Yesterday, our guest-blogger Nola Solomon talked about one of the major reasons women believe they are expecting a baby, even when they are definitely not.
Today, there’s another angle I would like to cover.
As illogical as it sounds, it is not unheard of for women to insist that they were pregnant for a period of time that is actually humanly impossible – some Nigerian women have been known to claim that they carried pregnancies for up to five years!
The constant with all of these so-called pregnancies is an inordinate involvement in religion. That’s what is seen; the one that isn’t seen is the baby factory that lends credibility to the story of multiple-year pregnancies.
So, a woman feels pressurised to have a baby. Her in-laws are harassing her. Her fellow women – even in her church – are making snide remarks. Some insinuate that she must have lived an awful life as a single person, to warrant divine punishment which has manifested in form of barrenness. Her own biological clock is ticking. The ironic part is that there is usually no diagnosis. Such women do not go to qualified gynaecologists; they sit in churches, claiming to be waiting for a miracle like Hannah’s or Sarah’s.
It is quite common for Mrs Trying-To-Conceive to be the one running around, up and down, helter skelter – searching for this elusive child. Because in Nigeria, whenever a couple is childless, it is the woman’s fault … even when the husband is infertile. It is quite rare for a man to get tested along with his wife, when she does go to a proper hospital.
So, a lot of women don’t even bother going. They believe that they have ‘divine health’ and any doctors or nurses saying otherwise, are merely agents of darkness. Such women have no problem going to places where they can be regaled with what they want to her.
Enter fake hospitals and quack doctors.
One of the frightening things about Nigeria is just how easy it is, to set up a fake clinic. In 2016, there was a case of a ‘doctor’ in Gwarimpa (in Abuja) who was exposed – this man wasn’t even a doctor, yet he had carried out surgical procedures on pregnant women. He had even taken out a woman’s ovaries, after he told her that they were ovarian cysts! He had some forged certificates from appropriate universities and medical schools. The forgeries were discovered when someone took the time to check.
I remember going to a saloon/spa in Abuja, a couple of years ago and seeing a notice on their wall, indicating that they did laser whitening for the teeth. I asked to see the person who would be carrying out the procedure. I also asked her where she got her qualifications and if I could see the certificate. She became offended. Struggling to control her huffing, she said the certificate was downstairs in the spa. In order to get into the spa, you would have to pay. What kind of person pays before seeing what they are getting? I told her that I wanted to see the certificate and I would call the school; she said it was in London. As if that was supposed to impress or intimidate me. She looked amazed that I did not just roll over and offer her my teeth to do whatever she wanted, just because she mentioned London. Because that’s what she’s used to.
Many people don’t check the qualifications of the so-called professionals treating them, even when they have the time. Granted, if you’re having sharp stomach pains that are making you see light, and you’re told that you have acute appendicitis, which needs to be operated upon immediately – that’s not exactly the time to call up a school and ask to speak with a former tutor of one of their self-confessed alumni.
But there are times when common sense should – and does – tell you that the so-called professional is a fake. But desperation and a heart full of deception can work wonders. So, some women collude with doctors to fake test results and pregnancies. Others, though, are truly hoodwinked. They take substances prescribed by these doctors, which wreak havoc with their systems – make the breasts softer, give them a bit of an appetite, and cause the stomach to bee distended. In time, the stomach becomes even bigger. She tells herself and everyone else that she is pregnant; and what’s not to believe? After all, she has a large stomach and that’s the most obvious sign, right?
The so-called hospital is already involved in the process of procuring a baby from a baby factory; a baby for which this ‘now pregnant woman’ paid. The problems begin when the baby that the ‘pregnant’ woman paid for, doesn’t arrive. One of the main reasons is that there is no honour among thieves; so, one ‘pregnant’ woman who pays more, can take the baby that another ‘pregnant’ woman paid for. When that happens, someone has to stay ‘pregnant’, till a replacement baby can be found.
In the mean time, the woman resorts to all kinds of ludicrous activities – blaming non-existent witches and wizards for ‘making the baby not come out of her womb’. It is for a reason that such women never make their way to a reputable hospital. Think of all the medical students who would be admitted into the newest frontiers of Medicine, if they could see such cases live. In Nigeria alone, there are a number of Teaching Hospitals. Yet, these women make sure to stay away from ALL of them.
Some are sternly advised against allowing another doctor near them, at the places they go, which are part-clinic, part spiritual home. Sufficiently scared out of their remaining wits, they stay in these places till a replacement baby is found. And voilà, she has a testimony of a pregnancy that she carried for years.
If a woman says she is pregnant and no scan at a reputable hospital can pick up any trace, it is because there is no baby. She is not pregnant.
It is medically impossible for a person to carry a baby for years. Just as it is impossible for a woman to have a baby embedded in her waist, lap or back! There is no witch or wizard anywhere, playing peekaboo with the baby, or moving it around the body like a demented chess player.
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani