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Anne Mmeje: You Mean Well, But Don’t Say These Seven Things to Your Friend Trying to Conceive

Anne M

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dreamstime_l_58077732Recently, my friend, Ima, had a baby after several years of trying to conceive.  I asked Ima what ridiculous things people said to her and her husband before she conceived. There were many of them. Two stand out. One of her husband’s friend told him, “you know, I can teach you how to get your wife pregnant.” Another told him, “Bro, you see, that’s life, no be by who first marry, na by who first born pikin.” Words that may have been said jocularly which nevertheless leave indelible emotional scars. After my conversation with Ima, I did some research online from a community of couples trying to conceive. Here are things you may reconsider telling your friends or relatives trying to conceive.

1. “Whose ‘Fault’ Is It?”
On its face, this is an innocuous question. As a good friend, you want to know why your friend is unfortunate to be among the one in eight couples struggling with infertility. However, if you consider that this question may call for your friend discussing her  husband’s inability to get a woman pregnant–an information you have no business being privy to–you will realize it is an inappropriate question to ask. So next time you are tempted to ask your friend “whether the problem is with the razor blade or with the barber,” you may want to bite your tongue.

2. “Why Don’t You Try Outside?”
When you have succeeded in knowing what you shouldn’t know but for your poke nosing into other people’s affair, this advice follows: “Try outside, God will understand.” Will he? If it is truly harmless, why do you insist your friend keep her spouse in the dark?

Admonitions like this have led to broken homes. A few months ago I learned that a lovely girl I know, Oma, who had been having difficulty conceiving, was ending her marriage to her husband of more than ten years. When after her marriage, months turned into years and Oma continued buying ladies’ tampons but never a balloon  for baby shower, her parents-in-law expressed their displeasure that their son married a woman who could not give them a grandchild. Yielding to the growing pressure to bring forth children to perpetuate the family name, this otherwise decent lady heeded the advice of her friends to “try outside.” Her friends knew her husband was the infertile one; her parents-in-law did not. When Oma’s husband learned of her infidelity, he felt betrayed. Their love for each other flickered; one for breach of trust, the other from weariness of being perceived as the infertile one when she wasn’t. Meddling from outsiders broke this couple’s union. It is for a couple to decide if they want their child to be from another man’s seed; let’s keep it that way.

3. “Adopt. Once you Do, You will have a Child.”
Statistics show that this oft-touted advice is an old wives’ tale. So don’t peddle it to your friend trying to conceive. The decision to adopt should come from a place of love. Also as important is that you don’t judge unfairly a childless couple who decides not to adopt. Fear that an adopted child’s biological mother may suddenly regain her maternal instincts years later to take away an adopted child is a valid reason preventing many couples from adopting. So if you have been persuading your relative to visit an orphanage and she has been reluctant to do so, this may be a good time to back off.

4.”Is There Something from Your Past?
No there isn’t. The idea that childlessness is a punishment God metes out to women and men who led promiscuous lives is ungodly. Most of the women I know who are trying to conceive led chaste lives as single women. Even Christ debunked the belief that austerity is God’s way of paying sinners when he was asked whether a blind man’s condition was the result of his sin or his parents’. So next time you want to recommend that your childless friend goes for cleansing, remember that your ten children isn’t proof you keep the ten commandments.

5.”You are lucky. I miss being child-free.”
Even the most thoughtful of us say this to our childless friends to cheer them up. But while going for  a vacation at a moment’s notice becomes harder once one have kids, and getting less than two hours of sleep attending to a newborn makes every mother envy their child-free friends, telling this to a woman who spends every waking hour thinking of how to conceive is inconsiderate. In any case her vacations are probably trips to fertility doctors and she probably keep vigil at nights anyway soaking her pillows with tears. If given the option, you won’t trade places with your friend, so don’t patronize her.

6. Look at Her ‘That’ Way
A look conveys a thousand words. My friend Ima said that nothing hurt during her infertile days than the look people gave her. Childless women recognize the look that says, “The only reason you are dressed better than I am is that you spend your money on Nike shoes and Michael Kors bags while I spend mind on my boys  Mike and (Ade)Nike.” Ima said she recognized the look of pity, judgments and schadenfreude people gave her. If you don’t want your facial expressions to give your thoughts away, maintain a poker face (or a cheerful one if the occasion demands) the next time you run into your friend who has yet to miss her monthly flow.

7. “Don’t give Up.”
Sometimes, worn out by rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatments, a couple decides that with 7 billion people on earth, the human race doesn’t need their genes to save it from going into extinction. But people who cry more than the bereaved won’t let them be. A couple had to write all their friends and relatives to tell them not to discuss their infertility with them for the next two years.

