Episode 20 (Last Episode).
The following weekend after I welcomed my blue jet, my mother arrived home. I was emotional seeing her again. We were almost crying as she embraced me. My mom and I were the same kind of person; too emotional and fragile.
She came back with lots of goodies and baby kinds of stuff. She came purposely to help me take care of the baby, knowing grandma was aging and wouldn’t want her to stress herself, bathing and doing all the massaging and oiling of the baby.
Before her arrival, grandma had been the one doing all those things, I was just watching and learning from her. She was also using hot water and pieces of cloth to massage me down there, yeahhh…down there. It was painful that I’d scream anytime she does it. So my mom took over from grandma. She bathed my baby, wore his diapers, and rubbed her baby oil too.
I didn’t know that I’d have cramps after my baby was born and it would be a bit uncomfortable. My mom said it usually happens because after birth, according to her, the uterus starts to shrink back to its pregnancy size and it does so by cramping. Though she said I shouldn’t be scared that it would only last for a few days.
Two days after my mother arrived, late in the night, we got talking and she asked who the father of the baby was and where I met him. Somehow, I felt nervous and it seemed hard to narrate how it all happened. Well, she is my mother and she had been supportive, unlike my father who didn’t even ask about the father of my unborn baby then,instead he chose to beat me.
I narrated my love story with Meska, and how Meska and I eventually slept a day before my exam. I couldn’t stand to tell her all the other sex escapades between Meska and I. What about the atrocities Darlington and I committed? I didn’t mention them. I only told her about my last sex with Meska. I lied? Yes, I did.
My mom was so kind that she didn’t make me feel bad about the past. Neither did she scold me. She knew what I needed then was care, love, and attention. She said I must have learned my lessons the hard way. She further stressed she would like to meet Meska. Now, you see the difference between my father and my mother? Their actions were different.
My uncles reached out to me on the phone call. They also sent money for my newborn baby. I was happy to see them show some love. Only Clinton was particularly interested in seeing my baby, so we did a video call. Kate called me regularly after I informed her about my newborn baby.
There was one significant thing about my baby that always bring back Meska’s memories and that was the shape of his mouth. Just a replica of Meska’s mouth.
After seven days, mom asked what names I’d like to call him. I was all smiles and didn’t even know what to think. “Should I name him on your behalf?” She added jokingly. “No. I’ll name him myself.” Well, I called my baby boy Jesse, and his native name was Chimezie. Grandma insisted on naming him too, she called him Chibueze. There was no special naming ceremony. My baby was later baptized in our church.
Nurturing my baby was challenging and exhausting. There were several nights I stayed up breastfeeding him so he could stop crying. It was never easy. Sometimes breast milk wasn’t his problem when he cries, it might just be the weather and other things I couldn’t help. My grandma and my mom knew these things and I was glad to have both of them. Darlington was also still in the house. He helped do some house chores.
During this period, I fed like a glutton because my baby was taking up everything through breast milk. There were days I ate four times a day, other days I woke up late at night to feed on junk food. I thought I’d stop feeding on junks after giving birth, but I progressed to being a pro.
In a matter of a week, those “fun” aspects of being a teenager went out the window to make room for diaper changes and late-night feedings. But despite the challenges of being a young mother, there was this joy of motherhood that filled my heart each time I saw my baby smiling. I was lucky to have a supportive mom, but as a young parent, I felt irredeemable. It may not be the life I planned so meticulously, but it’s one I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world.
After a month and a few days, it was Unizik’s resumption date and I wasn’t ready and fit for the struggles and hurdles on campus, so I went with what mom said I should do—and with the help of my course advisor, and the head of my department, I applied for withdrawal for one year, stating my reasons. It wasn’t something I did happily but that was what I felt was the best too.
After two weeks, my course advisor called and informed me to come to school for my letter. She said the school Senate approved my request. So I went back to school to pick up my letter from her while my mates were in the first semester of the second year. I’m not going to lie, I really felt it.
