A Painful Situation
I need a baby, oh Lord!…the cry of a barren woman!
I wonder how many times our dear Lord has heard this particular prayer!
Being barren in marriage is perhaps the most painful, distressing, challenging and absolutely fractious situation any woman can find herself in.
Especially in Africa!
Wow, it is an absolute torture!
The level of devastating and unbearable pain these women go through on a daily basis is beyond imagination. It has to be experienced to be felt. And, most of the time, they go through it alone because their husbands even turn against them!
It is worse when this woman has to go to social functions, and see her cousins and sisters parading their children!
It is absolutely horrendous when the gathering is primarily from her husband’s side of the family, and she has to meet in-laws, sisters and cousins of her husband….
If you’re a woman reading this, and you’re going through similar turmoil, living under the pressure of childlessness, I wish you God’s abundant favour at this very moment! May God shower His peace and protection on you right now!
Being childless is absolutely unbearable, sometimes, if the woman is a Christian, and she begins to feel that God has forsaken her!
Indeed, it is very easy to feel this way about God because there are several instances in the Bible where God used barrenness in women to showcase His glory when He ‘opened’ their wombs, and they were able to get pregnant.
And sometimes, unfortunately, desperation sets in when a Christian woman tries everything to have a child to no avail!
I heard a story once in church about a woman who had served the Lord faithfully all her life, but when she got married, she was still childless after 10 years of marriage!
A Sad End
Not surprisingly, she became rather fed-up with all the ‘waiting upon the Lord’ bit, and she followed a friend of hers to a fetish priest who was famed for ‘helping barren women give birth.’
Well, she was given concoctions and directions and some scary ‘things’ to eat and bath with…but when she came out of the forest, and was standing by the side of the road waiting for a car, she was knocked down by a huge truck.
She died on the spot, with all the ‘powers’ from the fetish priest scattered all around her!
She lost her life in her quest for just one child!
Quite sad, isn’t it?
And in Africa we put all the blame on the woman when there is no child in the family. The woman is always said to be:
- A witch
- Her mother is a witch
- A sinner
- Her father used to sin a lot
- She committed a lot of abortions in her youth
- Blah blah blah!
Hey, pause a moment and rewind!
We all know that without the proper medical test to prove or disprove the claims, childlessness in the family could equally be the fault of the man!
Yes, I’ve said it!
We men are also culpable!
Guilty As Men
There is a myriad of medical and physical reasons why men could also be responsible for childlessness…so the best thing to do is for the couple to be screened extensively to narrow down the real causes.
This is something we don’t seem to understand, especially friends and family of a childless couple in Africa!
I know men who divorced their wives and remarried, and their new wives became pregnant. I also know men who, because of the shame of being without a child, have been unfaithful to their wives, and have managed to impregnate other girls outside the marriage.
The above shows clearly that the childlessness had been the shortcomings of their spouses.
Fine. Alright. But what about the men?
One woman I know personally stayed in a childless marriage for close to 20 years. Eventually, her husband’s relatives sent her packing out of the house, calling her a ‘useless’ woman.
They brought a new wife for her husband!
After three years the disgraced woman found a caring new husband, and she gave birth to 4 children eventually!
Her ex-husband eventually lost even the new wife they brought him because he couldn’t impregnate her. No one blamed her, really, because his ex-wife whom he allowed family members to drive out of the house was now raising a great family.
Everybody now knew that the man had been infertile all along!
And yet, all the castigation was heaped on this poor woman for a solid 20 years!
I also know a couple who stayed together for 15 years without a child.
We will call this man Mr. T, and his wife Mrs. T.
They had a neighbour whom we will call Neighbour K.
As the story went, Mr. T eventually began an affair with his wife’s best friend, a woman who was his wife’s Maid of Honour at their wedding!
Let’s call this snake-in-the-grass friend Sister B.
Before that, Mr. T had been beating Mrs. T mercilessly for the least offense, and it was their Neighbour K, who always came to separate them.
Eventually Mr. T divorced his wife, and moved in with his new pregnant mistress, Sister B.
Sister B who ended up giving Mr. T 2 children in about three years of marriage.
After two and a half years later, Neighbour K, who had been the peace-maker in the fights between Mr. and Mrs. T, also married.
And guess who his wife was?
Yes, it was the former Mrs. T, the same woman who had been beaten, insulted and disgraced by her husband.
People couldn’t believe the evident ‘stupidity’ of Neighbour K!
He knew definitely that this woman was barren and still went ahead to marry her!
Well, amazingly, Neighbour K, within a few months, made this supposedly barren woman pregnant, and she ended up giving birth to three children within five years!
Now her former husband, Mr. T was in a quandary!
He couldn’t understand why Mrs. T had been impregnated by Neighbour K, her new husband.
He ended up carrying the children his new wife, Sister B, had given him to the hospital. He went for a DNA test…and the results showed that he was not their father!
So you see, each partner could be responsible for childlessness in the family, and so both of them should go for a medical screening to know the real partner responsible…. nothing else is acceptable!
A husband could be sterile just as much as a woman could be barren!
This is why fathers and mothers, in-laws, sisters, friends and family should show empathy for a childless couple, and relax a little on the pressure accelerator!
We give women a lot of distress just because there are no grand-children in the family.
Why do we fail to remember that they married first for love and companionship in the Lord, and that children are just added blessings from God?
We put such intense pressure on a childless couple that only God sustains their sanity! Insults, castigations, assumptions, threats…we even reserve a particular inflection in our voices when addressing a woman who has not given birth!
That is wrong!
That is not Godly!
Definitely not the character of Christ!
Rewire your thoughts and attitudes, and lend some support!
What will you do if you find out it is your son who is rather sterile, and not your daughter-in-law whom you believe is barren?
Would you still put that much pressure and undue stress on your son in that situation?
So why do it if the shoe is on the other foot?
Let us show them love, support and empathy…
Above all, let us never cease in praying for them.
The Next Step
Childlessness can be caused by a myriad of factors, as I said earlier, and they need to be investigated, and remedied, if possible.
Nowadays modern medicine has improved so much that it is possible to fix some of these seemingly herculean life problems with ease and with minimal side-effects.
But let’s suppose you’ve done all the tests and tried all the avenues and still, unfortunately, you have been unable to get pregnant.
What do you do next?
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