I stare at his face and for the third time this week, I feel a rush of emotions. Those brief couple of seconds between the moment I finally pushed him out of my uterus and his first gulp of air amid his tears, I felt a very similar rush of emotions. It’s a cocktail of emotions: the pain I felt during the incident that brought about his existence; the fear of the situations where he will be deprived of certain things because of how he came about; the joy that he came out alive; and the fear of what he would think of me, his mother.
Today, I heard it from the pastor himself – my son will not be dedicated in church on a Sunday during the service, he will be dedicated on a weekday in secret. The two women sat behind me in the mother’s corner of the church last Sunday had said pretty much the same thing. The one with the six month old daughter, Bose, had said “Look at her, filling a dedication form for a child born from fornication. Does she really think that the Pastor will dedicate that child?”. The other lady had replied saying she had heard that I had my baby for a married man and so I was not only a fornicator, but an adulterer and a home breaker, after which she went on to give a detailed explanation of how she would castrate her husband if he ever got a woman pregnant. I never explained to anyone the circumstances surrounding Ebunife’s birth and the whole church had resorted to spreading rumors with fabricated theories. It was in moments like this that I took my mum’s experience when she left my father , as good enough reason not to deeply involve myself in church activities. My mother was that woman who was on every church committee, she was a church worker and she even preached on some Sundays, but as soon as she left my Father, she was treated no better than a new member.
Maybe my mother and I should have explained our stories. Hers of how she was serially battered into submission; how she was forced to financially sponsor her husband’s drinking habit; how she made up excuses to her children for his absence; how she was endured being raped every night for almost four years in her marriage; or how she spent those years at the receiving end of brutal emotional abuse. Mine of how my mother’s experience left me very distrustful in my relationships, and that was why I was not married at 31; how my quick rise to the top my career was because I worked much harder than most people and not because I slept my way there; how Ebunife was born from the forceful stripping of my virginity; how that night, I had only been walking home from exercising on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge; how the men took turns, one pointing a gun to my head, whilst the other had his way with me; or how I named my precious son, Ebunife, not because he was a product of sweet love-making but because he was a product of God’s love since my attempts at aborting the pregnancy did nothing but increase the complications I had during his birth. We certainly could have told them all this, but question is will they really understand?
I highly doubt this and by her actions, I think my mother will agree with me.These were supposed to be my companions on my journey to a stronger relationship with God. They were supposed to be my guide and to help lift me when I am down. But these were the same people, who against God’s laws, put me down by continually judging me. The same people who would not accept that God has forgiven me and as such, they had no right to continue to look at me through the lenses which they did. The same people who believe that they are much better than I am because they only participate in lesser sins like lying – but who were they kidding , the same bible says that all sins are equal because they all amount to breaking the law. The same people who would not accept that my child was a new being as such my sins, or lack thereof, should not affect him and so they should not treat him differently just because of the circumstances surrounding his birth. The same people that failed to understand that Ebunife entered the world in the same way other babies did and as such he should be celebrated the same way other babies are.
My son, Ebunife, will NEVER be treated less than any child because he isn’t. I have decided that I will not participate in this hypocrisy the church has cooked up to make my son and I feel less than we are. I think to myself, why did I want to dedicate my baby in the first place? I never really put any thought to this and perhaps if this did not happen to me, I wouldn’t have. I find that I have no answer to this question and the only reason I was ever interested in the topic of baby dedication was because it was something all mothers were expected to do to their new-born in church. I start to search the bible for the true meaning and implication of baby dedication. I found the story of Mary – dedicating Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem and Hannah – promising to dedicate her child to God, if he gave her one. A baby dedication is a public declaration by parents that they will train their child in the way of the Lord. But really, how many publicly dedicated babies ended up not being trained in the way of the Lord?
The following Sunday after the episode with the pastor, I remain after the church service. I notice there are only a few church members left and so I tell Risi, the nanny, to sit with our bags while I carried Ebunife to the church altar along with a bottle of olive oil . I open the bottle of oil and go on my knees and I begin to cry to God. I tell him I have brought this child to him for his care and protection and that I promised to train Ebunife in his ways. When I am done, I take some of the oil and use it to make the sign of the cross on his forehead. I walk out of the church carrying my baby with Risi coming behind me, and I resolve not to return to this den of hypocrites A.K.A I am going to another church.
Thank you for reading this blog post. But you should know……….This is pure fiction