You don’t want to get such letter before you keep mute. Recognize the tactful ways your friend may be sending this message to you. And if you consider that some couples actually decide not to have kids these days, you will realize it is a faux pas to go about asking married couples without children what they are waiting for.

My friend Ima said that silence is golden when it comes to discussing infertility with women trying o conceive, especially when you aren’t family or a close friend. If you are family, you can offer financial resources to aid with fertility treatment or introduce your relative trying to conceive to other couples who have been successful with fertility treatments. Infertile couples endure enormous amount of stress. The least we can do is give them respite. Wondering what to say to an acquaintance who has never discussed her infertility with you, words that won’t hurt her feelings? Don’t say anything.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

65 Comments

  1. Winona

    May 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Nice article. The one that annoys me the most is that even if you’re not TTC, people want you to be. I’m married to a former widower who had three children before his late wife’s passing. Been married for 5 years. Don’t really care for biological children or children at all. His kids are adorable and respect me. I have grown to love them. However, people are always telling me “have your own o, don’t you want yours, who will take care of you, when their father dies you’re on your own o.” I’m like what???!!! Is that why y’all have kids? For someone to bury and feed you? Mehn! Some even go as far as offering fertility treatment resource and I’ve not said anything about trying to conceive. If genetics makes a child yours, then those who had their child(ren) through donor eggs and sperm cells are childless right? Not every childless, married woman is TTC please!

    I just want to point something out from the write up. Biological mothers cannot wake up one day and have an epiphany about the children they gave up for adoption and waltz in to “collect” them. They were not given to keep for them. There’s a certain window allowed for her to change her mind. I think a few weeks or months at most, after which she’s as much a stranger to that child as any random woman on the streets. Couples who really, really want to adopt whether you have children or not should not let this fear stop you.

  2. Stella

    May 4, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    God bless u Anne for this write up. I am an expectant mother so I know exactly what it feels like. This is my 12th years of waiting and people around me is not helping matters atall. Just like u said I have been asked all the above questions and more, like “are u sure your husband has no kids outside” “has he ever put any lady in a family way before u guys got married” “are u sure he is not tied of u yet” “what is his mother saying in all this”
    But I want say something here, “It is only a mad woman that will sit comfortably while her house is on fire” meaning ” don’t think that d people concerned are not doing anything about their predicament.

    Note: it is good to know u care about the people involved but pls mind what u say to them.

  3. Erika

    May 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    The most hurtful one some said to me was “why are you living in a 5 bedroom house in London when you dont have kids… what are you using the rooms for”. It was even more painful that I was meeting this person for the very first time and all she was interested in was putting her nose in my business.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 4, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Tell her you need one room for your shoes to breathe and another for your clothes to hang without touching each other… In other words, it’s none of her damn business. As long as you can afford it, it’s your choice what size of house you choose to live in. And even if you can’t, that’s between you and your mortgage lender.

      Plus, you have all that room? Enjoy nwa nne m, that’s my dream at the moment – an extra room for wardrobe matters. I can’t cope with these damn tiny “double wardrobes” in so-called “double bedrooms” that are UK standard.

    • Pretty girl

      May 4, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      U would have punched her on the face.

  4. Frida

    May 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Spot on! And this does not only pertain to couples trying for their first child. There’s even more pressure on women battling with secondary infertility. ..which is much less understood in our climes.
    There are many women who after the 1st child are finding it extremely difficult to conceive again or maintain a pregnancy. Our society is even less kind to such women.
    Infertility/subfertility is a very difficult thing to go through.
    Baby dust to all trying couples by God’s grace!

    • slice

      May 4, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      I ask o. I ask. This love tin. U children of nowadays u won’t tell ur mother ur father. U won’t tell anyone.help won’t come. After 2 years, in fact one sef, I ask my frds is it voluntary or are u having trouble. In fact now I ask before marriage. We go thru so much alone. I don’t ask random frds but close ones I ask. as for why we ask if it’s u or the guy. We ask bc naija is still naija even abroad. Bc some guys say no to treatment even when it’s hem. Meanwhile the lady’s time is passing slowly. After time don go finish they find another. So we ask bc u had fam and friends before ur husband. If u dey find job I go ask. How far with keeping quiet when I know u want kids. MBA I ask. So far it has nt annoyed anyone but like I sd we are friendsm

  5. Obianuju

    May 4, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    U think it happens in Nigeria mostly or by Nigerians …. They do not have any filter … So quick to point out things to u …. They are quick to point that u are fat after not seeing you for ages . My sister inlaw is trying to conceive …. At a kids party she was trying to collect party packs for her friends children … Only for the lady sharing it to say ‘ why do u need party parks …. I thought you don’t have children ‘ she cried all through the night . Even to pregnant women some don’t have filters …. I am currently pregnant …. My aunt called and asked my husband if I am now ugly …. That she wanted to see my face … Ohh well I told her I did not want to skype .