I didn’t change my accommodation for anything, so I renewed the rent even when I wouldn’t stay for one full session. Well, the money was there, so that was the least of the things that bothered me.
When I got back home from school that day, scrolling through my WhatsApp, my departmental group chat was filled with loads of messages and when I went through the messages, it was congratulatory texts from my coursemates. How did they even find out I had given birth? I guess one of them must have seen me in school earlier that day. At the end of the day, I thanked them generally for their warm wishes.
After I suspended my studies for a year, it felt like an exercise in explaining myself to the people in the neighborhood. I was equally filled with thoughts like, how would I cope? Would I ever go back to University? There were heavy questions to load someone up with at a vulnerable time, and I was barely forming the answers myself.
Again, I can’t stress how lucky I was to have the support of my family behind me. Without their help, I wouldn’t have found it easy raising my baby. It was hard though, but I was doing okay, and, well, my life was no longer just about me. My son’s presence in my life brought on a new season of purpose. I was becoming less focused on myself, and more focused on doing what was best for both of us.
Gradually, my baby was growing, after two months, my mom traveled back to the city. I wished she never did but for the sake of her business. It would have been lovely if I followed her to Abuja with my boy, but my father didn’t buy that idea. He wanted me to suffer it alone and that way I’d learn my lessons.
During the time I was off in school, raising my baby boy, I did feel sad at times when I would see my departmental group bubble with so much information concerning the new courses they offered. I feel bad they were ahead of me and I wasn’t also going to graduate with them. It worried me that I wouldn’t know anyone properly when graduating with other sets and my coursemates would have done it without me.
Fast forwarding, a year quickly passed, I mean one academic session passed and it was time to return to campus to finish up what I started. My baby was a year old too. I knew it would be difficult coping with him and going to classes, so I found a private nursery very close to my apartment and it was amazing. My boy started there and he was happy.
My coursemates were lovely and understanding, they contributed some money and gave me for my baby. I marveled. They were in their third year and I was in my second year with a different set of people. I found their course rep and he added me to their departmental group chat. So I was existing on two different platforms; my original set and the set I would be graduating with.
I missed Kate on my return to my apartment. Why? She had moved out. She packed into another lodge for a new session. She said she was tired of certain things in the apartment. Well, she still visited during the week. She told me how her sister was able to raise her baby during her school days and that really motivated me. And though I realized there was still a difficult journey ahead, I was ready for it.
My son was my priority. He was the light of my life, and seeing him happy and knowing that I was going to graduate someday, kept me going on the long night. My son went to daycare during lecture period and I did the best I could to take care of him while studying for exams and completing other assignments in the evening.
One day, my mom and I were talking on the phone and she asked if Meska had come to see his baby. It was then I made it clear to her I wasn’t talking to him for long and we haven’t been on good terms too. My mom wasn’t pleased with that. She said I should let him know I have delivered, that no matter what, Meska is still the father of my baby and it wouldn’t change. She added that he deserves to see him too, after all, it was the two of us who brought him to life.
“Don’t you want your baby to have a father figure?” She said over the phone.
I unblocked Meska’s number and via WhatsApp too. One day, I cunningly texted him and he was shocked. Though he felt I was trying to win him back or wanting us to continue the relationship, I was quick to notice it through his texts, so I told him clearly why I unblocked him. Meska was delighted to hear he has turned into a father. He said he wasn’t in town, but would come to Awka anytime he arrived to see his baby. This was something I dreaded. I didn’t want him to know where I lived. Meska demanded a video call, I granted him, he saw Jesse and was all smiles. He teased me, saying I had changed and turned into a bigger person. He wasn’t looking bad, judging by his look on camera, he was looking fresh and clean.
After the call, we got chatting, he was sorry for the days of my pregnancy and he did say I was wicked for not informing him the day I delivered. I don’t know how he did it but I found myself laughing while reading his messages. I was supposed to be angry but I was smiling.
