Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Originally written in July 2019
“Was it planned?” Came the first question from my mum after I finally revealed to her that she was about to be a grandmother for the first time. “Are you going to get married?” Was the second.
As many Nigerian daughters will know, our parents have big dreams for us. Maybe we’ll marry a lawyer and send our kids to the fanciest boarding schools our husbands can afford. Or maybe we’ll make our own money and buy our first home, in which we will raise our children while our husbands are at work. Or maybe, as in my case, you’ll find out that this month, your contraception failed you, and now you’re carrying the (illegitimate) child of your Scottish boyfriend.
Cue Yoruba tears from your entire extended family.
Luckily for me though, an unplanned pregnancy was not the bombshell I thought it would be for my parents. Although I don’t know why I thought it would be. I was conceived out of wedlock and never actually got to see my parents together. Yet telling them “no” when asked if I was getting married seemed to be more of a shock to them than the tiny human currently growing inside of me. In fact, my father, being the proud Yoruba man that he is, actually called my boyfriend to have this chat with him, and to convince him that it was in our best interest that we get married before the baby is born. Joe – the boyfriend – respectfully explained that although marriage was always on the cards for us, the imminent arrival of our firstborn will not lead to a shotgun wedding.
And he spoke for the both of us.
As of today, we have been together exactly one year, one month and two weeks, give or take a few days and hours. During that time, we have had “the talk” – where we see ourselves in five, ten, and fifteen years’ time, and thankfully, our vision boards always included each other.
So, what is the problem? Why not just do it and make my family happy?
Well, for starters, growing up Nigerian meant that almost everything I did was for the benefit of those around me, and it is only now, in adulthood, that I can fully appreciate ME for who I am and not for what my family wants me to be. Secondly, pregnancy is stressful enough as it is. Who has time to plan a wedding when most of their evenings are spent kneeling over the toilet because your little bun is tearing up your warm, nurturing oven? And thirdly, I just don’t want to. That isn’t to say that it won’t happen, but Joe and I are just far too busy enjoying my ever-growing belly and the little kicks and bumps that come with it to even think about the where, when and how of a traditional Nigerian wedding.
Which would most likely look something like this:
In a venue of this size:
Abeg, I can't comman kill myself.
But it will happen. Later, rather than sooner, I will be walking down the aisle to my husband-to-be, hand-in-hand with my wee prince or princess, and tears will fill the room as the three of us vow ourselves to each other.
It just won’t happen today. Sorry, Dad.
I need to know. Has anyone else had that chat with your parents? Had that "oh no" moment? How did it go? Did a little piece of you die inside at the very thought of denying your parents the grand wedding they thought they could plan for you? Just me? K, cool!