  6. Isi

    May 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    People can be so heartless! What;s the meaning of you can go outside? Nonsense! Those are people who don’t love you and have your wellbeing at heart. Women have suffered sha. I was watching Berry Dakara’s heartbreaking vlog about her struggle, and someone told her it’s her fault she has not conceieved. Imagine!

    Our people need to stop please!

  7. Laila

    May 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    4yrs into our marriage and we intentionally HAD not yet chosen to have children, my mother rudely asked me in a family group setting “Are you barren or having problems?”.

    I generally dislike the outdated mentality of “respect for respect sake” we Nigerians follow but I go with it to keep the peace. In this instance – gloves were off sha. I called her out and gave her a stern talking to on how MY family affairs were not her business (now or ever).

    We had our son a few months after our 5th anniversary (as planned!) and she now wanted to come and stay. I very politely said no thank you. You’ll see him when we come visit Lagos in 6mnths.

    People need to realise there are consequences for being rude and speaking out of turn. Simple. My mother has learnt her lesson with me and dares not interfer in my home affairs anymore. Just stop and think before you speak. It’s not hard.

  8. Spunky

    May 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    My best friend has been married for about six years and is hopeful for a child ( although he has a 5 years old adorable daughter). When we hang out for drinks and he becomes worried at some point, I listen and barely say anything. I truly wanna console him with words of encouragement but I’m always choosy over words that fall out my mouth. I just encourage him to hang in there, pray and enjoy what he has. I hope that’s fair enough?!

  9. AngieD

    May 4, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Different strokes for different folks…so I met this lady at a weekend professional exam lesson, She asked me to be on her bridal train, which I obliged (we were not that close, we had just met!)…Anyways, 2 years after marriage, she had not had any child ..One day, we met and this lady accused me of not asking her how far as per conception, that it shows I didn’t care. I was shocked!!!…I said, sorry o but I didn’t think it was any of my business. But babe kept insisting I should have asked and then she poured her whole heart out to me. Still don’t think I will ever ask any one such, even my bestest friendsfa!

    • Blueberry

      May 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      I think you did the right thing not to ask. I mean the pressure/shade behind that question (“have you conceived yet?” OR “how many kids do you have?” when talking to someone you have not seen in ages) just gets me on damn nerves. Some will not admit it, but I am sure it pisses most married women without kids. I mean its like the only question some people think of asking once they know you got married. I mean pleaaaase, give the married women some slack!!! If she has kids, you def will know about it so just mind your business and wait for the news to reach your ears…

  10. Omoluabi

    May 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. I have heard an ear full actually. I even have a child. But it’s been a long wait after him. Someone looked at my son and was like, “your mother is not barren, so how come you don’t have a sibling?” “What are you waiting for? you are still doing sisi? “After so many years of marriage, you have one child and you are not ashamed?”(I “changed” it for this particular person), “a person with one child is just as barren”. All these said by friends and family! All I know is people can “yan”. Ahn ahn! I Thank God for grace o.

    • Ajala & Foodie

      May 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Wow!!!! To your child???? Oi oi oi that shall be the day. God most strike that pesin with the spirit of muteness instantly. What??? Some people need to loose their sense of speech.

  11. ejay

    May 4, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I wonder when people will stop being disgusting, this article made me remember when my sister had her son,one was asking if the birth was natural or not

    • Hmm

      May 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Na wa o

  12. Tikka Masala

    May 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Interesting piece…

  13. HelpMe

    May 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    My story is quite the opposite, I have a set of twins and I am done! I love my kids to the moon and back, they mean the world to me and I am fulfilled.
    My mum on the other hand keeps hounding me for more kids, every time we see or talk that is the first thing she says “when are you having another child, these children are grown”. Her mum (my grandmother) feels the same way and that breaks my heart cos I feel like I am making an old woman sad.
    I had a think about it and decided to have one, but I thought if I will have one, I best get pregnant now and birth the baby next year (God willing), but hubby just threw a spanner in the works, he said no that he doesn’t want another and if at all he will consider it, it won’t be until next year! So much that he won’t sleep with me without protection and I am so desperate, I am considering poking holes in the condoms.
    Has anyone experienced this before?
    How did you handle it? Please help!!!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Hahahahahaha! Dead @ poking holes in his condoms… I’m sorry, this isn’t helping, I know… 😀

    • HelpMe!

