“Babe, I’m two weeks late,” Winnie told Alex.
“Is there cause for alarm?” Alex asked her.
“My period is regular,” Winnie replied.
“Okay, let’s get pregnancy kits to be sure.”
Alex and Winnie went pale when the two lines formed. They had gotten at least three different kits. They had decided to start testing using the cheap kit — the one that resembles a litmus paper.
“Maybe it’s contaminated,” Alex told Winnie when he saw the two lines.
“Yeah, let me test with this other one. Please get me some more water to drink,” Winnie told Alex.
They tested again using the other kit after a few minutes. Deep down, they knew she was pregnant but hoped for a negative result with every subsequent test. Finally, the third test confirmed what the other two tests had revealed — they were going to be parents. Well, not if they had the last say in the matter.
After about half an hour of silence, Alex turned to Winnie. He held her hands and looked straight into her eyes. She was tearing up.
“Babe, you know I love you, right?”
“Yes, I do,” Winnie responded.
“But I don’t feel like we’re ready to be parents. Life in this city is expensive as it is and we don’t have stable jobs yet. I don’t know what you think but that’s my position,” said Alex.
“It is such bad timing,” responded Winnie.
Alex had made his position known. He then excused himself to go hang out with the boys as he processed the information. Winnie knew what Alex had alluded to. She wasn’t ready to be a mother yet, but she was also unsure about terminating the pregnancy. She was raised in a typical African home where the church was part of the weekly routine. The idea of doing it felt wrong, but she couldn’t see how they could raise a kid. It was even unclear whether Alex was going to be part of it.
The following two weeks were filled with emotional turmoil. She had strange dreams and would wake up sweating in the middle of the night. At the end of the first month of pregnancy, Alex told her that he had sourced some pills. He just needed her to tell him when she was ready and not to take long to avoid complications. Three days later, she took the pills. Fortunately, she had no complications, and Alex stayed with her throughout the process.
Alex had asked for information on how to go about it and what to expect. He had also asked for details on symptoms of complications in case they needed to go to the hospital. After the ordeal, Winnie went into a rabbit hole, looking for information on what to expect going forward. They never spoke of the matter again. Winnie blocked out the event.
They continued dating for another two years. Alex started a business and it was doing well. Winnie got a job at a corporate firm. After the incident, they had taken preventative measures and decided they would be more careful. Unfortunately, sometimes prevention fails. Winnie suspected she was expectant. She took the test independently and then broke the news to Alex.
“Babe, I’m pregnant,” she told Alex.
“Are you sure?” Alex asked her. The look on his face told her all she needed to know.
“Yes. I took the test and it was positive,” Winnie told him.
“I thought we were being careful. We just started stabilizing and laying a foundation for the future,” said Alex.
“It’s not like I planned this either,” Winnie said, agitated.
“Honestly, I am not ready for fatherhood,” Alex told Winnie.
Those words crushed Winnie. She wasn’t pleased with the test results but entertained the thought of starting a family with Alex. Alex’s reaction made it highly likely that she would have to do it alone. She wasn’t prepared for that. After weighing her options, she felt there was only one way out. This time, she procured the services at a hospital.
Alex’s reaction triggered resentment from her. Their relationship changed. Alex tried to justify his reasoning, but something had shifted in Winnie. Part of her also acknowledged that she wasn’t ready but would have made a different decision had Alex been supportive. As they struggled with the aftermath of the decision, Alex became dodgy. He also looked stressed.
One night, he got numerous calls that he kept ignoring. The phone’s buzz interrupted Winnie’s sleep, so she asked him to pick up the call or switch it off. He sent a message and then switched it off. When asked who was calling, Alex gave a vague response. Winnie was going through a lot, so she didn’t press him but took note of the incident.
A month later, she met a friend who used to date one of Alex’s friends. They decided to grab a bite.
“So what have you have you been up to?” the friend asked Winnie. Winnie told her about her job. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned Alex.
“Oh, you’re still together?” The friend asked, looking surprised.
“Yes, we are even though we have our own challenges,” Winnie responded.
“Girl, you’re a different type of woman. You still stayed with him even with the kid?”
“What are you talking about?” Winnie asked her.
“And he just got a kid with one of the girls who used to work for him? Oh no, he hid it from you?” The girl explained.
“What? I need you to tell me everything you know,” Winnie implored her.
“Oh girl! No wonder you’re still with him,” said the friend. She continued to tell her how Alex had been having an affair with one of his employees. At first, they thought it was a fleeting thing, but it turned out it had lasted over a year. When she got pregnant, she stopped working for him, but everyone knew it was his kid. He had tried to deny it, but the girl was adamant that it was his and she was keeping it. Alex had caused her so much stress because he wasn’t supportive.
Winnie went home and cried. She stood under the shower for an hour and cried. Then, she confronted Alex the following day. He finally told her the truth. She also learned that he had been ignoring calls from the other girl on the night his phone kept buzzing. The girl was in labour and wanted him to go to the hospital. He sent her money and switched off his phone.
After that conversation, Winnie packed everything that belonged to her and left his house. She went to her best friend’s place. Fortunately, she got leave from work and stayed in the house for a week. She blocked Alex. Her friend would find her in bed in the evening, having not eaten. She cried so much that her friend thought she was going to fall sick. Eventually, she got the strength to return to work, but it took her months to heal.
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