I was pregnant. 20 weeks pregnant. That is not all. My brother was responsible.
First class students are expected to be serious minded and ‘boyfriendless.’ Add ‘University of Ibadan’ to that and a superhuman being comes to mind. Maybe that was why I had the abortion. I was not supposed to be pregnant.
I cried when I confirmed it. And I cried when my baby bump started to show. But when the abortionist was removing it (I refuse to call it ‘my baby’), my eyes were dry. Very dry. I had to, I reasoned. What will I tell my mother? What about my course mates and lecturers? And the people in the church? How many people will I tell that my brother raped me? No, I couldn’t take the shame! Especially with my church being one of the rather conservative ones. And so, I lay there while the woman whom I only knew as ‘Nurse’ tore ‘it’ apart. For one full month I bled. The bleeding in my heart was so much worse than the physical one. I had killed a baby. MY baby. Little did I know my ordeal had just begun.
Then one night after a cold shower, I realised my pad was soaked within five minutes and blood was cascading down my leg like a waterfall. Fear gripped me when I looked down and saw that the blood was fast soaking my rug. I became immediately lightheaded. This was different. The bleeding will not stop.
Somehow, I managed to get downstairs using a stick as support. By now, it was past midnight. Agbowo was silent, so silent that one could scream and it would sound like a million voices. My only hope for help, Beta Life hospital chose that night to be closed. Hopeless and too tired to walk anymore, I lay in front of Libra Kitchen, the only building I could see that was generous enough to keep its porch light overnight. Different thoughts flooded my mind. Perhaps, this would be my last day on earth. Would UItes mock or celebrate me? I could almost see my HOD in his babariga, giving my course mates a lecture about youthful exuberance and where it had landed me. That is what I call being a good example of a bad example. I wondered which would come first-the Good Samaritan or the ritualists? Or perhaps, I would be raped a second time. ‘Olorun maje,’ I uttered as I tried to banish negative thoughts from my mind.’
And then, I saw someone flitting torch in my direction. “Who you be?” someone asked in a voice that sounded like he had caught me stealing. Through my daze, I saw it was a night watchman and managed to tell him I needed to get to Jaja. He tried to help me up and noticed my trousers, cardigan and even hair was drenched in blood. He let go immediately, muttering something I did not have the energy to pay attention to. It was another night watchman that hailed an okada man that eventually conveyed me to the school gate. By then, I was vomiting blood too. From Jaja I was transferred with an ambulance to another hospital. There, I was operated upon and a decaying placenta, amongst other parts, which the nurse had unknowingly failed to remove, was brought out. The doctor said that had I been brought in twenty minutes later, I would have died.
I realise there are many people like me who are afraid, ashamed and afflicted with the ‘what will people say?’ syndrome. Worse things happen. People will talk, shut up and move on with other things. And when that beautiful, innocent bundle comes, you wouldn’t remember the pain. Don’t be sad. Let those who are good at judging judge you.
There is no relief like speaking out and no grief like killing a baby. Don’t do it. Don’t commit suicide. Don’t lose hope. There is nothing new under the sun is a saying that will never become a cliché. SPEAK OUT!
True story of a UITE, modified by the imagination of the author.