With her mind made up, Obiajulu considered the best option for a sperm-donor lover. That was all he would be, a lover chosen so he could provide her with his sperm.
She didn’t want a stranger. She couldn’t let a man she didn’t know touch her. She couldn’t afford to take any health risks. She didn’t want someone who might ask questions later either. So, after a few days of pondering on the matter, she settled for a friend of hers who was a priest.
He was the right choice, a priest who would never need to have a child and one who didn’t have the strong morals to turn down sex with a married woman.
She waited for her next cycle, calculated it rightly and met with the priest twice during her highest days of fertility. Then she waited for the outcome.
It worked. She was pregnant. She did a home pregnancy test, a urine test and a blood test, and she was pregnant.
Obiajulu trembled with excitement as she told Nnenna.
“I can’t believe it. I’m pregnant. I am having a baby.”
Nnenna’s first reaction was a shout of joy. Then she paused, narrowed her eyes and asked. “Is it Eze’s?”
Obiajulu smiled serenely. “It is now. It will forever be.”
Nnenna looked disappointed. “So, you went ahead and committed adultery to give your husband a child. It’s not right.”
“I went ahead and followed the tradition of my husband’s people to give him a child. It is not wrong.” She smoothed a hand over her belly. “Be happy for me, Nnenna. I am having a child at last.”
“Is Eze happy?”
“I haven’t told him yet. You are the first to know.”
“Who is…” Nnenna paused and seemed to carefully choose her next words. “Who is the man?”
“I won’t tell. No one but me, well him too, will know who he is. But he won’t be asking for this child. He has no need for children.”
Nnenna stared at her. “I can’t believe you did something like this. It’s like I don’t know who you are anymore. What will happen if Eze rejects the pregnancy?”
“You think I’m worried about that?” Obiajulu said and smiled. “I did this for me, Nnenna. This child is mine and he, or she, can be Eze’s if he wants. But if he doesn’t, I will happily go my way and keep my child.”
“Looks like you have it all figured out then.”
“I do. Now, congratulate me. I’m going to be a mother.”
She told Mama Ije next.
The woman was overjoyed. She sang praises to God and danced. Then she praised Obiajulu for her wisdom and generosity.
“You have done what any good wife would do, provide her husband with a child. I know it must not have been easy, but you did it for him.”
Obiajulu preferred not to correct her. It was her gain if her mother-in-law thought this was some virtuous act on her part. In a way, it was anyway. She was also thinking of Eze.
“I’m worried how Eze will take it.” She said instead.
It wasn’t a lie, even though she’d told Nnenna she wasn’t worried. She didn’t want Eze to reject her child. She wanted them to be parents together.
“Don’t worry yourself about that. He will be happy. At the end, he will be happy with the gift of a child.” Mama Ije assured her.
“I hope so,” Obiajulu murmured.
“I know he will be.” Mama Ije insisted, then added. “I will not ask who the man is. I don’t want to know. I am certain you made the wise choice.”
“We will never have anything to worry about from him.” Obiajulu gave her the reassurance she required.
“That is good then.”
Then she went back to singing God’s praises. It made Obiajulu happy that at least someone rejoiced with her.
Later that evening, she told Eze.
True to his nature, he didn’t react immediately. Just sat quietly, staring down at nothing.
Obiajulu prompted. “Are you happy? We are having a baby at last.”
Another minute passed, then he raised his head and looked at her. “I didn’t even know when you did this. I didn’t suspect anything. When did it happen?”
“It doesn’t matter when. What matters is we are going to be parents, Eze.”
He stared at her.
Obiajulu saw hurt in his eyes. Then confusion and indecision. She held her breath as she waited for his next question.
“Who is he?”
She gave him the same answer she’d given Nnenna. “I won’t tell. No one but me should know about him. It’s best that way. But you can be certain he will never be a problem.”
When he lapsed into silence again, Obiajulu became impatient.
“Are you not happy? Don’t you want this child? You did not object when I spoke to you about your mother’s suggestion, remember?”
“I remember. But I didn’t agree to it either, did I?”
Shock wavered through Obiajulu. “What are you saying?”
“I didn’t agree that you should sleep with another man to give me a child.” He stood. “I am going out.”
Obiajulu asked before he went out of their bedroom. “Do you want me gone before you return?”
He didn’t turn. “I don’t know.”
After he left, she placed her hand on her belly and breathed slowly, in and out, until she was calm again.
She didn’t want to lose her marriage, she realised. It was why she didn’t accept the divorce he’d offered. She wanted to continue being Eze’s wife and she wanted them to be parents to this child.
But if he didn’t want her anymore, then she would accept his decision and leave. She would leave his house, but not as a childless woman.