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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Don’t Say a Word



In 1996, there was an extended ASUU strike that led to a mass exodus from a lot of Nigerian universities. When the strike was called off, we resumed to half empty classes and hostels. For those of us for whom schooling abroad wasn’t an option, we pretty much just settled down to life as usual. Some of the leftover students were still making attempts to leave, and I had heard rumours that a friend of mine was planning to travel as well. Nobody had seen her all semester, and a few of us finally ran into her at the Faculty. After exchanging pleasantries, we asked her if it was true. “Ah, me ke? No oh! Where will my Father see that kind of money?” she responded, laughing hysterically. “I’m graduating with you guys oh!” Ronke travelled to the UK that very night.

That was the first time I experienced anything like that. I was soooo upset by the deception, and gave our mutual friend an earful! Did she think we were going to jazz her or something?! My friend, who did not take it personal at all, tried to explain to me that it was normal for people to keep such information to themselves.

Fast forward a few years later, when I had cause to travel frequently, first for school, and then work related. I was always so irritated by my Mom’s constant reminders to keep my travel information on the down low. So often would I roll my eyes at how paranoid Nigerians could be!

As the years progressed, I encountered it again in small measures, but it didn’t bother me much, especially as it was usually from distant acquaintances. This was until I ran into a good friend at a bridal shower, and happily inquired about her new husband (I had been her bridesmaid only a few months before). “Kunle is fine oh! He’s at home”. Imagine my shock when I later found out that Kunle was, in fact, abroad in Grad school, and his wife had gone to join him a few days after the bridal shower. I was so disgusted! Why lie??

Then I got married, and started this wonderful baby journey. One of my closest, longtime friends (our friendship dated back to our primary school days), was also trying for a baby. She and her husband had relocated to the States, but we chatted on Instant Messenger every single day, giving each other comfort. She had a very late miscarriage at some point, which was devastating, but she soon got back on the TTC wagon. You can imagine my shock when she called me on the phone one evening to tell me she had had a baby boy that day. It felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I congratulated her but then proceeded to cut her off, complaining to anyone who cared to listen about how betrayed I was by her deceit.

It wasn’t until my first IVF cycle failed that I understood why she had done this, and why most people are driven to being secretive. FEAR! And not fear of being jazzed, fear of disappointment, and the subsequent fear of having to face the people they have shared their happy news with.

Last week, I talked about how the heartbreak from the failure of my first IVF cycle was reignited every time I had to face any of the many people I told we were cycling, because it meant having to face the questions, the concern, the sadness all over again. For my 2nd cycle, I just couldn’t deal with that. So I found myself becoming a secret agent myself!

After my embryo transfer, I took it upon myself to hide away in the clinic for a few days, on self-imposed bed rest. I told some people I was away on a course, some I told I was travelling, and for the rest…well, their calls went unanswered. Then we got our positive result! We shared the news only with close family, and a few of our close friends. For me, that was a BIG DEAL, because anyone who knows me can testify that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have no poker face whatsoever, and everyone typically knows what’s going on with me. I have absolutely no grey area. But not so, this time, not so.

At the 11 week mark, my bump became prominent, so there was no more hiding….well, that was for those that were able to see me. For the rest, I all but dropped off the face of the earth. Prior to my pregnancy, I was Madam Facebook, with status updates probably every hour, and picture uploads at least weekly. All that changed when I got pregnant. I’m not sure I even replied wall posts. And on BBM, only pre-pregnancy display pictures were allowed. Once, I put up a picture of my fingers, to show off a nail design I’d just gotten, but quickly pulled it down when a friend, who knew I was pregnant, said my fingers were beginning to look puffy. And the fact that I was having twins was even more classified information! I can count, probably on one hand, everyone who knew I was having twins. I remember eventually, but grudgingly, allowing my friends incorporate the twin theme into my baby shower. In fact, if my brother was not so quick to upload, on Facebook, a picture of me with the twins the very day I gave birth (and proceeded to tag me, to make matters worse), my Facebook family might have found out about the twins maybe on their 1st birthday.

What was I afraid of? Having to face people with bad news….period! I wasn’t afraid of anybody “winching me”. I wasn’t afraid of any “bad belle people” or “haters”. I wasn’t scared of anybody stealing my babies from my womb. I just knew that, at any point in time, the circle of information would have to remain small enough for me to manage, in the event of anything going wrong.

A few months after I had my children, I picked up my phone to call my friend in the States, and we tearfully reconciled. And it was just as I had thought. After her first miscarriage at 22 weeks (a pregnancy she told me about pretty much as soon as she had peed on the stick), when she got pregnant again, she and her husband agreed they would not tell anyone at all. They only informed immediate family when they hit the 9-month mark. And I was one of the first people she called the day she had the baby…but yet, I chose to act like an insensitive brat. I was so ashamed of myself.

