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I am not very good at preamble (I tend to ramble too much) so, here goes…

January/February
Song: “It’s a Wonderful World”- Louis Armstrong

2014 started out quite normally for me. I had plans – things I wanted to do, places I wanted to go, and people I wanted to meet. Top on my list were the courses I had wanted to attend in like forever. This year, nothing was going to stop me (or so I thought). The Husband had been informed by his boss at work that he would be travelling a lot this year, and he had told me to prepare for him being away most of the year. I didn’t mind, I would have one less person to fuss over and I was going to be busy myself.

So, I dove headlong into the year. I booked my London course – the main one I wanted had been cancelled so I had to settle for another. It would be holding in September instead of July/August as I had planned. I’m not a fan of cold weather and I wanted to be far away from London before winter. But I felt I could cope. The Husband toyed with the idea of going with let’s make it a semi vacation, ey? Visa application would be in May, latest June. Everything was set and I was eagerly counting the days.

Work was fine; I had two new students and two interns. There were two weddings by March that I was making the dresses for the bridal train, and some other fantastic opportunities. A fashion show was in the works by December… life was looking good. And then, I met the amazing Ozoz (@kitchenbutterfly) and she brought a late birthday chocolate cake for me. It was sinfully delicious and I enjoyed every last morsel. Yes, life was wonderful.

March-August
Song: “Why me”- Shaggy

Hubby and I had been busy and engrossed with work. Somehow we had not had time for each other since our anniversary in February, and I was erm, horny. Apparently, he had the same thoughts because we just got home one night and “dived” each other. I should have paused, but I didn’t. By the time I realised what was bugging me and whispered that maybe he should get a condom, it was too late. In all seriousness, I probably wouldn’t have let him stand up if he had tried to. When he later asked me what I had been trying to say, I laughed. He shrugged and said it was “sweeting me too much, I didn’t hear you”. We made jokes about it, and I said I hope I don’t get pregnant sha. He said if I didn’t get pregnant, then we should consider seeing the doctor for treatments. I said what was the point, we didn’t plan to try for another child till the end of the year so no problem.

You see, I had had serious issues with my menstrual cycle last year and after all the tests, the gynaecologist said my ovaries were polycyclic and blah blah. When I asked him to break it down, he said the eggs I was producing were too small to be viable, so I might have difficulty conceiving. But it wasn’t a very serious issue, he said. It was something a few drugs would take care of, whenever we were ready. In my mind I was like “YES!!!” no need to worry about birth control and all; I could enjoy my man without fear of getting pregnant. Hahaha.

By the next day I was sure I was pregnant. The husband travelled 2 days later, and I didn’t see him for the next 4 weeks. By then, I had taken a test and confirmed my fear, and I was very sad. The nausea had started from that first week, and I was feeling so tired all day. I would get to the office, sit down and start sleeping. I couldn’t eat. I was MISERABLE. I kept thinking of all the plans I had for the year, wondering how to make it work. Could I still go for my course? Hubby returned from his trip and I was discussing my concerns with him one night when I felt something warm flowing from me. It was blood. See confusion. I was unhappy to be pregnant at what I felt was the wrong time, and suddenly I was faced with what could be a miscarriage.  What was happening?

We got to the hospital the next day, a scan showed I was or had been carrying twins. There were two gestational sacs but one of them showed inactivity. Thankfully, the other baby was healthy and doing fine. This was where the depression started. Was I responsible for the second baby not surviving? Maybe if I had started taking folic acid immediately…maybe if I had stopped being so miserable at being pregnant….after all, there are millions of women who would give anything to be where I was….and so on. Thereafter, anytime someone called me “iya ibeji” I would smile outwardly, but flinch on the inside. And trust Nigerians, every pregnant woman is “iya ibeji/mama ejima”. Sigh.

