I am tempted to conclude that it’s another spirit that enters most Igbo men when this ‘male child’ sentiment is pushing them.

A man could have a home filled with wonderful daughters who adore him and he won’t ‘see’ them, yet in old age, it’s these daughters that would be losing sleep over his welfare.

A relation had six daughters. You need to hear what comes out of his mouth when he is in his moody episodes. He would be cursing his fate (female children).

At a point when he was in his 60s, he embarked on an adoption quest for a male child. But the assessors, whom I suspect wanted to teach him a lesson, pointedly turned down his application, claiming that the child may suffer maltreatment in an ‘all-girls’ household.

That was how he dropped the idea.

He died recently. Although, his wife died two years before him.

I doubt if he actually died a happy man, because he wore his ‘fate’ on his sleeves.

The wife, it seemed, spent a better part of her life making up for not giving him a male child.

There was a time it was rumoured that she had an affair with her doctor. If indeed she was guilty of that, I am sure it was a desperate measure to find a male child for the husband or at least to escape the nightmare that her husband had become.

Men are yet to realise that if you push it, a woman can desperately seek alternatives to granting that wish of theirs. What will shock many is if the truth ever comes to light.

Your body language that reeks of desperation puts her under pressure and they plant desperate ideas in her head too.

Each time I think about him, I shudder at the capacity of human beings to gleefully dump a load of unhappiness on themselves.

So much love that he could have given to and received from his daughters, but he chose to mourn what he didn’t have, instead of celebrating what he had.

Everything about his disposition towards them screamed ‘you are not enough for me.’

It’s still those girls that rallied round him during his last moments and gave him a befitting burial.

A doctor friend has also told of how his close friend’s wife was coming strongly on him.

The day she opened up to him, she said after close to 20 years of marriage and three wonderful daughters, her husband could still let some relations from the village remind him that he had yet to have a child if all he filled his home with were ‘nwanwanyi’ (female children).

If he was a man without scruples, he would have started an affair with the woman; she was vulnerable.

The average woman is most likely to make herself available to a man she feels she can trust than cry for help all day.

A number of women suppress their unhappiness through extramarital affairs.

I have raised these issues so that we can also begin to imagine the role some men play in ending up with children they didn’t sire.

There are certain things we have no control over, and what you have no control over is not meant to control your outlook on life. But, it’s sad that those are the very things we easily allow to steal our joy and peace.

A lady once told of how her husband visited her and her new born, who happened to be their third daughter, wearing a pyjamas – yes, the sleep wear – to know if it’s actually true that she dared give him another girl child.

She said after seeing them, he never visited them in the hospital again.

The next thing he did was to make secret arrangements to marry a lady half his age.


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