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I Went Into Hiding When I Became Pregnant 25 Years After Marriage – Wife Of Deacon Tells Her Story

Posted by Samuel on Sun 19th May, 2024 -

She speaks on her 25-year journey of grappling with infertility until she finally achieved conception and childbirth.

Anthonia Akinbola

A Nigerian woman, Deaconess Anthonia Akinbola, has told her story of infertility.

She speaks with AJIBADE OMAPE on her 25-year journey of grappling with infertility until she finally achieved conception and childbirth

Could you share a bit about your background with us?

My name is Anthonia Akinbola, and I am 52 years old. I’m from Edo State, but my husband, Oyediji Akinbola, who is from Osun State, he is 62 years’ old. I was born in Lagos, and I lost my dad when I was a teenager. I had part of my early education in Lagos and in Edo State. I have a Diploma in secretarial studies. I worked at the Chartered Institute of Personal Management of Nigeria for 22 years before I lost my job.

What circumstances led to the loss of your job?

It was during a period of staff auditing within the organisation. It became apparent that some people possessed higher educational qualifications than myself at the time. Consequently, there arose a perception that my credentials were inadequate for the role I held, despite my experience. This ultimately led to my losing my job. I worked in the membership department as a front desk officer, and I also worked in the training department before I lost the job.

How prepared were you for motherhood when you got married?

I was fully prepared for motherhood when I got married. Before I got married, I had planned to have at least one or two years of good intimacy with my husband. But after one year, pregnancy was not as forthcoming as I planned. It was then I started getting worried. There was a family doctor who was working in the same office with me then. The man is a medical doctor and he has his clinic. So we ran to him and complained about the situation. He said we should give ourselves more time and that it’s too early to be worried. But, I was fully prepared for motherhood at that point. Most of the things that I’m using for my baby today are things that I bought years back. I believed in God and believed that He would do it. As a Christian, I believed God would answer me, but it didn’t happen and I was waiting. I waited from the first year of my marriage to 10 years. Then, I waited from 10 years to 20, 20 to 25, 25 to 26. So October this year, it will be 26 years since we got married.

Did you ever imagine waiting this long before having your first child?

I never imagined it even in my wildest dreams. I never thought that I would wait for even five years. Anyway, I’m a Christian and I know God and I believe that God cannot disappoint me. I know He would do it. But I never knew that He would make me wait for 26 years before having a child.

Did you undergo any medical investigations, and what were the findings according to your medical reports?

We did all that in the beginning. We did all the necessary tests, and the doctors said we were okay. On the little findings, the doctors gave us drugs, and we took treatment, hoping that it would work, but it did not work. Although, I did not agree with the medical reports. As Christians, we say, “Whose reports do you believe. We will believe the report of the Lord”. I remember myself and my husband said that we should go to the hospital to do a check so that we can have a prayer point to present to God. We did that so we could have a prayer point. So the plan was to have a prayer request that we could present to God and say, “God, they said this one is wrong with us”, and help make it right. It’s not that the doctors didn’t find anything, according to their findings, they did. But we put it before God, and we were praying. We took the drugs prescribed and took the necessary treatment, but still, there was no change to the situation.

Based on the medical findings, were the issues linked to either you or your husband?

The issues were from both sides. I remember the family doctor who treated us told us that there was an infection. He told us that we had to get a particular drug for treatment, and I remember him saying that the only place we could get the drug was Germany. Fortunately for us, he had a friend, a doctor also, who was coming from Germany. Immediately he sent him the money for the drug, he got us the medicine at a cheaper rate. We had all we needed for the treatment. There was nothing like stress. You can imagine if we had gone to another doctor who is not a family friend. It could have been tougher to get that kind of drug and it could have cost so much. However, it was easy for us. We just gave him some money. He sent it to that one in Germany, and that one got us the drugs. We took the tablets, and took the injection, and still no result.

There have been claims that some persons battling infertility landed in trouble as a result of how they lived before they got married.

Nobody is perfect. I was not an angel before I got married, but with God on my side, I was under control because I was brought up by a soldier. My dad’s younger brother that I grew up with. He does not tolerate nonsense.

Was your husband under pressure to marry a second wife as a result of waiting for years without a child?

No, he was not. I would even ask that he and his family be listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the way they acted. I remember when I wanted to get married to my husband, my family was scared because it is believed that Yoruba men like to marry two wives. Some people were telling me not to trust the family and that they might have had a secret wedding before for my husband, meaning I could even be a second wife. But this family is great. They are Godly. They encouraged me. They told me God would do it no matter what. They said I have helped to train a lot of other children, and they supported and stayed with me. They even at a point wanted us to adopt a child. So they are a Godly family.

Why didn’t you advise your husband to marry a second wife after all there are historical examples of polygamy, even among biblical figures.

I can’t do that. I who came from Edo state and married a Yoruba man would now advise him to marry a second wife. What if he decided to marry another Yoruba woman, what would not be my fate? I don’t also believe in that because I’ve seen a lot of people who did it, and it didn’t work out well for them. At the end of the day, the woman who advised the husband would be the one who would suffer for it. Remember that Sarah in the Bible urged her husband to marry her maid and even though they had a child, from that marriage, that’s the source of the problem we are battling with all over the world today. It didn’t end well.

Did your husband undergo medical tests during the years you were trying to conceive?

Yes, he went for tests. Anytime we wanted to go for a test, we both went.

Is this your first pregnancy?

Well, this is a personal question, but it’s not my first pregnancy.

Can you describe your feelings when you found out you were pregnant?

 It was just as if I was dreaming. I kept on thinking if it was true or what was going to happen. So the first thing we did was we decided to withdraw ourselves from the public. The Bible says ‘Elizabeth hid for at least some time when she discovered that she was pregnant’. So we hid ourselves for some time. None of my husband’s family members saw me, even when they had functions. I would just give an excuse and not show up at their functions. I did this almost throughout the nine months of pregnancy. I only told even my mother a few months before my delivery that I was pregnant. Even when I had my baby, a lot of people said they didn’t believe that I had a child.

During your journey, did you seek guidance from prophets or clerics to explore any potential spiritual obstacles hindering your ability to conceive?

No, I did not. This is because I am also a prophet. I only believe in prayer. If I go anywhere and they now tell me, there is one woman in your house, she’s black, she’s tall, she’s this, I will now start to look for what is not lost. My late grandfather used to say there is no way you would go to an herbalist’s or prophet’s house that they would not tell you something. That saying has been part of me for years. It is a guide. I don’t believe in visiting herbalists and prophets when I have problems. I pray on my own and I believe in God. Although, I go to prayer houses. I’m a church person. I’m a Christian to the core. I am running the race to make heaven with all my strength. And, where I come from in Edo states is where they practice the Ifa. They call my village Iluifa. They don’t tell lies, they say it exactly the way they see it. So if my grandfather, who was a leader in that village, could think like that and warn me against such things, that means that is not the way to go. I don’t have time for it.

Did you experience any form of discrimination from your husband’s family due to the inability to conceive for over 25 years?

Like I told you they are Godly people. They are not here as I speak, but God is here. They are good people. That’s why I said earlier that if I had my way, I would put them in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Did you ever experience moments of regret regarding your decision to marry your husband?

No, I never. There is no perfect marriage or human, but I have no regret in marrying my husband. I remember before I got married, my mom would tell me, it’s better to marry late than to marry early and run out of it. I’m thanking God that I married him. We met and got married as Christians. We got married on the 10th of October 1998. I trust him.


Source: The PUNCH

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