Hubby travelled again and I sunk into gloom. I locked myself in the room and wallowed in my misery. I couldn’t eat anything except yams Just plain boiled yam. I stopped driving – I was having fainting spells and didn’t want to risk being behind the wheel when one came on. My normally over sensitive nose went into overdrive. I couldn’t carry or play with my daughter because she smelled of saliva and other baby things. She would come crying to my room and I would run into the bathroom to throw up. She didn’t understand what was going on, why mummy was avoiding her, and the look of confusion I sometimes saw on her face broke my heart. Then she came down with malaria and I had to spend some days with her in the hospital. This wasn’t fun at all.

My friend, who was also pregnant, called me one day to say she had miscarried. I felt worse for all my whining. She had been having it tougher than me and was on admission at the hospital. “Hyperemesis Gravidarium”, they called it. Go ahead, google it. I had been looking forward to us having our babies around the same time, and she had been through so much already. The news broke my heart, and I wept for several days. I called to comfort and pray for her, but the loss was still there. I tried to be more thankful, I was okay and my baby was doing okay. Why was I feeling so depressed? I should just relax and be grateful for my blessings. After all, the doctor had said I couldn’t conceive and not only had I gotten pregnant, but I had been carrying twins! Cheer up, for heaven’s sake!

Believe me, I tried. I prayed, confessed positive thoughts, read my bible, watched funny movies, and spent long hours on twitter. Let me just say, depression is a bastard thing. The days went by in a blur of misery. And all the bad news that flew around this year didn’t help much. From the school boys that were slaughtered in their sleep, The Chibok girls kidnap, the endless bomb blasts, Ebola and the fear of an epidemic. In June, one of my sisters in law died of breast cancer. August, my husband’s aunt died of the same breast cancer. Bad news flowed up and down. My visa application was denied – the lady kept asking “why do you choose to travel at this time?” I stopped trying to explain that THIS time was when the course held, and that I hadn’t been pregnant when I booked and paid for the course. I don’t know if they felt I wanted to sneakily go and give birth in London. Not every Nigerian wants that, okay? I almost told her “go and die with your visa”. LOL

September-November
Song: “It wasn’t easy”- Cece Winans

All I was looking forward to was delivery day. The days couldn’t go by fast enough. I was so huge; I had run out of clothes to wear. Now I started wondering about how I was going to lose all the extra flesh around my waist (yes, I’m allowed to be vain, *tongue out*). Anyway, November 18th came and the contractions told me my wait was over. I wanted to weep in relief, I was so happy! Got to the hospital around past 8, and at exactly 9:16 am my little prince came out in a rush of water. I even chuckled at the look on the doctors’ face when the amniotic fluid splashed on her. God had seen me through, and I had nothing but grateful thanks.

Yes, the depression and morbid thoughts vanished like mist on a sunny day. I could finally taste the food I ate, and I didn’t feel the need to spit every 60 seconds. I can go on and on about how different things were once the baby came out, but e go too long.

Was having a son worth the whole depression and pregnancy-related wahala? Absolutely! But it’s something I wouldn’t try again. I haff close shop. Any other child we have has to be adopted because I can’t shout. Thankfully, the husband is with me on that, hallelujah!

December
Songs: “Happy”- Pharrell; “Feliz Navidad”- Boney M;

Looking back to how sad I had felt through most of the year, it’s almost unbelievable how calm and joyful I am as I type these words. Everything didn’t go the way I planned, Nigeria is still on the brink of chaos, and I am (mostly) sleep deprived. I may not be ecstatic, but I have joy in me. And peace that comes from knowing that no matter how dark things may be, God is always there to see me through to the other side. I am reminded once again that no condition is permanent, and there’s always a better tomorrow. And to anyone facing depression in one form or the other, e go better. Stay with friends and family who love and affirm you, and keep your head up!

Shout out and big hugs to my new friends – Mawedo, Kate, Habiba, Sarah, Ozoz, and Jezreel. Warm hugs to all my old friends, you guys rock! And to Efe, big thanks for this. I owe you pounded yam and egusi soup anytime we meet. Have yourselves a merry Christmas and a fantastic 2015.

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I find it remarkable how one single incident can come to define an entire year. Clarione, gratitude is hard for many people but you make it easy for us to identify with your thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing dear. Thanks for the pounded yam and egusi offer. I will claim them when I get into your city 🙂

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