There was a long silence after my outburst. I sat on the chair wearing a long face and turning my back at him. I remained in the same position sulking when he moved nearer, placed his hand on my shoulder and tried to placate me.
“I’m sorry. I never meant for this to happen, I never meant to hurt you. It’s just that her fever is terrible and I feel guilty leaving her alone. The worst part is that, she also has crisis at the middle of the night so you can imagine my dilemma, leaving her seemed almost impossible. I’m sorry for hurting you, I’ll try and make it up to you in shaa Allah” He said with pleading eyes while I remained silent. “Anike I’m begging you now, say something”
“I don’t know what to say, honestly I don’t know. You said she has crises even at the middle of the night and leaving her seemed almost impossible, what your’re telling me now is that you would stay with her till after 9 months because I don’t understand your point exactly”
“No no no, that’s not what I’m saying. You see her condition scares me a lot, I’ve never experienced it before, I didn’t know I was really lucky with you because your own pregnancies are always hitch free, so it seems strange to me”
“Then tell her to come here so that we can all keep an eye on her, but if you can’t convince her I’ll help you out. What’s the big deal about her coming here, she’s not the only wife so she can’t get all the attention simply because of her condition, it’s not as if it’s her first pregnancy so she should have gotten accustomed with the way her body works during pregnancy.
I took it upon myself to go convince her to come to my place. One thing I’ve come to realize about Raheemah is that she loves playing on people’s emotions. She always presents her case so pitifully that one would have no choice but to dance to her tune. My poor Ahmad, he must have been stuck between the Devil and the Red Sea before making an irrational decision.
“Umm Hiqmah sorry, how exactly are you feeling” I started after getting to her place
“I can’t seem to take in anything without vomiting, my back ache seriously, my mouth is very sour, I feel dizzy all the time. Sometimes I do faint, I have no strength at all. I’m really fed up” She complained faintly.
“Sorry, all these symptoms will pass away after the first trimester. Do you always feel this way too when you had your previous pregnancies?” I asked.
“Yes o, it has been my norm, my pregnancies are always something else, people around me are always scared. My late husband really tried, From day one till I deliver, he was always my back bone. He would stay awake all night rubbing my back, feet and tummy. He cooks and pack my vomit. Abu Aisha has been trying too, I just wish he can stay with me throughout the nine months.”
“That’s not possible since you’re not the only wife. He has to attend to my emotional and physical needs as well. Your late husband probably stayed through for you because you’re the only wife, if you were two, it would have been a different story. I also had my husband all to my self before you came, but when you arrived I had to get accustomed to sharing him with you. I think you should also do the same, get a grip on yourself and be strong whenever he’s not with you” I said firmly knowing some of my words were not nice but I just had to take the bull by the horn and call a spade a spade so that no one feels cheated or neglected.
“What do I do, I have to be strong like you said.” She said with pity.
“You know what? Why don’t you come to my place so that We can all keep an eye on you, loneliness too can cause depression especially in your condition, you need people around, that would go a long way in cheering you up” I suggested
“No thanks, I’ll pull through” She said indifferently
“Stop being stubborn and give in already. You explained now that you couldn’t do anything on your own, now tell me, what would you do if he it’s not your turn and you start having crises at the middle of the night? I know you wouldn’t want to risk your life and that of your unborn child because of your ego. What do you want me to help you pack because you’re coming with me whether you like it or not” I said with a final note and fixed my gaze on her.
“Okay, I’ll go with you” She said reluctantly at last, and so we went together with her two kids, Hiqmah and Habeebah.
She wasn’t exaggerating actually when she said hyperemesis gravidarum is taking a toll on her health. She couldn’t do anything on her own. I would cook for her and see to her other needs. After she moved into my place, there has been a fair sharing. At least we both get to see him every day and he only share the night with whoever’s turn it is, but whenever Raheemah develops crisis at the middle of the night, she calls him on phone and he leaves my side to go attend to her. I wasn’t so pleased with the situation but what do I do, I guess we would all have to bear the brunt of the pregnancy fever.
Living together sure has advantages and disadvantages as well, disagreement is an inevitable phenomenon in polygamy. If fight didn’t ensue because of the man you’re sharing, it will occur when the children fight one another. It would only take maturity and wisdom to settle the scores without bias or prejudice. The children were at loggerhead one day when Aisha my daughter beat Hiqmah, she ran to her mother in tears. I was in my room when they started, I heard everything but I couldn’t come out because I was busy on my laptop. The next thing I heard was a violent knock on my door, it was Raheemah, she was shouting at the top of her voice for me to come out. I had to leave what I was doing to go see to the situation.
“Please help me warn your Daughter never to lay her hands on my child again, next time she does I will beat her, neither you nor her dad would be able to recognize her” Raheemah said sternly
“Please calm down and let’s hear from the children” I urged
“Is that what you will say, who doesn’t know Aisha in this house as a bully. This is not her first time neither will it be her second or third time of bullying my kids. Just help me warn her never to touch my kids again, they don’t have a father, don’t kill them for me o ehn ehn.” She said, held her kids and walked away to her room. My heart ache at her outburst but I still have to know why her daughter was beaten.
“Aisha tell me what happened between you and Hiqmah” I queried.
“She couldn’t find her own toy again, so she was crying that she wanted to take Abdullah’s toy, Abdullah didn’t give him his toy so she hit a cup on Abdullah’s head. I just smacked her a little on her bombom that she shouldn’t do that again and she cried to her mother” Aisha explained.
“She hit a cup on Abdullah’s head, how come I didn’t hear Abdullah’s cry………..”
“Mummy it’s true, she hit a cup on Abdullah’s head” Abdurahmon interrupted
“Still, you shouldn’t have beaten her, you should have reported her to either me or your small mummy. Hiqmah and Habeebah are your sisters the same way Abdurahmon and Abdullah are your brothers……..