Since then, I have learnt not to take things like this personal. Everyone is entitled to privacy, in whatever mode or method they choose to express it. I got a call some days ago from a stranger, who was given my phone number by a mutual friend’s husband, to help plan a surprise baby shower for this mutual friend. Funny thing is I didn’t even know she was pregnant!!! A few days after the call, it was this mutual friend’s birthday and I sent her greetings on BBM. She thanked me, but still didn’t mention anything about the pregnancy. But rather than get upset, I have proceeded to actively plan the shower with the girl who called me, and hopefully the Mommy-to-be will have a wonderful time on the day.

The morale of the story is that we need to understand everyone’s situation before jumping into conclusions. And we also need to accept that we are not on a need-to-know basis with everyone. Accept whatever anyone decides to share, and accept that they have the right to keep some things to themselves.

And for my dear secret agents, ekushe oh! It’s not easy at all, on the contrary it is extremely energy consuming! But you must absolutely not allow yourself to be bullied or forced to share information before you are ready to. You must only share WHAT and WHEN you want to. Never mind if anybody chooses to take offence. Hopefully, the people who really matter will understand, and be there for you when you are ready to share.

Have a great week, everyone!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Joana Lopes

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick ( to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.


  1. TheLazyNatural

    January 26, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Most times people keep important information to themselves out of fear of being seen as a failure if everything doesn’t work out fine, this is a practice that would continue for a long time.

  2. Nike

    January 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Let people do their thing! No scoffing, no jabs. It’s their secret, and their choice.

  3. Solumtochukwu

    January 26, 2015 at 9:44 am

    My dear its not easy, especially in a society where everyone is trying to keep tab on you. I personally don’t see the need to share my private life, my trips, new jobs, relationship with people. Personally, I am a very open minded person but in this Naija you just have to be careful. As for my wedding pictures, its after one year facebook will see it. A few people who I hold dear would always be in the know, as for the rest, when we see, we see.

  4. Solumtochukwu

    January 26, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Kisses to your twins and Happy Valentine to you and your family.

  5. Grace

    January 26, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Yes u so right.. “You must only share WHAT and WHEN you want to.”
    I had a very very very quite registry and TM ceremony last alot of my friends didnt know about it. I only shared some part on IG on facebook NO. I remembered a friend contacted me saying she heard is it true expecially with the fact that i married a yoruba man(U know i see yourba people like they make alot of noise expecially in occassions#smh)buh that was what we choosed. That my status still says i am single,i said i will change it when i am ready buh the most important thing is i am legally married… I just choose to take my very very private life outta social media not because i am afraid or whatsoever buh because i choose to be quiet.
    Thanks for sharing. I love this.

  6. PACE

    January 26, 2015 at 10:10 am

    If we caution ourselves more about asking insensitive questions and getting too nosy, people will be a bit more open to divulging info(at least to people they consider close enough to divulge such info to). I personally don’t subscribe to the popular naija beliefs about others being able to charm you and attack you in spiritual forms if they know of your exploits at achieving greater heights or getting to the next level. However, I must agree we all have this ‘fear'(varying from person to person) about being perceive as failures. Not very many will be open to parting with info, only to be seen as failures if things don’t eventually pan out as planned. The morale of the story – Let’s learn to be more sensitive and not be judgmental.

  7. Pius christiana

    January 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Interesting piece, I used to jump into conclusion like before my self.

  8. A

    January 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

    When the time comes a lot of people will be very pissed with me but i no send, i am private agent A right now and enjoying it, only a few know i am even in a relationship, its my private business, when i am doing my TM/Registry, Church blessing only a few would know, its my private life and i would choose who i share all that info with, when i did a scan last yr and found out i have fibroids, i share with two of my sisters, but not the 3rd, she is my sis but we are not close and i do not trust her not to go bother the parents with that info, oh bf knows abt all my hospital waka, i wouldn’t hide such info from bf, its better one shares all so no one acts like u hide something that might need attention in the future when you are married.
    Bottomline is friends and even family need to understand when you don’t share some important aspect of your life with them, facebook friends will waita loooonnnnggg time lols. ehen friends and family at TM etc would have to adhere to the rule of not uploading my pix on Facebook and tagging me, i ll announce mysef when i am ready….if i upload then they can joor but not when i request that i would rather not have that happen…..

