Written by Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye
The Nigerian constitution stipulates that a woman can lose her baby through abortion only if the baby puts its mother’s health in jeopardy.
Oma, a twenty-three-year-old college student, carefully narrated to me how she was at a loss about what to do when her pregnancy test results came back positive.
For her, at her age and stage in life, she needed to do what was right for her future without her family ever knowing.
As we spoke, it became quite clear that Oma’s story teaches so much about what a Nigerian woman must go through when faced with difficult birth control questions.
A phone call to a friend started the process. “There was no question, I need to get rid of it!” she told her friend. But the culture of the tyranny of conscience that comes with these things in her country and the statistics that show that 40% of maternal death is caused by abortion particularly
because of its unsafe nature, scared her.
I remember watching an episode from the series, Sex Education and how the character, Meave, walked into an abortion clinic, booked an appointment and got served mouse after the procedure.
She jokingly explained that Meave’s narrative was a fairy tale. In her reality, Oma was faced with major life-changing decisions, serious medical questions and mouse was the last thing on her mind.
She needed to decide if using the invasive D and C procedure was what she wanted.
Oma admitted that in Nigeria, the stories that formed part of her life were nothing like Maeves.
Instead, Nollywood with its precautionary films, for instance, had helped instill fear and damnation.
“A promiscuous girl loses her virginity, gets pregnant, tries to get rid of it at the surgery table of a quack doctor where she ends up bleeding to death and burning in hell. Or worse still, abortion takes place but the girl screams all through, and ends up damaging her womb.”
It is this terror that informed her decision on the kind of abortive process she would choose.
In a Google search, she found out about a Medical abortion procedure in which the woman is either injected with or given oral medication of Methotrexate & Misoprostol (MTX), for instance, which triggers contractions that expels the fetus.
According to one reliable site, the medication causes “the woman to have an induced miscarriage.”
Her abortive process was a one-man show, just her and a man who ran a local chemist in the heart of the city’s main market. She said she was certain he was a certified doctor. Her lover paid the cost for the procedure which was N18,000
The next few days, she said, were filled with pain, blood and thoughts. “I would think of the many ways these could go wrong or how I deserved this pain for the “crime” I had committed.
Three weeks later another test would confirm that I was not pregnant, and fortunate,”
This Amazing story was written by Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye, You can follow her on Twitter ShadeOlaoyeMary