Nnwa, What if You do not Come? #1

There can be no children, Nnwa. Not now. Not ever. We have had the tests, we have had more second and third opinions than I care for but nothing changed the diagnosis, they said. They stood there and said there was nothing they could do. Any further treatment would only open us to more hurt and more financial leakage. There was nothing they could do. We figured perhaps it was a matter of faith. Some displeased ancestors or some tied up juju buried under the roots of a tree somewhere. Anything to give us even a sliver of hope. And so there is no altar we have not knelt at, no sin we have not confessed or offering we have not given. But still. Some said that perhaps our faith is weak and cannot be rewarded any divine intervention or that there is still some confessing we need to do – something big, some sin we deliberately forget to tell the man of God. I will not even begin to tell you what that sort of response can do to an already bleeding heart. They have said perhaps we should start thinking about the possibilities of adoption. But even the thought of it feels like a betrayal, like faithlessness. Five years later nnwa, but still, no matter how hard we fight, everything seems to confirm it; your aunt cannot have children of her own.

It is for a man to hope and for the gods to decide. If this is in any way true, then I am afraid. Afraid that although I hope that you will be mine, you may not be mine to have. The bones may be shaken well before they are thrown down, but neither the man nor the ground on which they will fall knows what picture they will paint. What fate they will spell. In that split second, when we all hold our breath, and everything is in mid-air, maybe then will we be able to speak the last of what we will think will skew the move to our favor. But even then, it is not up to us. Not up to me.

I spent the better part of my day yesterday on the phone with your aunt. No, not your aunt – my sister. Another I do hope you will meet. We talked a little bit more than we cried. It was not a yellow hour Nnwa. It has been years of trying to have their own. Something about a complication they cannot find a way around. If ever there was a race for the most likely to be the best at motherhood, your aunt would beat me hands down. Which is why this hurts in a way I cannot describe to you. The thought that this is the life she will have, something we had no way of knowing or preparing for, is hard. Nnwa, I think and pray for you, I plan and think and think and plan. But what if, you are also not meant to be mine? I have never felt as broken as I did yesterday. Now all I think about when I think of you is that maybe you will never be mine either.

It is not easy having to re-dream your life Nnwa. It is not easy being the only white flower in a sea of blue. That is what your aunt fears this will be. A constant reminder that she is not ‘woman enough.’ Whether we plan on having children someday since the time we knew we could because we want to or because it is just how things are done is one of those things we can argue about forever and again. But to have always seen your life pan out a certain way only to be told it cannot – that is cruelty. That is torture. It is one’s children that sit by their hospital beds, and it is one’s children that will carry one’s name. It is how it is, how it should be. It felt like all they said was that your aunt would be the tree without branches amongst even those burdened with more that they can bear. It is not fair. It is not right. Ours is a land where a woman is known by her name only because she is yet to have her child. ‘What will be my name?’, she asks. I cry because I do not know what to say.I am inconsolable, your aunt even more so. Fate has robbed you of your best friend, Nnwa. And there is nothing I can do about it.

It is too early to go for any tests. Not because it is too soon but because I have never been one to go finding things out unless they needed finding. And if I were not to have you, if I too were to have any complications, I would rather not know of them now. I would rather blissfully talk and plan for you. In this instance, I would embrace ignorance. If it gives me the hope that you are mine, will be mine, I will take it. I have seen what hopelessness can do and Nnwa, your aunt, she is strong. I would not survive it. Talk to the Big Oga there for me if you can. I like to think that you are closer to him than we are. Speak to him about your aunt. Ask him to change the way the bones fell. Ask him for a miracle – anything that can make this right. And while you’re there, ask him to let you come to me when the time comes. To come to me, and to stay. I would not survive this life any other way.

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