  9. olami

    January 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I can so relate to this,like you I don’t believe anyone can harm me so after TTC for months after our wedding I tested positive Nov 14 I was so happy I called my hubby,mum,sister,brother that very night to break the news,the ffg week I also shared with my concerned boss and a worried co worker,i even gave out my clomid tab to this co worker whose wife is also TTC (thank God she is pregnant now) fast forward to Dec 21 I lost my baby and the pain of breaking the news to these loved ones was greater than the one I was feeling that very moment.the miscarriage process was even terrible, spent weeks at the hospital with continuous bleeding for four weeks. I learnt my lesson cos at a point pastors and friends were trying to put fear of unknown in me and right now am also going the secret agent way with my next pregnancy even with hubby oooo(the guy suffered lol)

    • olami

      January 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      @Nicole,please can we have a column for miscarriage on your website,i really suffered due to lack of ignorance and at the hands of doctors who couldn’t choose btw a d And c and medical management for my miscarriage cos of my uterine fibriod. At a point goggle became my best friend but I later realized you cannot compare the health system abroad and that of naija

    • Nicole

      January 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Hi olami. I will definitely work on an article on this in the future. I don’t have any first hand experience, but I know so many women have suffered this heartbreak in the past. So sorry for your loss. Blowing you plenty baby dust for the next pregnancy!

  10. CoconutPineapple

    January 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I always look forward to Nicole’s article! They are my favorite on BN.
    Nicole you are a fantastic writer and you’ve been teaching me so much through this your column,
    I find that our people LOVE bad news, which is why I choose to be very secretive about important events in my life.

  11. blueberry

    January 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Everyone is entitled to his/her own privacy. If a person chooses not to inform you about a major happening in their life, respect that choice.
    In this era of social media, you will have info about you spreading like wild fire in the savannah even before you make that information officially known to the public.

    The reason behind such secrecy is not the fear of witchcraft but rather the fear of feeding the wrong ears with information, that their itching tongues won’t keep.

    Even people you believe will keep your secret, may leak it out to the world in the heat of a moment.

    • A

      January 26, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Exactly, just imagin sharing with someone you trust to keep a secret and you even tell ther person you are not ready to share with others and before you know it everyone is looking at you and not saying anything and you just know your secret is no longer a secret, when i tell people i would disappear one day, one weekend and come back married they think i am joking..

  12. halyma

    January 26, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I can truly relate with this. The fear of failure and disappointment is very real.
    Mine is the area of personal development…I got invited for an interview at the US embassy for a program I applied for last year and even forgotten about. I could only share with my aunt I live with because she is the only person I know that celebrates with me and mourns with me 100% if need be, I informed my cousin who sent me the link for application and my friend in the US. I have other people who I know would be equally happy for me but the fear of ‘what if I do not make it to the final stage’ was too much for me and I don’t know how to handle all the sympathy I get when things go wrong.
    Hope fully they would understand when I do share the good news.
    Personally, I don’t take it personal when friends don’t share info because they must have a reason and when they do, I am equally happy for them!

  13. sisimi

    January 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Hummmm!! A good friend of mine too didn’t tell me she was pregnant even when I told her each time I was preggy and anything that was going wrong or going well during the preggy and when I miscarried, I told her and she even told others too I felt really really bad and asked myself whether she didn’t want to break the news so I wont feel bad cos I felt terribly bad already. I was so angry that when she decided to come to my house,(I invited her severally when I was preggy, she didn’t come) I didn’t let her come oh. I felt better much later anyways and let it go and she repeated it again when she put to bed. she called me one day and we were just gisting but she was sounding somehow. I asked her , r you okay, she said no, she isn’t feeling fine, I said pele, try and rest. meanwhile she was in the hospital to deliver. she called me barely 24hours later that she don born’ I was like jesus Christ, you no tell me yesterday, she said, but I told you I wasn’t feeling fine!!! OMGGGGG!!!! this babe is cruel! loll

    the same babe will later accuse me one day of not commenting on her dp showing her baby. I was like. OMG!!
    well, as for me, I will keep my gist to myself and let her know on the day of the naming ceremony sef..lollll!
    Its just that I hate revenge against ple that are close to me. if we continue doing an eye for an eye, then wetin go happen to both of our sights na. lolll

  14. Ayaayo

    January 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    This reminds me of when i started dating my hubby then boyfriend, i was not ready to share the news with anyone for fear of if the relationship ends, a lot of people only knew after my siblings posted the intro pictures on fbk and bbm dp’s, only after then was i able to fully admit i was in a serious relationship . For me its the constant questions and sympathy that opens up the gently healing wounds i try to avoid and the feeling of failing at something when everyone seems to excel at it easily.

  15. Callmeparaniod

    January 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I can so relate to this ehen. I av been engaged since September last year. Wedding shld be march / April. Very low key somethg. Even my mum knows very little cos my mum is a share all with the world kinda person. Le boo proposed with this enormous rock. But i dont wear it o. Safely tucked on a chain around my neck. N i dont wear it wen it can be seen. Just a Few frds know. Most pple think i am single sef n av taken it upon themselves to match make me. As i no send. I just keep laughing n smiling. 2 weeks to wedding is wen i will tell dem at work sef. I av been burnt before n given dat its an intertribal marriage with his igbo side of the family acting like wat i cant type on bellanaija esp his dad n step mum( bless dem). Na to pray n keep to myself.

