‘I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone the three of us.’: Single mom of twins shares the ups and downs of their journey

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“The moment I knew I was pregnant, given all the circumstances and drama, I knew I got a donor and not a father for my kids.

The decision was now left to me to decide what I wanted. Which was to keep the pregnancy. I was strategic enough, along with my late mom, who was ready to go on the journey with me.

I started saving, and ohh, I saved.

I took some extra jobs and more hours at work to earn money.

I cut out all frivolities, and by the time I had my babies, I had a good amount to our name. My late mom gave me some money too before she died, so I was able to buy my babies’ needs.

My first mistake: I bought mostly what they would not need. With no one to guide me, I entered the market with my friend, and we just started buying stuff that took our fancy.

After the birth of the twins, and after it became evident that I was alone, it was easy for me to pay our hospital bills, which ran to a few hundreds of thousands. I was so proud of myself.

For the naming, my dad and uncle sent us money, we got gift cash from friends and colleagues, and I thought ‘I got this. This journey will be smooth.’

mother with twins on each arm
Courtesy of Defunke Adewumi

Then I had to pay for people to stay with me to care for us. I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone the three of us. This drained me financially and psychologically.

There came a period when I would be subtly blackmailed for money or told my children would go.

This was me, who couldn’t even ensure my leaking breast milk was well packed. It took a while before I cut up a clean towel into sizes and begin to use it. Before then, I was laughed at.

No one bathed me or told me to use hot water, to avoid cold food or drinks. I just did all I ought not to do, and it was later in life I heard that it was dangerous to take cold drinks shortly after surgery.

There was this excruciating back pain I got after the surgery, so bathing the twins was a no-no unless I was standing. My house had no table or bathroom sink.

When I could not cope again after having a break from them all, I strategized. I brought in a nanny, and I knew a part of my income would go to her. I demanded how I wanted my children to be cared for. Not just accepting anything because I was helpless and needy. Now, I could get what I want for them.

I sold my gold at Teshuosho and took the money from the sale to buy our toiletries and food for that month until I had none to sell again. It was indeed worth it.

I would carry one of my kids on my back while my househelp carried the other and search for house cleaning jobs or look for new houses that needed curtains over the weekends, so we could pay the security guard we had been collecting provisions on credit from. This was part of our journey to ensure we lived well.

I remember when one of my uncles told his daughter not to visit me because I am not a good role model woman she can emulate. My offense was having children out of wedlock.

I remember when one of my aunties called to cuss me out that I sub her on Facebook. This is someone who did not even know if we existed or not. Not my friend on Facebook too. But apparently, she saw my post, which was NOT directed to her at all.

I cried that day. I will NEVER forget that day in my life. This was someone who never checked up on us or called us. But she had the guts to cuss me out on a sub that was not hers.

I went down the spin again to being suicidal. This is a woman I would have vouched to hand over my kids to for me to hustle. She even told me not to beg her husband for money if her husband called me. Thank God, he never called when my mother died or when I had my babies. At least that saved me the stereotypical way I could have been answering his greetings.

These are the people my mother LIVED for and could have vouched for, saying she left me in good hands.

Over the years, it has been very challenging when it comes to all aspects of parenting. One thing that stood out for us are the mercies of God.

For the last ten years, my children NEVER lacked good clothes and shoes.

There have always been people who gracefully send in boxes to us. I have been fortunate not to have spent so much in this regard. I will say again all this benevolence is from strangers, from those students my late mother taught or cared for to friends I made through Facebook.

I introduced my children to solids earlier than what I should have, but they accepted it.

son in green suit with sunglasses on
Courtesy of Defunke Adewumi

They never bothered me. What I have, they eat, they use. I did baby-friendly for three months, though, and introduced them to whatever I felt was best for them. God made it so.

God was too faithful!!!

When we began school, I learned to save. As soon as I began paying for one term, I began to save for next term.

Did I beg for help? Yes!!! I begged.  I went asking strangers to help me when I just couldn’t go on again when some bills just raised their heads, and I couldn’t just go on. But I begged when I have tried all I could and I just could not find a way out.

I began my mother’s business, I learned to take up extra hours at work to get an overtime allowance.

Anyone close to me will tell you, I don’t go to parties, I don’t buy things for myself, I have three friends who send me the clothes they are tired of.

All I am after is giving my babies the BEST of life. I think of them ten times before I think of myself.

I have been abused to be anti-social. But what is my social life useful for when I have bills to pay?

daughter in green dress
Courtesy of Defunke Adewumi

For the decade journey, we are not where we used to be, but we still have a long journey to go. But going by the last ten years, I am so so sure, we have been on this journey with God on our side.

Ar many times, I will be thinking of how to resolve a financial issue, when someone will just text or call me that it has been laid in their heart to bless us. When we had some health scare, I would have been worried sick, but God always showed up.

I would have delved into some more sensitive issues, but for the sake of celebrating God’s Love and Faithfulness in our lives in the past ten years, let us let it slide.

I do not pretend to my children, they know every amount I have, and the plan I have for it. I take them through this journey even when I know they can’t comprehend, but I just needed someone to talk to, and they were my only friends I could trust, so we talk…

Yes, we rub minds.

When they cry, I believe that is a no. When they smile, then, they agree with me.

But when they can talk, it is a much better conversation now. Like I tell them, I have never been a parent before, just take me as I am, but in this journey, we will not fail, and we will get it right with Jehovah God on our side.”photo of woman in front of colorful background

Courtesy of Defunke AdewumiThis story was submitted to Love What Matters by Defunke Adewumi of Lagos, Nigeria. You can follow her journey on Instagram, and Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos

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