      May 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      lol…

    • omaa

      May 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      So you want to have more kids because people are asking you to??

    • Fashionista

      May 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Please do not bring strife into your home with YOUR own hands. You shouldn’t have a child simply because you feel you are making someone (that has lived their own life oh) sad. More importantly, you are making this desperate move at the expense of the peace in your marriage. The person who’s opinion matters the most in this case has said he is fine with your two lovely children, as you are.
      I can even imagine if you’ve not had any at all and you don’t want to make your parents “sad” . But you’ve had two and you and your hubby are happy, you now want to go and look for trouble? Let he who has ears listen oh.
      Having said all of the above, I recognise it is your choice and shouldn’t butt in but please, do it along with your hubbys consent so there won’t be issues. The way I’m putting my mouth, you can see that it’s coming from a place close to home for me. Okay I shall leave you now. Lol

    • le coco

      May 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      You know deep down you don’t want another one.. u cnt please everyone.. tell your mother nd granny to go and have now.. you nd ur husband are content.. Please dn’t go and get pregnant again and find out u r carrying quadruplets oo.. lol

    • HelpMe

      May 4, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      This is major concern for me, having another twin pregnancy will make me resentful 🙁

    • Sagesse.

      May 4, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      @HelpMe, PLEASE, your husband is your husband. PLEASE, kindly keep your marriage. “”A wise woman builds her house but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.”” Your mother and grandmother have had their own marriages and children. You did not go to interfere in their own marriages and tell them how to live their lives, and how to live in their marriages. That you love them should NEVER mean that you betray your husband. That you love them should never require as proof of your love that you betray husband’s sacred trust and the mutual agreement between you both as husband and wife. Trust is very, very, very precious, extremely expensive and can be very fragile. Once broken, many, many times, it is impossible to get back, or when gotten, never fully but with cracks that never quite heal. If you lose your husband’s trust and your marriage goes downhill – God forbid – will your mother and/or grandmother marry you?Will that child/children you got from making holes in his condoms grow up and marry you? NO. God forbid. Count your MANY blessings and revel in them. Your husband says until next year. PLEASE, that is only 7 months away. The Lord is your strength.

  14. Dp

    May 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    @Erika na wa ohhhh people are really thoughtless sha, how will someone say such a thing to another person. Even me I have a baby ohh after a while, the baby was not even two yet ohh, my aunt asked me how far with second baby, I immediately told her it is in the hands of God. She was really shocked with that answer. She then said she knows it is in Gods hand she is just asking I didnt even reply again. A lot of Nigerians are extremely senseless with foolish and crappy mentality. Even those wey never get husband are asking u, how far with baby.

    • Mama

      May 5, 2016 at 4:44 am

      Plain truth is, our people don’t know how to talk. Whether it is addressing those trying to conceive or singles who are waiting, our words can be quite hurtful at times.

  15. Godstillanswersprayers

    May 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I Cudnt agree more. A friend who knew I was battling with secondary infertility would always call me. ” Isn’t ****** old enough now? ”

    Even on my child’s birthday instead of simply wishing him happy birthday, it was ” ***** is a year older still u hvnt had another”

    Wat more she came 10 miles uninvited to my house to check on me, needed to know if my sudden non C gallant attitude to social life was now becos I was FINALLY pregnant!

    When I eventually did she was sure d last to know. Would hv waited till I was delivered but her monitoring spirit made sure to monitor my where Abt.

    She now wants to know sex and Edd

  16. Godstillanswer

    May 4, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I Cudnt agree more. A friend who knew I was battling with secondary infertility would always call me. ” Isn’t ****** old enough now? ”

    Even on my child’s birthday instead of simply wishing him happy birthday, it was ” ***** is a year older still u hvnt had another”

    Wat more she came 10 miles uninvited to my house to check on me, needed to know if my sudden non challant attitude to social life was now becos I was FINALLY pregnant!

    When I eventually did she was sure d last to know. Would hv waited till I was delivered but her monitoring spirit made sure to monitor my where Abt.

    She now wants to know sex and Edd

  17. MsMak

    May 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Excellent job, Laila. This is what I always say – Nigerians continue to exhibit bad behaviour because they are not punished when they do. When they start getting punished or chastised when they do something wrong, they will self correct. Nigerians do not act this way when they are outside the country and talking to non-Nigerians.

