The day I found out that Eno, my first daughter, was pregnant, I was so devastated. She was just 16 years old and was in Senior Secondary 1 (SS1). I cried and asked myself how I was going to face the shame and humility this would bring. That was in mid-2012.
Before this incidence, my family was a happy one. My husband Edet was an assistant manager in a private company while I sell food stuff at the central market in Calabar. We are blessed with three beautiful daughters – Eno, Ekaette and Imaobong and a son, Akpan, who is the last born of the family.
The three girls were all in secondary school although in different classes while Akpan was in primary five at the time. Most times, female children are close to their fathers while male children are close to their mothers so I was not surprised that my girls were so attached to their father, especially Eno, the eldest girl. She loves her father so much and was always willing to do anything for him; this has been right from her childhood days. No matter how hungry she is, she will not eat until she sees her father, also when she is sad or unhappy, once she sees her father, she brightens up. They are really close. In fact, sometimes, her younger ones tease her that the man that would marry her must really please their father or there would be no marriage, considering their closeness.
When Eno became pregnant and refused to tell us who the father was, I was really vexed. “Eno dear, who is responsible for your pregnancy? Tell me so that we can at least know who he is and inform his parents about it?” I pleaded. But no matter the threat and what I said, she refused to open up.
When she refused to bulge, I had a heart-to-heart talk with my husband. I pleaded with him to talk to Eno since they were close and he agreed. Later that evening, Edet took her out for a walk and 20 minutes later they returned and he told me, “Mama Eno, she refused to disclose the name of the man who put her in the family way. I think we should leave her alone for now and support her as a family. We should focus on taking care of her and her unborn child. She emphasized that the man threatened to kill her if she should ever disclose his identity.” “Edet dear, I cannot believe this. He cannot kill her so please convince her to tell us who he is. Think about the shame this will bring on our family,” I said in anger.
The next day, I called her younger ones, Ekaette and Imaobong and asked them questions begging for urgent answers. “Do you girls know that your sister is pregnant?” I asked. They both nodded. “So, who do you think is responsible? Does she have a boyfriend in school? Do you girls know him? Do you know his parents?” I inquired. “Mama, take it easy. Which of these questions do you wants us to answer? Anyway, we have never seen her with any boy in school,” Ekaette emphasized. “Mama, how I wish I knew who the man was but unfortunately I don’t. But, if she refuses to talk, will you kill her? If you feel she has brought shame to this family, why not abort the pregnancy before it begins to show,” added Imaobong.
“No, I can’t do that. Your father wants us to support her as a family,” I explained. It was such a big shame and disgrace to me that my daughter got pregnant right under my nose and has refused to disclose the name of the man who got her pregnant. I thought of taking her to stay with my parents in the village until she gave birth but her father vehemently objected to it. He stressed that she was my responsibility therefore; it was my duty to take care of her.
After all said and done, I took care of her and thank God, she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy on her due date without any complications. The day she gave birth, I forgot about all the shame, tongue wagging and disgrace. I was extremely excited to become a grandmother even though it was much earlier than I had expected. Months later, Eno went back to school while I took care of baby Victor. Edet loves Victor so much; he hardly puts him down whenever he carried him. And to crown it all, he had a striking resemblance with my husband, his grandfather, but was I to suspect anything? No. At least a child must look like someone in the family either from the mother or father’s side, so there was no big deal.
On January 15, 2015, Eno took ill and I took her to the hospital where the doctor confirmed that she was pregnant. “Madam congrats, your daughter is pregnant. She is six weeks gone already,” he said. “Abasi Ibong, Eno, so you are pregnant again? You want to disgrace me again abi? This time you don fail. Who get this belle? Anyway, we will continue this talk when we get home,” I stressed. I thanked the doctor and we both left the hospital and headed straight home.
Luckily there was nobody at home when we arrived. Immediately, I pulled her by the wrist and dragged her into my bedroom, locked the door so that we could have a serious talk. I asked her who was responsible for the pregnancy but she refused to say anything. She just sat on the bed starring at the ceiling and shaking her head from time to time as if in deep thought and indecisive whether to open up or not.
To be concluded
This article was originally published on angeladaviesblog.com