Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Pathetic Life Of A Teenage Mother by CHIKA MEFOR

Chinenye, they called her. Interpreted as: ‘’It is the Lord that giveth’’ was rejected by those who gave birth to her. Her narrative is a story like many other teenagers, in Nigeria. It touches the heart and sends tears down the cheeks of those who come to know about her plight. Chika Mefor was with her and she told her story.
I am from Enugu State and the first child of my parents.  I was born out of wedlock. My mother’s people refused to allow my father marry my mother. They had a case against my daddy, I was told: he had no money. My mother left me and went back home to her people. I have never seen her in my life. I don’t even know what she looks like. I had hoped against all hope that she will one day come back to see that baby she had had but she never came.
I had to stay with different relations as I grew up. My father married another woman or should I say impregnated another woman. She gave birth to her first child that died and then to a second one, that was when the woman’s family told my father to come and pay her bride price or they would take her back with them. My father hurriedly gathered some money and went to pay the woman’s bride price. That was how I came to have a step mother. The relation I was staying with then felt that my father had someone to take care of me and brought me back to my father. I returned to my father’s house when I was nine.
I was happy to return to my father’s house then because I had wanted to know my father and receive his love, the way my other siblings had. Then my stepmother had three. But I was to learn later that my journey to the house of so many relations had just begun.
My step mother saw nothing good in me. Everything I did was wrong: the way I washed the plate, the way I washed the cloth and even the way I looked after my other siblings. I was like an outcast in my own father’s house. It was so bad that my father sent me to stay with his sister in Onitsha. He said he wanted to have peace in his own house so for him to have peace, he sent me away.  I lived with her for two years. In her house, there was no peace. She and my father had this sibling rivalry which was directed to me. She threatened to send me back to my father at any slightest provocation. I knew that one day, something would explode between them which will send me packing. It did after two years and I was sent back to my father. I lived with my father and his wife for another year. I accepted everything that happened as part of my life. I resigned to fate which had dealt me a big blow and had got me born to a home where I was not wanted.
I thought all hope was lost until my father’s sister who was married to a Yoruba man during the Biafra war came to our house. She saw the tension between me, my father and his wife and decided to take me to Ogun State.
I left with her to Ogun State which was where she was living with her husband. There I will say I found peace for the first time in my fifteen years of existence. My aunt and her family cultivated large amount of cassava which she processed and sold wholesale. It was a lucrative business for her. I joined her in her trade.
There I met Adebayo. He worked in a company close to my aunt’s house. He told me that he liked me and we started going out. When my aunt noticed what was going on, she told me to stop seeing him. ‘’Men can be dubious,’’ she said. ‘’They are not to be trusted.’’ But I refused to listen to her. I went on seeing Adebayo because I believed he was different. He said he loved me and when he heard the story of my life, he wept with me and told me that he would never reject me as my family did. But the story changed when I became pregnant. When I told Adebayo, the man who had professed his undying love for me, he ran away. When my aunt noticed my condition (I had tried to hide it for some weeks) she went with me to Adebayo’s house and we were told that he had moved out. We went to his place of work and were told by the manager that Adebayo had resigned the previous day. I was left on my own. That world I had thought had decided to be fair to me came crashing on me. I had become a burden to my aunt and her family.
I gave birth to my son at the age of eighteen. My aunt tolerated me for some time after the birth but one day she informed me that she was taking me back to my father in the village. I pleaded with her to allow me stay with her but all my pleas fell on deaf ears. She had made up her mind. Her husband and his people had started saying all sorts of things about me.
She said she had had enough.
I was bundled back home together with my son. I left home alone but came back with a child. When I got back home, it was the same old story again. I was met with my stepmother’s bickering. Because of the baby I brought home, my daddy joined his wife to make my life unbearable.
One morning, I made up my mind to move out and go back to Lagos where I had found a little happiness. I picked my bag and my baby. Nobody stopped me, reminding me yet again that no one cared for me.
I am twenty now and my baby is two. I am all alone. And I am still waiting for God to remember me and tell me that it wasn’t a mistake for me to be brought to this world. I am waiting and still waiting and hoping that one day, my life and that of my son will be whole and someone would give me that love I deservedly need.

''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.

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