    – People continue to be rude because nobody cut them short and called them out right away.
    – People continue to show up hours late to an event because hosts choose to wait for them instead of proceeding.
    – People continue to rape and steal because they never go to jail for it.

    I read Obianuju and Erika’s comments and I blanched! I would have told that lady that she was rude and it was none of her business and loudly too. If she was not an elder I would have asked her to leave my home. Please, stop putting up with bullying and abuse in the name of “tradition” and “respect” while you are dying in silence. It will destroy you emotionally. When you check people that apparently lack proper home training or consideration, word will get around and others will learn not to mess with you either.

    Tell them to mind their business. Or walk away without answering their stupid question. Or stare at them like they are stupid until they get the message and go away. Or ask them to leave your home. That way they will think twice before disrespecting you or others again.

  18. MsMak

    May 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    @HelpMe,

    Please tell your mother and grandmother whenever they ask that you and your husband have decided you are fine with the twins. When they protest, thank them for their wisdom but repeat again that you both have decided and you are done. If they ask 10 times and you stay firm and tell them the same answer, or say you do not want to discuss this anymore as you already have, they will learn to drop the topic and leave you alone.

    You and your husband are the ones who will feed, clothe and pay to school those children. You are birthing them not anyone else. Children are expensive to raise, both physically, emotionally and monetarily. Don’t let anyone, family included, bully you and your husband into having children you don’t want to have.

  19. Help yourself

    May 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Continue on this quest if you invariably want to lose your marriage and create long lasting resentment from your hubby.
    Better to discuss issues than become a scheming crafty dubious woman. It’s your husband, not some stranger!!!

  20. Help yourself

    May 4, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    @helpme
    Continue on this quest if you invariably want to lose your marriage and create long lasting resentment from your hubby.
    Better to discuss issues than become a scheming crafty dubious woman. It’s your husband, not some stranger!!!

  21. Anonymous

    May 4, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I am going to go anonymous on this (not that i am well known on BN or anything, but all the same….)

    I have been married for 8 years and still TTC. i havent heard much because i dont give room for that especially from friends. I wont lie, i reduced my circle of friends for this reason. I have acquaintances o, but not inner caucuses.
    After all a while of overshowing of concern, I also made sure i informed my siblings that i dont appreciate people (them inclusive) asking me questions everyday/every week as the talks always leave me teary-eyed, and i cant afford to be crying everyday (imagine if all friends and siblings start asking me questions haphazardly, na to dey cry every minute of the day).

    Where do I start from. I have been through all sort of treatment, from IVF to Agbo from the local herbs seller, to alternate chinese treatment to other unorthodox treatment. I once in a while fill my siblings in. All that stopped when i was advised to try surrogacy and all my siblings that are of child bearing age started giving one excuse or the other. After a while, one of them asked me how far, i told her i was waiting for her, when she is ready for the process she should let me know. She has not asked me any question about the issue again.

    Problem solved.

    • Anonymous

      May 4, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      After a while

    • Teju TJ

      May 4, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      I think it is extremely selfish of you to ask your siblings to be your surrogate. Why would you even want to create that sort of family rift? If you can afford surrogacy, you can definitely afford to pay a surrogate that is not a family member to carry for you.

      Gosh, you are just causing unnecessary drama.

    • Anonymous

      May 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Teju TJ,

      If you do not have anything nice to say, why didnt you just flip over my comment. Your comment is a tad insensitive and from your comment, you have never had to be in such situation as depend on others for something so important

      I didnt ask them to be my surrogate, i just told them of my options, and they started offering excuses. One even asked me to contact my sister-in-law, as in, husband’s sis to be my surrogate (you cant offer to be one, but you ask me to meet my is-in-law). Me that my hubby has been protecting from his family by claiming he is the one with infertility (thereby no in-law’s stress on me, i should now go and request for surrogate from sis-in-law) ,and they are aware.

      Its just that my family is a close knit one, and i would have expected one of them to volunteer even if i would have said no. Its just like having a medical condition, say kidney issue, and you need a transplant, even if you wont accept a family member’s kidney, it will still be reassuring to have them offer.

      PS: Hubby and i are paying for surrogate ourselves as we can afford it.
      Baby dust to all of us TTC

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      @Anonymous… I don’t know you (or…maybe I do, since you’ve admittedly changed your screen-handle for this one), but I just got so excited for you re your last sentence.

      Just want to say that my hope for you is that all goes well with surrogacy and your expected bundle of joy – may The Lord Himself see you and hubs through it all and cause you to experience the amazing delights of Parenthood.

