The Baby of a Child : A story about Teenage Pregnancy in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria | #Africa4Her


I am a very lazy person in terms of hard work, my mother can testify to that. However, what baffles her is my ability to act like a fierce force when emergencies happen. ‘She never sabi her pikin’ (giving out a soft laugh). All the same, it was a cool evening and I was just listening to the radio, I don’t like the television for no justifiable reason. The radio presenter was discussing the dangers of teenage pregnancy in our region. I loved the topic, as I get to see young unmarried girls with ‘big belle’ every day.
As I was shaking my leg to the rhythm of the music as the show went on break, I was interrupted by one of my neighbours, she was approaching me and shouting, Oga please help us oh. My daughter has gone into labour oh. Please we beg you, help us get to the hospital. Thankfully, I was dressed up in my khaki shorts and white shirt, I quickly wore my sandals, grabbed my wallet and car keys.
I arrived at the house of my neighbour and saw her 16 years old daughter sitting on the fall, holding her waist and crying out her pains. I have seen pregnant women and I still cannot comprehend their labour pains. So we helped her into the car and we zoomed off to the hospital. While I drove, I kept my mind on how she is quite young to give birth to a child and the health impacts. Yes, I forgot to tell you, I am good at analysing situations, it creates solutions to the problems.
So in my curious state of mind, as we approached the hospital, I asked the mother of the pregnant girl, ‘Mama, your pikin attend antenatal?’ She gave a negative response with the reason that her daughter was embarrassed about the whole thing and felt ashamed after attending a session once. Ok! Ok! Mama, I see! In my head, I was swearing and cursing but I don’t know who to blame- the mother, the girl or the society.
So we arrived at the hospital, we told the nurse on duty a young girl is in labour. She appeared shocked as she saw the young girl brought in. She quickly asked for antenatal records and any other relevant documents relating to the expectant mother. I quickly explained to her that, there was none. She just changed from a sweet nurse to angry mother hen, she was furious, she sighed and blamed us and made comments towards the young girl. It is common for us in our area to be judgemental so I didn’t bother confronting her.
No antenatal records meant we had to wait longer for us to be attended to. We have to follow ‘due process.’ I made sure we followed the process in patience and hope as the hospital is a crazy place to be in and you have to be in good terms with the staff, else wahala go be your papa name. So after an hour of registration and numerous form signing and what I took to be a brief antenatal or pre-delivery check-up. The midwife walked up to us and asked who’s taking responsibility for the girl. I responded that I was here to support the elderly woman. We asked if there’s anything we needed to do regarding the safe delivery of the girl and her baby. The midwife told us to start praying and ‘kabashing’ and calling all the gods we knew to save the girl, as her pelvis is still immature to deliver a baby. Blood of Jesus exclaimed the mother of the pregnant girl! Mama! Mama! Please calm down! We need to get more explanation on the matter. The old woman just started crying in the usual Nigerian way, ‘which kain wahala be this today?’

 

This wahala has to go by fire by force! You probably think I am a crazy Nigerian. So while the wailing about the situation continued, I quickly called a few of my friends. Yes, I have a speed dial for emergencies. While I waited for my calls to yield some ‘fruits’, I went to meet the doctor quietly so the old woman won’t continue crying.

 

Madam Docki! Good evening Ma! I am sorry to bother you oh. Please I just want to have a few clarification about the situation of the young girl who is said to have an immature pelvis. Please Ma, try to break it down in simpler terms, so my Mama can understand.

 

Ehen! She looked at me and said ‘oya sit down’ let us talk. First of all, I am not too happy with the current situation. She is too young to give birth, her pelvis is too small as she hasn’t developed fully as a woman and lastly, we are to perform a Caesarean Section. How did she end up pregnant sef? Didn’t she receive home training? (She muttered to herself). Is that clear enough? Yes Doctor! Thank you very much! Oh Dr, how much are we talking about here? You know for the C-Section? Oh that’s not a lot of money, it’s just 300,000 Naira, replied the Doctor.

 

300K for wetin na? All the same I thanked her and headed out. I smiled as I already sourced for funds with the calls I made. My friends had arrived and all I did was explain the situation and collected the money. And I tried to bind and cast the judgemental spirit that was forcing itself upon them to make awful comments. I thanked them because we don’t get such Father Christmas gifts as quickly as this.
So I went to meet the nurse on duty and told her we are ready for the procedure as we have the money. She was just grumbling about how this money wants to be wasted on a silly girl who didn’t know her left from her right. Oh well, I don’t blame anyone for making the angry comments towards the teenage girl. I believe everyone is accountable for his or her actions, my only exception will be a rape case in this situation. So I pleaded with the nurse, that we get things done as quickly as possible, in my mind, I was preparing the questions I had for the girl and her mother after this whole wahala subsides. Come to think of it! We had spent 6 hours at the hospital already. Oh yes! You are curious about how I have that kind of time for people? Well…..I am a Nigerian with a twist. My life revolves around people and finding solutions to problems.

 

After two hours of waiting, the young girl was wheeled into the theatre, while I listened to the numerous prayer requests family and friends were releasing into the atmosphere. Gosh! I can be very sarcastic especially when I am on my worst behaviour. When the sex was sweet and things were rosy, they weren’t thinking of the future prayers of today, you people and your funny ways. I reclined on the long chair at the edge of a window and gave in to my thoughts. Where is the young man that is responsible for this pregnancy? How could they have sex without protection? Who will be responsible for the newborn? What happens to the girl’s education? Are we giving enough sex education to our young ones? How did we get to this situation, were our eyes blindfolded?

Written by Weyinmi Orighoye From the Collection of Stories: #Tales of a layman.
Image: Pregnant Samburu lady by Sally Walton