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Thursday, January 09, 2020

A Cord Of Three.....(4)

“What did I miss?” Azuka said, glancing at Adaora, before slowly lowering her body to the sofa across Mina. She was eight months pregnant and found that she had to move slower than she used to. She always told them jokingly now that she finally understood what Mina meant by waddling.

Adaora sat opposite her before speaking, “Mina is on some weight-loss drug.”
Her baby kicked at that moment and Azuka rubbed her belly and said, “I came here to eat, biko. Don’t give me news that’ll spoil my appetite.”

“It’s not a drug,” Mina said, eyeing Adaora before continuing, “They are herbal supplements.”

“One of those that seem to be the rave now?” Azuka asked. When she got no response from Mina, she said, “You shouldn’t even be thinking about stuff like that, you know.”

“She said that Baridi had been putting more pressure on her to lose weight,” Ada said.
“Is that enough reason for her to put her life at risk, again?” Azuka asked, almost angrily.

“You don’t understand,” Mina said, turning pleading eyes on her friends. “I have to do all that I can to keep my husband attracted to me. If he wants me slimmer, getting slimmer’s not such a big deal is it? I’m not putting myself at risk of anything too.”

“How can you say that to us, Mina?” Azuka said heatedly. “I was the one that found you, remember? It is a big deal, don’t you get it?’ Turning to Adaora, she said, “I’m sorry, Ada, I have to go, abeg. I can’t deal with this senseless drama now.”

As she stood to leave, Mina quickly got up and held her hand, “Don’t go, Zuky. I’m so sorry, guys. I did what I thought was best in the circumstance.”

“Zuky, abeg no go. I slaved in the kitchen all morning and if you leave, who wan chop all that food? Dozie’s out with the kids and they won’t be back till evening. Mina’s starving herself so she won’t eat much. Moreover, I made special food for my god daughter,” Adaora said.

“My god daughter,” Mina corrected, still holding Azuka’s hand.
At that Azuka started laughing and hugged Mina. “You have to stay safe, Mina. You just have to.”


With her head on Baridi’s chest and one of his arms draped across her back, later that night, Mina dreaded what she had to do. She had promised her friends to have a talk with Baridi and no matter how she felt about that, she knew that was one promise that she could not break.

“Babe, I need to talk to you,” she finally said.
“Hmmm. That sounds serious. What’s up?” Baridi said, stroking her hair.

“There’s something I have to tell you.”

His hand stilled. “What has got you this worried?”
“You remember when I had Soprinye and had to supplement with infant formula?”

“Yeah, I do. You said he ate a lot and wasn’t getting full anymore.”
“He did eat a lot but the reason he wasn’t getting full was because I wasn’t producing enough milk for him.”

“Hmmm. It’s not a big deal, really. He thrived beautifully, in spite of that. Don’t beat yourself up because of that.”

“You don’t understand.” Mina said, pushing away from her husband’s body to sit.

“What don’t I understand?” Baridi asked, in confusion.

“It was my fault that I wasn’t making enough milk for him, only I didn’t know that at the time.” When Baridi wanted to speak again, Mina held up a hand and said, “Please let me finish.”

“I started taking diet pills when he was nine weeks old,” she started only to be interrupted by Baridi.

“Diet pills? Whatever for?”

“I had started gaining weight after I had him, have you forgotten? You even teased me a number of times about that. The day you made a crack about my tummy still looking like Soprinye’s twin had been forgotten inside, I decided to do something about that.

 During my post-partum check-up the previous week, the doctor had told me that I could start exercising so I quickly registered in a gym. Two weeks later, I hadn’t noticed any difference so when I overheard one woman telling her friend at the gym about how she had dramatically lost weight while on some diet pills, I spoke with her before I went home and got the name of the drug. It was very easy to purchase as it’s an over-the counter drug.”

“Why did you not tell me about this?” Baridi asked, sitting up now.
“I couldn’t!” Mina exclaimed. “The pills worked because almost immediately, they suppressed my appetite so I couldn’t eat so much even if I wanted to. I finally started losing the baby fat and you started paying me compliments. So, how could I have told you that I was cheating to get those results? I was still going to the gym to get toned so you assumed that was why I was losing weight. I didn’t want to correct that impression.”

“But you were breastfeeding at the time? Are you supposed to take such things while nursing a baby?

“I wasn’t supposed to but I didn’t know that. All I noticed was that my milk supply dwindled drastically till I had to supplement Soprinye’s feeding with formula.”

“You put my son at risk, just so you could lose weight?” Baridi said, through clenched teeth. At this point, he was sitting with his legs swung over the side of the bed and his back to Mina.

“He’s my son too!” Mina said, heatedly. “Do you think that I would have taken those things if I had thought for a second that they could harm him in some way?”....

To be continued

Saturday, January 04, 2020

A Cord Of Three...(3)

“I hope she’s alright.”
“Yes, she is. She couldn’t go for her routine antenatal visit during the week so she decided to pop in today to see her doctor before coming over. Quit changing the subject, Mina. How did you lose so much weight in such a short period?”
“I started working out, like you suggested.”
“I don’t think that just working out would have given you these results so quickly. What else are you doing?”

