When I made 10, my dad threw me a surprise tea party for my birthday, At-home birthday parties were not a thing, and so coming home from school to a party was a dream come true. It had no cake just milk tea, popcorns and Gnuts plus a gift I got from a cousin around June of that year. She made me promise not to check until my birthday which was in November. The anxiety, the joy, the anger just mixed emotions, no wonder I hate suspense. (Turns out it was 2exercise books and 2 pencils which I already owned because duh I go to school with those particular items) for months I thought it was one of those barbie sticker books or maybe a barbie colour book but oh well,(I have not moved on). Anyway, my dad went thru the trouble of organising this surprise party because he watched me climb up his bedroom wardrobe to check on the status of this gift, literally every day from when I received it. He made me feel special, he still does.
My father is a teacher by profession and for that matter, I got my fair share of the cane growing up. Somehow I was always in trouble. It’s no wonder I was the first suspect when a condom was found opened on the compound at home, I can not think back to what I was accused of, but it had something to do with a condom. I was 16 then and I thought it wise at that moment to pull out my sexual purity pledge card I signed while still in primary school. I vowed in front of both my parents and God that I would and was keeping myself for my husband.
9 years later I am very pregnant and single. Everyone important in my life knows except my dad. I kept delaying the meet because my life is precious and I figured with a big stomach he would not touch me. The problem was my tummy didn’t show until I was 6 months going on 7. And so I made up my mind to break the news, if I die, I perish. (My parents separated 5 years ago explains why mum found out and didn’t tell)
I was living with my cousins then and one of them is married, so I asked his wife to prank call my dad and tell him I was sick so he would come immediately, it worked. We rehearsed the conversation with my sister in law and she was supposed to sit strategically in between me and my dad. She was a new mother and so we figured my dad would be graceful around her and that would give me time to scatter just in case things got violent.
We are now sitting in the living room, in our staged positions. The atmosphere is tense and an awkward silence happens, turns out my sister in law was more nervous than I was busy beating around and couldn’t say the words. So just like that, I announced “I am pregnant”, and my father says “I knew it, I saw it the last time I was here, but I concluded maybe it’s your period making you look funny” he turns to my cousins and asks them “why is she still here? Why didn’t you take her to the man’s place?” And then he turns to asks me where the father of the child is, and I break his heart all over again. All this time I could see the dismay on his face and the struggle to be careful with his words. He stopped talking to me at some point and started interrogating my cousins if they knew where the boy lived so they could go and dump me there, he mentioned something about a penalty and then asked for the boy’s phone number. He made the call but he didn’t respond, so I gave in his sister’s contact, she was called and given a lecture on what happens when you make a baby with lugbara girl out of wedlock.
So, my dad has roots in the Congo but when he was a child because of the war, they moved to Arua the West Nile region of Uganda and now we are lugbara. In the lugbara culture if a girl gets pregnant out of wedlock she is taken forcefully to stay with the man that impregnated her so he can deal with the responsibility of taking care of the pregnant girl, then when she gives birth, the girls family comes and demands a fine called “Ali”; A bull for having sexual relations with there daughter and a heifer for the baby. And then the man’s family is supposed to slaughter particular animals and dine together with the girls family as they discuss the possibility of a marriage or not.
In the heat of the moment that was my father’s decision to my pregnancy reveal. His words to me were “I am disappointed in you” and that hurt in ways I can’t express, he left that house a broken man, his daughter was used and dumped.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, two weeks later he called me on the phone and informed me he had spoken to the boy and realised that he didn’t have a plan. He said to me everything will be okay, he told me to never beg for anything from this boy or his family and that we shall bring up the child together, he also told me he was proud of me. (Because at least I had graduated before getting pregnant) he apologised for the way he acted the day I revealed the news to him, he was mad because he was the last one to find out.
I spoke to my dad about this storytelling, he made me promise to include this note for my readers. He said that a parent’s reaction to such news is very dependant on their level of education/intellect and spirituality and based on this sometimes the story doesn’t end agreeably. Yet regardless you have to overcome because a child will always be a gift from God. And whether we acknowledge it or not, all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord.
My take on this is that half the time the elders already know you’re pregnant, they are just in denial and sometimes allowing you time to speak up before they react or respond. So if you’re wondering how to tell your African parents your pregnant, They already know!!. Also, the lord is faithful in rewarding those who diligently seek him,(this is not about perfection but intentionality and nature of your heart) I don’t remember saying a particular prayer on how to tell my dad even though deep down I knew he would be hurt but still I didn’t pray. I surrendered the entire situation to The God of miracles. And now I can say there is power in surrender.
I’ll end here today. Next week it’s how I told the church.🤞 And btw these events happened in 2019. I got so many congratulatory messages last week🤣🤣🤣. Babe was born on Dec 4th 2019 and we are very happy. She drives me crazy but we shall survive. I could use some rosé though because mothering this small human who on most days is a blender with no lid is not for the weak. Okay bye!!