      It’s completely random how this news made me feel like squealing. 😀

  22. Fashionista

    May 4, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Please do not bring strife into your home with YOUR own hands. You shouldn’t have a child simply because you feel you are making someone (that has lived their own life oh) sad. More importantly, you are making this desperate move at the expense of the peace in your marriage. The person who’s opinion matters the most in this case has said he is fine with your two lovely children, as you are.
    I can even imagine if you’ve not had any at all and you don’t want to make your parents “sad” . But you’ve had two and you and your hubby are happy, you now want to go and look for trouble? Let he who has ears listen oh.
    Having said all of the above, I recognise it is your choice and shouldn’t butt in but please, do it along with your hubbys consent so there won’t be issues. The way I’m putting my mouth, you can see that it’s coming from a place close to home for me. Okay I shall leave you now. Lol

  23. Chicanita

    May 4, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    So my people please what do you say to friends and family in this type of situation cos I know if you keep quiet, they’ll say you’re insensitive.

    • honey omo lekki

      May 4, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Just stay close to them, chat them up once in a while about general issues (but not the infertility issue), when they trust you enough, you dont need to ask, they’ll open up.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      May 4, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      My take is this:- Be kind to them, be there for them and pray for them but don’t be vocalising those prayers every damn time you see them. If they bring it up, listen & be present in the pain with them; if they don’t then do your best to discern from their body language how they prefer to treat it. When we pay enough attention, we can always tell when people are closed off to certain topics, in which case you can just show your support in unspoken ways.

      Above all, just be a true friend and try to be sensitive. I know someone who’s TTC and it’s been over 10years now but she is still full of Faith. So we call her “Mother” & I always endeavour to always use this name when I’m addressing or talking to her, just so she knows that we are constantly affirming this desire of her heart.

      Of course, in a Nigerian community of “the brethren”, I can assure you that her Faith has been tested to its very limit – recently, we were part of a group in the church and some of us were meant to do something but a number of women were giving excuses and mainly to say “oh, it was the children’s homework that caused me not to have time for XYZ”. When it came to her turn, the leader of the group (a young man in his early 30s who is also her friend) pre-empted her by saying, “you too, you’ll also say that it was children’s homework, abi?” And he laughed.

      I was so angry! Pissed beyond measure….. That’s the same thing as saying to a perso who’s been job hunting for years, “abeg, don’t add mouth when people with work are complaining about stress”. Mtchewwwwwwww…. I no blame am. As life never start for im corner na, so e don show us say true-true, e be pikin…..???

      So just be genuinely there for them in both spoken (words carefully chosen) and unspoken ways. If they’re as honest with the friendship as you are, they’ll come to value your support and freely share their challenges.

  24. NaijaPikin

    May 4, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I initially skipped through this article cos I was like surely no one asks such rubbish questions. To read in the comments that people ask a whole lot worse is bothersome. Like kilode. what is your own in the matter.

    The most I have asked is how many kids do you want to have. And that’s sisters and very close friends. finish. All these monitoring spirits na wa oh. I dey fear.

  25. LL

    May 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    These are bullies who think they are God and most times have no idea what they speak of. My husband and I decided to wait for two years and even though no one from our families gave us grief, random people started making stupid comments like “hope you’re not waiting ooh” -This was from a very senior colleague. I started putting them on the spot by putting on a poker face and asking them which style they think works best. That shut them up. I wish people will let others enjoy the blessings God has given them and how He chooses to bless them.

  26. Ajala & Foodie

    May 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I really do not like involving myself in other people’s decision/situation about baby making because I am right there (9yrs and still trust in). Nevertheless, you asked for our two cents so I shall give mine and hope it is received with good intent.
    My first thought is why are you desperate now? You already decided you were done but for external influence. Yes, you are entitled to change your mind but just make sure you are changing your mind for the right reason, that is for you not for your mum or Grandma. I love my maternal grandmother but she is not about to dictate what goes on in my family. It is however, obvious your hubby agrees with your original decision. I am not certain if this a decision you both came to together but even if it is not, know that poking holes in his condom will only lead to distrust if he ever finds out.
    My advice is to first clarify why you want another child and please it should not be for the reasons you gave on here because even outsiders like myself feel having one to satisfy mummy and grandma ain’t good enough reason because ma and grandma are not going to be the ones providing for the pikin regardless of how they feel. If you still feel strongly about having another child then keep talking to your husband, there is a parable in the Bible about this woman that keeps going to this rich man to ask for help eventually he his forced to give her what she wants not because he wants to give but because of her persistence and for his own peace. I wish you the very best

    • HelpMe

      May 4, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you.