“Do I have to be doing anything else?” Mina asked, looking away from Adaora’s intense gaze.
“Mina, what’s going on?” Adaora asked quietly.
 Almost rebelliously, Mina looked at Adaora and said, “I’m not nursing Sotonye anymore.”

“Really? I thought… Never mind that. How does stopping breastfeeding relate to an extra-skinny Mina?”
“Yeah, I know I said that I would nurse her till she’s at least nine months. She’s thriving on infant formula and I’ve started her on a few solids too but I feel so guilty for stopping earlier than I had planned to. But…”

“But, what?” Adaora said when Mina kept silent.
“Ada, you have to understand, I needed to do something drastic, to save my marriage. Baridi was already talking about the possibility of getting attracted to someone else and I didn’t want that happening.”

“What’s going on, Mina and what have you done?”

After the argument Mina had with Baridi, five weeks earlier, about her changed looks, the next few days had been tense in their household as Mina had avoided Baridi as much as she could. They had still slept on the same bed but could have been in separate rooms for all the attention she had paid him.

 Any night he had reached out to her, she had coldly rebuffed him. In those days, whenever Mina got back from work, she made sure to quickly get Baridi’s dinner ready. As soon as he returned from work, Mina quickly served his meal and to avoid talking with her husband, quickly went upstairs to their room.

One day at work, she had gone for lunch with a colleague of hers, who had just come back from maternity leave.

“Tayo, you look amazing! No one would believe that you have three children and they would certainly not believe that one of them is a three-month old,” Mina had said as soon as they sat down on a table. “Biko, share the secret. I’m still struggling to lose weight six months after having Sotonye and I was even slimmer than you before.”

“My sister, I no wan make Lagos babes snatch my husband, abeg,” Tayo had replied, rolling her eyes. “A lot of these girls don’t care if a man is married so as a woman, you have to protect your turf well, make your man no stray.”

“Tayo, I think about that all the time now o! But, wetin I go do, naa? My body seems to be having a love affair with any fat that enters into it, so much that they cling to each other. I’ve drastically cut down on my food portions, yet, all I achieve with that is this constant feeling of faintness. I’m still breastfeeding too so that doesn’t help matters because the craving for food is so much a lot of the time.”

Na wa for you o!” Tayo had said. “Na you dey cause problems for yourself, naa. Jide is barely three months and I haven’t nursed him for almost a month o!” At the open-mouthed look Mina had given her, Tayo said defensively. 

“My sister, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I gain weight while breastfeeding so I usually stop early so that I can safely start a diet without worrying about the effect it’ll have on my babies. When I’m away at work, they take formula so completely stopping nursing at two months is not such a big deal. I just replace with infant formula.”
“Hmmm. So, what kind of diet have you been on?” Mina had curiously asked.

“A friend of mine is a distributor for a company that sells herbal weight loss products. I could hook you up with her.”

“You take diet pills? Those are not safe.”
“They’re herbal supplements, my sister and are completely natural. So, there’s nothing unsafe about them. I don’t need to work out while taking them so I have something that is absolutely perfect for me as I hate all manner of exercises. They really work so…”

That conversation had stayed on Mina’s mind the entire day. Tayo had given her the name of the company and while researching their products on the internet, Mina had read wonderful testimonials from other users and had become convinced.

When Baridi came home that evening, to his surprise and relief, she had a hug and a wide smile for him. Mina had made his favourite meal and they had dinner together.
Later, drifting off to sleep in her husband’s arms, she had thought, No way am I losing you to Lagos girls.

“How long have you used these products for?” Adaora asked after Mina finished her story.

“Tayo’s friend got them to me, at work, a little over four weeks ago and I started using them immediately,” Mina said.
“We saw each other three weeks ago and you never said a word.”
“I couldn’t, Ada. I knew that you’d be worried and there’s no need to be. They are not diet pills.”

“Do you know the long-term effects? Are there records of that?”
“Ada, why do you always have to second-guess everything? They work right now and have no side effects and that’s all that matters. I’ve been working out too so that I don’t have to use them for too long.”

“Mina, you’ve always been a very beautiful woman. Even when you were heavier, you still looked amazing. I’ve never been able to understand where your obsession about your weight comes from.”

“When your husband reminds you that as the manager of the customer care department of a large multinational telecommunications firm, he comes in contact with a lot of beautiful women, you just might understand what my obsession, as you term it, is all about. Abeg, leave me o. Na person wey wear shoe know as e dey take pain am.”

“Mina, tell Baridi about the last time or I will,” Adaora said, quietly.
“Threatening me now, are you?” Mina said, heatedly. “How dare you, Ada?”
“I dare because you’re one of my best friends and I love you dearly. I dare, Mina because I won’t stand by and fold my arms while you go down a path that may hurt you terribly.”

As Mina was about responding, the doorbell rang and Adaora got up to get the door, leaving Mina muttering to herself.
When Azuka came into the room with Adaora, Mina glanced at her and said, “Hi, Zuky.” She quickly looked away, but not before Azuka had seen the mutinous look on her face.
“What did I miss?” Azuka said, glancing at Adaora, before slowly lowering her body to the sofa across Mina....

 To be continued
 Hope you all had a great holiday, my dear readers and followers. May all your dreams and desires be realized this year! Stay blessed everyone!

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