By Yetunde Arebi
If you read last week’s edition, here is the concluding part.
I contemplated telling my husband so that I will not be the only one to bear the burden of the terrible development. But my pastor’s wife’s words kept ringing in my ears. What if he decides to tell the pastor and their marriage and life is ruined? What if she denies and the whole blame is heaped on me, what will become of us in the church?
Early the next morning even as I was still contemplating on whether to tell my husband or not, pastor’s wife was the first to call me, demanding to know my decision and reiterating her warning again. She told me that the saying heaven helps those who help themselves is very true concerning the marriage institution. According to her, I was not looking at all the facts of life in their correct perspective as no man can ever be too old to father a child, only women do.
I may live to regret things later if I failed to seize the opportunity. By the time she was done, I knew there was no going back. Soon, I began to see myself carrying my own baby too. Though pastor’s wife had not declared it in words, but I now realised that their first son named miracle must have something to do with the Baba on the mountain. I decided to try too, even if he would not be able to perfect my own miracle. Surely, there can be no harm in trying.
We travelled back to the mountain as scheduled. The pastor’s wife had assisted me in getting the kitten which she said she bought from Oyingbo market. The man welcomed us and soon went to work. He gave me a pot of concoction to eat. I was not able to identify what was in it but I was sick to the point of vomiting when I noticed what I thought looked like claws. After the meal, the old man who had been working on the things we brought told me that I would be returning to Lagos with the white kitten and piece of cloth.
This time however, I will be carrying it on my back tied with the white cloth as if it were a baby. He would conclude the other rituals on his own. I was afraid but my friend assured me that nothing could go wrong and we would return home safely. True to her words, nothing happened. By the time we got to my compound, it was already dark. I dropped the kitten as instructed and it ran away almost immediately.
It was strange that something that had been placid and immobile for so long could run as fast as it did. The pastor’s wife told me that I had been able to carry the kitten without being clawed because Baba had cast a spell on it. That was the last time I saw the cat. I was not afraid as the man had told us that should the cat be unable to run off on its own, it meant that the sacrifice was not successful.
After this, we continued to live our normal lives, praying, fasting and waiting on the Lord. I was already thinking that consultation with Baba had also failed when after three months nothing happened. In the fourth month, I passed out at the office and was taken to the clinic. There, it was confirmed that I was pregnant.
I could not believe it. My husband was beside himself with joy, he fell to his knees and praised God. When the news broke, everyone, including family, friends and church members were happy for us. People kept coming to visit and even took turns to care for me as if the baby had already been born. My once hostile mother-in-law even apologised to me attributing her behaviour to the devil. Almost everyone started bringing gifts for the baby even before it was born. In my heart, I wished I could share the secret with my husband , but the warnings from pastor’s wife kept rigging in my ears. Was telling him worth spoiling all the joy and happiness that had come into our lives? I figured it was not.
Besides, I believed what my friend had told me concerning the ritual. It only helps to hasten God’s plans which the devil was holding back. The child is from God and since it is going to be born and raised in the church it will be a Godly child. Anyway, we could always take it for deliverance also should we notice anything amiss.
And by the grace of God, nothing could go wrong. My baby turned out a boy. Everything went so well I thought I was in a dream land. He already showed potentials of growing into a healthy, strong and great man and brought so much joy into my life and family and I began to feel that truly he must be God sent.
Then a few weeks after the naming ceremony, I started thinking about the Baba on the mountain and all that transpired there. I would see myself backing the cat. Sometimes, I would see it in our house, beside the baby and it even followed us to church. When it happened, I would wake up in cold sweat and I would tell my husband I had a bad dream about our child.
I felt like telling him the truth but could not bring myself to do it. What if he gets mad with me and throws me out with the boy? What if he tells his mum? That would mean that the whole world has heard and pastor’s wife would be in trouble. I would put everyone to shame including the church. But my heart was not at peace. Soon, I began seeing the cat in the boy, and became scared of breastfeeding him. I had no choice but to confide in pastor’s wife.
She assured me that it was all in my mind, as there is nothing wrong with the boy. Everyone I asked to look at him would tell me he is fine but I could not believe them. I always concluded that it was because they didn’t know his history. Pastor’s wife became worried and told me that I was losing my mind and that if I was not careful I would spill the beans. She warned that she would not go down with me, should I tell my husband or anyone.
She said she was sure that even if I did, no one would believe me. I had to force myself to begin to look on the brighter side but it was difficult. One day, my husband came home to inform me that the doctor wanted to see me and the baby. I was scared and thought they had discovered something bad about the boy. I did not want to go but my husband took us .
There, I discovered it had nothing to do with the boy but me. My friend had convinced my husband that something was wrong with me. I was either going through depression or mental disorder. She told him it happens to some women after childbirth especially if they had been through some traumatic experiences.
He should take me to the doctor for evaluation and possible diagnosis. My husband had gone to ask the doctor who confirmed it was possible and advised him to bring me. I was relieved yet unhappy that I was becoming an object of gossip among some people. I knew my friend was trying to save herself rather than help me out of my problem.
The doctor confirmed that I was suffering from Post Natal Depression and loaded me with drugs. The church also organised series of prayer sessions, same for members of both our families. I have two house helps to assist me care for the boy so I don’t have to hold him all the time. But nothing helped. Eventually, my husband took me to my mother so that she could take care of both of us.
I had to confide in my mother. But she did not believe me. Instead, she turned to her church for spiritual assistance. Then, her sister brought us to my mother’s church (Mariam’s aunt is also a Mother-In-Israel at the church) where they have been praying for me. They don’t want to listen to me that the boy was the problem and not me. They said he was normal, but they didn’t know he was a cat. I just wanted them to take him away from me.
Hmm! What do you think? Is the boy bewitched or just a normal, sweet innocent boy everyone thinks he is? I told my mum at the time that Mariam needed a psychiatrist more than a spiritualist. Her experience which I and a few others believed was true had messed with her mind. Some even said it was the pastor’s wife and Baba who were after her, which I doubted.
I reasoned they had nothing to gain from her dilemma, and more to gain from her silence. That way she too could even help to recruit more foot soldiers into their group. I asked what her friend, the pastor’s wife had to say and her mum said it was not true. That her condition was causing the hallucination. Even pastor and his wife had been there to pray for her. So, who was telling the truth? No one was even interested.
All they wanted was for Mariam to get hold of herself and return to her normal, beautiful life. A few weeks after we met, I was told that she was better and had been taken home. Sometime after, her matter was raised during a conversation and I learnt she was now dealing with serious depression and now lived permanently with her parents. I reckoned that her husband had moved on, the marriage she so desperately wanted to protect was gone.
I saw Mariam a few times over the years, now a shadow of herself and still not accepting her little, handsome son. Unfortunately, Mariam died in September 2018. My mother just informed me recently. I pray that she finds the peace she so craved in God’s bosom. May we not find ourselves in situations that we become so desperate we cannot think things through clearly. Surely, we must have limits.
Do have a wonderful weekend!!