  27. Ajala & Foodie

    May 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    My spill was for help me but BN page no allow my comment go through as response

  28. Vote Brexit

    May 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    So Oma for 8 yrs of hassle didn’t tell her pestering inlaws it was their son that was infertile!? Is that how it normally goes

  29. Niyoola

    May 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This happened to my friend. Her mother’s friend kept asking her when she’ll have a child, as their 2nd wedding anniversary was approaching.
    Babe got tired and lashed out at the poor old woman; she told her “maybe you’ll come and teach my husband how to impregnate me”.

    The woman ws mighty embarrased. All subsequent conversations were limited to “good morning my daughter”.
    Hahahahaha

    The gist still cracks me up.

  30. Hmmm

    May 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    This world shaa and someone reading this blog now has a little baby but she’s pregnant again and thinking of how to get rid of it cos she’s barely getting by.she’s seriously praying she doesn’t die in the process.

    • Ajala & foodie

      May 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      @Hmmm, I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to adopt in this country I.e Nigeria because many people will rather adopt the kids while they are still babies but since many people decide to put their lives at risk and go the abortion route it is very difficult to get babies to adopt. If more girls or women knew that there are families out there looking to give these babies a better life maybe abortion would not be so popular. Please consider giving up that baby or advising the expectant mother to consider giving up that baby for adoption as opposed to having an abortion.

  31. .

    May 4, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Unexplained infertility may be due to iodine deficiency. Ask your Dr to do an iodine loading test. It is a urine test NOT BLOOD TEST. If your iodine comes back at less than 80% saturation then you must supplement by eating appropriate foods NOT taking inorganic iodine supplements. Foods high in iodine include turkey, cod, etc. Most importantly, avoid all cassava and millet food products. It takes about 6 month to a year.

    If your iodine levels are sufficient then I would recommend taking METFORMIN (glucophage) 2000 mg per day (it’s quite cheap). Works better than clomid at achieving ovulation ..EVERYTIME. A lot of women are insulin resistant and do not even know it; moreover, serum glucose levels could actually be normal or boderline while you are in fact insulin resistant. This is often the case with women who previously took birth control pills. If this applies to you and you you do not fall into any of the usual categories of fibroids, endometroisis, bilateral occlusion of fallopian tubes then Metformin could possibly be your magic formula. Longterm usage of COC pills can result in PCOS and Meformin is so safe that one can continue to take it during pregnancy if necessary.

    For the woman who was advised to try surrogacy, please as your Dr to put you on Metformin therapy as I suspect what you have is unexplained infertility, unless you have had a hysterectomy of course.

    • Ajala & foodie

      May 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      @. Isn’t metformin, the first thing they try as in before even fertility treatments? I know because I have done metformin for awhile before my ob/gyn even started talking fertility treatment of any sort, I would even have to take it once I get pregnant to minimize my risk of losing the pregnancy. If she has gone through IVF, I would think her ob/gyn already looked into that. Surrogacy is usually the very last option that is based on what my Drs have told me.

  32. Ajala & Foodie

    May 4, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    @ Teju TJ, please pray tell how is it selfish to ask people that supposedly love and care about you to help you in time of need??? When people say love is an action, this is what they mean. I know my lil sister will not even blink if I asked her to be a surrogate for me. I know because she has said it. It is not mouth you use to claim you love someone it is by action. Yes, maybe she can afford a surrogate but maybe not do you know how much IVFs cost?? That is, how much she has spent already??? and apart from the medical fees involved with surrogacy the thousands to be paid to a virtual stranger wow it is not cheap even for the rich and famous. But even if she could I am still lost as to how you consider that request selfish. Your response should be on this list too, it is not only insensitive but lacks any sense of truth or fairness. As in how will that cause “family drama”?

    • Anonymous

      May 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Thank you Ajala & Foodie. My Doctor discussed with me that the choice of surrogate is important as there is still exchange of materials between the surrogate and the child. Wouldnt it be comforting to know the exchange is btw your sibling and your child rather than between a stranger and your child?

      My sis/bro, not to even start on the money spent so far. Saving extra N2 Million on surrogate fee wont be a bad idea.

    • Ajala & foodie

      May 5, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      @ Anonymous, my thoughts and prayers are with you. God will answer our prayers. He said He will grant us the desires of our heart and His will for us is to be fruitful and multiply. We shall both come back rejoicing soon by God’s grace.

