My favorite poem of all time is; “The Road Not Taken” from Mountain Interval by Robert Frost. In it he said, way leads unto way and I took the road less traveled… People who have followed me for sometime know I struggled with infertility. I am who I am today, because the oven of infertility baked me. The journey opened my mind to human conditions, the randomness of life and whatever it brings. I understood why having sex or treatment at fertile periods brought no pregnancy for me, while a secondary school girl will have a quickie behind the classroom and get stuck with unwanted pregnancy. I understand why some will be rich and some will be poor. I understand why some will have great husband and others will live with bare chested brutes. I know why some careful humans will die young and some reckless idiots will live to old age.
Yes, choices affect destiny but there is a whole lot we do not control. A lot in our lifetime depend on the primordial cards we drew before we were born. A lot is coded in the genes that is yet to unravel even with the mapping of the human genome. A lot is in spiritual cards which science is not focusing on. God is EQUITY. He balances it all out in the end. If you die young now, you will live long in the next. If you are poor now, you will be rich or at least be comfortable in the next. For me, who knows, I might have had ten children in my previous life or have died at childbirth and asked God to give me one or none in the next existence. In this lifetime, I got here, and started running helter skelter from age 26-39. Àkúnlẹ̀yàn, là d’áyébá, àdáyébá, là d’áyéṣe. Meaning, you play the cards you are dealt. Anyways, my life experiences handed me compassion. I am able to see beyond blame.
Linda Ikeji’s story blanketed Facebook yesterday and I got to read it this morning. Life happens! The angle that I am concerned with is the single motherhood side. It is hard to preach to anyone because he who stands should be afraid of falling. People like to see successful people crash and burn. It makes them feel better. That is why it is good to be discreet. When you are cruising at 30,000 feet, pretend you are at 10,000 feet. That way, if you loose altitude and fall to 15,000 feet, no one will know it but you. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, when we are at 30,000 feet, we give the impression of being at 50,000 feet. Every little undulation is noticed by people. People make good and bad choices all the time. I have had my share of bad decisions and consequences too. I don’t like to blame but to look for a way out. To find solutions.
If you are a woman and still single after 30, do not despair. Life is getting harder economically and socially. Finding a good man at a certain age is like hunting for mountain goat. Not everyone will marry, fact! Not everyone who want a child will have one, fact! You can’t get angry and say I will have money, and get it. Anger doesn’t produce money. You can’t get angry and say, I will build a house and it gets built. No! These are facts. We haven’t found a way around the biological clock to prevent it from ticking. At 33, the quality of your eggs takes a hit. Endocrinologists and reproductive experts will tell you, even IVF becomes challenging after that age. You need to act fast while waiting for the right man to come along. If you have a good job, DESIRE CHILDREN, can raise that child on your own earnings, consider two things immediately. One, freeze at least 30 eggs while still searching. When you are ready, even after 40, you can sleep better knowing at least 10 eggs will survive thawing and you can conceive. Two, consider using a sperm donor to conceive as soon as you can afford it. Getting married late in life has consequences and the added wàhálà of infertility can wrought a marriage. What if you wait and no man comes along? Science has changed and is changing things. Decide what you want.
Life is about choices. While marriage is the bedrock of the society, some are not just cut for it. Some will not find partners. Some will crash out. We cannot stop people from fulfilling their biological functions especially if and when they desire it. Children are a blessing even thought they cost you. I’m blessed to have one. I wish I can have another but I know within me that I can’t. Even if I can, I have no strength left to raise an upstanding child after putting my life on hold for 11 years raising one through early childhood. It is my decision and I’m living with it.
80% of decisions we make is to please others and it is one major source of unhappiness in the world. Make the best decision truthfully for you and live with it. If you are married and dealing with infertility, consider surrogacy, egg donor, Sperm donor, adoption, depending on your circumstance. It is your life. Science has made it easier. Live your life.
Bamidele Ademola-Olateju a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes a weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @olufunmilayo.