Marriage Challenges in Africa: Childless Marriages
Ozoemena loved his parents very much, and would do practically anything to put a smile on their faces. But he made the hard decision to defy his parents regarding his choice of a wife, and that put a huge strain on his relationship with them. Ozoemena was determined to make his marriage work, but Jennifer couldn’t get pregnant after 5 years of marriage. Mrs. Anazobe stormed into Ozoemena’s home one Saturday morning and shouted at Jennifer: “Give my son a child, biko!”
In the last article – “Leave My Son Alone!” – Ozoemena chose to marry his university love, Jennifer, instead of Udoka, the oldest daughter his father’s friend. His parents wanted Ozoemena to marry Udoka to cement their friendship, but Ozoemena despised her because of her attitude.
Chief & Lolo Anazobe believes Jennifer is a gold digger who doesn’t deserve their son, and would do anything to kick her out of their son’s life. So when Jennifer didn’t give birth after 5 years of marriage, Ozoemena’s parents saw this as their opportunity to act!
Children in African Marriages
Childbearing is central not only to marriage, but also more broadly to adult life in Africa. Children provide invaluable assistance in emotional fulfilment, continuation of the lineage, and economic security in old age. So when a couple get married in Africa, they are expected to start having children. When that doesn’t happen within the first few years, then the marriage is subjected to vicious scrutiny. The groom’s family and so-called ‘well-wishers’ take it upon themselves to conduct an inquest. Most times, the blame is placed at the feet of the bride, whether it is medically proved or not. That was the situation Jennifer found herself in.
RELATED: “Leave My Son Alone!”
Before their marriage, Ozoemena and Jennifer had agreed to remain childless in the first two years of their marriage. Jennifer had recently secured a new employment and she was not expected to take any maternity leaves within the first two years of work. The couple didn’t imagine there would be any challenge when she’s ready to start bearing children. But after the 3rd year of marriage without any signs of pregnancy, Ozoemena and Jennifer decided to seek medical help.
Jennifer visited her doctor to be examined, but the doctor found nothing wrong with her. Still, she convinced her husband to allow her go see a gynecologist for a thorough examination. After several scans and tests, the gynecologist told her that she was free to bear children. When she still didn’t get pregnant after 4 months, she went back to the gynecologist and he invited Ozoemena for his own examination. Again, the doctor found nothing wrong with him, and encouraged the couple to be patient.
In Africa, patience is not a common virtue in matters of this nature. Really, Ozoemena told his parents about the result of their visit to the gynecologist, but his parents weren’t convinced. Mrs. Anazobe was determined to carry on with her plans. When the situation gets to this point, things can begin to happen very quickly if not handled properly. The pressure from the Ozoemena’s parents & other well-wishers started affecting the couple’s relationship.
Ozoemena’s mother found different excuses to barge into her son’s home, most times unannounced. Every time she visits, she would ignore her daughter-in-law’s greetings and respond heartily to her son’s greetings. She would move around the home as if Ozoemena lived alone, making Jennifer notice her feelings toward her. After her visit, Jennifer will pour out her frustrations on Ozoemena for not doing enough to protect her from his mother. Nothing he said would make her feel better for the rest of the day.
RELATED: “Son, You Can’t Marry That Girl!”
On one of the days she paid an unscheduled visit to their home, Ozoemena’s mother has something to finally say to Jennifer. As usual, Jennifer went to open the door for her mother-in-law. As she greeted her, Mrs. Anazobe gave a reply Jennifer wasn’t ready for.
“What is good about the morning?” she yelled.
“Am I not supposed to be welcomed by my grandchildren every time I come here? Instead, it’s your depressing face that I always see!” She hissed.
“Look, you better give my son a child . . . give my husband & I grandchildren. Or else, prepare to make way for another woman who can! Nonsense!” With that, she stormed away without entering the house, leaving Jennifer shell shocked!
If you where Jennifer, how will you respond to this latest development? Will you go ahead to put the blame Ozoemena or do something else? If you were Ozoemena, how will you respond to your mother’s outburst on Jennifer, telling her ‘give my son a child’? The story continues in the next article.
Meanwhile, you are welcome to share your thought in the comments section below.