  33. Adejoke

    May 5, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Please, please, please…do not get rid of the baby. What and what do you need? A job? Open up here, someone might help. If it is cash/support, how can you be reached. It may seem tough now, give it time, you will remember this period in the future and smile. Hang in there please…

  34. Mela

    May 5, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Nobody has mentioned the prayer part……Kia different people hearing from God for you. Am not even up to two years in marriage. My heart bleeds more for my sister…..well i have the right attitude towards all the panel of judges.

  35. ThatGhanaChick

    May 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I am just a little over a year in waiting (The first 6 months we prevented cos I landed a very good job just 2 weeks to the wedding). I have no pressure what so ever from my hubby but mehnn all the little shady annoying questions in the form of showing concern that I get from people makes me so uncomfortable,

    I have just started seeing my OBGYN and I am still undergoing numerous tests my hubby thinks I shd just relax but i can’t. I don’t know why I am uneasy but I pray God will come through for me soon. The waiting is the most difficult. When I read from the like of Ajala & Foodie and Anonymous I get scared.

    I am 32 and i feel like maybe if I had been married early I could have had a child by now or something, Oh boy! I am just a bag of unease.

    Maybe one of us shd create a forum for BN mothers in waiting so we can just be each others keeper and pray for one another. It’s not easy but too God be the glory for His Mercies.

    Baby dust to all of us TTC.

  36. madonna

    May 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    God bless u Anne for this write up, at least this should enlighten people on how to be more sensitive to others plight,i waited for seven years now I have 2luvly girls ,the trauma I went through was as a result of what people said,I think couples especially mothers who find themselves in this period of trial should brace themselves,be wise and hard as a rock,have fun,keep your head high,above all hope in God.

  37. lol

    May 5, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I read this piece over and over or is it back to back now? Any which way biko. It’s actually funny when people do this. I’m currently having this madness all around me. I got married in 2014. Boo and I decided to work more and save up before welcoming babies. This was a decision we made in unity cause we were struggling financially. God being so kind things took better turn last year and by November we started trying. It hasn’t clicked yet but there’s no question I’ve not gotten from people. An older single friend chose to insult herself on 1st January “happy new year o this year I must carry your baby o” I gave it to her “amen my darling, this year I must attend your wedding o” my friend got angry and dropped the call and sent me an epistle of how she didn’t find my wishes funny. I replied her that we both wished each other the best, why angry miss?. Even last Sunday, after service, this 47 year old single sister in the church said “I’m tired of this your fine shape, baby bump should have taken over” I almost gave her a stinker but for the word of God that was still fresh in my heart, I softly told her she’s too experienced to talk this way, she wanted to explain the comment came from a place of love, I walked away. An ex that left me unannounced and got married even called sometime last year, in the middle of the discussion he asked about babies, i said none yet, he said abi your husband no sabi do am well? I gave him estate stinker and he apilogused everyday for 3 weeks. Too many annoying instances. To everyone holding on to God for babies, e-hugs and don’t let these overbearing individuals make you sad for a minute. God gives these babies, not your past or present. We shall all be mothers pretty soon, amen!

  38. BMF

    May 6, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    If you don’t mind dropping your number, we have a WhatsApp group for TTC ladies ,send to my mail box

  39. BMF

    May 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Ttc is not easy, we are just 2years and the various comments I receive, is it my annoying landlady who said why will I get pregnant when I bring strange people to the house? Abeg who are the strange people? My mum, grandma or my sisters?
    Or is it your friends who just had their babies but will announce to the world except you? This life is not hard, I have prepared epic answers to whoever that cannot control her tongue

  40. Koffie

    May 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I have two cousin who are trying to conceive, we talk every once in a while (I talk more with one than the other). Not once have I ever asked them any question regarding their situation. I wouldn’t even know what to say so I talk about work, exams, Lagos traffic, the weather, faith and mumsy’s flowers but I never raise the issue cos I know a million and one people have probably asked the same and figure it must be tiring having to tell people your business all the time.
    My brother’s wife may be trying to conceive, I don’t know really. I had to ask my father to stop with the incessant prayers cos I know how I feel when people randomly pray ‘this will be the year you get a husband’. She did say it didn’t matter cos her own mum does worse but Popsy’s prayers were becoming embarrassing. My mum on the other hand genuinely goes on her knees everyday in prayer for them but never says such things as “Happy new year oo. Before this year runs out, we shall carry your twins” on new year’s day. Moreover, they’ve only been married for a minute. Sometimes I want to shield her from family functions where she’ll have to politely smile and say ‘amin ma’ to such wishes. Folks mean well but they say the darndest things.
    My cousins are even lucky they live outside SouthWest and Nigeria.

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