  16. mo

    January 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    okay. BN, you didn’t post my comment. okay sorry, I made a mistake with the name I use on another platform or what could be the reason?

    So, maybe we are all right to say some don’t share because of fear of failure. but what about those close friends you share yours with and even spread for you but refuse to share their own? I have a friend that I told when I got preggy and even miscarried. she even told few ple that didn’t even know me too well but that are close to her too. when her time came, she didn’t tell me she was preggy but i heard it from one of those friends that are close to her saying, ..instead of you to tell your friend that can even pamper you.. I was shocked and asked myself, is she trying not to hurt me by not telling me or what cos I was hurt already. and felt so bad that when she asked to come visit me at home, I didn’t allow her to come. this was the friend that refused to come to my house when I was preggy too. I got over it and moved on. when she put to bed, she repeated it. we were just talking on phone and I sensed she was not fine, I asked her, wetin happen, are you okay, she said no. I said pele, try go rest not knowing she was in the hospital to deliver. lollll. she called me barely 24hours later that she don born. I was like jesus Christ, congrats, y you no tell me yesterday, she said but she told me she wasn’t feeling fine. in my mind, I was like OMGGGGG!! this is cruel. loll. well, I learnt from that and I have decided that when i put to bed, she will only know on the day of d naming ceremony. lolllll… just that I hate revenge especially against ple close to me.!!

  17. Babieluv

    January 26, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Yeah, everybody is entitle to their privacy but what abt friend that is so secretive and same want to know everything abt your own life…
    A friend travelled to UK years back & hid everything from me, the most annoying part was I was there for the sendforth but she told me she was just hosting few friends….
    Fast forward…. yrs later, I travelled to US & same friend was asking me how I got Visa……..I simply refered her to Immigration Dept….

    • ms.b

      January 26, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      I think friends like that r vicious. I don’t believe d rant of been scared of sympathy, in Nigeria we often keep things secret cos we think other ppl don’t wish us well. She wants to know about yours but won’t share hers?? I’ve friends like dat, der r not worth it. I hate unnecessary secrecy especially pertaining to visa. And most secrecy in 9ja is due to thot of “black belle” n nutin like not wanting sumpathy. Like d girl who was traveling to d uk dat same night n denied, what for?? Incase u miss ur flight or uk withdraw dia visa all of a sudden? Abegy, she just felt her frnds wud be jealous, we are just too “not-trustworthy”.

  18. Chige

    January 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I used to feel that way before but the more mature I’ve become,the more I’ve learnt that the fact you tell someone everything doesn’t mean the person will do the really hurts sometimes especially when you eventually find out and feel if roles were reversed you would have I just give people the benefit of doubt and feel they have a good reason for their decisions.

  19. patsychy

    January 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Same thing hapnd to me.someone I called my closest girlfriend was proposed to by de same boyfriend dat I settled issues they had many times for.she even hid her ring from me.reason I still don’t know wen de trado wedding was approaching,she told me three weeks to de event wen she wanted fabric designs and styles to sew her clothes.even her tailor disappointed her so I directed her to my tailor,she brut her asoebi,I didn’t collect.that day I didn’t husband was annoyed wit me and was even more suprised wen I told him wat de wife still in shock but have learnt my lessons never again to divulge my matter no matter how small wit anyone except my blood sisters…….and so many other stories wey I no fit mention here….

  20. Mzlyrics

    January 26, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Nice article Nicole… This one everyone is confessing to keeping things secret only because of failure..who are those that keep secrets because of terrestial powers and jazz? lol! All of a sudden na only failure dey fear all of us. Well, for me, I agree with you Nicole that people have a right to share what they want to share but….as my friend, do not ask leading questions about things in my life when you want to keep yours under wraps. Also, when I take you as a personal padi and tell you all my own life history and you are busy keeping mum, how is that supposed to help our relationship? All these secrecy in my opinion breeds fakeness and superficial friendships. I for one wont trust you anymore because you have just shown to me that I am not as close to you as I thought I was. Just be wise with your secrecy! At the end of the day, the matter you are trying so hard to conceal would pass but that relationship may never be the same again.

  21. Aderonke says #Bring BackOurGirls#

    January 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Great write up Nichole always!
    I feel same way too. Somethings should just remain personal it saves you alot of energy and stress. D love ones will definitely understand much later but the “just to know for gist” we keep fighting but babe has do wat a babe has to do!

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