Tawakalitu groaned and panted every ten minutes. Her contractions were beginning to come in quick succession. The past twenty-four hours had been gruelling and she was already exhausted. Even in her state, she felt disgusted by her environment. She had pleaded with her husband to take her to the primary health care centre but he had refused. His reasons were that he could not afford their services. She had saved up some money from her palm oil sales in the market but her husband would have none of that. How dare she say she would pay to go to the health centre? He was the head of the house and whatever he said was final.
She looked at the traditional birth attendant and fear gripped her as she saw the sharp instrument in her hand. She began to cry as she wondered if she would survive the ordeal. She was already tired from the long hours of labour and she doubted her capability to push out her baby. The attendant asked her to bear down. She did; panting, groaning and screaming. After about forty minutes, she was delivered of her baby. The birth attendant spanked the baby on the bum but he refused to cry. She hit him again but he was still.
The birth attendant looked at Tawa and shook her head. Realization hit Tawa like a stab to her heart and she let out a long piercing cry of agony. Mukaila who had been waiting outside to hear the cry of his baby burst into the room. He looked at his wife who was hysterical and screaming. He moved towards her and tried to touch her but she pushed him with so much force that he fell back on his buttocks.
Tawa bit her forefinger as she looked at him on the floor. “If only she had refused to listen to Mukaila”. “If only she had taken out her savings to go to the primary health care centre”. “If only Mukaila had not been too proud to refuse assistance from her”. Maybe, just maybe, they would have been rejoicing over the birth of their first child.
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