Towards the mid of the semester, Meska called and said he was on his way to Awka. He said he was around Onitsha. I told him to call me whenever he gets to Ifite, and he said okay. He was coming with his car and that spoke volumes of how he had metamorphosed. Meska now has a car? Wow! I said to myself.
An hour later, I didn’t hear from Meska. I didn’t want to call him, so I waited to see if he would come in the next thirty minutes. Two hours and he still didn’t call to ask for direction.
Three hours on, I swallowed my pride and dialed his number. It rang but wasn’t answered. I dialed the second time and was startled by the voice I heard over the phone, a female voice. “Please come to Regina Caelii Special Hospital, Awka. The owner of this phone was involved in an accident not long ago.” Shivers ran through my spines. I quickly wore my clothes and dressed up my baby, and we left.
We arrived at the hospital in a jiffy and headed straight to the ward I was informed to come. Jeez, the scene of Meska in the bed was horrible, it was way too terrifying to the eyes. When I asked the doctor what was involved, he began to mention: “He suffered brain bleeding, broken collar bone, 3 ribs, and entire right arm, shoulder, and a punctured lung.
But without a beat, Meska smiled when I came in with Jesse. But there was a problem. The problem? Most of his memory was gone of our interactions and he didn’t know who I was. He remembered some memory but not much overall. I was losing myself instantly. How could this terrible thing happen to Meska? I was confused and didn’t know what else to do. My heart kept pounding faster than usual. I stood helpless and got tired of explaining myself to him.
Later in the evening, they were able to reach one of his family people and before they arrived, I left with my baby.
For days, the thought of what happened to Meska sickened me. I was so bothered about him. Well, life continued, and I prayed he gets better.
My second year at the University seemed like forever due to the industrial strike by ASUU. It was during this strike period I met the love of my life, Ikenna. You still remember him right? Yes, the guy I told you that dropped out after writing junior waec with us. Ikenna was still the same person that drove me home that night after Meska broke up with me. Yes, you remember him now, right? Well, by the description above, you should remember him, Ikenna, the electrician. His life had transformed. Ikenna was living in the United Kingdom and was doing pretty well for himself.
At first, he didn’t know I had a child. I dreaded telling him about it when we first met after he arrived from Uk. I didn’t know he wanted me, so I kept my son away from him. When finally I realized he had so much interest in me and wanted more from me, I opened up to him, telling him I was a single mother. He said he didn’t mind and I felt that was some sort of joke. I knew most men don’t like single mothers but Ikenna proved to be different.
Well, at the moment, I’m in my finals, and Ikenna and I have been in a long-distance relationship for two years now. Things are going pretty well for us. I’m proud of myself that I went back and continued with my degree. I have changed so much, but it is all for the better. I literally cannot imagine my life without my son and I’m so incredibly grateful to him for helping me grow into the woman I am now. It was because of him I was able to find the depth of my strength.
If you’re reading this because you find yourself in an unexpected pregnancy, I want you to know it does get better. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
My finals at the university haven’t been easy because I have been running around for my projects and at the same time working out my Visa. Yes, you heard me right. As soon I finish up and hopefully, God’s swilling I get my Visa, I’d be joining Ikenna in Uk, after a closed family marriage. That’s the plan.
My son? My mom finally took him to be with them during my third year, so I could focus in my studies. I’m thankful for my mom, my grandma, my uncles, Kate, Darlington, and everyone who shaped my life, Meska, and my father too.
My life didn’t work out the way I planned it, but God’s plan was magical. I had thought Meska would end up being the father to my unborn children, but it was unfortunate it happened that way. Jesse would always remind me of him anytime I look him in the face. I really can’t wait to graduate, get married to the love of my life and move to UK. And for now, this is the end of my story and I hope to tell more of my love life with Ikenna when finally I get there.
© Frank The Writer_________
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