until Gbenga, one of Bisola’s friends decided to change the topic.
“I do not understand why all the weddings I attend these days have pregnant brides”.
I could see that everyone turned to look at him at once, it was then I stole a look at the bride and noticed her protruding tummy.
“Things happen”, another guy replied.
“Things happen abi? Or ladies now use that as a way to force a man into marriage,” Gbenga answered.
“How can you say that? They have been dating over a year now,” Bisola replied clearly displeased.
“Bisola, what are you saying? Like you do not know Yemi’s present financial status? He does not have a good job yet, his income is low and his wife works with the government. So, how on earth are they going to raise a family in Lagos,” Gbenga asked.
“Well, I don’t know about all that but Yemi told me that they love each other and can manage. Their status would definitely improve in the future,” Bisola alleged.
Everyone started talking at the same time, explaining what they thought about the situation. I watched as they each tried to get the attention of the other.
“Do not get me wrong people”; Gbenga said, his voice rising above the others. “I know Yemi. He is a good man and I know he loves her but I just believe that most ladies are getting pregnant on purpose these days. You all know what happened between me and Chioma. People are different and this situation may be different for them but on the scale of one to ten pregnant brides, seven of them did it on purpose”.
I was surprised that they could openly discuss a topic that clearly affected the couple, we had come to felicitate with. What if someone heard them and informed the couple? The discussion lingered and I got to find out why Gbenga seemed quite upset about the whole issue. Apparently, Gbenga’s ex, Chioma, had told him she was pregnant immediately after NYSC and had insisted that he married her. According to him, although he loved her, marriage was definitely not something he was prepared for at the time. He had just completed his service year and was still unemployed. However, after much persuasion, he told his parents and they agreed for her move in with them. Only for him and his mum to discover that she was not pregnant when they took her to the hospital for antenatal registration.
Gbenga’s story reminded me of a similar situation that occurred during my third year at university. My course mate, Edirin confided in me and a friend, Cynthia that she was pregnant and was thinking of aborting the pregnancy because she wasn’t sure of the baby’s paternity, since she was dating two men at the time. One was an undergraduate in the university while the other was a young wealthy businessman who lived inLagos. Cynthia and I, both advised her to think through her decision carefully and also inform the men in her life about it.
A few days later, she informed us that she had spoken to her mom and her mom had told her not to have an abortion but to tell the rich businessman about the pregnancy instead. The following day she left school and returned the next week wearing an engagement ring. Before we resumed the following year for our final year, Cynthia had informed me that Edirin had gotten married (a small wedding) during the holiday. Three weeks later, Edirin was back to campus. She came with pictures from her wedding, told us how she was coping with marriage and we all congratulated her. She was different now; it seemed her lifestyle had been upgraded. She was spending excessively and giving out money to people unnecessarily. It was clear evidence that her husband was rich and she loved her new life.
However, months into our final year and Edirin had still not delivered; the matter became the talk of our year especially after another course mate of ours, who had gotten pregnant after Edirin, gave birth. When Cynthia and I approached Edirin, she told us she had miscarried and didn’t want to discuss the matter anymore. We were both surprised but decided to mind our business and never brought the topic up again.
The authenticity of either Edirin or Gbenga’s girlfriend’s pregnancy is something we can all debate. However what I think we should perhaps concentrate more on is Gbenga’s accusation that women get pregnant just to ‘trap’ their unwitting partners. While this might be true in some cases, surely these men are well aware of the benefits of condoms and other forms of protection. So, how is it that the woman is solely to blame when conception occurs if both parties have clearly been negligent? Also, I am sure we have all heard of cases where some men insist that their girlfriends get pregnant before they agree to marry them. Perhaps people like Gbenga should be careful before they cast blame on any particular gender. More importantly, I am beginning to wonder if there is something to be said for fertility as a golden ticket to marriage? Bellanaija readers, please have your say!