A businesswoman, Mrs. Bukola Aliyu, who waited for 13 years before having a child, shares her story with MOTUNRAYO JOEL.
What is your daughter’s name?
Raihana Ayomide Aliyu; she was born on February 28, 2017.
When did you get married?
I got married on February 6, 2003.
You bore a child after 13 years of marriage. How did you remain strong through the years?
It wasn’t an easy period but I had faith that one day, God would answer me. I tried to keep myself busy with counselling – I counselled people on various issues. I also tried to go out frequently; I realised that whenever I stayed at home, I felt more saddened about my issue. It was a trying period; there were times people would not want me to hold their children. I was constantly abused and tormented with hurtful words.
What efforts did you make in trying to conceive?
I went to several hospitals and places in search of an answer to my need. I underwent several rounds of In Vitro Fertisation – seven in total.
You mean none of the seven IVF procedures worked?
Yes, I also did four intrauterine insemination procedures. I also consulted the so-called helpers –the good and fake ones. My husband and I spent a lot of money within the period of 13 years. Each IVF procedure cost us about N1.5m; you can imagine how much we spent on IVF alone. Despite the failed procedures, I didn’t give up, I kept searching. Each time we tried a process and it didn’t work, I would almost give up but my husband kept encouraging me. He was so supportive, if not for him, I would have given up.
How did you feel whenever you saw other women with their babies?
I would pray over their babies with the hope that I would become a mother someday. I tried as much as possible to remain confident of the fact’that someday I would hold my own baby. At some point though, one of my friends brought a pregnant, adolescent girl to my house. She advised me to adopt the baby when the girl put to bed – she was seven months pregnant. She said the girl was willing to sell her baby for N500, 000. I turned down their offer and told them never to enter my house again. The young girl was so willing to sell her baby; she was excited. I felt angered by their offer; I kept asking myself if they thought I would never be able to give birth to a child.
Didn’t you feel bothered by your age?
Yes I did, I was approaching 40 and the thought of not being able to conceive at 40 was loud and clear in my head. It was at that point I gave up.
What do you mean?
It was around June/July last year; I got to a point where I gave up. I lost all hope of becoming a mother. I was fed up searching and trying to conceive by all means. My husband and I kept pushing hard – spending money, only to meet a brick wall. One night, I cried and cried and said all sorts to God. I challenged God; I said I was tired of trying to become a mother. I practically lost hope; I stopped praying. I knew I was approaching 40 and I told God that he if didn’t give me a child before I turned 40, He better not bother again. I was frustrated. To my surprise, that period, I conceived.
How did you learn you were pregnant?
I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was about three months into my nine-month journey. I realised I had missed my menstrual period. Even when that happened, I still doubted that I was pregnant because I hadn’t begun to experience morning sickness. I went for pregnancy test but refused to collect the result. I didn’t want to hear ‘you are not pregnant’ again. The night I was rushed to a hospital was when the doctor confirmed to me that I was pregnant. I didn’t believe him; I kept telling him I had malaria.
How did your husband react when he learnt you were pregnant?
I was on bed rest; I was too tired to observe his reaction. But I’m sure he was excited.
How did you feel being pregnant?
I was so excited; in fact words fail me to express myself. I was so anxious to see my growing tummy. I kept analysing my tummy. My neighbours too were excited. I didn’t let people observe my growing tummy until I was seven months pregnant. The day my neighbours saw me taking a walk, they gathered around me; there was a huge crowd, I felt so embarrassed. That was the last time they saw me take a walk. I preferred to take walks at night.
Were you concerned about the sex of your baby?
No, I made sure I didn’t check the sex of my baby. All I did was to buy unisex clothes. I wasn’t bothered if I was pregnant with a boy or girl. I had waited 13 years to have a child; the sex of my baby was not a priority to me.
How was your pregnancy journey?
After the day I was admitted in the hospital, I began to experience severe morning sickness but I was glad to experience it.
How did you feel when you held your baby in your arms for the first time?
Immediately after my operation, (I had a caesarean section) I told the doctor I wanted to hold my baby in my arms. I held her with the umbilical cord dangling and blood all over her body. The doctors and nurses were surprised at my action – they didn’t know I had waited for 13 years to experience that scene. Even when they took her from me to bathe her, I felt they took a long time. I just kept staring into her eyes; I cried from 10am to 6pm. My mother bought N4,000 worth of airtime to call people; she was overjoyed.
How many children do you hope to have?
I want to have as many as possible. If God decides to give me seven children, I’ll be happy.
What is your advice to other women who are hoping children?
They should be careful of fake doctors; many of them are out to exploit women. While I was running to different places in search of a solution to my need, I met people who told me to do all sorts. One told me to dry my faeces and take it with pap. I’m glad I didn’t listen to any of them. Patience is an important virtue in the journey of waiting to have children; women who are hoping to bear children should have patience. They should live a happy life.
Who does your baby resemble between you and your husband?
She looks like her father; he is so happy about that. He helps me in taking care of her; he changes her diapers.