Towards the end of last year or was it the year before, a particular lady trended on Twitter in Nigeria because she made a thread talking about how she wished she knew early on not to get married and give birth.
According to her, she had a problem settling into her married life because she was discontent and thus, tried to leave but for her husband, who kept fighting for them. She mentioned that she loves her son but if she had known she wouldn’t have given birth when she did. As expected, that was too huge a pill for many Africans to swallow. The way they saw it, she was regretting giving birth and imagined how the boy will feel when he learnt of his mother’s regret. Surprisingly, I understand where those on Twitter were coming from, but more importantly, I understood her too.
Here was a woman who grew up in a society where she was told “a woman without a husband is like a roof without a house”. And she mentioned not knowing that she had a choice not to have gotten married or given birth. Until recent times – which is still far off – women could not even smell the notion that they did not desire marriage. The backlash that would inspire from that just seems not to be worth it. Little wonder, this woman went into it even though she wasn’t sure it was for her.
Fortunately, we are gradually experiencing change, and society, whether it likes it or not, it is beginning to understand not to shove marriage down women’s throat. Now, although it started that way, this article is not written solely to motivate women who do not desire marriage to follow their dreams – you definitely should though. It is to encourage us all to self-reflect and not push ourselves into things we are not sure of yet. It is okay not to be sure about taking that role, it is okay not to be sure about travelling somewhere or furthering in school, it is okay not to have it all figured out.
Some people discover themselves as children. For others, it takes time and it does not make it less valid. If you need to go through different careers to find the one that suits you, then by all means, do. Just don’t stay down beating yourself up over it. The woman mentioned above wasn’t sure about her desire for a marital status, and if only she knew to take the time necessary to figure out if that was what she really wanted.
Let her case be a lesson to all; you do not have to go through that. Take your time to discover the kind of life you want to lead. And when you do figure it out, please do not be apologetic about it, the world will adjust.