“No, they are not our sisters, every time they do something wrong, their mummy will always defend them and say harsh words to Aisha, they should even go back to their house, that Hiqmah will be crying for what is not her’s all the time” Abdurahmon interrupted.
“Will you keep quiet! This is their house and they have nowhere else to go, the earlier you learn how to live in peace with them the better for us all, and you Aisha please don’t beat them again no matter what they do, always report and not put laws into your hands okay”
“Yes ma” Aisha responded and I went back to my room. Few minutes later, Hiqmah and Habeebah came out of their momma’s room and the kid’s started playing with one another again. You really can’t prevent kids from playing with one another. They don’t keep grudges as we adult do and to engage in a fight because of them is lack of maturity. Days turned weeks, weeks rolled into months and my co-wife was still staying with me. She said her pregnancy fever always lasts the whole of nine months and since she wasn’t independent, she had to stay at my place till she put to bed. I had to endure a lot of things. Sometimes I protested while other times I just let it pass. I wasn’t a saint either, It’s very possible I do things that annoys her as well but I think the only difference between us is that I don’t keep grudges, whenever she offends and annoys me I’ll call her to order and that would be the end.
On the contrary, my mate would never speak out whenever she wasn’t pleased, she starts behaving in a grouchy manner, keeping malice and nags around the house. Living together comes with a lot of headache and I guess that’s why Islamic scholars says that the husband shouldn’t compel his wives to live together against their wish or consent. Another mistake some men make is that after compelling them to live together against their wish, they still compel them to eat from the same pot against their wish, may Allah grant our men understanding and proper implementation of the deen. Honestly I couldn’t wait for her to put to bed and leave, it is very true that familiarity breeds contempt. I honestly give kudos to those who live together and would live together till the of time. When you live miles apart and only get to see each other once in a blue moon, the respect and honour would be unquantifiable but then not everyone would live separately and to think that some men actually cannot afford two apartments or cannot even cope with shuttling between here and there. Whichever of the two options, either living together or separately, may Allah uphold our homes and not bring us to account for our shortcomings.
Petty grievances also build up, fight for attention and competition to always stay in his good book and win his love. There are some things that you endure that you can’t even discuss with the other party. You have to endure the sound of moaning from sexual pleasure that comes from the other room, it comes so loud that you sometimes have to block your ear or close your eyes really tight for sleep to come. How do you call your mate to discuss that with her, how would you say it, “please your moaning always disturb me, so always keep it down or try to control your ecstasy” It’s quite unpleasant to discuss and I think that’s when living apart takes the credence, or in a situation whereby you live together, your rooms should be miles apart so you won’t hear the noise coming from the other end.
Fair division of time continued without fear or favour. One day Ahmad was in my room and we gisted all day. We discussed about varying issues and he made mention of a sweet but funny memory we once shared. It happened that when I wanted to give birth to my second child, Abdurahmon, I fell into labour at the middle of the night, exactly 2:30am. We were confused and didn’t know what to do. My husband visited the toilet severally out of fear and apprehension. During one of the time he was away in the toilet, the baby’s head was out and when my husband came back, he fainted. Me that was in labour and was going through pain was even more brave and undaunted than him. With the help of Allah I was able to push out the baby on my own and felt a great relieve when the baby was out, I looked at my husband and he was still lying motionless on the floor, I couldn’t get up because the placenta was not yet out, I had to kick him with my feet with the remaining strength in me. After several kicking he woke up and was surprised to see the baby after which he burst into tears. “Oh Allah you’re so wonderful, so a woman can deliver on her own without the assistance of a doctor or nurse” He was so marveled as much as I was. All glory belongs to Allah. We were grateful but our joy wasn’t completed when the placenta was not yet out. We tried on our own for it to come out but it wasn’t as easy so we had to wait till day break when we invited a nurse after which I was taken to the hospital.
“It was indeed a beautiful and funny memory, looking back now, Anike why did I even faint?” MY husband asked and I burst into a sarcastic laughter.
“You, I’ve never seen a worst coward as you. You’re not brave at all. You fainted at the mere sight of a baby’s head. Let’s give kudos to doctors and nurses who take delivery every day without fainting” I said amidst laughter.
“That is their own work o, see the thing scared me I didn’t know when I passed out. Eni ija o ba lo n pe ara e lokunrin.
“Still you didn’t try but you try small sha” I teased him and we both laughed. I checked the time and it was 10:30pm. We didn’t even know that the time had been fast spent, we were so engrossed in our gist that we weren’t observant of the time.
“It’s late, come and be going” I told him since it wasn’t my turn.
“Let me sleep here tonight” He said with pleading eyes.
“You’ll do no such thing, it’s not my turn remember!”
“I know, I just don’t feel like going to Raheemah’s room today.”
“Why if I may know”
“GOSH! She nags too much, I’m getting tired of her nagging already.”
“Is that all?” I asked indifferently.
“What do you mean is that all, is nagging not enough reason to keep a man off?”
“No it’s not, it’s not a big deal because every woman nag and a pregnant woman nags the more, so you see my darling, it’s not a big deal. Oya start going, my eyes are tired I want to sleep.
“Are you chasing me out of your room?”
“How dare me, no sir I’m just saying that it’s late…….”
“And I should start going” He interrupted me, got up reluctantly and headed towards the door, he came back as if he had an unfinished business, planted a wet kiss on my right cheek and left the room grumbling like a child denied of chocolate. I smiled and said to myself, “Anike you did the right thing, you can’t steal another person’s right, that is selfishness.
In as much as I would protest when my right is been trampled upon, I will also decline another person’s right when given to me. It may be hard and difficult to do but it’s being my sister’s keeper and it’s most rewarding